I was asked to open a library at Leesland school, Gosport, last week. I went to talk to the children and we played my Football Reading Game. It was fun.
It was all going really well, until I was standing on a shaky table in the new library, holding a pair of long sharp scissors, watched by 250 children. That was when they asked me to speak.
I told them why I like libraries. Because when I got into reading, age 17, the libraries in Leeds fed my passion for books and took me to countries all over the world, first in the books, then on trains and in boats. Because the books I borrowed from them and read in their reference library have given me ideas and thoughts and knowledge and thrills and doubts and hates and loves and have, I am sure, helped make me a much happier person than I would have been without them.
I also told them that I use my local library now and that, without it, I could never write the books I write, because I borrow books about wars and sports and countries and spies and a hundred other subjects.
And I felt almost tearful up there in front of these 250 children, especially when I cut the ribbon.
I have not done that before. And I have to say thank you to Leesland School for giving me that honour.
As I expect the children who go through that school will never forget their exceptional school library, I will never forget being asked to be there when they first got to see it.