The summers of my childhood were usually spent in wild abandonment, spending every other night at a friends, or roaming the town looking for an adventure.
I never found a more adventurous place than the local library.
The best part of my day, would be the long winded pleading with my mum to take me, just to get a new book so that I wasn’t bored in the evening (even though I had an entire bookcase full of books to be read.)
The main reason would be the competition that the library would run every summer… The Reading Relay.
It was simple enough, you go to the library and choose a book, with that book you get a foldout card where the librarian would write the title of the book you have chosen, and the date. You then take the book and read it (obviously.) When you were finished, you would take the book back with a little description of whether you enjoyed it or not. The librarian would stamp the relevant page and off you go… to get the next one. Six books over six weeks and at the end there would be a small ceremony where everyone who had reached the goal would receive a certificate and a medal (my favourite bit.) It felt like my greatest achievement at that age. I would spend the rest of the year trying to persuade my friends to do the same and join the challenge, always using the fact of winning a medal as a little sweetener.
I recently, went to visit my hometown local library, not in it’s usual place at the top of town, but now relocated into the swanky, newly decorated community centre at the bottom of town. My friend Holly and I went to check it out before the summer just to be nosy, we were sad at the fact that it had moved and it wasn’t the library of our childhood.
I went back alone and spoke to the current librarian there, who was lovely enough to tell me everything that had been going on, that they get a good amount of volunteers from the schools in the surrounding area. Hearing this made me incredibly jealous, as this would have been something that I would have jumped at the chance. Hearing all of this made me realise that this is now the library of a younger generation, and that they still enjoy all of things I had when I was younger.
I spoke to two of the volunteers, age only just fourteen, who said that they were passionate about reading and helping at the library as they felt it was important to keep things like this going for younger children, to build a safe environment for book lovers. I asked them if they thought there was a way to get more children their age to read more, they were unsure of how to do this, but would keep thinking as they continued to volunteer. In all honesty, I was surprised to hear how many teenagers were asking to volunteer, I had thought that reading had gone out of style for a lot of children that age.
It was lovely to see so many people young and old enjoying the facilities, such as the computer room. It is handy to have a place that people who don’t have access or the knowledge to use the technology let alone the maze that is the internet. They can enjoy a short walk to the hub of the town and learn without fear of ridicule.
Along with having the use of numerous amounts of books in all different sections such as Travel, Science, Fiction, Non-fiction, Audio books and a wonderfully colourful Children’s section and the computer room. As you go through the main doors you are met with two noticeboards, full of posters of events going on not just in the town, but in the surrounding area. For young and older people. Some of them include, a wildlife group for nursery children and their parents, a fitness class at the leisure centre, the popular Karate classes, Yoga classes and the popular pop up cinema.
The best part of visiting again, was learning that all these years later, (and it is MANY years) they still have the reading challenges for young children. It was a cherry on the top to see the new library still carrying out the competition that I had such fun joining when I was a child. I was even happier to hear that last year they had a record breaking amount of participants totalling to eighty children, wanting to read over their summer.
Seeing all of this was just fantastic, however much I love buying new books, I couldn’t help but want to borrow several books. Then I remembered that I might not be in the town for a long time, the late fines would definitely rack up. I would not be prepared for that at all.
It just reminds us that we have to do our best to help keep the libraries open. Not only do they impart knowledge in the form of books, they bring together a community that is miles from the nearest city or ‘bigger’ town. We must do everything in our power to make sure that the next generation grows up knowing that they have places like this to escape to if they need it. A place where they don’t have to speak to anyone if they don’t want to, a place where they can find a passion, essentially shaping their future.
Do you still visit your childhood library? Tell me about them in the comments, I would love to hear about them.
All words are my own.
Thank you to the Branch Librarian Hannah Issachson for talking to me, and the two volunteers who will not be named, as they are underage.
I love reading all different types of books, with all different types of characters, but most of all, I love to read books with a strong female heroine. One, that I can mould in my minds eye to see as myself.
Here are just a few that really stand out to me and have become some of the most inspirational women in my life…
The character created by Louisa May Alcott has always been a huge inspiration to me. I love her passion for the writing that she produces even though she get’s knocked down almost every time, the encouragement she receives from her family is incredible, to go through ups and downs and still have the passion, the need to tell people her stories. Her wonderful, wild spirit that never gives up. In a society that expected her to marry well, due to her station, she wanted to branch out and do things on her own terms, the sign of a true heroine. If I can be half the person she was and write like she did I would be a very lucky person.
This character is probably the reason I wanted to do well in school and my higher education, I wanted to be her, to be as smart and intuitive (I really wasn’t, but hey ho) She stood out as someone who wasn’t going to be thrown down by prejudice from her peers, she knew she was smart, so she acted like it. She wasn’t going to let something as little as being born by two non magical parents stop her.
She is a fierce and loyal friend, who would never abandon them when the going got tough. Her heart is just a big as her brain. Truly is the brightest witch of her age.
I am only a few books into the Throne of Glass series, yet from the start I knew I liked Celeana Sardothien. She is such a feisty character, the type that you wish you could be. We see the wall that she had to build up, break down as she meets people who change her outlook on the world that she has grown to know, reminding her of the person she used to be. Eventually, she combine the person that she used to be with the person that the years have made her. The perfect hero, who doesn’t wish to be the hero of her own story. Loving this character right now.
I have always had a soft spot for the legends of Britain, most of all the tales of Robin Hood have stayed with me since I was a child. I loved the romance between Robin Hood and Maid Marion, the never ending relationship of the low born male and the high born female, forbidden and long-lasting. In every version of Maid Marian we see her as a strong woman who continues to fight and oppose the tyranny of King John. For me, she is a real hero, not someone who acts with action and fighting, but someone who acts with kindness to the people who need it, who can benefit from it. Just a legend… literally.
