Today Saturday, September 12th 2020 I stepped foot inside of my local Library in Mansfield Woodhouse Nottinghamshire. It is no exaggeration to say that for me it was like going home.
Lockdown and COVID -19 have reinforced my love for this great institution. The familiar smell of books and the beautifully arranged shelves. I was like a child in a sweetshop. I kid you not, the first bookshelf I went to I picked up the first three books that took my eye, and such was my excitement.
Did you know that the first library to operate a free lending library without subscription was in Campfield Manchester in 1852 and the first purpose-built public library opened in 1857?
Today we take the library for granted but just imagine how amazing it must have felt in the late nineteenth century to be able to borrow books freely.
Recently I read a delightful book written by Salley Vickers, titled ‘The Librarian.’ Set in 1958 in post-war Britain this is a story about a young devoted Librarian Sylvia Blackwell. She tries desperately hard to fire the enthusiasm of the local children, but as in all good stories, there are other things at play. It is a story that reinforces the power of books as a tool of inspiration and how reading can change and inspire anyone.