What hasn't the library done for me?
A better question is, "What hasn't the library done for me?"
When I was young and lived on the lower east side, i would spend almost all saturday reading about ghosts and other things that went bump in the night. Then in the afternoon they would usually have some sort of learning opportunity, such as a film about what drugs do to the human brain and what can happen as a result of taking illegal drugs or hallucinogenic. So in my youth the library helped me face some very real fears by helping me educate myself about those things that were never talked about
Then when I was in 8th grade, I tested out of a lot of the classes I would have taken, and there was only one place to go and that was the school library. So i spent most of my 8th grade year in the library writing reports and freely looking up and studying every subject I was curious about. Then the library helped me learn and grow and not to feel so much like an "outsider". I learned to love the smell of books.
When I was a young bride/mother and lived on a farm, i started to take my young son to the library every saturday morning. We would look at all the picture books and pick some out to take home. Through the library I could afford to read to my son about all kinds of things. I also learned the librarians' names, and they mine and my son's. It was community and knowledge all in one place.
I read to my son many a night and as my little one got older, we picked harder books and discussed as best we could what they were about and how they made us feel and think. Whenever my son was curious about something we would go to the library and look it up and go get some information on the subject, anything from Karate to How to play the Clarinet.
And I can't even begin to thank the library system for the movies and music that they make available. I would say that for this part of my life (which is still ongoing) they have become something of an old friend, a haven for me in a storm (and where I can look up what type of storm it is), be it in my family with issues there, or a tornado that hit close to where i lived.
I did not have the money for a college education, but the library has helped me to realize that money does not equal intelligence. Persistence does, taking the time to READ and learn, it is a school of unlimited knowledge, only ending where your imagination does.
For the generosity of the library system and its many resources, needed and utilized by so many, from the tributaries of the bookmobiles and the small towns to the Sea of the Congressional library and all that it entails, there will never be enough gratitude in any form -- and that includes all the people that make it happen.
A better question would be, "What hasn't the library given to me?"
--Kristi S. Kimball, Brodhead (05/10)