Today I’m one of the stops on Julianna Scott’s blog tour for her debut novel The Holders, which will be published by Strange Chemistry next week. I’ve already read the book and found it a delightful read and in fact, you can expect the review to pop-up later today. Meanwhile, I asked Julianna about what the library meant to her and she obliged me by writing a lovely ode to the library, which doesn’t just highlight the fact that libraries provide us books to escape in, but also serve as an important public space in a community. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!
What the Library Means to Me
“What the Library Means to Me” should be a really easy thing to talk about, right? So I thought too, but only when I sat down to write this post did I realize how hard it actually was. I had several different versions of the post with several different formats, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. After a while I realized that the problem was I just had too much to say. The library has been a part of my life forever—even before I could appreciate or even like it.
My mother was a teacher, and when I was little, like toddler/preschool age, she used to tutor illiterate adults and teach them basic reading and writing skills. Every week she would meet them in the library for their tutoring session, and with my father working as a traveling photographer and gone most days during the week, I usually had to go with her. I would sit at a table next to the class and color, or go over the art or travel sections and pull down books to look at—as those were the only ones with pictures. So, I would sit for hours starring at pictures of things I didn’t really understand or was far too young to appreciate.
In short: I hated it. Honestly, I am lucky that this terrible boredom didn’t cause an aversion to the library all together.
Now some of you may be asking, “What do you mean the art and travel sections were the only ones that had books with pictures? Why didn’t you go to the kids section?” Well, dear reader, the answer is simple: We didn’t know they had one. It was actually in a completely different part of the building, and I don’t mean upstairs or in the basement like many libraries, I mean out the front door, down the block, past the dentist’s office and the dance studio, and in the second door around the side of the building. Luckily for me, an awesome librarian by the name Carol—yes, I still remember her name—came to my rescue and informed us of the children’s portion of the library, and my life changed forever.
It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Up until that point I had thought that the books I had at home were all the books there were. You know, kind of how as a kid you think your teacher lives at school, so when you see her at, say, the supermarket, it is totally weird. ‘Wow, she’s a real person??’
I was totally in awe. ‘You mean I can take any books I want as long as I bring them back? Really? And they have records (yes, records, I am almost 30 after all) and videos too?! This place is amazing!’ From then on, not only did I look forward to going with mom to her tutoring sessions, but I went even when dad was home and I didn’t have to.
After that I was a frequent visitor to every library I had access to growing up. In fact, as a kid we moved around a lot and one of my favorite things when we would move to a new town was finding the local library. Best and worst was when we lived in Canonsburg PA, and the library was within walking distance from my elementary school. I got myself in trouble a several times with that one, going to the library after school when I was supposed to walk strait home. (Sorry mom.) However, the best library I have ever been a member of is, happily, my library right now, which is not only the biggest I have ever seen, but one of the biggest in the state of IL. I spend far more time there than is really necessary, but hey, what can I say, it’s a great hideout. And soon, my two little daughters will be old enough to come with me, and hopefully they will fall in love with it the way I have.
Thanks so much for having me!
Julianna was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musician. However, after receiving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she’d been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.
While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she’d never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she’d gotten her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.
You can find Julianna online at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.