Libraries have played an important part in the lives of many of us. Here, crime-writer Patricia Dixon reflects on her memories of them.
November 6th, I will take part in Tameside Libraries Mini Crime-Fest
and whilst I prepare for the event, my thoughts have travelled back in time to
somewhere that holds a very special place in my heart.
ghost from the future, hiding in the shadows, I observe my five year-old self,
holding the hand of my father as we visit Droylsden Library for the first time.
It became a Saturday morning ritual, the eager five minute walk from home that
always felt like five miles once I was loaded up with books.
I am as a teenager, sitting at the polished wooden desk with my friends. The
library served a dual purpose, a warm and a quiet place to do our homework and,
if we were lucky, we might also meet boys.
Next I am a fashion student, an odd
looking girl with spiky-hair wearing home-made clothes, Dr Marten boots and far
too much make-up, a pile of reference books aid the search for inspiration. My
friend and I have a crazy plan to run away to London so scour the heavy
telephone directories, hoping to find the address of Bob Geldof or at least his
Time has shifted and in this scene I have changed so much, a
young mother with two small children, listening to story time.
library is a sensory time bomb, the scent of books, the hum of voices, and the
smooth lines of an art deco building with its square glass windows that stood
the test of time. My ghostly self wishes the librarians still had the book
stamp. I longed to have a go and can still hear the sound as it prints the date
in ink. I smile, remembering how I often begged my mother to take back a late
book and pay the 2p fine; such was the shame of forgetfulness.
circle is almost complete so I return to the present, wondering if my five year
old self, the teenager or the student would believe that one day their books
would stand on the shelves of the local library. The name on the spine is
different now, but inside their words litter the pages, in print, forever. And
maybe two more ghostly visitors will pop by, my parents, who will see their
daughter’s books on display and if they do, I hope it makes them proud".
Patricia Dixon is speaking at Stalybridge Library on Tuesday 6 November 1.30pm to 3. She is the author of crime books "Over My Shoulder" and "They Don't Know" as well as a series of fiction based in France.