Mary N Bell

December 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

My Library Love Affair

I passed this shop on the way to school and back. One day the door was open. I didn’t see who came out, I was too busy and nosy looking to see what was sold there. A man was walking across the bare wooden floor carrying a handful of books.  I soon learned this was ‘The Library’.  You could borrow books free.  The librarian was called Mr. Rose.

One Saturday morning instead of going to the matinee I skipped happily to the library, opened the door with heart beating so fast I could hardly breathe I approached the desk. Mr. Rose was a huge, portly, giant of a man.  He looked down at little me over the top of his specs overshadowed by black, bushy eyebrows. ‘Please sir’ I whispered, ‘Can I borrow a book?’ I now knew how Oliver felt when asking for more. ‘Your age’, he boomed, ‘name – address – school and why do you want to join the library?’ ‘I love to read’.  ‘Yes you may – Les show this young lady how to select a book. Wow I was a member of ‘The Library’ and he called me a young lady.  Feeling very important I followed the slightly built young man to the shelves. ‘This is the section you can borrow books from. This is the geography, history, poetry, classics and dictionaries. You can sit at that table to decide which book you wish to borrow.  You know your alphabet?’  ‘Yes, yes.’ Each section was in alphabetical order. Mr. Rose closely checked the books I borrowed and when a new one came in if he thought I would enjoy reading it he told me. However he would not let me borrow a book called Lady Chatterley’s Lover that I had overheard my parents discussing!

I was about 8 years old then, now I am 82.  Mr. Rose and Les who became head librarian have both passed away. I am still a member of my local library and can borrow books from any library in Co. Durham. Some libraries are still in the old buildings, some in new but the books are as enchanting as ever. A lifelong love of reading was born at the local library.


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