The Hamilton Public Library was always a place of great comfort to me. Living in a strict Sicilian household meant I wasn’t always allowed to roam the streets freely growing up but it was the one place I could go without any push back from my parents. I was allowed a little bit of independence. I could escape the loud chaos of my home and find some peace and solitude. I consequently became an avid reader and still am today.
Back then my library of choice, by way of geographical convenience, was the Sherwood Branch. Located on Fennell Avenue at the time, it was situated in a small shopping plaza directly below my dentist’s office. (The smell of Novocaine still triggers an involuntary response in me to pick up a book and read.) Today, Central is my neighbourhood branch and like most libraries, it’s not just about books anymore. The Central Branch offers newcomer support, art workshops, writing clubs, children’s story time, computer training, movies, homework help, concerts, author talks and more.
I was excited to hear recently that Tom Wilson would be speaking at the library about his book, Beautiful Scars. In it, he writes about growing up on the East Mountain, which of course resonated with me. I promptly registered to attend, along with my husband, eager to take advantage of a great opportunity at the library.
It was a particularly dreary Sunday afternoon when Rob and I ventured out, a copy of the book under my arm. We planned to make an afternoon of it. We’d discovered the library was also hosting a small classical concert prior to the book signing. We walked to the library and climbed the steps to the fourth floor where The Odin Quartet was set up tuning their instruments. In the hour that followed, the young musicians played classical scores to some well known movies and we were dazzled by their talent. From there we made our way back down to the first floor in time for the book talk. For the next hour, we listened to Tom Wilson talk openly about his life story, taking questions from the audience and signing books. He even sang a little for us. A completely different sound from the musicians we had just been listening to but equally as stirring.
If you haven’t been to the library in a while, check it out. You never know what you’ll happen upon…you can even borrow a book if you like.