Libraries saved my life. I grew up in a small farming community, an awkward introvert with a few close friends -- and a library card. On weekends and all summer long, I would pedal my bicycle down mainstreet and up the hill past the grain elevators and the post office to our little slice of (air conditioned!) heaven. The librarians would help me find a good mystery, I'd spin the metal racks looking for the latest Sweet Valley High or Baby-Sitters Club, and I might even find a CD to take home. At the library, I knew I was guaranteed a cool space, a good story or fun craft, and any book in the world available through Interlibrary Loan. More importantly, I knew I would find knowledgeable adult readers eager to talk books without judgment as I dipped in and out of a vast array of genres and reading levels.
Access to books kept me entertained and comforted, showed me how to solve life's problems, opened doors to new worlds and experiences, and introduced me to people and places outside of my tiny, homogenous town. Beezus and Ramona made having a sister tolerable, Judy Blume made having to grow up a little less scary, and Ann of Green Gables gave me "kindred spirit" (and a lot of dramatic scenes to reinact with my kindred spirit). Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou provided my first introduction to the Deep South, storytelling, and the healing power of words. And when at 15 I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone hot off the press, reader, I was home.
I believe in the power of books and in their ability to transform lives. I also believe the library is the creative and cultural center of a community, its knowledge-base, and its equalizer, providing access to technology, ideas, and alternate viewpoints and cultures for ALL.
I hope that when you find yourself in the Jackson library, you find yourself at home. I hope you find books that speak to your experience and ones that challenge you. I hope you find the tools you need to build new worlds, and the friends to populate them. And if you ever need help or want to talk books or ideas, just say the word - I would love nothing better!
This is your space.
You are welcome here.