“In my life, the library has always been a good place,” says Sarah, “Interesting, safe, surrounded by the friends in books and the family and neighbors.
“It seems part of who I am.”
Sarah’s relationship with libraries began when she was young. She attended story times as a young child, and her grandfather even noted in his will for annual donations of picture books to be sent to his local library. While she used the library to help with hard copy research, a greater sense of familiarity and comfort developed as she relocated to new areas.
“When we moved to MI (Michigan), it was natural to make the library one of the first places to visit,” Sarah recalls. “Prepared with proof of residency, we had library cards within our first month in town.”
The library was a critical resource for Sarah and her kids. Even after they outgrew story time, Sarah would pull books for science, history, math, music, writing, and others from library shelves to accompany her homeschooling curriculum. She remembers the family spending hours among the shelves, delving into all kinds of subjects.
Eventually, after her husband unexpectedly lost his job, Sarah and her family left Michigan and moved to Berks County. The move and transition to a new area occurred during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when restrictions were still in place.
But as things began to re-open, Sarah found herself welcomed into the small community of the Bernville Area Community Library, and it was at this time when Sarah began to feel that the library provided a sense of being home.
“We’ve moved six times since 2000,” says Sarah. “Along with church, the library provides a sense of stability across the miles.”
Sarah credits the consistent organization structure among libraries that allows her to orient herself when going to a new area.
“We can walk into any library and know that if we find the fiction shelves, we need only to look for the author’s last name,” she says. “In a new area where we need GPS to get to the grocery store, having a sense of the geography of a space goes a long way to making you feel settled.”
Sarah’s love and passion for the library prompted her to sign up for her library’s Board of Trustees where she works in conjunction with other board members and the library director to improve the library for the whole community.
“Our libraries, along with our churches, have acted as the next step from our houses to feel at home in the world no matter where in the world the house, church, and library is.”