THE LIBRARY LOOKOUT COLUMN: Libraries are changing lives

Published 2:27 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

Sidney Sheldon, an American writer and producer once stated, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”

Sara Hahn

Often, when revealing to a new acquaintance that I’m a librarian, the title is received with a smile, a tilt of the head, and sometimes an audible “aww” at the thought of my getting to sit and read books all day while sipping on my coffee. What a dream job that would be.

While I do love when I have the chance to sit and crack open the newest novel, the opportunity to read anything other than children’s books only comes about on occasion during work time (though I always have my coffee). What I wish I could tell someone who asks about my occupation is that we are life-changers, community-builders, literacy advocates, technology assistants and liaisons between those who need a service, and that free service which is theirs for the taking inside of the (physical or virtual) doors of the library.

This month, in addition to our story times where we’ve shared with families and little readers in our community about shapes, letters, sign language, dental health, inclusion, manners, diversity and always being kind, we’ve changed the lives of some adults, too.

One evening, a patron was assisted who needed documents and photos printed in a timely manner so that a child could be placed safely in their home during court proceedings the next morning. Without access to our computers, internet and printing services, the individual wouldn’t have had the documentation they needed to fight for the rights of their child the very next day.

Do you remember when it snowed two weekends in a row? How uncharacteristic of Stanly County weather. Were you warm and cozy in your home with your heat on, your refrigerator running, and no fear of freezing temperatures or food spoiling and running out? That was also the case for a patron that was helped the very Friday before the first Saturday snow. That day, a library staff member sat beside them and helped them learn how to access documents on a web browser that had to be submitted before 5 p.m. when their power would have been turned off in their subsidized housing otherwise.

Last week, a student sat at our Teen Study Bar and used our WiFi to chat with a loan associate about qualifications for Federal Aid that will be the difference between the possibility of attending college or not. When I stopped to say “hello,” I was thanked for a quiet place to plug in, connect and think, so I’m passing those “thanks” on to you, because you provided the funding of those services for them.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of those in our community by supporting Stanly County. Often, the difference between someone having a resource that they need, or not, can be found through the library. When you can, eat and shop local, thank a county commissioner or government official, and stop by the library for your next great read, research or resource.

Currently Reading: “Reminders of Him” by Colleen Hoover.

Picture Book Highlight: “Dino Dentist” by Jeff Zilch.

Sara Hahn is the children and youth services librarian for the Stanly County Public Library.