Essential service(s)


How is something that was so much fun as a child be such a pain as an adult? SNOW! I loved it when it snowed enough that my dad would hitch up his sleigh to jog the horses; sometimes he would even put bells on the harness. One time he took my whole fourth grade class for a ride and it was the best fun. I think Dad enjoyed the experience as much as we kids did.

Now, snow is just a headache and the worst part isn’t the shoveling or inconvenience. For me, the absolute worst part of a “precipitation event” is the whole delayed opening/early closing/cancelling services for the whole day. What to do? What to do? And no matter what decision I make, it’s not good for someone or a group of someones. Yes, I am whining so get out your cheese and crackers. There is a point here.

It all started Tuesday when the meteorologists predicted, “The British are coming … The British are coming!” Oh, I mean, “A major weather event is moving in our direction … The Thursday morning commute might be rough.” Oh no, that’s not right. “Snow with sleet, turning to rain should start around mid-day Thursday.” Wait a minute. “The forecast is indicating the evening commute will be hazardous.” Well, there you have it. These were the “facts” that would help me make a good decision. With all due respect to meteorologists (including Meteorologist Fitz of WENY who is also Commissioner Kodish’s grandson), just say snow is coming Thursday and be done with it. You don’t have to be more exact until closer to the weather event’s arrival do you? It’s gonna snow, get ready.

And then, something wonderful happened all day Wednesday and Thursday until 10:30 a.m. Folks just kept coming the library all day. They came for their “snow” books, videos and Playaways. They came to the library before they went to get bread, milk and toilet paper. They came to check out materials before picking up their medications. They came to the library before they went to the hardware store to buy a shovel and/or salt. They came and they left with smiles because they considered themselves storm ready. I tell you I felt like this line from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “Well, in Whoville they say — that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”

I have always considered libraries to be an essential service in any community. I wouldn’t want to live without teachers, first responders or sanitation workers, but I remember what it was like not to have a library in Juniata County. If you couldn’t afford to purchase books, you had little to read. I hope nobody has to live without access to more books than you can read in a lifetime, whether there is a weather event or not.

My heart grew three sizes because of the customers who consider us crucial to winter weather preparedness. I really shouldn’t be amazed by this trend, but I am. As a matter of fact, the entire staff has been marveling at the phenomena and are very proud that you all consider us essential. Thank you.


The board of directors, staff, and Friends hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving. As we begin the holiday season, don’t forget, everyone on your Christmas list deserves a book! Mrs. Claus will be at the library Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. Get your tickets early.


Molly S. Kinney is the library director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading “Duel to the Death” (Ali Reynolds #13) by J.A. Jance. She is also writing a letter to Santa that Mrs. Claus will take back to the North Pole. Can you guess what is on her wish list?