The library saved her. Now she wants to save the library.
I’m a librarian. Every day I encounter people. I serve the regulars, the crime enthusiasts, the bookworms, the homeless, the eccentrics, the jobless, the teenagers, the toddlers, the aged. I know my community well. And they know me.
The library is a sanctuary for some, a place for warmth for others and, on many occasions, an internet café. It’s not always the books that bring us together. That’s why you might be surprised to hear that I’ve been a witness to an attempted murder, a target for a drugs gang and the last hope for people in desperate poverty. The quirks of library life. But what I didn’t expect was for a simple part-time job to become a passionate battle for survival, both for me and for the library.
I’m sharing stories from my daily life to show you that being a librarian isn’t what you think it is. Libraries are falling apart at the seams, and we need to start caring before its too late. So this is my eye-opening account of the strange and wonderful library that saved me and why I’m on a mission to save yours.
When I was a child, my family like many others, couldn’t afford to buy me books unless it was a special occasion and they certainly could never have kept up with my voracious need for ever more stories, so the library was my saviour. Some days during the school holidays it was like a second home, the place I went to lose myself in other worlds, stories other than my own, or to delve into the history of Britain. I am as a result still passionate about the security of our libraries, the idea that they are no longer needed or relevant is absolute nonsense, dangerously so!
So when I noticed The Librarian by Allie Morgan I immediately picked it up and instantly knew that I would both love it and be able to identify with the authors passion to save not only the library she worked in, but all libraries. I was not disappointed! This book is not just a call to arms, but a deeply personal as well as moving story about the authors struggle with her own mental health and how the library became the means of her salvation!
She tells of the endless levels of bureaucracy she and her colleagues faced to keep their libraries open, threats of violence from local gangs, bullying and intimidation by colleagues and councillors. It really is an eye opener, given the sense of calm and the tranquillity I have always associated with a library, to find that behind this façade is a world far grittier than I could ever have imagined. It makes it not just a very relevant read, but on times a deeply inspiring one, because despite everything the author never lost site of why her professional was as vital.
Of course, it is not all endless battles with bureaucrats, she also gives us a moving account of how much libraries are needed by the most vulnerable members of society. Those that don’t have access to a computer, those simply wanting to find some warmth of a cold day, single parents, the elderly, are helped by librarians, who don’t just issue books! They issue sanitary towels, dog waste bags. They help people that have no one else to turn to and receive very little reward for doing so.
I loved how Allie Morgan ‘s The Librarian is the honesty of her writing, her humour and her passionate sense of community. We can see that she understands that without access to this service, many would be disadvantaged and left to fall to the wayside. Communities need libraries, they have the right to access to the services they provide. Without libraries children with parents that can’t afford to buy them books, will be forever disadvantaged, may never develop a love of books and reading, their education and life chances forever hindered. This book is a says that if we want our libraries to survive, if we say we believe in equality for all, we need to support Librarians like Allie Morgan and their battle to save these valuable resources.
About the author
Allie Morgan is 29-year-old librarian who lives in Scotland. She runs a secret Twitter account where she tweets about the role of libraries in community life.