As library closures grow ever more prevalent, the Scottish Book Trust has chosen to focus Book Week Scotland on a campaign to illustrate what these temples of free culture mean to readers. High-profile authors have joined thousands of borrowers in writing love letters to their favourite library, where they will be displayed.
During the week, we will be publishing letters that top authors have written. If you also want to share your appreciation for a library, you can do it here.
AL Kennedy could not choose one library to which to dedicate the words below: “Oh, it’s a load of libraries – it would have to be. Perth Road Library [also known as Blackness Community Library], Dundee; Wellgate Library, Dundee; Clydebank Library; Warwick University Library … Loads.” Here is what she wrote:
Thank you for being the first place I realised how beautiful books were, how many books there were and for teaching me that they should all be available to me, that I could learn whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted to in my mind. Thank you for opening the world to me.
Thank you for being somewhere peaceful and familiar that I could go to when I needed to get away and my parents were fighting.
Thank you for being somewhere I could go to when I needed to revise for exams and was stressed and lonely.
Thank you for being somewhere I could learn about who I was and where I was from.
Thank you for helping me study when I’d made it to university, but couldn’t afford to buy all the books I needed – you had them all.
Thank you for being somewhere I could go that was warm and dry when I had my first job as a community arts worker. You were full of people taking shelter and being in books. In the space between the afternoon sessions and the evening sessions you loaned me all kinds of things to keep me cheerful and alive.
Thank you for teaching all of my friends who weren’t taken care of at school and who didn’t make it to a university. Thank you for letting them start at A and move on.
Thank you for giving my friends who were in prison a way on being free and staying free.
Thank you for being a place where I could go and chat with my friends who had kids.
Thank you for being there today at the bottom of my street with film shows some evenings and people having fun and being part of somewhere good and kids playing and finding out how wonderful you are – just the way I did.
Thank you for giving me a way to earn my living and a way to keep my heart alive and a way to wake up my mind and more paths into the world than I could ever have imagined. Thank you for being a palace for everyone and riches for everyone and dreams and adventures and peace and words for love.
I can’t thank you enough.
I love this idea for so many reasons. My final project at university, Douceurs, was a service enabling you to send physical letters to your own future. 6 years later, I developed and pitched the concept with a team at MIT ( which led to a standing ovation! ) Sarah and I pivoted the concept to write letters to the future of Scotland, resulting in Dearest Scotland, which Cat is now taking to bigger and better places than we could have imagined.
At the core of all these ideas is the simple act of writing a letter. Why not write a letter to your future, your library or even to Scotland?