This week The Guardian online are publishing love letters that top authors, as selected by the Scottish Book Trust, have written to the library or libraries that have been instrumental in their lives. Yesterday A L Kennedy focussed her admiration on three libraries that ‘opened the world’ to her, as well as providing a place of refuge. See below for the entirety of her letter. On Monday Alexander McCall Smith described his affection for the Innerpeffray Library and today Chris Riddell has provided a graphic account of his relationship with libraries and librarians. For these letters, and others published later in the week, see:
Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.
Thank you for being somewhere peaceful and familiar that I could go to when I needed to get away and my parents were fighting.
Thank you for being somewhere I could go to when I needed to revise for exams and was stressed and lonely.
Thank you for being somewhere I could learn about who I was and where I was from.
Thank you for helping me study when I’d made it to university, but couldn’t afford to buy all the books I needed – you had them all.
Thank you for being somewhere I could go that was warm and dry when I had my first job as a community arts worker. You were full of people taking shelter and being in books. In the space between the afternoon sessions and the evening sessions you loaned me all kinds of things to keep me cheerful and alive.
Thank you for teaching all of my friends who weren’t taken care of at school and who didn’t make it to a university. Thank you for letting them start at A and move on.
Thank you for giving my friends who were in prison a way on being free and staying free.
Thank you for being a place where I could go and chat with my friends who had kids.
Thank you for being there today at the bottom of my street with film shows some evenings and people having fun and being part of somewhere good and kids playing and finding out how wonderful you are – just the way I did.
Thank you for giving me a way to earn my living and a way to keep my heart alive and a way to wake up my mind and more paths into the world than I could ever have imagined. Thank you for being a palace for everyone and riches for everyone and dreams and adventures and peace and words for love.
I can’t thank you enough.