Friday, December 14, 2012

Do You Want to Be Rich?

I believe that libraries are treasure troves. They provide riches for your mind and soul: books, videos, classes, music, news, and access to the world online--all free.

Never have I believed this idea so much as I have while working on this blog.

Recently while visiting the Woods Memorial Library of the Pima County Public Library system, I had the pleasure of listening to customers tell me why they love the library. A child stopped with his mother and said he loved the Read to a Dog program (I mean who wouldn’t?), a Russian immigrant stopped to tell me that he is thankful to have a place where he can find so many resources that are not censored or controlled, and another man stopped to tell me he comes in everyday to meet a friend because that friend spends all day at the library reading newspapers.

One of the most heartwarming stories came from Jane, a frequent visitor at the Woods Library. With a very proud tilt of her chin, she told me how in the last few years she had lost almost everything due to the economy: her books (35 boxes that she had to sell), her phone, her internet access, and her house. Then with an enormous swell of pride, she told me that she decided to start using the library to help get some of those things back into her life.

Mystery at Woods Memorial Library
She was happily surprised to discover so many new things. She discovered the BBC, which has quickly become her favorite resource for television shows and movies. She commented on the unlimited number of books and has recently discovered her love for mysteries. She has internet access and can utilize online resources to stay in touch with family and friends. She has all the newspapers and magazines that she wants to keep up on the world.

Now, the library means everything to her. She has introduced a friend to the library and likes to recommends books to her. She also credits the staff for her new happiness, saying that they are “...remarkable and go out of their way to help.”

Most of all, I can see she has regained her pride and that the power of the library for her means that she doesn’t have to live without so many things that bring her joy.

In her own words, “I come to the library because it makes me feel rich.”

The library can make you feel rich, too.

Written by Samantha Barry


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