Library Essay Contest Entry

Judy R. Stirewalt

The library is one of the greatest assets Springfield - Greene County, Missouri has and I am proud of being a part of it, both as a taxpayer and a user.

There is almost no segment of society that our library cannot be of assistance in some way. Above and beyond books, videos, and computers they provide programs to fit the needs of people like me.

I am blind and was ecstatic to find that my library had a program called Walking Books. Forced into retirement due to blindness and other disabling illness I was frantic for things to keep me busy. Every three weeks I prepare a request for books I would like to listen to and a volunteer or library personnel brings me bags of books. The staff of Walking Books tries to send the books requested and also pick out additional ones they think I would like. They are aware of the range of books I enjoy.

The books cover all areas: fiction, nonfiction, self-help and health issues such as nutrition, thus I am able to stay informed on current issues and can discuss books with others.

By contacting the library staff I am also able to keep up on current events. It is important to me to stay informed and know what my community has to offer. My library provides the answers.

Finding it rewarding to plant flowers and vegetables each spring, I turn once again to my library for answers. I check on best varieties for our area, types of soil and length of the growing season.

Health permitting, I attend music programs, informational meetings, community involvement and self-improvement seminars provided at our libraries.

The library is the center of my community life. In a time of my greatest need, it was a lighthouse signaling that my life was not over. Even with my severe limitations I could be an informed, happy worthwhile individual. I could be a contributor to my community using information provided by my library. Being prepared to vote intelligently is very important to me. Information on forums, speakers and materials about candidates have been provided by my "helpers" at the library.

When our community ask to raise taxes so libraries can serve more people and provide more services, I am always happy to vote for the tax increase.

Thank you to the Springfield-Greene County Library Center for serving my needs all these years. Also, thank you for the wonderful volunteers who are essential to the Walking Books program. Keep up the great work!

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