The word Library conjures up wonderful memories of when I was a little girl and how impactful the library was for me. I loved to read and even before I could actually read words, I read picture books making up the stories! For me it was a form of escapism from the harshness of the real world. My family immigrated to the U.K. when I was about five years old. My parents didn’t speak too much English, and both worked long hours. My brother and I were thrust into a new world not speaking or reading English.
The library became an outlet for my imagination, and through reading, I traveled the world, visiting magical places. In England, the libraries were old, stately, almost gothic buildings, often with little daylight from small windows and dim lights. The furniture, old wooden desks and chairs dotted around, and one could always find a nook or cranny to sit and read a book or do homework and study for a test. My school library, in particular, resembled what we have all seen in movies like Harry Potter – a place that stirs the imagination for all.
My friends and I enjoyed spending a day at library, returning read books and searching for new ones to check out, proudly walking home with our finds. It was a safe place for us to spend time with each other and witness the role it played in the community, with Saturday morning reading clubs for children and different book clubs for adults.
As an adult, I hope that through the Foundation, I can, in a small way, help to support the library system in Johnson County and the many ways it benefits our community.
Today’s libraries are far more complex, providing traditional books and videos and also providing digital formats, technology, groundbreaking interactive spaces like the MakerSpace and genealogy lab, meeting rooms etc. Although well-funded, I see how meaningful the role of the Foundation is in order to continue to develop new features and bring on sponsors to continue to evolve the Library system and ensure it remains a relevant and accessible resource for our community.