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A Love Letter to the School Librarian

Exploding Book Covers

Exploding Book Covers

Hello. I’m Rachel Hamilton, author of slightly silly books about exploding things.

Since I last posted here, I’ve been reading all the love letters to libraries people have been writing for Book Week Scotland. They’re brilliant, especially Chris Riddell’s illustrated letter here.  And, as an ex-teacher and ex-prison worker, I was also thrilled Russell Brand used his Reading Agency Lecture last week to highlight the importance of libraries in prisons and schools. Since The Case of the Exploding Loo came out last May, I’ve spent a lot of time in school libraries across the UK and UAE and I’ve seen the impact they can have on students’ (and authors’) lives. So, for this month’s post, I’d like to write a love letter to school librarians.

This letter is inspired by the army of lovely ladies who’ve helped me out this year – Roze Gesquiere at Horizon School, Kate Riddle and Michaela Magdolen at Deira International School, Jennifer Thornton & Abigail Roberts at Hollygirt School, Maggs Macleod at Repton, Sian Banfield at Grantham Prep, Emma Chadwick at Caythorpe Primary, Angela Chadwick at Marston Thorold’s Charity CE Primary, Caroline McGrain & Sam Buckley at JESS Ranches, Sherin Fernandes & Madhur Khare at GEMS Modern High, Emma Kay at Uptown Mirdif, Dolores Elliot-Wilson at Wellington, and Deborah Martin at Nord Anglia School. Some of you might recognise yourselves in the examples below 😉

 

Dear School Librarian,

I love you because:

You bring peace and safety to kids whose lives don’t contain enough of either.

Waiting in your library between school events, I noticed the fidgety girl shuffle in, glancing anxiously over her shoulder. I watched you hand her Charlotte’s Web and quietly guide her to the seat furthest from the door, so she could find friends inside its pages.

I spotted the boy charge in from the playground, hands clamped to his ears because the noise outside was too much for him, and then break into a smile of recognition as he spotted you. And I admired the way you encouraged him to take his hands off his head so he could reach out to take a book from the shelves.

You make sure words and ideas are equally available to all.

When I asked why you’d taken one of the school copies of The Case of the Exploding Loo and put it under your desk, you explained it was for the Year 5 girl whose mum couldn’t afford to send in money for a signed copy but who had told you she was keen to read it, so you want to make sure she got it first.

You love books so much it’s contagious.

I heard you giggling as you talked to that group of Year 4s about your favourite books when you were their age. And I sat, grinning, on the other side of the bookshelves when you told a mob of crazy younger kids:

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
 

Because Dr Seuss rules.

You invite writers like me into your school and make us feel welcome.

After thirty-odd author visits, I’m turning into a school-visit-aholic, but those early author events were nerve-wracking, and it made a huge difference when you bought me that cup of tea and smiled supportively at my terrible jokes.

And while it was quite disturbing to see giant images of my face beaming down at me as I entered your library, I was touched to see the effort and creativity you’d put into getting the kids excited about my author visit.

You make books so much more than words on a page.

I spotted the list of activities you offer in the library – reading groups, Literacy Day events, World Book Day displays, library-orienteering sessions, storytelling, reading buddies, author events. The list was endless and so was your enthusiasm.

But the moment I fell completely and utterly in love with you, school librarian, was the moment I saw the display you’d created for The Case of the Exploding Loo in your library. Police tape, foot prints, burnt shoes, blood . . . the works. You bought my book alive for the kids and for me, and I hope this post goes some way to saying thank you.

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, YOU WONDERFUL SCHOOL LIBRARIAN.

Rachel Hamilton x

 

library 3

3 thoughts on “A Love Letter to the School Librarian

  1. Oh I wish someone had written me a love letter like this one when I was a school librarian. I hope I was as wonderful as these amazing librarians 🙂 A school is not home without a library as that is where you will find the heart and the pulse.

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