"That Poetry Bloke" Craig Bradley got in touch and so we naturally asked him to write something about reading and libraries. Here's what he said...
I have always been a reader. I can't remember
learning how to read. Those little lines, loops and squiggles, that we call
words, just made sense to me. Deep inside. They just clicked. I was very
lucky.Numbers didn't though. Far from it. Despite my mum paying for extra maths
lessons, I was well into my teens before timetables and long division sang to
me. Even now their song is a bit out of tune. But books, they sang to me from
the start. And they are still singing.
"books, they sang to me from the start. And they are still singing."
So you can imagine what i thought of my local
library. It was on the council estate where we lived. From the outside it was a
gloomy drab, ugly, concrete building at the end of a row of run-down shops.
But when my Nan took my sisters and me inside, it was like walking into
another world. A crazy, beautiful, slightly bonkers, endlessly fascinating
world of ideas, imagination, language and stories.
They were books everywhere. We had a few at
home- granddads encyclopedias and such - but nothing like this. This was on
another scale. They were rows and rows and shelves and shelves of the things.
Therer were so many books that they were piled up on the windowsills and tables.To me,
it was like every book in the world was in this room. And the best thing was i
could take one home. In fact, the lady who gave me my little pink
"Childrens Borrower" library ticket said I could take up to seven
books home. Now! Today! Seven actual books! I could read one a day for the next
"That little grubby concrete building was a real, living and breathing Aladdin's cave"
And that's what i did. I read and read. I
wasn't fussy - made up stories, true stories, old stories, new stories- you
name it, i'd read it. Libraries opened up a whole new world to me. It was
magic. No other word for it. That little grubby concrete building was a real,
living and breathing Aladdin's cave, (Aladdin being one of the very stories i
read by the way). By giving me access to loads of books, it gave me access to
loads more people and the stories that they told, about their lives and the
world that they lived in. I couldn't tell the time or do my timetables but I
could read stories and, in doing so, became aware of another world beyond the
council estate I lived in. I also read about other people who couldn't tell the
time and felt like i wasn't on my own. Libraries did that and i thank them for
And you know what, they still do.
Craig Bradley is freelance writer, poet ad performer and has spread his love of reading through class and library visits. His website is here.