Who helped you fall in love with reading and how?
Hardisty Hardisty
Edmonton, AB Edmonton, AB

A long time ago, in a land far away, there was a lovely librarian named Mrs. Lyall. As might be expected for someone in her profession, she had a soft spot for children who loved books as much as she did. In the elementary school where she worked, there was one young girl in particular who caught her attention. Perhaps it was due to the fact that this child's library withdrawals held a steady theme. Horse book. Dog book. Cowboy book. Dog book. Cowboy book. Dog book. Horse book. Or maybe it was because this shy, reserved creature fit so neatly into a quiet library environment. Either way, Mrs. Lyall developed a fondness for the young lass.

One day as she was cataloguing a new shipment, she noticed a cowboy book and immediately thought of the shy girl. Instead of shelving it along with the rest of the material, she slipped it under the counter. Before many days had passed, Mrs. Lyall saw the horse-and-dog-loving girl wandering among the stacks. In that hushed manner of librarians, Mrs. Lyall waived the girl over. As she pulled the stashed book from beneath the counter, she smiled, "This one just came in. I kept it back for you. I thought you might enjoy it."

And thus began, not only a routine with every new shipment, but also a special bond that lasted several years until the girl moved to a different school. Mrs. Lyall fed her a steady diet of hand-picked books and the girl offered her beloved librarian the joy of mentoring and encouraging a kindred spirit. It was a profound, symbiotic relationship in every way.

Decades later, that girl still remembered sharing excitement for new books with Mrs. Lyall. She was eternally grateful for the many, many opportunities she had to be the very first person to crack open a freshly-acquired tome. When she eventually became a mother, she read for hours to her offspring and passed on a passion for words well strung together. Before long, her children also became voracious readers and their own school librarian developed a soft spot for the new generation of eager readers.

Like a pebble dropped in a still pond, Mrs. Lyall started something long ago when she slipped that first book under the counter, reserved for a quiet lass with a giant imagination. The ripple effect of that simple act will, without a doubt, be felt far into the future. And the world will be better for it. I know I am better for it, because I am the shy girl.


3rd Alberta

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