I have enjoyed going to public libraries ever since I was a small boy learning English in South Africa. I discovered the local library at the age of nine or ten and have nothing but fond memories of my regular visits. Libraries are treasure rooms for me, the starting point for adventure and exploration; places where you can meet the great people of every era through their works. Libraries are also places where you can find the perfect escape: the novel set in the South Seas, the thriller, the love story.
Many libraries are reflective of their neighbourhoods and generally staffed with helpful people. They can also offer somewhat hedonistic experiences: have you ever had the pleasure of harbouring in one on a cold, windy day or escaping to its cool tranquility on a sweltering afternoon?
For an immigrant recently arrived in a new country, a library is often a place where one can be comfortable, ask questions and find answers.
My neighbourhood branch in Mississauga, Ontario, is no different. On any day, but particularly on Saturdays, students and parents make the library a vibrant place. I think it is for them what it was for me when I was growing up in Africa.
I drew this scene yesterday at the Erin Meadows branch.