‘A Safe Place’: Scottie Grinton’s Library Story

Scottie Grinton is a longtime Library member, a voracious reader who upped his visits when he became a father and started bringing his young son. Then in the mid ’90s, with his marriage on the rocks, the Library took on new meaning to him.

“The Library deserves a bunch of credit for contributing to the saving of my sanity and my spirit,” he says.

Scottie says he’s not the kind of guy that escapes to bars and clubs. Instead, the Library became his refuge.

“It was a place I could go and feel safe and I could take time for myself, both in terms of escape, like reading fiction, and in terms of the sort of things I needed to keep my head on straight, like looking up counselling services,” he says.

Scottie visited Nose Hill Library a few times a week. During those visits, Scottie remembers smiling Library staff who would always say hello. He found joy being in a comfortable place and devouring works of fiction. “There’s nothing safer than a book,” he says. Scottie gravitated to a diverse assortment of genres: cheesy spy thrillers, science fiction, classics he never read in high school (like Lord of the Flies), and summer reads.

“I was lost,” he remembers. “When a marriage breaks down — even if a marriage ending is a good thing — your foundation is shaken up. I was looking for a place where I could feel emotionally safe and secure, and I found that at the Library.”

Looking back now, Scottie says time, work, and creativity helped him get through a tough divorce. He also focused on being a good dad, and that meant lots of time spent reading with his son.

In later years, when Scottie and his son moved to a south Calgary neighbourhood, the Giuffre Family Library (formerly Alexander Calhoun Library) became their home Library. “I really like this location because there’s an intimacy here,” he says.

Scottie sees immense value in libraries, for being buildings full of books and resources, and welcoming places for people. “There’s such a need for community, for people coming together,” he says. He considers libraries valuable public spaces, quite unlike anywhere else in the city.

Today, Scottie’s life is much different than it was in the ‘90s. He is happily remarried and works as a Realtor and a part-time actor. His wife, also a Realtor, is a writer with two books on the Library’s shelves.

Now a grandpa, Scottie is proud that his three young grandchildren love reading. And Scottie still enjoys escaping into a good read; he loves plays, science fiction, mystery, and biographies, and is currently raving about The Essay.

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