There we go, these women in literature are fundamental for our reading culture, they teach us that in a man’s world, women can still be amazing and strong women who could easily take over the world. I think it’s important for young girls to be reading books featuring characters such as these so they can learn that passion, knowledge, attitude and kindness, are all fantastic features that women can possess.
Who are your favourite heroines? I want to know… let me know in the comments below.
Books are usually the foundation for any screenplay that will cross the desk of a producer. There are some books that I read which I know should be and would be amazing on the big screen. But unfortunately, they may never be known to most of the population who may not read many books. Which is sad, there are many books out there which would be perfect for the big screen. Here are a few that I have come across:
ELIJAH’S MERMAID – ESSIE FOX
I have said it before and I will say it again, if you love Victorian crime, then please read the books of Essie Fox. I do feel like the books, especially Elijah’s Mermaid would be great with an Indie directer and up and coming actors that could have a chance to break into the big business. It would be just incredible to work on something like this to watch the process, not only recreate some of the wonderful scenes that Fox writes about. Also, the costumes would be beautiful.
QUEEN OF THE TEARLING – ERIKA JOHANSEN
Now this could be a fantastic film, with lots of opportunities for incredible special effects, and CGI. You could create some beautiful scenes that have been shown in the book. I just love it. The change to dystopian novel, from what could be perceived as a fantasy novel with one turn of a the page. It’s a novel that you can see on your television as a maybe three to four part drama. Fingers crossed we may see it soon.
THRONE OF GLASS SERIES – SARAH J. MAAS
I seem to be going for a lot of fantasy books for what I would like to see on the big screen. But can you imagine the stunt scenes that would take place in this series. That in itself would make me want to watch it all. It is an action but also quite fantastical the further you get into the novels. There is a lot that you could do with it and that is what is exciting. Imagine the trailer.
BITTER SIXTEEN – STEFAN MOHAMED
Now this book is the first in a series, it gives me all the feels for the Percy Jackson series. Once again, this would be a great film for the special effects that could be created. I especially love this book because it starts off with memories of the school I went to and the town I grew up in, it would be lovely to recreate my childhood haunts. A super exciting, quite scary (well scary to me anyway) and thrilling series of novels that could show how the supernatural can be reality.
There we go… I would love to see any of these books and more on the big screen, spreading the word about these wonderful authors who have taken me on blissful journey’s into my imagination. Quite tempted to start writing the screenplays myself.
Do you have any favourites that you wish more people knew about through film?
Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera is a novel about a Maori tribe who used to hunt whales until an ancestor of the tribe experienced something that made him change the tribes ways to protect the giants of the sea instead.
The story is told by the son of the current leader following his niece Kahu from birth and through her childhood, being rejected by her grandfather due to the now broken lineage of his Maori tribe, who he believes should be led by a male.
It’s about the change in a child from the perspective of her family members. It’s about the undying love and adoration she had for a man who tried not to care, and the gift that she has been given to communicate with the whales she was destined to protect.
I immediately fell in love with this book. Admittedly, I had seen the film first years ago, I just knew that I had to give the book a go. WOW! Whales are one of my favourite animals and to read about the heritage as well as the Maori legend of how whales came to be known to humans. I was enthralled, finding the narrative which was not by the main character but by a secondary character. I found it to be different and wonderful.
It is a short novel, yet all of the action was well spaced out, fitting a lifetime into the story.
The story and words of the Maori tribes legends are also spaced out through the novel to keep reminding the reader of what Kahu is destined to do. She is to lead her people just like her ancestor had done.
This is a beautiful book, a true homage to the Maori and life in New Zealand. The perfect book for all ages, for children in school it is a chance to learn about different cultures, which in this day and age, it is important for us to be aware of other cultures and way of life more so than our own. Only then will our own culture grow with time.
Highly recommendable to anyone who loves to read about legends, myths and family relations. A fantastic way to explain a culture.
Like a lot of other readers i’m sure, I love a good book. I like to hold something physical in my hands and to watch the bookmark make its way further and further until it reaches the satisfying end. It is one of the best feelings to see it, the feeling of accomplishment.
Kindle’s, however, are admittedly much better for the environment as we are not cutting down the trees for the paper. Now, when I eventually finish my novels and hopefully get them published, I would love to have the printers use recycled paper, if that is possible at all. Or, I would attempt to plant as many new trees as I possibly could (not that I think my books will be in such demand to require a forest load of trees.)
Then on the other hand, with kindles, we have to charge them, using electricity which hardly helps our carbon footprints. I don’t think that we can when in this day and age when we are trying to help earth fight against the global warming epidemic. Unless, companies start making solar powered kindles (would mean that several countries, including Wales would be screwed during the winter months, and some of our summer days too.
The question is: As books lovers, are we really helping ourselves for the future. I have put myself on a book buying ban for the moment, so that I can finish the books that I already have on my bookshelf at the moment. It seems that I love buying books faster than I can read them. It’s about time that I show the love to all of the my other books.
I do think that kindles are super handy when travelling, it is probable the biggest reason why I bought my kindle from amazon, I wanted to be able to take a book or two travelling with me fro about five weeks, but I also did not want the weight of maybe two to three books. It was great to have so many books at just a touch of a screen.
What would you say are your thoughts on this topic? Have you given it much thought? Do you prefer using a kindle because it is convenient and in a way better than a physical form?
I feel as if we can make a difference with this, however, whether it will all come into fruition is unknown to us until it happens. What we can do is just do our best, to make sure that we are giving back to nature as best as we can while we take away something that we need for our environment to survive.
So… basically, I like both. I would love to know what you think about this subject.