The day before my son’s third birthday, we were in a car accident on our way to the grocery store. At the time, I couldn’t fathom a worse scenario; my car had major damage, I had no money to fix it, and worst of all, no birthday cake for my child! It felt a little like the end of the world, but I was wrong. That accident changed my life. There is a much longer story to share, but the short version is that a few weeks later I walked into the Ames Public Library and came face-to-face with the woman whose car I had plowed into. It turns out she was a children’s librarian and possibly one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. Despite the fact that we officially met in the back of a police car, she graciously made my son and me feel welcome. I had always loved books, but that was the day I started to fall in love with libraries. I was a young, single mom and didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere, but when I was in the library, I felt at home. I began volunteering which turned into changing my college major, moving to Wisconsin for library school, and embarking on the most wonderful career I could possibly imagine.
My inspiration for telling this story came from two library staff who recently shared their “library story” with me. All of our stories are vastly different, but the one thing we all have in common is that the library has had a lasting and positive impact on our lives. Libraries change lives every day in big and little ways and that is no accident!