Libraries enrich lives at every stage | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Aug 14, 2014

I’m sitting in the Edmonds library, my computer on a table along the south wall. Along this wall and the east one, I notice an array of splendid photographs of birds in their natural habitats.

I sometimes forget to view these walls of changing art displays; I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.

I’ve written about the local library often through the years. When I was 4 years old, my parents took me for my first visit to the public library in Yakima, and I’ve been in love with libraries ever since.

As soon as we moved to Edmonds, when I was 7, my dad and I made a trip to the old Carnegie library on north Fifth Avenue to sign up for library cards.

He loved to read, and it pleased him that I did too.

One of my recollections of my childhood in Edmonds is of frequently sitting in the living room with my dad after dinner, each of us silently reading. Soon, he would catch my attention.

“Joanne,” he’d say, “Go help your mother with the dishes.”

“Ummm-hmmmmm,” I’d reply absently, turning a page. I could hear my mother in the kitchen, rinsing dishes and placing them into the drainer.

Still, hearing her at work didn’t really distract me from my reading.

“Now. Go help your mother,” he’d say. My father never raised his voice to me, but I could tell he wanted a better response than “Ummm-hmmmmm.”

“As soon as I finish this chapter,” I’d say from my sideways perch in the big gray chair, my legs hanging over a broad soft chair arm.

I’d look up at him and catch him smiling at me over his book. Sometimes he would add, “You’re a chip off the old block,” words he often repeated throughout the years.

I always could tell by the smile that he was pleased to see himself reflected in me. Then he’d add, more firmly, “Finish the chapter and get into the kitchen.” And I would.

When my son was small, I think his first library visit involved stepping up into the bookmobile that stopped on our Wenatchee block every couple of weeks.

Now my grandson Adam, who starts kindergarten in the fall, is excited to check out books from the library.

It warms my heart that my grandchildren love books. I want them to know the library as a good friend, a reliable source of knowledge and pleasure, a place of welcome and comfort.

Every time I walk into the Edmonds library, a couple of blocks east of the fountain on Main Street, I feel the same thrill I’ve always felt –– as a young child, a school girl, a teen-ager, a college student, a teacher, a mother, a reader and writer.

Wherever I’ve lived, at whatever age, I’ve known that the library would welcome me, at no charge, with resources for information and entertainment, helpful staff, ever-improving technology and special programs.

The Sno-Isle library system, especially the Edmonds library, enriches my life. I hope it enriches your life too.


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