Ode to My Library

We moved a lot when we were first married. Although it was exciting to discover new places, it was always a little lonely off the start so I was always sure to schedule a trip to the library soon after we moved in. I instantly felt more at home once I had my new library card nestled in its spot in my wallet. And I always left that first visit with an armful of friends to cozy up with over a cup of tea.

I remember reading about a young family looking for the perfect piece of land to build their dream home. They rejected many locations because of the lack of a good local library. That made perfect sense to me.

I love my library. I could not live without my library. (Okay, that might be a slight overstatement. But only slight.)

My library was a lifesaver when I was homeschooling my sons. There is no way that my pocketbook could have provided our family with all the amazing books my library made available with the click of a button. Thanks to Inez and her staff, we had a rich assortment of resources to supplement my sons’ education. (Still do!) And let’s not forget the author visits they arranged.

No matter what I’m looking for, they can get it for me. If they don’t have the book themselves, they use the inter-library loan system to bring the book in from another local branch. If it’s not in the Parkland system, they take the search province-wide and if none of the libraries in Alberta have it, they will cast their net even further. Once they brought a book in for me all the way from Ontario!

And it gets even better.

If I can’t make it to the library, I can order books from home. In fact, I can get a brainwave at midnight, log in to the system and five minutes later know that my book will be enroute in the morning.

While I tend to be a techno-phobe, my library has embraced technology. There is a bank of computers for patrons to use (and computer-savvy staff to help with the inevitable glitches). I used them once when they offered a course on a language learning program.

In their forward-thinking wisdom, my library has purchased several e-readers so that patrons can try out the various models. And, of course, they’re adding new e-titles daily. Thanks to a contest I won (at my library), I’m now the proud owner of a Kobo Reader. And they’re even willing to teach me how to use it.

I always try to read all the Giller and Canada Reads nominees before the big announcements. I can do that without breaking the bank thanks to my library. Couldn’t get The Sentimentalists, of course, but my name was near the top of the wait list.

My husband complains about the amount of books we own. He has no idea how much he owes my library! If not for them and the “pre-purchase reading service” they provide, we wouldn’t be able to move for books. But since I can check them out first, I only buy the books I absolutely know I love.

And all of this costs only $20 a year.


And it doesn’t end there.

Thanks to my library, I can post pictures of the books I talk about in these blog posts. Thanks to my library, I’m able to read all those lovely books in the first place!

So, when the subject of a venue for Leaf’s book launch came up, it was a no-brainer. There is no more appropriate place on earth to launch my book than my friendly neighborhood library.

Don’t judge a building by its exterior.

Behind this humble facade lies a treasure trove.

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6 Responses to Ode to My Library

  1. Wendy Elliott says:

    I read (and learn) even more now than I did as a child.

    • maxinespence says:

      Me too, Wendy! Although I read a lot as a kid, too. Do you remember the library at the Paddockwood school? I’m sure I read every paperback novel in it. Which I guess isn’t saying much, but it felt like a huge accomplishment back then. Thanks for stopping by. And leaving a note.

  2. Ben says:

    Hi Maxine,

    I couldn’t find your email, so I thought I’d leave you a reply.

    It was great meeting you and the others at the Calgary Children’s Book Fair today, and I hope your book does well.

    As for your post, I couldn’t agree more: libraries are vital part of my creative life as well. In fact, I don’t think I would’ve had the impetus to become an illustrator without them.


    • maxinespence says:

      Hi Ben,

      It was great to meet you as well. It looked like you made a lot of good connections on Saturday. I hope they inspired you to pursue your illustrating dreams. I still haven’t found the first card you gave me (must have put it in a VERY safe place) so I’m glad I got another one from you. It’ll be a while before I’m ready to take Book #3 to the illustrating stage, but when I do I will definitely want to be in touch with you so I’ll keep this card in a safe (but easily located) place until that time.

      Happy drawing!


  3. Pingback: Ch . . . ch . . . ch . . . changes | Maxine Spence's Blog

  4. Pingback: Look What I Found! | Maxine Spence's Blog

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