Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert on the value of libraries

"I got my first kiss on the stone wall outside the library."

Well, library affectation in my life was pronounced and deep. I grew up in Litchfield, Connecticut and our library was the Oliver Wolcott Library which was about two miles from my house and I spent more time there almost than I spent in school.

I went there every single day after school It was my babysitter, it was the hub of my social life.

I had my first kiss on the stone wall outside library.

I learned to read in that library. The first word ever read was the word "red" (r-e-d), and it was in a book of Swedish fairy tales that my mom had gotten at the library and she was reading it to me I remember sitting on her lap and all of the sudden that word just grew out of the page at me and I... it just looked familiar, and I said, "Does that say red?" and I remember her being very excited and she said, "Yes, you just read a word," and that was a big breakthrough, like the Rosetta Stone for me in my life.

And then, when I became an adult and moved to New York City and I was working to become a short story writer and a novelist, I wrote at the New York Public Library about five days a week and that was my refuge. I lived in a tiny apartment, crowded and loud and there was no privacy and I would go to the Great Room at the New York Public Library and I wrote my first two books there.

I cannot overstate the importance of libraries in my life.

[Favorite librarian?] Mrs. Buckland and Mrs. Cooly, they were the librarians of my childhood. Mrs. Buckland was young and pretty and blond and wore mini-skirts which I thought was pretty scandalous for the time and Mrs. Cooly looked exactly as one would picture a librarian looking.

They were just extremely kind and they always had something new and they had just the right amount of discipline and also a sense of liberty exploring the stacks.

You know I love it... people always apologize when they come to a reading and they don't have my book to sign and they'll say "I'm sorry I didn't buy your book, I read it at the library." I just want to kiss them.

You should never apologize to me for getting books of a library. You know, this is one of the fundamental aspects of civilization. Bravo, I'm delighted for you. so, I've heard that some of my books are on waiting lists, so it's very sweet as well.

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Book Title: 

Eat, Pray, Love