While growing up in rural Ohio, the library was my special place. It was located
in an old mansion with floor after floor of hardbound musty books: a treasure trove
of knowledge. Visiting the library was the most exciting part of our infrequent trips
to “town.” In the summer, I eagerly waited for the Bookmobile to pull up. Entering
its dusky interior, I sought stories to feed my hungry imagination and fill the long
hours of summer. Books were a refuge and a friend. They allowed me to travel to places
I couldn’t visit and exposed me to ideas I would not have been introduced to otherwise.
They inspired me to be the only child in my family to graduate high school. Without
the free services of the library, my life would not have grown and blossomed into
what it is today. The ability to read, and the critical thinking skills that come
with it, are the most important lessons a child can learn. When a child opens a book,
she opens her mind to the world. Books open doors that would otherwise remain shut,
teach what schools often cannot, and empower in ways that some families aren’t capable
of. They can provide healing and growth and free a child from a challenging existence.
The books on these shelves represent some of my favorite authors, meaning I’ve read/enjoyed
all or most of their work.