What the library means to me

backsides of grandfather holding  hands with three small granddaughters and their grandmother in front of the library building

An essay by patron and volunteer, Janice Luckey

My father-in-law, who grew up in the country during the 1930’s, remembers when his aunt’s house served as a lending library. He and his neighbors could check out any of the 24 books Aunt Flora Mae had on hand. After the day’s chores in the fields, it was the highlight of his day to find just the right
book in Aunt Flora Mae’s library.

Libraries in some form or another have been around since archives of clay
tablets were found dating back to 2600 BC. That fact bolsters my hope that libraries shall endure. Today’s libraries are transforming themselves, not only to serve us in traditional ways but also in innovative ways, as we plunge headlong into the digital age. Both kinds of resources are at our fingertips thanks to our library.

The Mooresville Library is dear to me for many reasons. I can wax poetic and tell you that I feel the library is first a sanctuary, a haven, the last quiet place left in our pathologically busy lives. I find respite in the quiet nooks by sun-filled windows where I can get lost for a while with a book or magazine. The library is the place where authors have revealed their deepest thoughts and emotions, and somehow the accumulation, tangible and organized in one place, speaks to me. As protagonist Peter Byerly says in The Bookman’s Tale, “It’s where we inhale the familiar scent of cloth and leather and dust and words.”

Not only is the library a sanctuary, paradoxically, it is also a community hub where multi-generations engage in countless programs which encourage life-long learning. My husband and I attended a class to learn how to organize our digital photos. I am a member of The Write Stuff, a prompt
writing class, and the library has afforded me the opportunity to serve my community by volunteering with Books on Wheels where I can indulge my passion for books and give back at the same time. We also try not to miss the author events and always donate books and buy more at the Friends of
the Library book sale.

The library is more than a building, though I do love its architecture, how bricks and mortar incorporate so seamlessly with the 1940 original cramped space. But at its heart is the dedicated staff from the Circulation folks who remember my name and help me when I can’t download my e-book to my phone, to the tireless staff in the Children’s Department.

As a grandmother of four granddaughters under the age of six, I’m intent upon passing on a love of words, reading, and libraries—to have the library become a beloved place to them. Needless to say, all of them love the story times throughout the year and especially during the summer. The enthusiastic storyteller jumped, twirled, and clapped right along with the children and called them each by name; and there was a room full!

The library also offers a class for children with special needs which is dear to my heart. Our oldest granddaughter, who has Down syndrome, loves this class where she can listen to stories, hop and skip over bright rubber steppingstones and decorate a paper crown with glitter and gems all at her own pace.

Our second oldest granddaughter beamed proudly when she received her own library card and has made it her mission to read all the books in the Children’s Department about animals. The two youngest girls play in the wooden car or work on the computers in the children’s space. Sometimes
they all just sit at a table and color quietly with paper and crayons supplied by the library, but they always go home with bags of books and movies, and that sight thrills me!

What does the library mean to me? It means both sanctuary and community. This synergy is something sacred that must be preserved, not only for my granddaughters, but for all children and their children. “Sacred”, writer Anne Lamott says as “mountains, meadows, and creeks”. The library is a natural resource, if you will, filling a vital need in our community. I can’t imagine life without it. I believe Aunt Flora Mae would be proud of her legacy.