Growing up overseas, Ava Christie learned the value of libraries at a young age. She remembered finding the local library with her family as they moved around to different places. Libraries were special, familiar places filled with books and materials that inspired her. “All you need is a library card, and the world is your oyster”, remarked Ava as the inspiration is ever-present for her today.
In college in Douglas County, KS, Ava has fond memories of the library being a strong and important part of the culture and community. The Library would continue to play a significant role in her studies through her master’s degree and PhD programs as she utilized Inter Library Loan resources for her research and thesis.
As a mom, Ava raised her kids with her same love for the Library, which she referred to as “a best friend.” Frequenting the Corinth and Central branches for books and programs, she noted the Library is a place which extends far beyond books, and is a place to meet people, access media and audio/visual materials, large print materials and travel books. Travel continues to play a key role in Ava’s life both personally and professionally and she visits libraries everywhere she goes. She has noticed over time that newer libraries seem to be redefined as a focal point, accessible, and transparent with large windows to look in as well as see out.
Entering her 15th year as a volunteer on the Foundation’s board of directors, Ava credits the strengths of the Johnson County Library (JCL) system and its key role in our county and communities for her continued involvement and support. She believes JCL has always been a place of diversity and inclusivity, citing the teen publication elementia as an example for young people of various ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds to be highlighted. She adds that JCL is and exciting and fulfilling place to be and is reflective of the community it supports. Ava believes the community in turn supports the Library because we build and strengthen literacy and awareness, and to inform people is to empower them.
Looking to the future, Ava sees our Library system continuing to be modern and forward-thinking and to stay relevant and respond with ever-changing community needs. “Johnson County Library is not standing still”, says Ava enthusiastically, “and there isn’t another entity in the world of charitable organizations where you can make such a profound difference. The Library provides equal access to information to everyone, and everyone is welcome. Libraries are the key to helping people of all ages open and grow their world. The openness and availability 24/7 are unique to libraries as nothing else exists this way.”