Written by Jeanette Altenau, Board Member, The Library Foundation
Public libraries are an important and special place in our community. They are a place for everyone to learn, grow and play. For our community’s most vulnerable youth, libraries are also safe places, staffed by caring professionals who provide afterschool snacks, assistance with homework, and engaging activities. Today’s libraries are so much more than what they were when my children were little.
Please consider joining me to support the fantastic community asset that is our library, with a gift to The Library Foundation today, opens a new window.
Libraries Are a Pathway to the Future
I have been a single mom since my daughters were very young and I shared my love of reading with them both. I knew that books could show them worlds that I could not. Within the pages of the countless books at our library they could meet heroes and heroines of today and yesterday, travel to places near and far–and farther still. I hoped that through the stories they read, they would each find their unique pathway to where their futures were waiting; because I believed then as I do now - literacy and curiosity are foundational to everything else in life.
Reading books at our library opened up the world for my girls. We visited our local branch in Delhi almost weekly and knew our librarians well. We were the first in line for every Harry Potter book release (even those held at midnight). We participated in every Summer Learning program. There was rarely a day when my daughters didn’t have their noses in a novel, getting lost in a new book or re-reading an old favorite. To this day I treasure their books where covers are worn thin and pages contained with rubber bands – those books were loved and they changed the futures of my daughters’ lives. The experiences and empathy they learned from the characters in these novels helped them become committed leaders in our community.
A Place for Everyone
What’s truly remarkable is how I watch my children pass these values to my grandchildren. The lessons of literacy, the enjoyment that can come from reading, their excitement of weekly library adventures and the curiosity that it nurtures in them inspires me to continue to help all the children in our community grow up to be curious and supported readers. Every child should have the opportunity to travel to other planets or explore the oceans’ depths, to walk alongside dinosaurs or even visit Arendelle alongside Anna and Elsa (many, many times) – all from their own neighborhoods.
I see this happen every time I’m at a library: children with books, doing their homework, and even hanging out and enjoying their friends in a place of knowledge. Our libraries nurture this and are a special place for everyone. We are lucky to have one of the best public library systems in the United States in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. It has made a difference in my life, my daughters’ lives, and now my grandchildren’s. I hope that it’s made a similar difference for you and your family.
Supporting Our Library
Since 2010, The Library Foundation has provided more than $4.2 million in direct support for programs and services, like the Writer-in-Residence program, opens a new window, the Mary S. Stern Lecture Series, opens a new window, homework helpers, opens a new window, the MakerSpace, opens a new window at the Downtown Main Library, and much, much more.
Please consider joining me in support of our library with a gift to The Library Foundation today, opens a new window. Together, we can ensure countless adventures for children in our community as they find their “happily ever after.”