Some of you reading this will already know that my comment appeared on BuzzFeed about my local librarian growing up, here is the link to the article:
I really do enjoy reading BuzzFeed, people may think that our generation is all about the internet and “listing” everything, making them into sizable chunks due to our lack of DINOSAUR attention spans.
I am lucky to have grown up with technology, watching it grow and understanding by the mistakes of others to never put things online you do not want your family, friends or future employers to see (having your mother as your friend on Facebook is the best filter you could ask for)!
The local library I grew up with, compared to the fantastic resources that are in the town now (Mitchelstown, County Cork) was more a room in a council building. This did not stop the librarian from being kick ass.
My parents split when I was around 9-10 y/old. I took it hard (as every child does, that is NORMAL) and I found escapism in books. I bought my beautiful little Shit-Tzu Jessie (2001-2010) with my confirmation money (rural Ireland people) and she soon helped me with the changes in my life. My Mum was working three jobs and finishing off her degree full time (basically being SUPERWOMAN) and I was only allowed to go to the local shop and library, which were across the street from one another.
My hair is tame now, but my god it was NOT at that age. I had a flip scooter and a back pack I would put Jessie in. I was a moving target basically!!! I was bullied a lot, but I had a great circle of friends from primary school a town over who would visit me.
This was back in the day (1990s) where Walkmans were not a thing for 10 year old to have, and also everyone would stop and chat to me on the way. I would sneak Jessie into the library with me in my backpack, and try to have her all tired out from playing before I go there so she wouldn’t wriggle! On one particular hot day, I had Jessie a sleep in my backpack and was on my way to the library, I decided to leave the back pack open a little so she could have air and forgot to close it when I was going up the stairs to the library. I was browsing through the stacks when the librarian approached me and asked,
“Jade, do you have a dog in your backpack?”
To which 10 y/old me replied, “No…..” and at that exact moment Jessie popped her head out and barked an hello!
I thought I was going to get kicked out, I was so worried, but the librarian took her out of the back pack and hugged her and commented on how well behaved she was. She held her as I browsed in the empty library (it was the height of summer, and all of the other children were outside playing). Each day that summer I would bring Jessie in, not hidden anymore, and began to discover Shakespeare, Hemingway and “The Sleepover Club” books.
My local librarian that summer made me feel normal, and not like the outsider that the children who bullied me made me feel. If I got upset about how I was never invited outside to play, I would put Jessie on my lap and read something new I got from the library and feel better. Books are still my escape to this day. If I am in pain or stressed, they really take me on a journey away from my problems.
I am just finishing off the final touches of my MSc in Library and Information Studies dissertation, and really hope I can be even a fraction of my childhood librarian. I have Tweeted the BuzzFeed article to the library, so hopefully she will see it, or a family member of hers.
Kindness goes a long way, believe me, it really did help me discover my look for books, music and art.
This blog is dedicated to the librarian from my childhood, wherever you are!
And also Roo English, you are an amazing young women, I am very proud to be your friend.