The library has definitely made a significant difference in my life!
Growing up in a small town, we didn’t have much contact with the rest of the world in the 1950’s to 1970’s. Other than public schools, our library was the central focal point for learning. We didn’t have a movie theatre, book store & even television was limited. It was not a technical world then.
One of my fondest memories was walking to the library, spending lots of time there & being allowed to check out 10 books, walk all the way home with them & keep them for 2 whole weeks. We weren’t rich, however, I felt rich when I carried those books home.
The library was run by a very wise older woman who knew how to keep us kids in line and our parents knew that this was a safe haven, where we could be for hours & they didn’t have to worry about us.
The library completed me. I was athletic, rode horses, played sports, had wonderful parents, however, there was a void in my life that only the library could fill. It was a curiosity and hunger for learning more about the world. I could read about people with daring lives, who rode diving horses off the Atlantic Steel Pier, history amazed me and books exposed me to a realization that I could be & do whatever I chose to accomplish.
The library fed my spirit and kept me from losing it in a way that teachers could not do. It wasn’t someone telling me what to do, I was choosing to be there & learn myself.
When I was older, I could read newspapers from lots of other places and learn about job opportunities which opened up a whole new world for me. I believed that the library was a place that could help dreams come true….from how to sail a boat, redecorate a room and how to fix things. When I became an avid gardner, I learned much from the books in the library. I managed a small airport, worked in Social Services, a children’s shelter and now I am trying to write my own books. Our little library even had a typewriter, where I learned how to type.
When my children were really young, I couldn’t wait to expose them to the library. I still would peruse the shelves of books & enjoy myself while my children went in another room to watch movies and be told stories. Then my life was further enriched by watching my children’s lives blossom from their experiences within the library.
We learned a lot about computers in the library…a long way from when I used to sit as a child and look at still pictures in an old hand-held View Master.
Now I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So much to learn still. Our small town library is being rebuilt and will be filled with computers, many books, magazines, references, and periodic historic displays. You will still find me there, in the library, trying to learn about our town’s past, the wonderful mountains and waterfalls, and all about the world around me. Sometimes, I wonder how different my life would have been if I had not discovered our library. Everytime I drive by a library, even in another state, it makes my heart happy to think about all the good memories and how my life was changed by the opportunities I received there.
Today, we donate books to our library’s book sales and my mother, who is 80 years young, is always going there herself. We are involved with our library and try to encourage others to visit frequently. I am thankful and feel blessed that my life was significantly changed in so many good ways by our library. It is one of the best organizations that one can support.