Kathryn from St. Louis, Montana

The library is not just a building filled with books like it was when I was a child.   Then, it was a huge book-filled paradise where I could wander and browse and bring home a big pile of books to keep for a whole week!  And, sometimes, if mom took us on at the right time, a story would come alive by one of the librarians or a volunteer reading to the little group of kiddies gathered at her feet.  Now, though, as an adult,
the library holds ever so much more. 

Five years ago my husband unexpectedly lost his job of 13 years.  At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom with three children.  I went back to work while he started his own business.  Our budget was cut to, well, below the bone. Many things we had been doing - buying books, renting videos, buying cds, movies out - came to an abrupt end.  The library became our refuge.

Every member of our family uses the library and, together, I think we take advantage of almost every program!  As a family we take advantage of the loan of music tapes, cds, dvds and videotapes for our family entertainment - without spending a dime!  My husband, daughter and youngest son use the library for research for work and school.  I have checked out self-help books, diet books and cookbooks rather than buying them at Borders as I had done in the past.  (By the way, I lost 15 pounds using the South Beach diet and I checked out the book and the cookbook at the library - several times!)  My 10-year-old has participated in the library's summer reading program since he was in kindergarten and, when we can and the subject is one he is interested in, he has attended children's activities there.  My husband and I have participated in book lectures (much cheaper than an evening out on the town and more enjoyable).  Even my oldest son, who is living on his own,
now, frequents the library to check his email or surf the internet rather than pay for an internet connection in his apartment. 

The library, being a wealth of information affecting every facet of our life, has saved us hundreds of dollars over the past few years.   In fact, my husband can be found there everyday during his lunch hour doing his research!  We are still struggling financially to get back to where we were five years ago and the library continues to provide us with opportunities and pleasures we would not experience if it weren't there.