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A FULL CIRCLE LIBRARY MOMENT (written by Colette Ballard)
The distinct scent of paper—both old and new, the colorful shapes and sizes, the familiar crackle and slick feel of the protective covering of my favorite thing; library books.
Those were my earliest memories of my library experiences. I was pre-school age and I recall vividly my mom taking my brother and me to the library for story hour. I was super shy back then and was always reluctant to leave my mom’s side to join the other kids. But once the librarian started reading, she’d draw me in with her enthusiasm and mesmerizing voice, and soon I’d be lost in the story and forget all about those other kids. Before I knew it, I’d inched my way over to join them in sitting criss-cross applesauce around this amazing storyteller.
I’ve heard it said that if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, you should look back at the things you loved as a child. This is definitely true in my case. The library has always been a magical place for me.
I always had a love for words; how they were spoken or strung together, but I never understood that writing could be an actual career for the average person. My whole life, I think I’ve dabbled in writing, but it wasn’t until my daughter was two and I began taking her to story hour, that my love for writing was truly ignited and I began to consider becoming an author as a real goal.
At first I wanted to write picture books so I invested in a couple of craft and how-to books to get started. Over the next few years, in addition to writing, I spent countless hours at the library researching the book market as well as publishers I thought might be a good fit for me.
Eventually, I tried my hand at contests, and after some success in picture and chapter books, I decided to take a stab at what I’d secretly always dreamed of; novel writing. And after fifteen years of writing—six of those focused on novel writing—and an unbelievable amount of unpaid hours, I’m happy to say that my dream has finally come true.
I can honestly say that libraries have had a huge impact on my journey to publication. In fact, just last weekend I was invited to speak and share my story at one of the libraries that helped me find my way.
And let me just say that walking in and seeing a thick laminated book with my name on it sitting on the table where I was to be a presenter, was a full-circle moment.
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