Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Support your local library...

One of my earliest experiences of reading is being taken to our local library when I was just a kid.
I was always a voracious reader, even in my younger years, so being introduced to somewhere where you could pick up any number of books to read for free, albeit for a limited time, from a massively huge selection, felt like a dream come true.
There were restrictions - you could only pick, in those days, three or four books to check out, could only have them for two weeks and then, could only renew them if no-one else had asked for them in the meantime; not to mention there were certain books the librarian wouldn't let you have unless a parent or guardian was there to give their consent (I remember in particular one discussion where the librarian thought it perfectly acceptable to let me read The Hobbit, but not The Lord of the rings because it was 'too grown up') - but being able to pick from such a wide selection of reading material for free was almost like being given the keys to a sweet shop for someone who read as much as I.
Now, as a parent myself, I've tried to keep up that tradition and, whenever I can, often try to take my daughter down the library so she can experience the same joy I did at her age - though, unlike me at her age, she tends to stick to the same books, Tom Gates, Diary of a wimpy kid etc and is more reluctant to try anything new.
But there's nothing wrong with that.
She gets to choose what she wants to read and at the end of the day if those are the books she likes, so be it.
At least she's reading.

In this day and age, times have changed. 
Kids don't read like they used to.
They have iPads, and tablets, and god knows what else whist we (I'm 44 btw) had none of that, not like they do now, and so are less inclined to read, but we should be encouraging them.
I know sp many people who tell me they 'don't read' and that is such a shame.
When you pick up a book, instantly you are transported - sometimes to a different country, sometimes to a different world, and all of the author's choosing. It is a magical experience and one that simply cannot be compared to watching a movie on the screen or playing a game.
Reading is like the ultimate virtual reality, because when you pick up a really good book and start getting really into it, it is almost as if you are there with the characters - or at least, that is if the author is   good enough. 
It is a form of escape, and one you can take with you wherever you go - even more easily now ever since the creation of kindles and e-readers.
Libraries have had to move with the times; now they offer video games, Blurays and DVDs, C.D's and movie soundtracks along with the books that were all they ever used to have, back in the old days, but here's the thing - they won't be around forever, not if you don't support them. 

No end of local libraries have been closed in recent years as the government attempts to cut spending, and that is a shame because in doing so, it's robbing people of the opportunity to discover new authors that maybe they wouldn't have taken a chance on if they actually had to buy the book themselves. 
And it's robbing our children of the chance to experience the same wonder and excitement some of us all felt, the first time WE walked into a library. 

But YOU can help change that, just by paying your local library a visit and maybe checking out a couple of books.

I had a good experience the other day, a nice start to the year.
A little while ago, just before Christmas, I posted about my latest book on my local community Facebook page and one of the women who worked at my local library told me that to help support me as a local author, she was going to put in a buying request for the Norfolk Library Service to buy copies of my book so my book would be available for people to check out.
The request was declined, but here's the thing - this librarian has used some of the local library's donated funding to buy a copy of my book anyway so that my local branch will have its own copy.

For me, it's almost like my life has gone full circle.
When I was younger, I would eagerly go down to the library to check out new books by my favourite authors and now, in my local branch at least even if nowhere else, people can go in and check out a copy of my own book.
This is important, because it means people will now be able to read it for free and this, in turn, might hopefully make them more inclined to ask the library about my other books, or maybe even go out and buy copies for themselves.

For me, writing is not about the money.
I might never be rich - I might never be able to reach the dizzying heights of success of the likes of J. K.Rowling or Stephen King, and don't really expect to - but if people pick up and enjoy my book then that's all I really care about, and my book being in the library helps make it more accessible.

The local librarian did not have to do this.
She could have just decided I was not worth the bother, but instead, went above and beyond to secure a copy of my book for the local library, and you know what? 
I really appreciate that.

So this is my official author thank you to Birgit Haebe, and this is me - asking you to support your local library. If you don't use it, you're likely to lose it and that round be a crying shame - not just for the next generation, our children and our children's children, but also for the struggling authors out there like myself who don't care about the money, or the fame, but just care about getting our books out there for people like you to read.

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