Library Story

A Library Story: From Sparta to Jamestown via Libraries

Jill Shaffer is an Ecologist for the USGS, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, ND

Libraries are the dynamic testament to a community’s need for intellectual stimulation and sense of community.  I can’t imagine a thriving community without a library.  My own library story begins at the Sparta Free Library in small town Sparta, Wisconsin.  It was built with funds by Andrew Carnegie in an impressive neoclassical revival style of architecture and was the site chosen by my senior class for our class photo.  I have fond memories of the beautifully illustrated set of Beatrix Potter books, and I avidly devoured every Walter Farley book in The Black Stallion series, igniting a love for horses and riding that will never diminish.

As an adult and parent, I have found the Alfred Dickey Public Library to be a resource that I continually draw upon, both personally and as my son, Dillon, progresses through the stages of child development.  For an economically minded parent, the library can’t be beat for the breadth of resources.  A modern library is so much more than books.  The Alfred Dickey Public Library provides movies, both of an entertaining and an educational nature.  When  Dillon was in elementary school, we visited weekly to pick out not just Bob the Builder and Dora movies, but also movies in the Bill Nye the Science guy series, and movies on machines, and rocks, and so many other topics fascinating to a young child.  We picked out books-on-tape for long rides back to Wisconsin.  Dillon participated in the summer reading program.  He used the computers.  And it was all free!  What a bargain!  As a Cub Scout leader, the wonderful librarians helped me with many a Cub Scout program, hosting meetings and helping to locate resources for scout topics.

Now that Dillon is in middle school, I am very appreciative that the Library is so conveniently located for those times when he needs to wait after school until I can pick him up. What better place than a library – where he is exposed to limitless new ideas!  He just recently attended a program on building his own computer—boy, did that get him excited!  The large number of other children that frequent the library for the same purposes serves as just one reminder of why the community will benefit from the expansion of our library.  To say it is an investment in our future is trite, but sometimes trite statements ring with the truth!

As an adult who has served on several boards focused on youth and education, I so appreciate the benefits of the Library in serving children and families of all socioeconomic levels.  For a child who comes from a family that can’t afford books, or that doesn’t appreciate the power of books, the Library can fill a gap that might not otherwise be available to that child.  The Library also provides safe access to computers and the Internet, thus again, helping to level an unbalanced socioeconomic playing field in the community.  To me, this is one of the most important societal values that a library provides to a community.

And then there is the library that I draw upon — just for me.  While going through a particularly stressful period a few years back, I turned to the Alfred Dickey Public Library for some daily diversion and chanced upon several authors that continue to delight me to this day.  I am a regular patron of the Inter Library Loan System.  I can read in a magazine about a new book on some esoteric subject and have it on order down at the library within a few hours.  I still like the feel of a book in my hand, but I have on occasion utilized their e-reader capabilities, and find the audio books indispensable for long trips.   A community without a dynamic library would be an intellectually depauperate place to live—I hope I never have to live in such a community!  I think I’m going to suggest that Bill Kennedy start a Love your Library week!!

*United States Geological Survey

Book Mobile, Bookmobile, Libraries, Library

Why A Bookmobile?

The bookmobile serves over 2,000 square miles of Stutsman County. It provides over 35% of the circulation for the James River Valley Library on the days it travels. Early readers, elementary students, high school students through seniors are given an opportunity to read and learn.  This opportunity would not exist without the bookmobile. Bags of requested materials are included with the typical shelves of books and magazines to choose from. These are books that seniors, parents, teachers and students have asked to be delivered. Couldn’t they just go pick up what they wanted at Alfred Dickey or the Stutsman County Library?  No. If the bookmobile did not exist, these early readers, 3rd graders, high school students, parents, teachers, seniors, would go without.

It is one thing to say that the bookmobile is important to the county as I sit at my desk in the Stutsman County Library. It is a totally different experience after I have had the opportunity to visit a few of the 23 locations that  the bookmobile serves. The importance of the bookmobile to the kids in Medina and Cleveland, Ypsilanti, Montpelier and Adrian can only be shown by the expressions on their faces as they find the book they were looking for.

It can only be understood after personally delivering bags of books to the James House after Bookmobile travel was cancelled because of weather. Thanks to Maybelle and Virgina for being patient as their bags of books were delivered. Maybelle says that she is “so happy that the bookmobile comes. I’m not driving anymore.”  Virginia says that the “Bookmobile is my lifeline.”

Maybelle & Virginia At the James House

Often, the love for books makes new friends. Maybelle told Alethea about the Bookmobile and Althea’s first words were, “Get me a schedule!” She went on to explain that “I get great joy out of reading. I am one with the characters.”

Maybelle Tells Alethea About the Bookmobile

The importance of the Bookmobile can only be understood after seeing the smiles and hearing the thank you’s from students and parents. Those thank you’s and smiles deliver the truth about the importance of the bookmobile.Thanks to Bryce, Lane and Jason in Montpelier for their excitement. Thanks to Megan, Makenna, Alexis and Chloee in Medina for their love of books.

Bryce, Lane & Jason

Megan, Makenna, Alexis & Chloee

If you have any doubt about the importance of the bookmobile, make a visit to one of the many locations the bookmobile visits.

For more information, give us a call at 701-252-1531. For a schedule of the days and locations visited, click on this link:   Bookmobile Schedule