WHEN she was a little girl, Sarah McCartney spent every spare second tucked up in a corner of Possilpark Library with a good book.

But when her family moved away, she lost touch with the area and never returned – until she came along to our Thanks for the Memories event last week.

Now 83 and a grandmother of eight, Sarah – whose married name is Burns – was delighted to be back.

“This place was my second home when I was a child,” she said, her eyes filling up with tears.

“There were nine of us at home in a room and kitchen on Mansion Street – so you had to get out to get some peace and quiet!

“I used to creep past the librarians by ducking below the main desk and sneaking into the adults section because I’d read all the children’s books.”

She smiles: “Although I’m sure the librarians probably knew what I was up to. They were very nice and always encouraged me.

“They were pretty strict though – you didn’t get in without your library card, and you were thoroughly searched before you left!

“I read everything and anything – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott was a favourite…”

Sarah adds: “The library is still beautiful - I’m glad they have kept the paintings and the dark, varnished wood.”

Sarah lived with her six brothers and sisters, her mum, Helen, who was a housewife and her dad, James, who worked as a supervisor at the local foundry.

“He was in the Merchant Navy and he was torpedoed twice – he was lucky to come home,” recalls Sarah. “I remember being evacuated to Lesmahagow during the war. All I missed about Glasgow was this library….”

Sarah recalls the thrill of wartime Glasgow, when children would have to don gas masks and rush to the air raid shelters.

“Although when my dad was home, he would never let us go in to the shelters – he said they were more dangerous than being outside them,” she says. “It must have been a terrifying time for families but as children, we didn’t really worry too much.”

Her sister Helen, who was a bottler at the local Schweppe’s factory, became a poster girl for the war effort.

“Her picture was on all the posters welcoming the boys back home,” she laughs. “She was the pretty one in the family.”

Sarah attended St Cuthbert’s Primary school but when she achieved the second highest mark in her class, the teachers pushed for her to go to secondary school.

“I was the first in my family to do so,” she says. “I know at first my mother didn’t want me to, because she couldn’t afford the uniform. But she produced it, from where I don’t know, and off I went.”

She laughs: “Ironically, I wanted to be a secretary but there were no practical or domestic courses at the secondary school, which was the Convent of Mercy. It was all French and Latin. I don’t know why I did so well at school – perhaps it was all that reading!”

The family moved to Milton when Sarah was 12.

“I missed Possilpark – especially all the shops on Saracen Street,” she smiles.

“With nine of us in the house, my mum was usually too busy to go for the messages so one or other of us was always being sent on an errand or two.

“I loved the Wills tobacco store – I was fascinated by all the different colours of wrappers in the window. I remember Agnew’s the fishmonger and Curley’s the grocer – and Tyler’s the shoe shop.

Sarah did become a secretary in the end, paying a shilling to put herself through night classes to learn typing and shorthand.

Her first job was in the mail room at Glasgow department store Copland & Lye’s on Sauchiehall Street.

“It was my job to wrap all the orders – and there was some weird and wonderful stuff,” she recalls with a laugh. “As a consequence, I can wrap almost anything. I am in great demand at Christmas time….”

Sarah married her husband Joseph in 1954.

“We met at a table tennis club we had both joined,” she says. “He was a gem of a man but sadly he died in 1983.”

The couple had three sons and two daughters and their eight grandchildren range in age from three to 33.

“I’d like to bring my grandchildren here, now that I have been back properly for the first time,” she smiles.

“I have so many fond memories of this place. It really was my life.”