Library Love

In celebration of Library Lover’s Month, our bloggers are sharing some of their favourite memories of libraries.

Just before the most recent lockdown, I was putting together a book bundle for a child who requested 50 books. I thought in the back of my mind ‘no way is this kid going to read 50 books.’ When the child came in to pick up his book bundle, he was so excited he ran to the shelf and tore open the bag right then and there. Absolutely he went home and read every single one of those books! — Lesley L.

One of my most precious library memories was being a library helper at my elementary school library. I loved helping to put away the big encyclopedias and stacks of flimsy chapter books. In my elementary school, I graduated in Grade 5 and received a Library Helper of the Year award, with my very own copy of the Guinness World Records 2005 as a gift. I also remember visiting the library almost every Saturday morning, picking out stacks of books at nearby branches in Toronto (Barbara Frum, Armour Heights, the North York Central Library). — Jackie M.

Working in the library every day we experience favourite library memories constantly through memorable conversations with customers or the arrival of new books, but I was also lucky to use the Waterloo Public Library as a parent. I have fond memories of structuring our days around visits to the library. I could rush the kids out of the house with the promise of being there in time for the library to open, and then persuade them to leave once our bags were almost too full to carry. Usually, we would take the books home to read after lunch but once in a while we would be ambitious and pack snacks to take over to Waterloo Park. A favourite title that we checked out so often that I’m sure that our family fingerprints must remain on every copy in the system, is Cynthia Rylant’s perfect story If You’ll Be My Valentine. In her seasonal picture book, a young boy creates handmade cards for the ones he loves (including his cheerful dog) with perfectly appropriate words of appreciation each time. He invites his mother for tea and oranges, gives his brother a card featuring a toothy monster and writes words of love to a bird in their yard. The illustrations by Fumi Kosaka capture my heart now, a decade later – I still check it out of the library just to admire it. — Penny M.

I have such happy memories of visiting the Belleville Public Library as a kid! I can still remember the Children’s Librarian’s name, Mrs. Haig, and I can picture her and hear her voice in my mind. The first books I signed out that I could read myself were the Freddy the Pig books by Walter R. Brooks (yes, WPL has them). I LOVED that series and read every one of them. (Fun fact about the Belleville Public Library: legendary Canadian author Farley Mowat lived there for a time as a kid. In the late 1920’s his father, Angus Mowat, was the Chief Librarian and at the time the library contained a small apartment for the librarian and his/her family.) — Penny D.

My favourite library memories revolve around my Dad. I was born in Hamilton and, at the age of just 2, got my first library card. My sister, who is two years my senior, already had her card and “library time” became “Daddy and daughters” time. This might have originally been planned to give my Mum a well-deserved break but while she was an avid reader, my Dad was a voracious one. He loved visiting the library and sharing his love of reading with us. When we left Canada to live in Scotland, one of the first stops we made in our new community was to register for a library “ticket”. And when we returned to Canada and set up home in Waterloo, an early stop was at the newly opened McCormick Branch (then known as Parkside Branch) to register for cards. In the 45+ years that my family have been members at WPL, I’ve always had a selection of library books at my bedside. And through all of those years and right up until days before his death, my Dad would visit the Main and McCormick every week without fail. From the start he shared his love of libraries and books with us, and that love continues to this day. — Sandi H.

If you love the library, why not take part in our Love Notes to the Library contest. Using the online form, tell us what you love most about the library. You will be automatically entered in our draw for a chance to win 1 of 3 UpTown Waterloo prize packs.