November 10, 2015
Libraries have impacted my world in ways I never expected.
My parents didn’t go to the library in the city, nor were they oral storytellers or readers in a big way; I never saw a library before until we moved to a small mountain town. I had no idea about reading for pleasure, though secretly I enjoyed reading my textbooks. My dad only bought newspapers, and the magazines he liked were about hunting dogs and the like. I’d even read the flower and seeds catalog that came in the mail. Not to mention the Sears and Roebuck’s description of clothes that always littered the outhouse, which I read when visiting my grandparents’ house.
I remember clearly discovering a library of books in school one day. That day stuck with me because, being hard of hearing, I had no idea one could check out fiction books. I know I read early in school, but the one book that stood out in my mind was the one I borrowed from the school’s library: “The Little House on the Prairie.” I’d watch the TV show based on that book, but there wasn’t Close-Captioning back then. I couldn’t get into watching any shows because it’s hard to lip read, especially if the actor isn’t onscreen when they speak. I loved reading books, thus discovering new worlds where I could ‘hear’ everything when I read.
I was excited about reading and often found myself reading the jacket of all the books for information as to what they were about. I would find myself reading the first chapter to decide if I wanted to borrow a book. I loved getting lost in a story and hated to see the end come so soon. Books became my best friend. Textbooks didn’t count; I’d read them anyway, always reading more of them than was required by the teachers.
I would read sitting alone in my room or outside by the creek bank. If I sat in the living room and read with other people in the room, it didn’t bother me unless they shoved me out of the way, or my parents needed me to do something. Often, I wasn’t bothered as much as ignored. I was fine with that; I turned inward when reading a book. Growing up hard of hearing, I learned how to act, how to deal with life, and how the real world worked just by reading.
Thanks to libraries, I’m never out of reading materials. I’ve even driven miles away to buy or borrow a book written by authors I like, if it isn’t available where I live. I frequented the library so much during my children’s childhood that I discovered they don’t read like I do. It has only skipped a generation, and one of my grandsons reads as enthusiastically as I do.
I’ll never forget that fine day when I discovered books for the first time; books I could read for the knowledge, entertainment, and understanding I didn’t get in school. I discovered who I am through reading books.
I picked up the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon. My eyes are sore from reading eight huge books straight for a month. The story is so engaging that it’s hard to put down; I daydream of Scotland and its people. That place is on my list of countries to visit someday.
Being hard of hearing while growing up, written words are important to me.
In my opinion there’s no such thing as reading too much.
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