The Story of a Library

 
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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.

Like Bees to Honey | Intern Diaries #1

Like Bees to Honey | Intern Diaries #1

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to attend this focus group or not. The posters plastered in the elevator, in front of the elevator doors, by the water cooler (yes, literally a water cooler), and in the stairway, plus the email sent a few weeks ago, weren't quite enough.

Oh, but the pizza was.

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'Twas the Night Before Christmas | The ELEVENTH Day of Blogmas!

On the eleventh day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me...Christmas Eve traditions Christmas Eve.

No matter where my family is for the holiday season is, Christmas Eve is my favorite part of the festivities. Everyone pulls on their best holiday outfits and we eat until we can eat no more. When we're in Indy, that's seafood chowder full of every shellfish you can name with oyster crackers on the side. In West Virginia, that's french fries and oysters and ham and cookies and root beer and trail mix and crackers...

Spending time with family is the most important part of the evening. With my mom's side, we initially all eat an early dinner before dressing in our best and heading to church for the Christmas Eve service. Afterwards, we all gather around in my grandparents' sun porch by the tree and open our presents to each other while snacking and drinking sweet tea or water. We laugh about the stories behind each other's gifts and shout "thank you!" all around the room. Afterwards we look at our new things and show them off to each other, the "kids" (okay, we're teens/young adults now) running off to play with Leighton's game or flip through Caroline's book. Slowly, everyone drifts out the porch door with bags of goodies, wrapped in wool coats and plaid scarves. Piling into their trucks and SUVs, everyone drives off until it's just my family and my grandparents. We settle down in front of White Christmas and wait for Santa Claus to come.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas | Scribbling in the Margins blog

With my dad's side, we dig in to steaming hot bowls of seafood chowder and oyster crackers while talking about school or work or simply what we did that day. After eating seconds and thirds, we gather into the living room to drink coffee or hot chocolate. After circling up, someone, usually one of the "kids," passes around the gifts to each person until we each have a stack of boxes and bags next to us. One by one, we go around the circle and open each gift, thanking the person for the present and showing it to the rest of the family. Everyone ooos and ahhs until each present is open. Then gifts are further explored: books are flipped through, clothes held up, CDs unwrapped and examined. Then, one by one, each family slips through the front door to the bite outside, waving goodnight with promises to see each other in the morning, decked in Christmas gifts and red, ready for turkey and mashed potatoes.

Christmas Eve is important to my family; it's the tradition we value most. Whether there's snow gently falling on the tips of the brown grass or rain dripping from the window panes, the night before Christmas always results with a "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight."

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On the eleventh day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

Christmas Eve traditions, a Christmas travel storysix final to-readsdecked halls a-twinkling, a Christmas tag of sorts, two Christmas book reads, FIVEEEE FESTIVE MOVIES! Memories filled with snow, one blog tag, the best study tipsand 10 Christmas songs to sing!

A Love Letter to Letters

A Love Letter to Letters | Scribbling in the Margins blog Here's a little known fact about me:

I LOVE to write letters.

Thank you notes, life updates scribbling on pages of stationary, simple "thinking of you" sentiments--I love them all. There's something about pen to paper, the etching of one element onto another, that's incredibly personal and intimate to me. It takes time and thought to write a letter, time and thought that allows you to consider the person you're writing to and what they mean to you--even if it's as seemingly impersonal as a thank you for a job interview.

I also love stamps. The USPS offers countless types of stamps- American flags, farmers markets, birds, historical events, Harry Potter, famous people, nativity scenes- that show the personality of the person. They allow you to show who you are, what you like, in the tiniest of ways. Individuality the size of a postage stamp. "Forever," they read. Because mail will never die away.

Arguably my favorite feature of a letter is the stationary. While I love a good Hallmark card, it's the plain, everyday, set-of-10 stationary that captures my heart. My trip to Italy this past January was not complete until I visited a paper store. My favorite aisle in Target is the one lined with boxes of flowers, anchors, thanks yous, and stripes, all tantalizing me as I walk by. When I pull out a fresh card to send to a friend or family member, I gently run my fingers over the soft inside before I begin. The beauty in letter writing isn't always in the words; it's in the presentation.

A Love Letter to Letters | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Pens (never pencils) are important to a good letter experience; yet the element I neglect the most. In my brief moment of free time when I can etch out a note, the closest pen is typically the one chosen. Yet two years ago, when I sat down with my box of 50 thank you cards and a list of graduation presents, it was my fountain pen I chose. The elegant, ink flowing pen stoked each card with gratitude and cursive. An experience; not a chore.

They say the post office is losing money. They say the art of letter writing is dying. They say our world needs immediate gratification, and letters just won't cut it. Yet I check my college mailbox every day, hoping for a note. Ready to respond with a crisp blue card of my own. Because the thoughts that take time to come are often the thoughts worth saying.

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Below the Line:

  • I had an AMAZING fall break at Disney World with my family. We had so much fun riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and exploring the parks. A great place to spend time with my dear family.
  • On that note...three weeks until Thanksgiving Break!
  • Indiana had its first snow this past Friday. I can't believe we're at that point in the year when snow enters the weather forecasts. I can't say I'm excited, but there's nothing like white snow in December (about the only month I appreciate it).