Avon Park Library Library Columns

Libraries are for everyone, not just book lovers by Bari Lotts

APL Librarian

While watching the film Light of my Life this weekend, I was reminded of the importance of libraries. The dad, played by Casey Affleck, tells his daughter Rag, “stories are important and good because they connect us to other people, and they make the world seem like a bigger place”. The film, about a father and daughter living in isolation, reminds us that everyone’s story counts and, more importantly, that stories are not just found in books! Rather, stories take shape in our day-to-day lives. They are born from trips to the grocery store, carlines at our children’s school, cards in the clubhouse, cook outs with friends and family, working on the car on Saturday morning and, more recently, waiting in line for life-saving vaccinations. Every one of us has a story and every story is worthy of being told. Libraries help us tell our story.

Libraries provide something called a “third place”, meaning a place that is not home and not work. The library third place not only allows us to develop our own story but also gives us the opportunity to learn and grow from the stories of others.  It is a place where we can choose to commune with others and share our story or enjoy being alone and return to or recreate our story. In the library, we get the chance to interact with people from many different social ranks, cultures, and interests and, through these interactions, discover our common humanity. Each of us play many roles in our daily lives: mother, father, brother, sister, parent, partner, child, student, worker, caregiver, friend. Libraries provide tools that help us learn how to be better at what we do or teach us how to do something entirely new. The library helps us feel like part of our community or just feel like part of something, something different.

Here in Highlands County we are fortunate to have access to three wonderful libraries in Avon Park, Lake Placid, and Sebring and also the many member libraries in the Heartland Library Cooperative, the Tampa Bay Library

Consortium, and the Southwest Florida Library Network. Come for a visit and let us know how we can help you discover your story!

If you would like to support Highlands County Libraries come to our BLOW OUT BOOK SALE at the Avon Park Public Library any Friday during the months of May through August between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM and purchase any hardcover book for only 50 CENTS! While you’re there, consider becoming a Friends of the Library member for only $10.00 per year. Your annual membership includes 10 free books!