Saturday, May 28, 2016

Libraries: My Home away from Home

Recently, Amber over at The Mile Long Bookshelf made a post about libraries, and how important they are to our world. (You can visit that post here.) Today I'm writing about my own experience with libraries, and why I, too, believe they are a very important part of our world.

I had been members of my public library since as long as I can remember. Even before I could read my mother was checking books out to read to us, and I'd been attending library programs from an early age. But when I was in the second grade, (so age seven or) I got my own library card.  From there on out I was checking out my own books, placing holds on all the things I wanted to read and reading them all before the deadline. I was an avid participant at my library, and soon got to know all the librarians by name, and them me (and my family). When I was ten, I was asked to join a panel of people my age to run and create programs for the children's section of the library, and I switched to a different, more advanced panel when I was older that worked on grant writing and funding for the YA part of our library. You could say I was very involved. I got to experience so many great opportunities through my library as well. I got to be part of a focus group for a magazine company, and ended up writing an article for them about a personal tour I got of Jim Davis' studio, and I met people I never would've met if it hadn't been for my library. Plus I was part of a writers group that met at the library, which helped me so much with my writing. Now that I no longer live in that city, I'm less involved in my public library, mostly because I didn't grow up here. However, my love for libraries hasn't been terminated. I'm still endlessly grateful for libraries, and everything they do for my and others lives.

For one thing, there's an endless supply of books. If I want to check something out, and my library doesn't have it, they'll get it in from another library. I often put ten or so books on hold, and then pick them all up and read them when they're ready. (Although currently all the books in my TBR pile I own.... but whatever.)

Plus libraries offer a safe space for teens to study and work! I love walking downtown after school with some of my friends and grabbing a cup of coffee from a coffee shop before heading up to the second story study rooms to prepare for tests or do homework with the others. It gives us a distraction-free place to focus on school work while having access to the wi-fi and printers. I find that I can often drift from my work while at home, so being in a productive environment with other people is a great way to get stuff done.

Libraries essentially encourage all things that are good! Literature and academic success, as well as community involvement are all promoted by both libraries I've been apart of, and so many others. I would be such a different person if it wasn't for my library. Firstly, I wouldn't be a reader. I just wouldn't. I wouldn't have been exposed to all the different books I've read, nor the programs that made me excited about reading. I wouldn't be the writer I am today, because I wouldn't have been in a group that encouraged interaction and constructive criticisms between both middle school and high school writers. I wouldn't have known anything about grant writing, nor all the effort that goes into funding, running, and maintaining libraries and summer reading programs. I wouldn't have aced my English midterm, because I spent four straight hours prepping in a library for that. And lastly, I wouldn't have started this book blog. And through blogging so many amazing things have happened that I'm forever grateful for.

So thank you, libraries, for making me the person I am today.

How have libraries affected your life? 

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