When I was young, let’s say just entering the double digits, my parents began taking us to the ‘big city’ of Toronto. We lived in a small town a couple of hours south west of the big city and the journey, I remember, was always something quite special.
My parents would take us there regularly to the Ontario Science Centre or to see some sort of musical or museum. I found these experiences not only enriched my childhood but have given me such a great appreciation in my adult life for art of all sort of forms. Thinking back, my parents must have been crazy to trek 4 kids under the age of 10 to the ROM. But hey? It was worth it.
So on one of these trips, my dad wanted to make a slight detour to his favourite bookstore, This Ain’t the Rosedale Library. The sentiment of the store name was completely lost on me at my age but what I do remember distinctly is the way the store made me feel.
It was like walking into a warm glass of milk, filled with endless reading possibilities. My dad is and was a big sports fan and I remember him saying that this store always had interesting books, ones he was never sure he would need but was always excited to find. He would wander over the appropriate section – for the life of me I can’t remember if it was Sports or Baseball or exactly what it was but there he would stand, staring at the spines, pulling them out one by one to decide which gem he would go home with.
He, who also is a sucker for souvenir t-shirts, bought one every time he was there. I distinctly remember the black long sleeve shirt with the cursive writing that included a quote from Oscar Wilde and This Ain’t the Rosedale Library written below.
When I studied journalism at Ryerson University I often would wander up to that shop to not only take in the books but also to check out the shelves for a gem for my dad. I’m certain that store saved me with interesting birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day even Sorry I’m an Ungrateful Jerk gifts.
My first thought when I read on BookMadam & Associates and Books on the Radio about the potential demise of this publishing institution was about those visits we used to take with my dad. I clearly remember the shop on Church street, it’s layout, it’s smell, it’s aura.
And then I thought about how those experiences have helped forge a path for me and my own personal life journey. There are 10 year olds out there right now, possibly going on trips with their parents to places new and exciting. What happens to today’s 10 year old me if This Ain’t the Rosedale Library is not around? More importantly, what happens if we give up on the type of store This Ain’t actually is? Because as BookMadam has said, this about more than just THIS store, this is about the belief that stores like this can change the direction of ones life.
Please support them here and keep the magic of the independent bookstore experience alive.