Library Days

From The Library by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

 Some days I feel as though I should pay to work as a teacher-librarian. I enjoy libraries, books and children so much! Thursday, I worked in a traditional school library in a French Immersion school.
I had opportunities to read stories in English and French. I did a bit of math resource support (in French) to a group of Grade Two's and I enjoyed conversation with some colleagues in the staffroom.
The principal was pleased that I spoke French and thanked me warmly for coming. A 7 year-old boy came after school to help me shelve books. I think that he is regular visitor. Some children need a safe place and a friendly adult in the school. I'm always happy when the library can be that place.

I've never wanted to be a "library dragon" but I've certainly known some.

A few days ago, I listened toWriters and Company on the CBC radio. The host, Eleanor Wachtel
related her experience as a child growing up in a family who did not buy books but used the public library extensively. I grew up in a family that was exactly the opposite. I had access to my mother's and my aunt's childhood books, my parents' high school and college anthologies and books that had belonged to my grandfather. I was given books for Christmas and my birthday but I was such a voracious reader that I visited the small local library frequently to augment my family's collection.

Eleanor Wachtel interviewed nonfiction writer Susan Orlean about her latest book, The Library Book.
Orlean, a staff writer for the New Yorker, writes about the Los Angeles Public Library fire and other interesting anecdotes concerning libraries and library people. Libraries abound with quirky characters: library "dragons" (a bit OCD), "founts of knowledge" (reference librarians) and an assortment of lovable and unlovable patrons.

Todd Parr is a favourite of today's younger student

Were you raised in a family of book collectors or book borrowers? Have libraries or librarians played a significant role in your life?

Lately, I've read:
Up from Freedom by Wayne Grady
The Green Road by Anne Enright
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Homegoing by Yaa Gyazi

If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids.

–Cornelia Funke


  1. I always love your enthusiasm for your life but especially so when you write about your happiness in working with school children. I think you're very lucky to be doing something you love and those you teach are lucky to have you.

    1. It's only after a few years of retirement that I realize how much I loved my work.

  2. Love your enthusiasm for teaching and reading. Sounds like your time at the French immersion school was a bonus for you and the children. Like you, I always had access to books at home and at libraries (across the US/UK/Europe--all the different places I lived growing up). The public library remains, for me, one the very best uses of tax monies. In the US, I get regular email updates from the American Library Association ( on legislation impacting libraries (good and bad) pending in Congress . They have a wonderful system for providing background info on the legislation and quick access to one's representatives and senators so you can make your views known to them on specific issues.

    While I've met a few library dragons (mostly in my younger days), my local librarians are unfailingly friendly and helpful.

    1. Access to books is a privilege that we are so lucky to have! I've always felt "rich" with a tote bag of library books. I'm going to pick up the new Barbara Kingsolver book today.
      We have a great system for placing reserves online and we have a large collection of book club sets to borrow. Recently, through our library, we have access to Hoopla, a digital media service. So many free opportunities to learn!

  3. I am a collector of books, but I did not grow up in a household of collectors. My parents are and always have been borrowers, although there are a few full bookshelves in their home. In my home, I am always culling books, but it gets harder and harder. When we lived overseas, I borrowed books from our school library as there were no public libraries available. After returning to Canada I rejoiced in the availability of books to borrow. Such richness. If only more people knew!

    1. I'm trying to cull now since my daughter is really not a reader. It's hard but I love the library.

  4. Best career in the world! Thank you for NOT being a library dragon. I have worked with far too many, myself. What did you think of The Tattooist of Auschwitz? I read it but didn't feel a strong connection to Lale or Gita. And I can't figure out why. Was kind of distracted in reading the book so maybe I just didn't read it with enough concentration and comprehension.

    1. I did not really relate to Lale either. I listened to the book because I couldn't get a print copy from the library. I wondered if it was the voice of the reader in my case. We did not get a sense of Gita probably because the author didn't meet her.


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