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While growing up in rural Ohio, the library was my special place. It was located in an old mansion with floor after floor of hardbound musty books: a treasure trove of knowledge. Visiting the library was the most exciting part of our infrequent trips to “town.” In the summer, I eagerly waited for the Bookmobile to pull up. Entering its dusky interior, I sought stories to feed my hungry imagination and fill the long hours of summer. Books were a refuge and a friend. They allowed me to travel to places I couldn’t visit and exposed me to ideas I would not have been introduced to otherwise. They inspired me to be the only child in my family to graduate high school. Without the free services of the library, my life would not have grown and blossomed into what it is today. The ability to read, and the critical thinking skills that come with it, are the most important lessons a child can learn. When a child opens a book, she opens her mind to the world. Books open doors that would otherwise remain shut, teach what schools often cannot, and empower in ways that some families aren’t capable of. They can provide healing and growth and free a child from a challenging existence. The books on these shelves represent some of my favorite authors, meaning I’ve read/enjoyed all or most of their work.

A well-read mind

is a well-fed mind.