Public discussions and archive launch

Happy to announce two events this coming May and June 2017: public discussions on the topics of ‘Memories of Children’s Books‘ and ‘Our Lives in Libraries‘ as part of Wandsworth Heritage Festival in South London. The events are free, refreshments provided, and all welcome!

We’d also be delighted if you have any memories of children’s books, or libraries, to share (at the event, or in the comments below). Could you name a book you remember reading in childhood? What do you remember about that book? Can you describe a memory you have childrens_libraryinus
of visiting a library, from childhood or more recently? Can you remember any of the books you encountered there?

Also pleased to report that Memories of Fiction interviews are now available on the University of Roehampton’s project webpages (click on the ‘Archive’ tab). Thanks again to all the interviewees for their thoughts, memories, and insights into reading experiences… We look forward to further discussions in Putney and Balham libraries soon!goya_y_lucientes2c_francisco_de_-_woman_reading_to_two_children_-_google_art_project

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4 responses to “Public discussions and archive launch

  1. As a small child my parents used to take us to the library in Altrincham every Saturday. At that time it was in quite a grand old stone building with big steps up the front and I can remember sitting on the floor of the children’s library in a pool of sunlight reading the next Bill Badger book. I then found the sun and the peace in the library for the rest of my youth – until at 16 I was working there at weekends, and again when it moved up the road and before I went to university. This library is the key to my inner life. I could spend ages navigating the morass of connectivity that brings me to now, over 50 years later. Then, my parents could not have afforded to buy us books; as a teenager – and as a student – I would spend hours in bookshops only to leave without buying. The public library was essential. It still is for loads of people – as you are finding. Now, whilst I am still working, I will carry on buying my books – rather them than expensive ‘holidays’. When I have to retire, and again have no income – I would hope libraries will be there again for me – but probably not if the Tories’ attitudes to the public realm continue to hold sway. They’re a tragic bunch, aren’t they?
    (note – this is the first time I have ever put a comment on a web page such as this – the importance of libraries brings me to this…..)

  2. Thank you, David. This memory is wonderfully descriptive – reading in the pool of sunlight… And generally a super illustration of how libraries can be so important to our lives. We hope to contribute to the case for libraries, to show their value, and there seems to be lots of support out there so I like to imagine that libraries (although not so many, sadly) are here to stay at least for a while yet. Thanks again very much for your comment.

  3. My Sister’s Library
    Those few steps we climbed together were wide but the doors taller, We clung to the bottom curves of the polished handles, Drawing them back into the veiled mosaic lobby, the last refuge of voices, Stationed beyond, like some crow’s nest to literature,
    The booking desk was paced by stooping bodies,
    Their flows were a simple imposing rule,
    Way in returns and weighed out borrowings,
    Who was returning a secret of their choices unread,
    Were any carrying a clenched dull copper fine,
    Shiny ones sparkled just too much to surrender,
    Who would ask for them for a further or third time, Not my elder sister.
    Once more we trod the boards of squeaking silence,
    I could hear no call from those packed shelves,
    The bright hope of covers only disguised tangled ink shapes,
    As twisted nails pulled from pieces of wood,
    A picture inserted here and there was not enough to erect any story house, To the un-ventured adult side the books were even harder as kilned bricks.
    She hovered over the polished floor purposefully,
    Tipping books and carrying them under her arm as if they belonged to her alone, Did they whisper to her and what secrets in them kept her curled up,
    Like some cosy cat grooming her mind,
    Yet where did all those words float to,
    Coaxed off their dried pages with tracing fingers and gazing eyes.
    When did it close to Saturday’s children,
    Or was this tome to innocence just left unfinished, What became of those sewn pages and glued spines, Dutifully stacked and trolleyed to vault 18, alcove 262, Like some depot bound tram,
    For what words does the archivist scroll and loop, In the dancing shadows of brilliance.
    Are there any tales of loyalty, courage and dedication to be requested, Or are the loftier shelves of the newly arrived to be held and leafed.

    I wrote this as a birthday gift to my sister, I hope it brings some further pleasure.

  4. Thank you – I have certainly enjoyed reading this. Conveys your library visits together beautifully. (I also wonder if my almost 4 year old child experiences the ‘tangled ink shapes’ similarly.)

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