We are pleased to have received the following statement of support from prolific and award-winning children’s author Sally Grindley:
I was lucky. My mother understood the enormous value of books and reading. My brothers and I had our own shelves lined with our favourites – Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Heidi (all still enjoyed by children today) – but we visited our local library too, and that was always a highlight. All those books and we could choose any of them to take home and read! Wow! How great is that! The stories inside their covers introduce us to people and places that have been created by powerful imaginations, and we take part in that creative process ourselves when our own imaginations set to work on visualising those people and places and interpreting their actions and thoughts.
Several years ago, I was invited to a local library as part of the Literature Festival. Only one child attended the session I was running – a 3 year old, who stayed for the whole 45 minutes and demanded that I read every book I had with me. She’ll remember
that day for a long time. I shared with the librarian her frustration that few people visited her particular library. But then she told me of a young boy who went there regularly because it provided a refuge from his turbulent home life. That tiny nugget of information became the inspiration for one of my own books – HURRICANE WILLS – where a young boy regularly takes refuge in a library from his disruptive older brother.
The point is that libraries are far, far more than buildings with books in them. They’re a vital, irreplaceable part of our community where people of all ages and backgrounds can go to access the phenomenal power of the written word – for FREE! They’re a place where people can escape what’s going on outside and spend a few hours immersed in worlds apart. And the outreach work that libraries do with schools is invaluable. What will happen to that?
Without libraries our community becomes yet more impoverished. The very
word ‘community’ might cease to exist. Take away local shops, post offices, playing fields and now libraries and what are you left with? Rows upon rows of houses, fewer and fewer meeting places, separate lives. Is that how we want our future to be? Not me.