Will you allow me to share an experience I had a few days ago at my local library? It’s kind of scary….
I walked into the library that’s located in the community I live in and noticed what appeared to be a homeless lady working at one of the computer stations. As I walked by her, I heard her tell one of the staff that she was completing a job application online.
I had heard various statistics about homelessness in our area (Central Florida) and seeing this lady tugged on a heart string, so I decided to do some research while there and found out that approximately 10,000 homeless people reside in the vicinity of the community I live in. There was an empty feeling that rushed over me.
Minutes later I noticed a group of teens huddled around a table. The high school up the road had just let out for the day and the students were working on some sort of project together. They were laughing, discussing and collaborating. And yes, even a few selfies occurred too.
Over to the right of me I noticed a mom walk in with her two little daughters. They were there to return some books and to select a few more. The two girls were as excited to pick out their books as they’ll one day be when shopping for their prom dresses.
Back in September the parking lot of our library became a huge pile of sand right before Hurricane Irma arrived. Thanks to the library, folks from the community came together to fill up sand bags to hand out so they could be placed around doorways and garage doors to protect homes from the storm. The community came together at the library to help each other.
I know that these experiences I just shared happen all of the time for librarians – you see these scenarios play out every single day. They are your norm. But for so many people, the tremendous ways that you help our communities are never seen.
And that’s sad to me.
I can’t imagine the 10,000 homeless people in our area not having a place to go to for access to a computer, the Internet and the ability to fill out job applications online. I can’t imagine students not having an abundance of resources at their fingertips and a safe environment for them to learn how to work together, build leadership skills and enjoy learning. I can’t imagine how much less reading would be encouraged if parents didn’t have such a wide selection of fun reading material to share with their kids. I can’t imagine not having a place that serves as a community hub in multiple ways.
It’s more scary than Halloween will ever be to imagine what this world would be like without people like you who help others every single day to learn, grow and serve.
It’s scary what our world would be like without libraries.
Thank you for serving the way that you do. Happy Halloween 🙂