I love this cover. Lugging a large hardback book around London isn’t usually much fun but when they’re this gorgeous it’s worth the effort. It adds so much more to the pleasure of reading when the words are packaged into an object as beautiful as this. It’s the work of illustrator Joe Wilson.


I even borrowed it from my local library which made the experience even more wholesome. Except Brent Council is planning to close my library in Kensal Rise. Along with five others libraries in the Brent area.

Naturally Kensal has Risen (ahem) to the challenge and the community campaign, Brent SOS Libraries, has started a legal challenge to the closures.

A while back I came across this letter by E.B White to the children of Troy, Michigan in 1971, encouraging them to use their newly opened library. I think it still resonates forty years on. 

Dear Children of Troy:

Your librarian has asked me to write, telling you what a library can mean to you.

A library is many things. It’s a place to go, to get in out of the rain. It’s a place to go if you want to sit and think. But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books. If you want to find out about something, the information is in the reference books—the dictionaries, the encyclopedias, the atlases. If you like to be told a story, the library is the place to go. Books hold most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had. And when you are reading a book, you and the author are alone together—just the two of you. A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.

Signed ‘EB White’ 

Written on 25 July, 2011