Tags: reading, Willmar Library
When my husband and I moved into our house in September, there were some interesting items left behind by the previous owners. One discovery I made was in the kitchen. I opened up one of the kitchen drawers, and there in the back, I found three old library cards. I picked them up and looked at them closely. They were made of thin cardboard, and light blue in color, with the owner’s name and address typed from a typewriter. I showed my husband. It brought back memories for both of us. He remembered the smaller Willmar library from his childhood, and I remembered the libraries I grew up with. We left the old library cards where they were, in the kitchen drawer, and they are now integrated amongst our things. They serve as a memento of the family that lived here before, and a reminder of the past in general.
My parents did a lot of things right. One of those things was getting us interested in reading, and the library. We made frequent trips to the library, and we always had stacks of library books around the house, many of the books wrapped in their cellophane jackets . The library was a serene, comfortable place, and it was just nice to walk around and choose a good book, or trail behind my mom as she chose her books (I did enjoy her company). It was a neighborhood destination. As a child, I was sure to run into a classmate or two. I loved to read when I was younger, and I devoured the Little House on the Prairie series, the Wizard of Oz series, and some of the Nancy Drew books.
As I became an adult, reading unfortunately took a back seat to TV. I love reading the newspaper, and I hungrily pour through it every morning over my bowl of hot oatmeal. But I haven’t been so good about reading books. I think that TV becomes the easy way to relax at the end of a long day. Plus, when you are single and living alone as long as I was, you kind of want the noise and the “company” of the tube. When I did yearn to read a good book, I would either go through the piles of hand-me-down books from my parents, or I would buy a new book from Target, or Barnes and Noble. The library seemed comparatively inconvenient, and my library card got demoted to the neglected pocket of my wallet.
The Willmar Public Library
Here in Willmar, the library seems more central to the life of the town. Well, it really is sitting right in the middle of the downtown area. Perfect. I saw an opportunity to read more, to become involved in my new community, and to set the stage for my future. My husband and I still hope to be parents, and I want to repeat for our child what my parents did for me. And since we’ll be bringing our child up in Willmar, I wanted to be at the library right away. I went to the library within a few days of moving here, but alas, it was not to get a book. It was to use the computers so I could use email. *Sigh* Our farmhouse, where we lived together for six months, didn’t have internet hook-up at that time, and it would be a few days before it did. Nevertheless, I knew that I would be using the library for more than that. I remember coming in the doors thinking “I will bring my child here.” I looked to the right as I came in and saw the children’s section. There it is, my past and my future.
Several things about the Willmar Public Library have caught my eye. In addition to books you can check out and computers you can use, local art is on display for the community to enjoy and sometimes win via a contest. Also, they just finished the traveling “Lincoln Exhibit,” during which there were even some scheduled discussions on selected books and movies related to Lincoln and the Civil War. Another thing that has caught my attention is a cute wooden playhouse in the children’s section,with built-in benches facing each other, perfect for reading. Lastly, the library hosts book clubs for adults. I should join one of those.
I am happy to report that I have increased my book reading in the last year. My library card sits in a more prominent pocket of my wallet. As I stood at the check-out desk waiting to get a book last week, I saw a sign attached to the desk that made me do a double-take. It stated that children’s life jackets are available for check-out. That sign illustrates the many purposes that the library serves, even as a stop on the way to the lake.