About Town by Joyce Coulson
Getting to Know the Library after a Long Absence
Local town libraries have always held a special place in my heart. I grew up out in the middle of nowhere with an hour or more bus ride to and from school each way (depending on the weather, sobriety of the bus driver, etc.). There were three TV channels and no internet. The nearest town of 900 hardy souls had an elementary, middle and high school all on one campus. I was chosen as one of the elementary students to be able to use the high school library and, after I had read my way through that, once a week I was allowed to visit the town library during school hours. It was my haven. I always left the library with a stack of books almost as tall as I was. I read my way through history, biography, politics, and then I discovered Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. I prided myself on being able to judge how good, bad, or indifferent each book would be based on the cover art. Being an omnivorous and passionate reader made me want to be a writer and it is fair to say that I would not be who I am today were it not for the Bellevue Township Public Library.
I had not been to our library in absolutely forever and, after seeing all of the events and services listed in their newsletter, I figured I had better hustle on down and check it out. Cook Memorial Library is airy and spacious and welcoming. Also welcoming was Ryan at the front desk, who quickly ascertained that I needed a new library card, as mine was woefully outdated. This was an easy process and I now am able to access everything from books, audiotapes, computers, interlibrary loans, 3-D printing, and even a library of things.
I haven’t had a chance to really dive into all of their services, but I did register for the SAGE interlibrary loan system and put a book on hold (I’m ninth in line)! I also signed up for their Wowbrary newsletter for my own personal copy, listing all of the library’s upcoming events and book clubs, along with new acquisitions and services. I was particularly intrigued by the “library of things”—a collection of items ranging from a telescope to learning kits for STEM and music and so much more. The library also has free passes for museums around the state. My sister and I actually used the museum passes to visit the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and it was beyond wonderful!
My big takeaway after visiting Cook Memorial Library is that if you have children (or are a child at heart yourself), the library offers so much and is an absolutely magical place. Somewhere in La Grande or the surrounding area, there is a child or grownup for whom the library is a solace, a gateway to adventure, an inspiration for a career, and a place to grow. Cook Memorial Library is one of the notable factors that contributes to La Grande’s ambience and character.
Check out Cook Memorial Library’s website and find something that intrigues you:
Engage the community to create a welcoming and economically diverse downtown rooted in