I grew up in a town called Corby in Northants in the 1960’s, in a council house on a ‘rough’ estate. The Library was my gateway to a world that I could not have imagined otherwise, a space where I was both safe and nurtured, where the librarians encouraged my exploration and imagination, and pointed out a path that I would never have discovered otherwise. I read the books. All the books. Any of the books. And when I discovered the science fiction section, I discovered a multitude of universes to explore. I remember being allowed to borrow The Godfather by Mario Puzo, before I was old enough to see the film, and realising that the whole world lay before me.
And there was more: at the back of the reference section was a secret portal – a door to the library of the Technical College, located next door. I remember passing through it for the first time, the engineering and science books it contained, the world it hinted at. I look back now and I realise that one of the reasons why I believed enough in myself to apply for and successfully get to university – the only person in the sixth form of my comprehensive school to manage it – was because the library was my runway, and I’d built up enough momentum in my time there to become airborne.
The library burned down in the late 70’s. I’d left. I didn’t go back.
Did a library change your life? If so we’d love to hear about it (whether this was last week or fifty years ago) why not take a few minutes to write about a positive memory you have of being in a library. It might be about your discovery of favourite books, or about possibilities opening up, but it could be anything. The only thing we ask is that it is something that happened to you.
Tweet us using #FreeofJudgement or email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and it might be posted here or read out during the live event on 29 October, from 3:00pm – midnight.