Once, oh so long ago, I tightly clutched my mother’s hand as we slowly mounted the short steps to enter a place overflowing with literature. There was so much there to learn, to encounter, and to experience. Even at my young age, I stood in awe of the words, efforts, and emotions within the volumes lining row upon row of shelves, stacked with the thoughts and musings of thousands. The stern somber face of the children’s librarian, her lips uttering a silent Sshh, contrasted with my overwhelming joy at the privilege of borrowing my first book. Thus began my life-long love affair with libraries and a life framed with books.
At the libraries I frequent today, I am not only a patron but a valued friend to those who know my interests, share a few moments of life and news of the latest books. Over the past thirty years, I have mastered and embraced the library’s broadening mandate to include innovative multimedia technology. For me, it is a celebration of a collaborative merger of ‘old school books’ and social networking, which began with the first technological innovation- Gutenberg’s movable type. Yet, while I have read with an ipad, downloaded MP3 files, and accessed journals and magazines on-line, I still physically cruise library shelves. Nothing can compare to strolling in aisle after aisle of books or the serendipitous finding of a special treasure.
Besides, by offering the gift of language in all its forms- movies, music and manuscripts- modern libraries are a hub of voices young and old interconnecting and preserving the relationship of people within the community. A library is not about research or information or fiction or even reading. It is a place of inexhaustible wonder vibrantly sharing society’s enthusiasm for language as a way to express our human heart and soul.
As a local library will remain an irreplaceable part of our collective future, I look forward to tightly clutching each grandchild’s hand as we carry home their treasure, the first borrowed book. Snuggling them close, I will once again be immersed into an author’s imaginative mind and heart with an oversized library book filled with magnificent and delightful images.
And so, I offer this award winning short animated film, in honour of libraries and for all of us who share our lives through writing.