Friday, November 2, 2012

A Library in my Handbag

Matty and the Moonlight Horse (Matty Horse and Pony Adventures)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!

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