National Library Week is April 9-15, 2017. It’s the perfect time to share the books that shaped our librarians!
Having been an avid reader since age 4, it’s hard to pinpoint just one book that changed the course of my life. So many have left an impact on me. Reading picture books as a child helped me transition quickly to chapter books and played a major role in shaping my entire career direction.
When I was 4 years old I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up—a noble profession if it’s something you’re interested in. But when I read the Young Adult book, Emergency Room by Caroline B. Cooney at age 10, I discovered that I’m not actually interested in medicine. The medical field made me just a bit…well…squeamish.
I started middle school the next year, where books also helped me discover one of my deepest passions: writing. I’d written plenty of silly scribbled stories ever since I could hold a pen, but after learning about different genres, having a whole class devoted to Reading in sixth and seventh grade, working in the school library as an aide, and getting to publish my poems and stories in the school’s literary magazine, I knew all I wanted to do was keep reading and keep writing.
Fairy tales and rich fantasies like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (a re-telling of the traditional Cinderella story) and The Secret Country trilogy by Pamela C. Dean (a series about children who get transported to their own make-believe world) encouraged me to write my own novels at age 13-16. I devoured nonfiction books on writing too, like David Gerrold’s Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. I wanted to learn how to do it right. I wanted to learn.
This passion for books and knowledge played a major role in my ultimate decision to become a librarian. Loving literature, and wanting to share literature, influenced me to apply for part-time jobs at my local library. Once hired, I learned about what it took to become a full-time, official librarian, and I went for it.
Of course my job as a librarian does not allow me to read all day—quite the contrary! I rarely get a free moment just to read stories. But I do place books in the hands of students of all ages, and help them get the information they need, even when it isn’t in book form. I continue to write on the side, and I continue to be passionate about what I choose to do in life now that I know what my passions are.
One book didn’t make me. Hundreds of volumes left behind tiny pieces inside me. Stories give me inspiration and courage. They teach and they guide. They are displayed proudly on my shelves and tucked away like precious treasures at the bottom of my closet. They are saved in digital form on my computer and stacked up beside my desk right now.
I am made of books.
The Book That Made Me” is a blog mini-series about books that have changed our lives. Interested in writing about a book that has changed your life? Email: Tavish.Bell@csn.edu