I first met Margaret Meek Spencer in 1963, when exchanging wrongly delivered post. We soon became friends – but Margaret also inspired me, as a professional school librarian, to turn my attention away from just the books on the shelves towards the children who were reading them. A turning point came when she invited me to join with her and Aidan Warlow in compiling The Cool Web: The Pattern of Children’s Reading (1977).
Margaret was a true enabler – wise, witty and generous.
In the mid-1980s I was the English adviser for the London borough of Waltham Forest. Harry Adams, who had retired as a taxi driver in his mid-40s to become an English teacher, wanted every child in his school, Norlington, to share the pleasure he had had from reading.
He engaged me to help plan a staff conference to persuade even the most sceptical of the value of having a whole-school reading policy, insisting that I find the very best person to do the main input on the day. Margaret Meek Spencer won over even the most reluctant staff members to make a remarkable initiative possible.