Rachel Joyce

I owe my career as a writer to my local library. As a child, one of the highlights of my week was the trip to the library. Not only was it one of the few places I was allowed to go on my own, but once there, I was free to choose whatever books caught my eye. It didn’t matter if they weren’t children’s books and neither did it matter if I found I didn’t like them – I was free to roam, to discover, to make mistakes and begin a relationship with other writers and books that has stayed with me all my life. And music! I worked my way through the entire classics department of West Norwood Library. I didn’t know who Mozart was, or Bach, but I went on a listening adventure that I simply couldn’t have made if I’d had to pay for it. And when I began to write my own pieces of fiction – far too ashamed to show them to anyone at home or school – it was a librarian who led me to the Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book and explained how to write to publishers.

This is why I feel so passionately about libraries. For me they are places without judgement. They are safe places.  And – for all their stillness – they are places that begin lifelong journeys.