A Love Letter to My Small-Town Library

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local libraryPicture this: You attempt to quietly plod into a silent room with huge glass windows and tall ceilings, shushing the little monkeys (whose monkeys are these anyway?) that never seem to realize the circus is closed for business, all while trying to hunt down the next book you’d like to add to your “post-bedtime reading list”. Several pairs of bespectacled eyes stare you down as your toddler yelps excitedly at the latest art display and your other kids jog off at an inappropriate rate to hunt down hidden literary treasures.

Your armpits start to prickle, you frantically search your stroller for a wipe to mop your brow, and you consider for a moment whether or not you could fit through the book return slot for a stealthy escape before anyone else notices you. 

Not exactly a relaxing scene, right?

Now, picture this: Your kids run ahead of you into a bright, colorful room chock full of kid-centric decorations, congregating around the train table and toy area that is the main focus of the room. There are no stairs or multiple floors to navigate; it’s just one room, which makes keeping an eye on your kids so much easier. The librarian is a familiar face, smiling warmly as your kids enjoy all the library has to offer. A few students and teachers are engaged in tutoring sessions at the rear tables, and your older kids are working on STEAM experiments at the craft table. No perspiration, beady eyes, or emergency escape plans threaten you here. 

The second scenario is just a glimpse into why I absolutely adore our small-town library. Sure, it’s in a small, unassuming building, and might not look like much from the outside. But once you walk through the front doors, that’s where the magic happens. We haven’t lived in Oklahoma very long – maybe there are many libraries around here just like it! But I am blown away by how “at home” we feel in our little library.

The librarians are always happy to welcome youngsters in, and they work incredibly hard to make sure that it’s a warm, inviting, and stimulating place for little minds to grow. It’s almost as if they recognize that kids are our future! Crazy idea, right? They host storytimes, recommend books, set up activities, and create magical artscapes for everyone to enjoy.  

It’s never overly quiet – you don’t have to feel like a nuisance if your crew is a little noisier than the typical library crowd. The sounds of kids playing “puppet show” and “train town” permeate the room. You’ll probably see the same moms there time and time again, as they access all the resources the library offers to help cultivate the little minds they’re in charge of. 

So, if you ever get the chance to choose between a fancy top-tier library with all the new fangled equipment/labs/architecture, or a smaller one that might not look as impressive, but more than makes up for it in heart – give the underdog a chance! It’s more than a little building full of books – it’s the heart of a community. 

Which is your favorite local library? Tell us why in the comments!

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