A guest post by Jane Ayres (visit her blog) author of several books including Matty and the Moonlight Horse.
When I was a child my favourite place was the local branch library. It was just a five minute walk from my home and, amazingly, it is still there 50 years later when many libraries have since closed. An avid reader, I would go there after school and scour the shelves for anything about horses, ponies, boarding schools, girls’ adventures and the supernatural.
After I had read everything they had on these subjects for my age group, I progressed to the bigger central library, a huge, old building in the town, a 2 mile walk each way. I proceeded to devour everything there. By now, I had added horror stories, vampires and ghosts to my list. I was allowed six books a week on my library ticket. Only six.
Much later in life, when I went to Sussex University as a mature student, and the library there quickly became my new favourite place . It was amazing, stunning, overwhelming. Paradise for someone who is inspired by books, and who loves research. When I wrote my degree thesis I got so distracted by the sheer volume and choice of texts on offer to me that my research went off on many tangents! This was pre-internet and nowadays I would compare it to browsing on Google or Amazon. I usually went home on the train carrying lots of heavy books, my bags weighted down. I was only limited by the sheer physical constraints of what I could actually carry.
Fast forward 25 years to the kindle. This neat little beast is portable, light and actually fits into my handbag. I’m not restricted by weight, or a maximum number of books I can borrow or buy. It offers me all the delights of my own personal library. I can read what I want, when I want. I can explore non-fiction, poetry, novels, stories – everything my heart desires. If only such a thing had existed when I was studying. I could have conducted all my research without even leaving the house!