Library visits

I was in Leeds yesterday afternoon, with a bit of time to spare. I went to sit in the central library. It’s a magnificent building, decorated lavishly with Victorian tiles. I sat for a while thinking about the many libraries that I have visited over the years.

I have always loved a library. I can’t remember my first visit to the library, which was no doubt accompanied by an adult. I do remember, as a very young child, even as a pre-schooler, making solo trips to the library.

The world was seen to be a safer place back in the 1960’s and there were no roads to cross. We lived in a cul-de-sac and the library was in a big old house in a walled garden backing onto our close. So I was able to follow the pavement all the way around the block right up to the library door.

One library trip sticks in my mind, not for the visit itself but for the events that followed. It was a wet evening and, in that gap between school and tea, I had gone to change my library books. Returning home, in through the back door into the kitchen, I noticed a small flame on the chip pan warming on the hob.

Rushing into the lounge shouting ‘mum’, I was met by a finger to the lips and a ‘shh’. Mum was deep in conversation with the next door neighbour. ‘But mum…’; ‘shhh, wait until I’ve finished’.

So I waited, becoming engrossed in my book. Eventually the question was asked: ‘Now, what was it that was so important that you needed to interrupt?’ Looking up from my book, I thought for a while and remembered. ‘Oh yes, when I came through the kitchen, there was a little flame on the chip pan.’ Shrieks followed as the two women rushed out to discover that the single flame on the chip pan had developed into an incident of slightly greater significance.


2 thoughts on “Library visits

  1. Love the photos of the library – very Hogwarts – or more precisely Hogwarts is very Victorian libraryesque
    Love the recollection –
    Great short story!


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