'Libraries saved my life', says Lowborn author Kerry Hudson

'Libraries saved my life', says Lowborn author Kerry Hudson

Lowborn (CILIPS) author Kerry Hudson has told a Scottish conference that libraries saved her life.

The award-winning Scottish author gave an impassioned keynote speech at the CILIPS conference this week, an event run every year by the Scottish library association.

She said: “I am extremely grateful to be here to tell you how essential libraries have been to me in my life. Mine is a happier ending than I could ever have imagined for myself, for a kid from a background like mine. And that is thanks to libraries. It is thanks to librarians. It’s genuinely no overstatement to say I don’t think I’d be alive today without libraries.”

She went on to discuss how libraries supported her during a difficult upbringing, as well as sharing stories from libraries across the world. She said: “To have come so far from that wee girl in the not warm enough coat accompanied by the young mum just desperate for a rest in a warm, safe, free space where no one would ask her why she was there or move her along. To have come so far from that teen holding on by her fingernails, who used libraries to smash apart the narrow horizons life had given her. Libraries gave me everything. Libraries gave me a truly happy ending when so much said I should not have one."

CILIPS said the support would be welcomed by libraries across Scotland as they emerge from lockdown. The body said recent reports have shown that up to a quarter of libraries have still not managed to re-open. Its campaign "Libraries Are Essential" also provides evidence to demonstrate how essential libraries are to literacy, digital inclusion, health and wellbeing.

The association said: "Libraries are the beating hearts of their local communities and have never been needed more than now as we recover from the pandemic’s impact, which is why CILIPS is demanding that Scottish politicians support and fund them. Pre-Covid, libraries had more visits than the cinema and professional football combined, and communities are crying out for the vital services and connections they provide."