Some of you may know (but if you don’t that’s fine – we’re all busy these days), but October is Canadian Library Month (CLM). Established in 2006, CLM was created “... to establish new relationships between the libraries and local communities while at the same time developing existing relationships.” And I know, there’s nothing necessarily groundbreaking about someone who works in a library being excited by or writing about Canadian Library Month (CLM), but that’s the thing: none of us have been in libraries since the dawn of time. Instead, libraries found us, and then we strive to become their champions.
Libraries have long been there, in the background of nearly every community. You may remember bringing your children to a storytime, coming for a quick meet-up with a friend, learning a new skill, or finding a space you felt you belonged.
I didn’t move to Red Deer until I was school aged. Weeks were busy in a family with three young children. But weekends? Weekends meant a visit to the library. Way back when (never mind how many years precisely), I remember getting my library card, and having it be the only thing in my small wallet, (and this was in the days of thin plastic cards, and a typed name on the front). My siblings and I were allowed as many books as we could carry, and the three of us had to choose one movie for the week. Now, those of you with siblings can probably imagine how those “negotiations” would have gone between us, and yet, I don’t remember the disagreements, only the excitement of coming up the stairs (as the Children’s Library was in the basement), with my small stack of books and my hand tightly clutching my library card ready for checkout.
My stacks are much larger these days, and they have had some real gems mixed in. Obviously, in celebration of CLM, I *have* to give you some recommendations of books I have thought about long after reading, that you too can place on hold and hopefully enjoy as much. They aren’t in any particular order, and without further ado (though I do love ado), here they are:
The first book I have for you is one I knew I was going to recommend before I even started writing this article. Understanding (even in a small way) where we – I mean us humans – have been has given me comfort in how far we’ve come. So, may I present Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, opens a new window by Yuval Noah Harari. Have you read this book? You definitely should. I listened to the audiobook for the first time in 2018, and I still think about this book at least twice weekly. There is a riveting chapter on wheat production – I’m not being facetious. I think about that chapter the most. I love consuming non-fiction literature through audio, and this was a fantastic listen. I have since read or listened to different parts over the years, and still enjoy it every single time.
If you are in the mood for some nostalgia, and some *feelings* definitely get into The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, opens a new window by Charlie Mackesy. This book is a quick read that seems rather simplistic upon first glance. It lovingly makes some of our most human emotions accessible for readers of all ages. I first read this sitting on the living room floor at my best friend’s house, tearing up with each turn of the page. It is not only beautifully written, and uniquely illustrated – the “font” used is the author’s actual writing. It allows for such an intimate reading experience to read a final product that looks like notes carefully left for just you – their “only” reader.
How to be a Heroine, Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much, opens a new window by Samantha Ellis was *literally* written for me. I often think about what books have made me. Which little sayings, what lessons, what memories – how did I become who I am. This book is the exploration of that thought. It’s fun to read along and think of books that you’d write for your own story (yes, this is what I think about for fun – it’s allowed).
To be honest, and I am sure some of you have experienced it too – the library was lost to me in my middle and high school years. In hindsight, I still don’t know why. However, in my early twenties, I thought to apply for a temporary summer position, and here I am 14 years later.
You may be asking yourself, "Why am I telling you this?" I mention it because the library can be what you need at the time you need it. It is a constant companion of the community you live in even when you are not reaching back.
Libraries are a place where everyone is welcome. Where you can quietly browse, or chat with a staff member about your or their latest read, and where you can hear new groups of our smallest readers being excited by their tiny stacks of books.
During difficult or uncertain times libraries often see an uptick in usage. (I know some of you may want me to cite my sources, but I promise , it has been proven true). These are those times right now for many people.
The library is reaching out – reach back. You are welcome here. Happy Canadian Library Month!