Why I Give: A Story by Barbara Nichols

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a very young age. Miss Uppie and  Miss Leslie were the librarians and always had a smile and if needed, recommendations. We attended many programs such as “Reading with your Pet,” “Origami” and “Pokeman Parties.”  Our boys, now 27 and 24, still use and love the library. Our oldest uses the Johnson County Library online resources frequently and our youngest, who now lives in New York, had to call a week after he moved to tell me that he had been to the New York Public Library to get his card.

To quote Lady Bird Johnson, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

Libraries represent a great equalizer in our society. All are welcome and encouraged to become patrons. They provide books, magazines, genealogy information, meeting rooms, Maker Spaces, Internet access, author talks and a variety of programs. My book club reserves a meeting room once a year to plan out what we want to read.  We can stroll through the stacks and chose titles and topics of interest to share with the group. 

People say that no one reads “actual” books anymore, yet the Johnson County Library system checks out more than 7,000,000 items a year. Many of those items are eBooks, and I do appreciate the convenience of reading on my iPad, but nothing beats having a real book in your hands. As our world changes, so does the library. It continues to evolve, grow and provide wonderful resources for our community.

Why do I give to the Johnson County Library Foundation? I believe that in any great society we need access to free materials across all economic barriers, and the Library provides that service in our community. It is important to me to be involved and support the important work and programs throughout this system.

- Barbara  Nichols is a Johnson County Library Foundation supporter.