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Library of My Dreams
by Amy Kenneley

The windows were tall, letting in all the light your eyes could hold. There was marble and wood and plaster ceilings going to forever. And books. Many, many books.

The day I got my library card at the Crawford Road Public Library I carried out my first borrowed book: The Little House, by Laura Burton. It was mine for a whole 2 weeks.

The Little House was in the country, and the family who lived there enjoyed the seasons and the farm that surrounded the house. Gradually a town and then a city grew up around the house, until it was squeezed between big buildings and all the farmland turned into city streets. There was a happy ending, though. Someone bought the house and moved it away from the city and into a country farm again. ..and they lived happily ever after.

"Is it true?" I asked the children's librarian when I returned the book. "What do you think?" she asked back.

I thought about old houses I passed on my way to school and to the library, and how the city might have grown up around them, too.

"Let's try another book. Do you like animals?" she asked. So I took home Black Beauty. I brought it back with the tears I had dropped wrinkling the pages. "I'm never going to read that again-it was too sad!"

So I was led to the Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales, and for another year I plowed though every witch, gnome, troll, haunted castle, magical forest, hero and heroine that could be imagined. My journey of a lifetime had begun.

My Personal Place

There have been many libraries since then, some small and dark, some large and light, some two flights up, some two flights down. Some librarians were chatty and some not so much. But there was always something for me.

The library I go to today is just down the road. I voted for a tax levy to build it. I campaigned for levies to keep it running. My state tax dollars are helping to keep it running. There are story hours from babyhood to teen. Adult book clubs, Bookmobiles to outreach farm communities and housebound patrons.

There are computers to connect to the global village the internet has become. I can read a book online from a distant archive, or order one to be brought to my doorstep. I can take home the latest movie on several formats, or delight in finding an old favorite brought back to life with digital magic.

Magazines of every kind are mine for the asking. Rap music? Not my style, but it's there if it's yours. Medieval music, Jazz, Big Band, Bluegrass. Educate your ear for free. Free Programs from babyhood and up are there.

Please don't tell me you "never go to the library." Every idea, thought or plan that mankind has put into words can be found somewhere in some library. Libraries are the keepers of knowledge, and librarians and those who work there are such devoted acolytes!

Libraries are the town halls of a community. We meet there, exchange ideas there, find solutions, discover dreams, or live for a time in other worlds of fantasy, action or romance.

Call to Action

If only I had kept a journal of the books I have read through the years! It would start with The Little House and go from there. Since then I have learned that some stories are "really true" and some stories contain a truth within.

I learned that some stories need to be sad, like Black Beauty, to move you from your comfort zone. And some stories, like fairy tales, give you leave to imagine.

Technology has expanded the world of knowledge from not only books but all kinds of media. The tools for thinking are there for anyone who enters.

Effective July 1, 2009, Ohio's governor proposes to cut state funding for libraries by 50%. Fifty Per Cent. What will your community library lose if this happens?

What child will not get to take home a first book? What computer will not be replaced? What magazine will be discontinued? What building will decay without repair? What dreams may not be dreamed? You can make this story have a happy ending, though.

If you believe in libraries, let your elected state representatives know TODAY how much libraries are needed, especially in tough economic times. Contact those Servants of the People and ask that funding not be cut for our great Ohio libraries.

Or you can post a message on Governor Strickland's Facebook page if you are on Facebook.

Editor's Notes: Your local branch may have petitions for you to sign.

Call or email your legislators and let them know you need your library now more than ever.

Contact Ohio Governor Ted Strickland - 614-466-3555 or via a web form.

Save Ohio Libraries has more information how you can help.

ClevelandSeniors.com - the home of holiday information for seniors and boomers age 50 and over

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