Libraries Change Lives

We recently held an open house, a Philosopher’s Cafe,  to talk to our users – library fans, if you will –  about what the library means to them.

We know that libraries open a world of possibilities to those who can’t travel, or afford to buy a movie, or to go to college. Countless numbers of library users come in for job searching, literacy training, and information on career upgrades. Realtors meet clients to arrange life-changing house deals, and adult learners spread out in a quiet corner, sometimes everyday for weeks, to do distance education course material or study for an exam.

One of the participants at our Philosopher’s cafe said “thanks to the public library, I have become a passionate musician and a lover of classic music. The only access I had as a child to classical music was through the collections at the public library.” If you want to broaden your musical horizons, join us for “Words and Music” featuring mystery writer Rick Mofina and the Rainbow Gardens Quartet musicians on October 28th. Admission is free, of course!

There are so many more stories of the library’s impact on people’s lives.

In a contest run in cooperation with TVOntario, 750 entries explored the theme of the magic of libraries, delighting readers and judges with inspiring and touching stories about the library’s impact on their lives.

In “It Should Have Been Skates”, Jack Nahrgang’s  parents couldn’t afford skates and hockey equipment for each of their 13 children, and Jack got a library card instead. While his brothers skated, Jack travelled to far away lands with Tom Swift. His love of literature propelled him to a degree in English and a career in teaching.

The winning entry, “Possibility”, documents the escape to literature while the author, Geoff Snow, undergoes chemotherapy, which he says robbed him of his possibilities. On good days, he would visit his local public library, “for this place restored the possibility that disease had stolen from me. On its shelves are worlds in which I could live, explore, delight.” The library …”helped me believe that sickness was not the only world I could live in.”

Full stories are available at the TVO site.

You may not have known, and staff working day to day in the library sometimes forget, that libraries change lives.  We don’t just lend books, we transform people.

– RD

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