Libraries, Old and New; WOTS

One of the (increasingly) few memories I have from my pre-school life is of waiting for my fifth birthday so I could get my own library card. You had to be five, but you also had to be able to print your own name! img003The library in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 was an old wooden structure, and the children’s department was at the very top of a very steep set of stairs – I remember the excitement of climbing those stairs, wondering what treasure I’d take home that day. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of that library online, but this is my hometown (Wolfville, NS) library now, formerly the train station, back when we had trains! I’m a frequent visitor.

Wolfville Library

Last week, I finally got to see the new Halifax Central Library while I was there reading The King of Keji at The Word on the Street. It’s stunning, as you can see. halifax librarySo spacious and open inside with sweeping staircases, downloadcomfortable seating, very kid-friendly, there’s a coffee shop and you can even check out your books yourself by scanning your card and the book barcodes. Librarians are some of my favourite people (especially the fabulous women at the Wolfville Library!), and I feel like that social interaction is a huge part of the library experience for so many people; hopefully the scanning option won’t eliminate that for those who aren’t in a hurry.

And a shout-out to the MANY volunteers who organized and delivered an excellent Word on the Street experience for one and all at the Halifax Central Library last weekend. download (1)This was the first year WOTS was run entirely by volunteers, and it seemed very well thought-out and lots of people came out to show some love for local books, writers, booksellers (yay, Woozles!) and literacy. Thank you!

How’s your local library these days?

Thanks, Mum and Dad

11303724655thanks-mom-and-dadMy parents have been gone for several years now. My dad died at 65; my mum at 70 – as I get older, those ages seem so very young!

I’ve had occasion to think about my dad a lot lately, thanks to a scan and a scope I recently had, and will continue to have every five years – because Dad died of colon cancer. Colonography and sigmoidoscopy aren’t exactly a walk in the park, but while I was lying there today, I thought of Dad and how he would willingly have undergone such procedures on an annual, monthly, or even weekly basis – if it had meant he could have lived past 65. He had a lot of energy and there were so many things he didn’t get to do. He’s the cute little one behind the drums in this picture from the 60s.

Old picture of Dad with Bob Mingo and the band

My mum had breast cancer when she was 49; it recurred relentlessly when she was 69. So, now that part of me is also prone to frequent examination. Mum owned a book store, The Book Nook, for 25 years, until she died. The Truro library still sponsors a teen writing competition in her name – The Ada Mingo Teen Writing Competition. Sadly, I don’t have any scanned pictures of Mum, yet.

And so, this is a little thank you note, but not for the usual reasons we’re grateful to our parents. I’m sure I still think of them every single day, and hope somehow, from afar, they still know how we’re doing.