Kellianne from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

WOW! You mean all that stuff is here – at the library?!?

Library, oh that’s for little kids.  That was my mentality until 4 years ago when I was forced to return to college to get that degree I never dreamed I’d never earn.  As an adult-returning student I was in for many surprises being back in school after soooooo many years, but one of the biggest surprises was the library. I had not stepped into a library probably since high school.  Where did my old pal Dewey get to? He was no where to be found in the card catalog – there weren’t any! Computers tell us where to go now. You have a media room? I can access the internet? Free? You have classes for w-h-a-t?!?

What did this all mean?  There was more there than just finding information for the endless papers professors love to bestow.  There is more than just encyclopedias and non-fiction down those isles.  Not only did I find that I was actually able to do extensive research like I never had before (back in high school, that is), I could actually go there to escape; to learn things like computer software, genealogy, finances…oh the list goes on.

And the kids’ programs – oh my goodness!  Composition classes, puppet shows, crafting, reading contests – my 2 children haven’t been the same since.  As a parent how you long to hear, “Mommy, can we go to the library to get some books?”  Now I hear it frequently.  I believe my children have found a love of books and reading from the exposure to the programs they have attended at our county library.

Going to the library has changed all of our lives, even my husband who got a library card (and he actually uses it!).  But for me it has been extra special in that I have been exposed to so many topics and subjects for which I never would have given the time of day. I have learned how to quilt, scrapbook, take better photos with my digital camera, decorate my home – and all of this knowledge came from books checked out of our local library.  With my children we have checked out books on birds, dinosaurs, Magic tree house collections, Nate the Great, and even a book about how to deal with the death of a loved one.  My husband found a book on how to build bird houses to share with our son who is old enough for the “real tools.”

Our journeys to the library bring us closer together as a family. Sometimes we go and just play on the computers (which are somehow better than our one at home), and other times we go and get books that we start to read together in the big cushy chairs.  It has become a ritual we enjoy – go to the library; come home and pop popcorn; sit down with our books for a half hour in the family room and enjoy the silence that reading brings (well, except for the munching of the popcorn). We escape into our own worlds for a brief moment in time.

I know that my going back to school brought our family the benefit of being able to enjoy our library – I probably never would have entered there otherwise.  And through the years I hope that my children will continue to go as well, knowing now that the library is not just for research, it can be fun!  The look of wonder on their faces when they walk through the doors,  the peaceful moments of silence as they are caught up in the story at hand, their expressions changing with each turning page. Wow, now that I think about it, this would make a really good scrapbook project…..

We love our library and we are glad we have rediscovered it once again.