Karen from Fort Dodge, Iowa

As a youngster in the l950's, I was living with depression era parents. We weren't allowed to buy anything that wasn't a necessity...it was a carry over from them feeling the pinch and not wanting to spend money on anything that we didn't absolutely HAVE to have.  That included books.  However, even as a five-year-old, I craved books.  When my kindergarten teacher would read a book I wanted to touch the pages and feel the words so I could savor them.  I was fascinated by the illustrations and wanted to linger on each one as she turned the pages.

We, however, had very few books in our home, except the Bible.  It was not richly illustrated, but it had fascinating thin pages that were a delight to touch and smell.  Yes, I said smell.  I loved to open that book and feel the pages and take in the aroma when you cracked the cover.

The first time I was introduced to the Fort Dodge Public Library, I could not believe my eyes.  A teacher took my class there, and it was an old structure with stone entablatures and great archituecture inside and out.  That right away drew me in.  The shelves and shelves of books just waiting to be touched, read, and smelled overwhelmed me. Where would I begin to explore the world inside the library? 

I soon found out that the world was at my fingertips.  I only had to use the DEWEY DECIMAL system to access anyplace, anytime, any subject.  What a glorious place this library was, and how satisfying to my curiosity!

The library drew me in...it made me want more.  More out of life, more out of the world, more out of myself.  I soon found I was checking out books and hoarding the information and illustrations within. It broadened my expectations and taught me to dream.

How has the library affected my life?  It taught me to dream...to expect lots from life and myself.  I'd say it's had a great impact on me...like a second parent or teacher just waiting to impart knowledge and hope on a child.  What more could I have asked for?