Once upon a time I panicked at the thought that all my boys would be at school and what oh what oh what would I do then? I happened to see an ad for a library employee across the road from my boys’ school and so I applied. When I was called in for an interview, I curled my hair (that was how big a deal this was) and met Alicia Kershaw who I vaguely knew as the librarian and whose son my oldest son mentioned a lot as being so cool.
“I am not sure I would make a good employee,” I told her, “I will always put my boys first, I haven’t worked since before they were born and I don’t like to talk to people very much.”
She hired me.
Six years and a few months later, I am sitting next to Alicia who’s son is at my house eating dinner (I didn’t know this at the time, but this is normal). She and I have become such good friends that I could have made up that plate of food before her and she could have done the same for me. We sit as we do at work, she before me. We do it unconsciously. We have become such close friends.
I look around the table I am sitting at and there are only about three or four women I don’t really know. The table we are at is really three tables put together to make one very long table.
Alice, sitting at the head of the table makes an announcement. This is her party. Her day.
“Let’s go around the table and everyone say their name and how you and I know each other,” she says.
She had a party like this a year ago in her home and it was such a hit. Since that year so much had happened. You know how you can have years when you feel stuck? Those everything is same ol’ same ol’? This year had been the opposite for her. And for others around the table.
“I’m Amber,” the first woman began, “And I believe we first met at the library.”
Nearly every single one of us had met Alice at the library. Nearly every single one of us had been impacted by the friendships we had formed at the library. What had begun as a conversation after story time, or a book recommendation, or attending a library program, or sitting with others at a book club had somehow formed a majority of this group of women. These women I do my life with. These women I love fiercely.
All because of a library.
I know the rumors of how libraries are obsolete. How they are not needed. People are too busy to read, too busy to attend one more event, etc etc etc. But that room full of women from such varied back grounds would have argued passionately the opposite.
Six years and a room full of friendships later. Oh, how my heart is full.
Thank you dear old itty bitty town library. How important you are!