Susan from Orlando, Florida

Even though we've lived in Orlando for over 40 years, just a few miles from the Magic Kingdom, the most magical place I know is the Orange County Public Library.  It looks a bit like a castle on the outside and there is a virtual king's ransom of treasures inside that have profoundly influenced our entire family.  Like most Florida residents, we've been to Disney World many times to soak up their special brand of make-believe and magic; but even when our three sons were youngsters, they always liked the library better and still do to this day. 

When they were growing up, a weekly trip to the library was always a much-anticipated and thoroughly relished treat.  Each boy was allowed to pick and choose six books for the week from an unbelievable collection of wonderful stories and beautifully illustrated children's books.   The
library was far better than a trip to the mall in their opinion, because they could indulge themselves in this treasure hunt without spending a cent of their hard-earned allowance.  They thought that was utterly fantastic, and all of them developed a life-long respect for books and a love for reading, which is truly priceless.   They also developed a discriminating eye and an appreciation for the incredible artwork in those books.  Now as adults, they have each accumulated impressive collections of books and fine

There are two marvelous organizations in our area, "Make a Wish Foundation" and "Give Kids the World".  They bring seriously ill children to Orlando with their families where their special wishes are granted.  When my mother,
the boys' maternal grandmother, became terminally ill in her late 80's, many of her last wishes came true, too.   She was confined to her bed, but her world was anything but confining, all because of the wonderful home delivery
service provided by our library. 

Thanks to effective pain management, wonderful Hospice care, and the library, her last four months were surprisingly pleasant - for everyone. Each day was filled with surprises and she loved being able request books and videos that would magically appear on our doorstep.  Many pleasant hours were spent watching her old favorites - classic movies and musicals - and all the stars looked just the way she always remembered them.   By watching wonderful travelogues, she enjoyed "mind traveling" to many places in the world that she had been unable to visit even when she was younger and healthier.

Her movie-inspired reminiscences stimulated lots of delightful stories, most of which started with, "That reminds me of the time when."   Those stories allowed us all to learn more about her long life as she recounted fond memories of pleasant times in her past.   Even as her strength continued to fail, her mind was active, her sense of humor was delightful, and she was still able to enjoy "life".

The library magically transformed her end-of-life experience from a potentially sad time to very pleasant and treasured memories for our entire family.  I can't imagine a better ending to "her life story".