Liblove: Count the ways

AT THE LIBRARY

Let’s celebrate! February is Library Lovers’ Month. Since we are already primed for Valentine’s Day, it seems reasonable to express our fondness for the many services the library provides to the community and its residents.

To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 How do I love thee?, let me count the ways:

I love the library to the depth and breadth and height of each building, even as my soul curses the lack of outlets.

I love the library for the ends of being open to all to explore books.

I love thee to the level of every day’s open hours, by sun and candle-light.

I love the library freely, as men (and women) strive for the knowledge offered in books and technology.

I love thee purely, as children do when they listen to stories and learn social skills as they are praised for their caring.

I love the library with the passion born in my childhood when I learned to read, and put that love to use during my professional career.

I love the library with the breath, smiles and tears that come with each customer through the door.

I shall but love thee until I die, and by then, who knows what changes libraries will see.

Oh Lord, that’s awful! I am no poet. But you get the point. Can you count the ways you love the library?

Many library lovers do so very quietly. They wave when they come in, sit at a computer, read the paper or a magazine, and then quietly exit the building. Others say “Hello,” find the books they want, check out and they are gone. We love the library lovers who take time to talk with us, ask for recommendations, share their thoughts about books they read and check out a whole stack of books.

There are a group of library lovers who, not only utilize our services, but also buy books for Front of the Line and Memorial and Honor books for family and friends.

We have library lovers we never see. They express their passion for the library with monetary donations, year after year. Their substantial support helps us to offer the very best service we are able to with the resources available. Our mini-golf sponsors also add to our bottom line with their lovely donations. Area service organizations are also library lovers and contribute money from their fundraising activities throughout the year.

Residents also show their love by joining the Friends, buying items at the semiannual book sale, anonymously feeding our Coin-a-saurus and glass bricks at the service desks, and supporting the Friends efforts.

Mifflin County school retirees are tireless in their love for the library. They work all year long coordinating one successful book sale after another.

Ten of the most ardent library lovers serve on the board of directors, many for two terms. You really have to love the library to take on this role because of myriad responsibilities from fundraising and advocacy to putting up with me.

We are proud to create library lovers in our youngest children and they show their love every time they visit the library. Miss Kelly, Miss K and Miss Lisa are the recipients of the unbridled love these cherubs show with hugs, kisses and comments. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the library and staff they love, or our “magic doors.” They exit their car seats and run, hop and skip to the front door to push the special button. Each time, they are amazed when the automatic door opens. If this is something that creates a life-long library lover, we have, in some small way, done our job.

I did a little research about how other libraries are celebrating Library Lovers’ Month.

There were beautiful interactive displays that allowed customers to express their love for the library. Some libraries are having essay contests, “Why I love my library?” My favorite suggestion from a library advocacy group was “Take your librarian to lunch.” I think I’ll treat our staff to pizza Feb. 14 to express one of the ways I, too, am a LIBRARY LOVER!

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Molly S. Kinney is the library director of the Mifflin County Library. She just finished reading “The Library Doors” by Toni Buzzeo, an hilarious parody of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

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