I don’t have any memories of my parents reading to me as a small child or visiting the library. My earliest bookish memories are of drooling over those Scholastic book order forms that were handed out in primary school classrooms (I ordered a lot of stickers!). My 90’s childhood memories are of books by Enid Blyton including Faraway Tree, Wishing-Chair, Noddy and Malory Towers but strangely I never read a Famous Five book. There was the inevitable Babysitters Club obsession that any girl of my age went through and quite a few teen horror novels such as R.L Stein’s Fear Street series. What I do remember is that I wasn’t a kid that devoured book after book after book but instead I would re-read the books I had. Their familiarity was comforting.
In my early teens we lived in Gympie, a country town a couple of hours drive from Brisbane, and I have memories of visiting the Gympie Library on Mellor Street. I must have borrowed books (surely I did???) but my memories are of browsing the CD racks for classical, jazz and theatre music to support my music studies. At the same time, my mother was researching our family history and spent a lot of time at the Gympie Family History Society which lead her to the State Library of Queensland. I have memories of the two of us spending days at SLQ with my mother utilising the family history resources and teenage-music-nerd-Amy devouring the sheet music collection.
During that period the sheet music collection was not on display as it is today, so rather than browsing I had to request items from the staff and then wait impatiently for them to go out the back and find them for me. I was then rewarded with a stack of music (mostly saxophone) that I could touch and read and sing in my head. I was in heaven!
My university years were divided by continuing to use the SLQ music collection (I would often show up at a saxophone lesson with something I found buried in the collection!) and my university library at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University. My memories are of a quiet sanctuary away from the noise (it was a music university afterall) and away from other students (not many of my friends were library users).
These days I still get my library music fix from browsing the SLQ music collection but also from the amazing eresources that are available through libraries. I can watch, listen, download, stream and research any style of music I want, anytime I want, from anywhere I want with eresources like Freegal Music, Alexander Street and medici.tv. Teenage-music-nerd-Amy would have been very happy if these existed when I was a student!
My own memories of libraries are very tied up with my memories of music. To me the library is much more than just books.