Penny from Ball Ground, Georgia

I have always been something of a bookworm. I've always had my nose in a book since my elementary school days. I like fiction and non-fiction alike, but my favorite books have always been biography and memoirs.

The library has always provided me with books when I could not afford to buy them. I was a library page as a child and I loved putting books away, checking them out to patrons and keeping the card catalogue straight.

My life has read like a bad Dickens’ novel; it has been the best of times and it has been the worst of times. The library always gave me hope because it was a safe and quiet place where I could be lost in thought and not be reprimanded for it.

The library changed my life because I could become someone else and know that there was hope for me. I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and desperately wanted to be anyone but myself. I could go to the library and read the biographies and memoirs of Helen Keller, Francis Scott Key or Jenny Lind and know that I could be somebody when I grew up.

Social situations become difficult for me when I was in high school, and going to the library sustained me. I would go during my lunch hour to get away from having to talk to other people. I helped out and again got lost in thought in the library.

Now that I am a mother, I have had the opportunity to pass this love of the written word on to my two sons. I read to them before they were even born and took them at a young age to their first lap sit.

The library changed my life when my oldest son became a big R.L. Stine fan. We are always on the waiting list for his latest books. It was Taylor’s dream come true when he got to meet him last fall.

I had a fire last May and at that time got out of an abusive marriage. Again the library sustained me. I could go and be accepted and quiet and it was the way it was supposed to be.

The library has changed my life because of the access to free materials and the methods of research available. I am 37 years old and am finally finishing my college degree. I have decided to get my masters in library science so that I can help other library patrons change their life as well.