Making the case for library funding

Published 9:33 am Friday, June 14, 2013

“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.”
— Susan Wiggs

This week when covering the Franklin City Council meeting for the newspaper, several citizens spoke eloquently during a budget public hearing asking council to fully fund the local library.

That got me thinking about my love for libraries and books. I have been an avid reader since childhood. My mother instilled in me the love for reading. As a child, I’d get books as Christmas gifts from relatives and think I’d been given gold. From Nancy Drew mysteries to classics like Little Women and Black Beauty, books took me away to places I’d never been.

For me, reading is an escape. I love the feel and smell of a book and enjoy the anticipation of opening one for the first time, meeting new characters and visiting with them.

In 1975 I was introduced to probably my favorite books I’ve ever read by J.R.R. Tolkien — “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. A dear friend gave me the set and I’ve still got them, now careworn and falling apart, because I’ve re-read them so many times.

During my college years, I didn’t have much time to read for pleasure but once I graduated, I have ever since attempted to catch up. I love reading classics as well as bestsellers. When the Harry Potter series was such a phenomenon, I eagerly read every one and now those books, a permanent part of my collection, have also become some of my favorites to re-read.

A library has always been my source for reading. Not being able to spend a lot of money on books, I’ve turned to the library wherever I lived as my source to feed my habit. Walking into a library is like a balm for my soul. I keep a list of books I want to read and use that as my guide to find something to read. But if the library doesn’t have what I’m looking for, I ask the librarians for recommendations. Finding a new author to enjoy is exciting.

The internet has also supplied me with a new source for authors. I joined an internet site called Good Reads through the recommendation of a friend a couple of years ago. This site allows me to track what books I want to read and which books I’ve read during a year’s time. The site also connects me to my friends and I get to see what they are reading and what books they recommend. It’s an excellent way to be introduced to new authors.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a Kindle. I had long been against reading electronically, preferring a real book instead. But I must say I’ve changed my tune in that regard, as the Kindle allows me access brand new books newly published and old classics with just a touch and they are instantly downloaded for my reading pleasure. It’s compact and easy to carry. I just put it in my purse, taking it with me wherever I go — just in case I have a few minutes to read.

Since my daughter went away to college two years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time alone. Books have become even more important to me since then, as I turn to them to keep me occupied. When I’m reading, I’m not worrying. When I’m reading, I’m not alone. Books are my solace and I honestly think I would go crazy if I didn’t have the characters in books to turn to. Not having much of a social life since I moved back to Franklin has made having a good book to read even more important. Many times over the years when I’ve been sad or lonely, I’ve turned to reading to keep me sane. Books are and always will be my friends.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
— Dr. Seuss