Margot’s Hidden Gems

Margot Bishop

March: a good month to curl up with a selection from the library.

Whether it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, or vice versa, March can be a windy, wintery month. After all, for the first 21 days it is still officially winter.

Where can you go to beat the winter blahs? Someplace safe and inviting, cheerful, useful, warm, and fun. Libraries are that place for me. They can always cheer you up. Whether you are a child or an adult, there is always something for you at the library. We have over 80 public libraries in Nova Scotia. Even though the word library comes from a word that means book, today there is so much more in ours. There are programs for kids, computer access, music, movies, audio and video equipment, tutorials, and special interest workshops. It is a wondrous place. All you need is your library card, which you can get from any branch.

I love books: the look of them, the feel of turning a page, choosing what one I want to read first (I always borrow a small pile) and what topics I want this time. To be transported anywhere in the world or out of it, at any time past, present, future or alternate, is truly remarkable. Language, written down, for all the rest of humankind to read, to me, always seems fascinating. To read, write, and communicate with others has always been a joy. That is why I belonged to the Annapolis Valley Learning Association which is now the Valley Community Learning Association. Anyone can learn with this organization’s help. Patience and kindness go a long way.

Books can and do become our friends: favourite ones that we read and reread and tell others why we love them. Take a trip around the world without ever having to leave your chair. Introduce yourself to people beyond your town, country, world, race, or religion, and learn to enjoy and be with others through the magic of books. To travel the world, skies, seas (on, in and under them), while being safe at home. All you need is a library and your own imagination.

One of the very first books that I was given by my parents was a book about how to treat books. Things like do not break their backs by leaving them open face down, always use a bookmark, do not deface them or hurt them by leaving a leaky pen in one, or turning down a page corner. Do not leave them out in the yard. Always handle them with clean hands. It was a lovely book. I do not remember the title, but I remember the book and have always tried to treat books well. Treat books with respect and they will always be there for you. Please remember to do the very same with people.

Libraries are teachers, if we let them. Everything written can be sought and learned from a library. If the library of Alexandria was one of the wonders of the ancient world, surely our libraries deserve thoughtful consideration. Your personal library may be one shelf of books. Our forebears sometimes only had one book. To observe, learn, teach, entertain, these are all aspects of our libraries. All are included when you present your card. You can even order books by mail or download them.

For more information about the branches and services of the Annapolis Valley Regional Library, visit