Library patrons share why they’re thankful for their public libraries
In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked public library patrons from Jefferson and Waukesha counties why they’re thankful for their library. The answers people sent us show that gratitude really is about the little things in life, like the thrill of finding a new book series, the joy of a friendly chat with a librarian, and the fun of attending a trivia program.
Libraries Place of Connection, Inspiration
Rosemarie told us that the Brookfield Public Library is a place of inspiration and comfort to her. “I can obtain inspiring and inspirational media on current event topics, as well as arts and cultural books and media to relax with,” she said.
Meanwhile, Katie has been able to stay connected with her extended family virtually thanks to the New Berlin Public Library’s Monday night trivia program. “Because of health concerns, we’ve been staying away, so the opportunity to do something fun together, while apart, has been uplifting!” Katie said. She’s also been doing lots of reading with her little one. “Our kiddo has read almost 500 different library books, which has given us daily family quality time that other activities would not,” she added.
Tom is retired and enjoys seeing the library staff at the Oconomowoc Public Library when he visits. “They smile when they safely check my books out. I see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. I know they are stressed, too, but they always care to ask how I’m doing.”
Finding What You Need At the Library
“We find the library to be a PRICELESS public resource!” Dondi wrote to tell us. She uses her library card at the Powers Memorial Library in Palmyra for everything from checking Consumer Reports before making purchasing to doing her family tree on Ancestry.com. Dondi and her husband even borrowed the kayaks from Powers Memorial Library to test out on Ottawa Lake. “It helped us decide what we were looking for when we went to purchase our own a few weeks later,” she said. They’ve also borrowed experience passes to make family memories. “Last year, our family borrowed the zoo pass. We took our two sons, their wives, & our four little grandchildren. We were able to save a lot of money & made memories that will last in our hearts forever!”
Mathilde and her family have been visiting the Menomonee Falls Public Library almost daily since quarantine began. “At any time, we have between 30 to 40 books checked out at home and LOVE exploring new stories, fiction and non-fiction alike. My sons’ interests have opened up tremendously!”
Ann told us a story of how the Dwight Foster Public Library staff once located an obscure book for her. “I looked everywhere and could not find a copy. I requested help and sure enough, the library found the book and got it sent through inter-library loan (from out of state)!” That book led to another and another, she said. “I am now at the end of my journey on that topic (a delightful rabbit hole) and learned what I had hoped. I would not have been able to accomplish this without our library and dedicated library staff…Our library has definitely improved my life.”
Libraries A Light During COVID-19 Crisis
The pandemic has been challenging, but patrons expressed gratitude for the creative solutions public libraries have offered them. Julie told us her family is thankful for the Mukwonago Community Library, writing, “They have gone above and beyond under the circumstances of COVID-19 and have put forth an excellent effort to assist families. A couple of examples are providing take-N-make kits for children and adults, monthly book challenges, and care book packages.”
Cheryl expressed appreciation for the ebooks, digital streaming movies, and curbside pickup service the Delafield Public Library offers. “The Delafield library has been my LIGHT during these trying months,” she wrote. “I had safe access to books, audiobooks, AND movies, which meant I never went hungry for entertainment, knowledge, or cheering up. Thank you so much for being there for me and the community.”
We are grateful to everyone who shared their stories with us; it means so much to hear from you. Every Thursday, we will continue to post stories like these on the Bridges Library System’s social media accounts for our “Thankful Thursdays” series during November and December. Like us on Facebook or Instagram to see new ones each week. Thank YOU!
Written by Jill Fuller. A version of this article appeared in several local newspapers in November 2020. We are sharing those pieces here on our website a few weeks after each piece has been printed.