Kicking off National Library Week, April 7-13, ACLD staff shared how they first caught the library bug.
I have loved libraries my entire life. As a child my mother would bring me to the library every week. I loved summer reading the most because it challenged me to read all sorts of books that I wouldn’t normally read. My mother let me read everything and anything – the only limitation was how many books I could physically carry out the door on my own. The library was a place without a budget.
– Carolyn Wallace, Micanopy Branch Manager
My first library was in a small town over half a century ago. I loved walking the wooden floors carefully stepping where the planks would not creak. It really didn’t matter if they did. The librarian would smile and ask if she could help me find something to read. It became my quiet sanctuary, enriching my experience through a magic carpet made of paper and ink.
– Ross Woodbridge, Alachua Branch Manager
Libraries have been a part of my life since I was a child and would walk to the Silver Spring Public Library every Saturday. I loved to read - any genre. I think in those formative years I decided libraries were my calling. I have had my heart filled with wonderful interactions as a school media specialist. I even met my husband in the local community college library and we were then married in the local city’s law library.
Thankfully my husband is a voracious reader so we are well matched. I am thrilled to be part of the best library system in Florida so I can read, read, read as I am still reading almost every genre.
– Linda Dean, Library Specialist, Headquarters Branch
When I was growing up, my family moved every few months to either a new town or a different area of a familiar city. My parents were young students and we led a peripatetic life—short on stability but rich in experience. The one thing I minded was making friends and leaving them, over and over. While I was too young to make play dates with “real” people, I could always reliably and with certainty find my book friends anywhere we landed. After unpacking the mattresses, the pots and pans, and my special stuffed elephant, the closest library was our first excursion from any new apartment or house. With a stack of library books by my bed, my world was safe and whole wherever we were.
– Meredith Henry, Library Specialist, Hawthorne Branch
Libraries were just my world as a child. My home away from home and my escape from it all! I have been in love with libraries since I knew how to spell the word and I was a child genius (thanks to libraries, education, and my brain) so you do the math. My mother always took me to the library where I would read tons of books, I would surpass my 25 book challenge and read over 100 books. I looked forward to going right to the children’s section and getting my Goosebumps books and my Junie B. Jones and etc. I even had my own mini library at home. Any library (school or public) was considered my paradise.
– Kia McBride, Library Specialist, Cone Park Branch
The Lily Lawrence Bow Public Library in my hometown of Homestead, Florida, was built from coral rock and was named after the first librarian in Homestead. I rode my bicycle there every Saturday to check out animal fantasy books such as "The Wind in the Willows" and "The Mother West Wind Stories." I loved the smell of the library and getting my due date card stamped with the date stamp. I remember the librarian being very grave and solemn.
– Jean Hunt, Adult Services Librarian, Headquarters Branch
For as long as I can remember, I have had a book or four in my hands. The bookmobile would come down our farm lane so we could check books out. I remember the bookmobile driver restricting my number of books to 10. Still wasn’t enough to read so if we went into town, we would exchange the books we had for new ones. Still love to read to this day.
– Caroline Huguet, Adult Services Librarian, Headquarters Branch
I fell in love with libraries the summer my mom dropped me off at Miami Dade Public Library during the summer. I would nestle into the cool quiet of the children’s area, surrounded by books and feel as though I had entered a treasured place of shared adventures. I felt giddy as I took out the books and scanned their pages.
Later, as an adult, I reveled in taking my daughters to the summer reading programs which included making tie dye shirts and worm racing. Surrounded by families and happy children, libraries have become my special home away from home. When I became employed by the Alachua County Library District, I felt as though I had finally found my niche in life. Libraries allow me to be creative and help others find their query, resulting in smiles and gratitude all around.
– Joanne Tremblay, High Springs Branch Librarian
I can’t say I’m surprised to find myself working for the Alachua County Library District…
My mother strongly encouraged my affinity for all things library as a child. I remember visiting the Jupiter branch library in Palm Beach County, FL, supplementing whatever I had at home with armloads of books on topics ranging from dinosaurs (I wanted to be a paleontologist!) and castles (I wanted to be a knight?) to heavy machinery (I wanted to drive dump trucks!) None of those panned out, but the belief that libraries provide vital avenues for discovery has never left me.
–Chris Ladd, eBranch Librarian
I fell in love with libraries starting in second grade with my weekly class visits to the library at my elementary school. Later on, the library love expanded to the local public library when a friend’s mom took me and her to the public library and we both got our own library cards. To me, the public library is like a candy store for the mind—and it’s not fattening!
– Heather Lawless, Collections Development Librarian
I have always loved libraries. When I was young I looked forward to the visit from the bookmobile that came to my neighborhood weekly. I loved it because it brought adventure right to my door! With books I could go anywhere and the only limit was my imagination!
– Demaris Hill, Circulation Senior Manager
2019 National Library Week is celebrated April 7-13. Share your stories on social media with #MyLibraryMyStory and tag @alachualibrary. Check our stories and fun all week long on Facebook, Instagram and aclib.us.