I feel it is my civic duty to tell you that if you live in Wellington County and are not a card-carrying member of your local library, you’re missing out on some seriously good stuff.
I admit, despite being a taxpayer, I had neglected my public library as a primary resource for all kinds of things that would have ultimately saved me time and money over the years. I walk by these special buildings and silently appreciate them, yet rarely make time to walk in.
But last Tuesday I walked in.
Turns out my Wellington County Library card was so outdated I was actually kicked out of the system as a no-show. While the librarian didn’t declare it, I’m confident when she searched my name in the library account system, a note popped up that said, “don’t bother with this one. She can’t even commit to a library card.”
Yet the librarian was as excited for me to get a brand spankin’ new card as I was. I was giddy as she explained to me all the cool things accessible through our library system, like board games, video games, audio books, sewing machines and craft items, and get this, you can borrow a ukulele – for real. How cool is that?
You can even borrow a day pass to Grand River Conservation Authority parks and other regional parks. That’s a thing. And if you think that got me excited, you should have seen my face when the librarian told me I could borrow binoculars and bird books, because guess who is a birder now? Me. Yep, fact.
Breaking in my newly minted library card, I was embarrassed to admit to the librarian that I wanted to read Prince Harry’s book, Spare. Look, I know what you’re thinking and your judgement is noted. But I love biographies, with life altering choices and survival. Throw in a dysfunctional family, and bookmark me in.
The librarian didn’t judge me, she just laughed and said that I was now number 92 in the queue to secure this book. Looks like we all need to feel a little better about our relatives, am I right? So, to you 91 people with summer reading goals, let’s speed this up, okay? I’d like to get this book read before it becomes a horrible movie on a streaming channel. Wait, that happened. Never mind.
It felt good to be reminded that library branches are incredible little sanctuaries where people actually want to help you find the things you’re looking for, and have a wealth of information to share.
Part of me wants to live in a little nook between the stacks of books, but they frown on that, so for now, the library staff let me loiter and don’t call security. I haven’t always had the same luck in retail locations, you know, because I look suspicious and dangerous. Just look at my new photo. It’s my mug shot.
A library is more than just books, it’s community culture in action. Libraries connect us in a way that evens the economic playing field, whether you’re a bookworm, a student, a researcher or just someone who wants to be around people without needing to, you know, talk to people, this is a safe space to just be. They reflect us, our towns and keep up with the times to keep us engaged with our world.
Next up, binoculars and ukuleles, because I’m a student of life with a library card. See you there.