Reflections: Why I Love Libraries

I’ve been addicted to reading, since I taught myself to read- apparently at around age 4.

Growing up the only child of migrant parents, coming home from primary school and letting myself in with the key on the string around my neck by the time I was aged 7, books were my companions, were an entry into the strange new country and culture we’d landed in. They were the opening up of my imagination. I devoured them.

We couldn’t afford to buy books. My parents had enough bills to worry about. They bought newspapers. But they encouraged me. One of them must have filled in my library membership.The other taken me there the first few times. I can just imagine, how big my eyes must have been, the first time I saw all those books!

The librarians in my tiny local library got used to the sight of this determined little, mocha coloured girl, her head full of tiny plaits, bundled up against the cold ( central heating wasnt in homes in Britain yet. And I was a child of the tropics) sitting with her nose buried in a book, taking new ones out, returning read ones.

I must have been one of their best customers. It was near enough to where we lived, for me to walk there and back safely. It was my second home. Especially in the school holidays.  Thank you, Maida Vale library!


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