The Story of a Library


I had so much fun at the Indianapolis Library Foundation’s Cheers for 50 Years event last week to celebrate 50 years of ensuring quality programming for the library! I got to speak about how the library impacted me and represent young library users of the 1990s, and thought I would share my remarks below. Happy reading!

Stories are important. Just as a scientist finds it important to capture a black hole on film for the first time, I find it important to capture our ideas, moments, and experiences on pages that are shared widely and available to all who want to read them.

Our ability to do that – to share stories - is thanks to libraries. I can’t imagine thinking this way if I didn’t grow up visiting the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library branches.

My parents are the ones who introduced me to the library, who taught me to love to read, and who taught me how to share stories. I wouldn’t know about Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Woods if my dad didn’t read to me before bed. I wouldn’t know about Madeline and twelve little girls in two straight lines if it weren’t for the library story times my mom took me to. I wouldn’t know about a little girl in a little house on a little prairie if I hadn’t gotten my library card when I was just six-years-old, clutching the blue plastic with my scrawled name on the back all the way home.

I would not know these things because I would not have been as curious as I am about stories. I would not have ferociously read as many books as I could to get points in the summer reading program. I would not have gone to the library at least every Saturday (but most likely more) if it were not for all the options on the shelves, sparking my curiosity. I was taught to read what I wanted, and as much as I wanted.

Because of this dedication, as a child I was confident in who I was and who I wanted to be. I saw that confidence reflected in the characters I befriended. Young women like Nancy Drew, Betsy-Tacy, and Hermione told me that it was okay to love books and to want to be alone sometimes, and that I wasn’t the only one picked on for my “smarts.” I knew that you could be different. That different lives happen around the world, and those different stories are worth knowing about.

That’s a meaningful thing to share with children; that’s what ensures every generation understands more than just their own experiences. And that’s why we do whatever we can to keep our libraries. So join me in supporting this mission, of spreading stories to every child who wants to hear them, however they need to hear it. And let’s never forget that we are far stronger when we’re curious about stories that come from the world around us.

Let's Talk About Books | Guest Post!

Let's Talk About Books | Scribbling in the Margins blogThis week let's give a big welcome to my friend Amanda! She is an avid book reader (110 books read so far this year!) and aspires to be a future librarian. A sophomore in college, she is thinking about majoring in Spanish and minoring in Math and Educational Studies.  

Hello everyone!!  I’m Amanda, substitute Leeann for this week :) Leeann has crazy amounts of work to do for school, so I’m filling in for her.

So let’s talk about books.  I love ‘em.  Books can take you to other worlds.  They can help you walk in the footsteps of people you would normally know nothing about.  They show you that you’re not alone – that other people feel and think the same way you do.  That is why I love reading.  Reading connects you to the world.Let's Talk About Books | Scribbling in the Margins blog

As Leeann mentioned, I think I want to be a school librarian when I grow up.  As a college sophomore, my future is both a long time from now and closer than it seems.  My love of reading stems from two main people – my mom and my school librarian.  My mom is a librarian and shared with me a love of reading from an early age.  She and my dad both read aloud to me and my siblings when we were little, showing us how reading holds the key to other worlds.

I hung out at her library all the time and still do.  It’s almost like my second home, and a good majority of the people who work there have known me since I was baby. One lady, Claire, shares a birthday with me. I remember sneaking up on her at the reference desk whenever we visited the library.  She, or someone else in my mom’s department, would then give me a piece of Hershey’s chocolate.  Fun fact: It has gotten to the point where whenever I eat a piece of plain chocolate I think of the library.  Chocolate + books = great memories.

Let's Talk About Books | Scribbling in the Margins blog

In addition, I went to the same school from kindergarten to 8th grade and had the same librarian.  Sister Elizabeth always had book recommendations for me along with new and exciting bookmarks.  I kinda have a bookmark collection…I’m up to over 700 now…yeah, don’t judge.  Anyway, she was the main person who influenced what books I read and we shared our thoughts and opinions with each other. We still do to this day, mainly on Goodreads – only the best social media site out there.  Part of the fun of reading is being able to share books with other people and learn from what they think about them.  It’s such an amazing feeling when you find someone who loves a book just as much as you do.

That is why I want to become a librarian.  I want to share this with other people.  Some people aren't “readers."  They say they don’t like it, it takes too long, books are boring, blah, blah, blah.  Crazy people! The way to turn someone into a reader is to start them at an early age with books tailored to their interests. Books are one of the best inventions in the world!  So right now that’s my goal for if/when I become a school librarian.

Let's Talk About Books | Scribbling in the Margins blog

On another note about reading, I started keeping a journal of all the books I read starting in 2009, when I was a freshman in high school, along with marking them on Goodreads.  As of right now, I’m about halfway through filling the journal up.  I write down the title, author, dates I read the book, and stars out of 5.  It’s really cool to see how my handwriting changes throughout the years and what books I read and loved.  It’s like taking a trip down memory lane, bringing to light where I was when I read something and what was happening in my life at the time.  Now, 6 years later, I am so glad I started this journal.  It’s documentation of my love of reading.

So what do you guys love about reading?  How do you keep track of what you've read and what you thought about it?

Thanks for having me write a guest blog, Leeann!

Below the Line:

  • Thanks so much to Amanda for writing today's post! If any of you would like to contribute, please let me know in the comments or email me at I'd love to have you!
  • We had a tornado warning last night, as in an actual tornado was spotted. Fortunately there was just heavy rain, but nothing like some excitement to spice up a Tuesday evening.
  • Less than two weeks until Fall Break!