Libraries saved my life

I was terminated on Oct.13, 2009, from my job as a stylist, and with the job market very tight I still have not found a full-time job with benefits.

Losing my insurance was also very difficult to bear because I have Bipolar Disorder and my medications are sometimes over $300 per month.

Unemployment payments do not cover many of my expenses so I have to be extremely judicious with how I spend my money.

I go to the Verona library for several hours a day and have been able research Asperger's Disorder and the connection between Bipolar Disorder and Creative Genius. I've read about the brilliance of the "Beat Generation," and strived to find my own artistic community as such. I learned to write Haiku's and entered a contest with a Haiku. I also read a book called, "90 Minutes in Heaven," which was extremely moving, and I cried while reading about the man's struggles to recover as he endured an almost intolerable amount of physical pain. "The Stuff White People Like," was an extremely funny parody of how white people can totally be stereotyped and lumped into predictable categories.

I've been a writer all of my life, and to me the library has always been a safe refuge. Books have comforted me during the awkward stages of growing up an only child. I read a plethora of books in the school libraries and the public library in Manitowoc and was even ridiculed by my classmates for reading so many books!

I can still remember how reading books like "1984" and "Brave New World" at a young age shaped my life and my love of Science Fiction.

Other authors like Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. also blew my mind in such a way that fueled my zeal for writing.

I have to mention the stories by Kafka I've enjoyed, such as "The Metamorphosis" and the "The Hunger Artist," as being particularly memorable.

Let's not forget Charles Bukowski, Anthony Burgess, Madeline L' Engel, Marge Piercy, Edward Albee and Heather Rabata...oh wait, that's me!

I have been published in "Redzine," the campus magazine soon to come out. Libraries have been an essential ingredient in my goal of being an Author, because you cannot write unless you've been inspired by other authors.

You cannot read the copious amount of books it takes to educate yourself on the writing process and develop a flow unless you have access to the library, or if you are so wealthy you can buy all of the books you want to read and install extra bookshelves in your house. Amazingly, libraries are still free!

I have to admit, were it not for the libraries in Madison, but especially the beautiful Verona library, I may have gone even more stir crazy while looking for employment.

So I want thank God for the fact that public libraries are still around, still free and still standing amidst the bookstores with coffee shops that allow you to read books for free but not take them home with you unless you purchase them.

The libraries are still a much better resource than everything else out there.

I am writing this on a computer at the Meadowridge branch library right now. After entering this I will be actively engaged in a job search via the internet, here at the library.

I also love the library because it is a good distraction to have books, DVD's and computer time, compliments of the library, when my Bipolar is out of whack.

When I was a hairstylist and wore glasses, I used to proudly dub my personal style "Librarian Chic."

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that "Libraries have saved my life."

--Heather Marie Rabata, Verona Public Library (05/10)