LARL Library Stories

Coco’s Story:
The library has been like a home away from home for me. It also has been a place for me to use the computer until I am able to afford my own. It was nice to be able to get on the internet and be able to use my kindle until I was able to afford internet as well. It is a great place to take my children and to instill in them a love for the library. My children love to be able to pick out their own books, movies and play computer learning games. They have been able to make crafts and even go to a tea party. They love to build things out of blocks and legos. They enjoy putting on a puppet show too. It is nice to be able to bring my kids to a place they enjoy that does not cost anything. My oldest daughter was so proud to get her own library card. Thank you library staff for all that you do.


Laura’s Story:
There isn’t a form in this world large enough to hold ALL the reasons why libraries are important to me or all the ways in which they have affected (IMPROVED!) my life. I’ll just list a few out of the many that immediately spring to mind.

I grew up in a different city than Moorhead but I could just as easily say that I grew up in a library instead of a city since my parents took me and my sisters to the library at least once a week every week. We couldn’t afford to buy all the books we wanted to read or needed to read for school; what family can? The library was an inexhaustible treasure-house that supplied me and my sisters with hours of pleasure, lots of imagination-stimulating experiences, and an abundance of solid information that we still use to this day. The love of reading that I gained through those library visits led directly to my career in teaching English at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

As someone who teaches not only English majors but students from all majors and all disciplines, I KNOW that it doesn’t matter what a student’s major is, where reading is concerned. A student’s ability to read easily and widely and his/her interest in doing so is THE overwhelming factor in that student’s success in his/her studies. There isn’t a subject in the world that can be completely mastered without some reading being involved. In the same way, there is no job in today’s world that can be performed at its best level without the person in that job being able to read well.

Do I even need to mention how crucial reading skills are to keeping up with today’s complex world, understanding the issues facing our country, and participating as an informed citizen in the democratic process?

Only easy access to vast numbers of books and other written materials – to more of them than any individual or family could possibly buy – can give people the extent of reading experience that *ensures* that people will be able to read easily, fluidly, comfortably.

There is *no other public institution* that is more important for promoting reading skills than the public library. Yes, I write that as someone who teaches in a public university. The distinction is that any school, whether grade school, high school, or university, has students for only a limited period of time. Public libraries serve people throughout their entire lives, from the time they are toddlers attending a storybook session to the time they are senior citizens checking out large-print editions or having access to the books chosen by their nursing home book club because the public library is working together with the nursing home to provide those materials. I can’t resist mentioning a personal connection here. The Moorhead Public Library has entered into precisely that collaboration with book clubs in local nursing homes, thereby adding to their already rich repertoire of community services. I had a friend in a local nursing home who died a few years ago, before this new partnership was established. My friend belonged to a book club and struggled to get a hold of the book for each successive meeting; I’m happy to know that other senior citizens will find their lives and their love of reading and discussion made a little easier now that this partnership is in place. The social stimulation, intelligent conversation, and companionship of book clubs are one way to keep people’s minds and spirits at their best even when physical frailties have set in. Aren’t we lucky that we have public libraries to help in this process?

Intellectual enrichment and enhanced mental development for children who need stimulation to reach their full potential, invaluable assistance for students of any age at any level in any subject, life enhancing pleasure for all people all the time, a foundation of knowledge that is an essential component of active citizenship: the public library provides all these things and more.

As a teacher, I know that the library is my best ally in helping our young people achieve all of which they are capable. As a private individual, I can’t imagine my own life without it.

What more can I say? Money spent on libraries isn’t given, it’s invested. It’s invested in our citizens and perhaps especially in the young and developing citizens whose early exposure to, and ongoing experience with, reading will help them build a brighter future for all of us.


Patti’s Story:
I love the Moorhead Library. To me the Library is tuition free life-long education. I am past formal education but materials found there keep me abreast of the advances in knowledge and changes being made. I can find information about technical changes on the internet and sociological changes in books, magazines and the internet. There are new models of artistic endeavors expressed in the same ways. I can even access government forms and information on their computers. While I am past the age of applying for jobs, many job openings are listed on the internet. The library offers group classes to discuss issues and ideas. They provide meeting space for many community groups. The staff is always ready to help my searches with methods using their new catalogs and programs. I volunteer to help shelve during this time of limited funding. I help raise money and volunteers with the Friends of the Moorhead Library. This helps me keep up with new ideas and concerns with the proposed solutions. That is life-long learning leading that leads to understanding.


Bonita’s Story:
I am the coordinator at the Frazee LINK but also a patron. Reading is my favorite pastime and I am so happy to have the LINK in our town. If it weren’t there, I simply would not read for many months at a time because I am not a brave soul when it comes to driving on ice or snow. Detroit Lakes is close but I still would not go there and get books. I would worry that if I could get there, I may not be able to get back to return the books. So I wouldn’t read. I don’t own a Nook or Kindle; I don’t like them and they feel the same about me! Besides, I like BOOKS! I enjoy my job at the LINK because I have contact with different books and authors. I often check out something that was just returned.


Laurie’s Story:
The Moorhead Library is such a part of my life that it’s hard even to describe. I stop in at least once a week to look for books on some current interest, pick up books or DVDs that were requested from another LARL location or scan the new book shelves for the latest titles. Since I often select items for another book collection, I preview them in the Moorhead Library, if possible, before actually buying them. Sometimes someone in my family needs information on some rather esoteric interest that the local library does not own. What to do? Just request through interlibrary loan from most any library in Minnesota — and like most library services, it’s free! Online services are wonderful too — as well as computer instruction and a variety of interesting programs. I could go on and on . . . Thank you for asking!!


Jack’s Story
I am really amazed to see how many changes have occurred in library service to my home town of Ada over the last 60 years, and can only feel tremendous gratitude for what has taken place.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, about 1950, the city library was on the top floor of the city hall building where Mrs. Louise Tufte greeted me at a desk.  There was no room to go into, you just asked her for a book at the desk at the door.  She suggested a book by Martin and Osa Johnson.  Later she worked at the high school library also.  In 1961 the library was in an old building near the high school, and I remember reading just about everything I could by Jack London and Stewart Edward White.  Mrs. Tufte became a friend and we would often visit a bit at the library.  I also had found a great collection of science fiction at the Moorhead public library, housed in that old Carnegie building where Rigel refrigeration is now, and read many of them.

At Memorial library at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1969, I had card catalog access to a great collection of titles throughout the university system – and it often required a trek across campus to get to the title in question.  I dreamed of a day when there might be some kind of computer access to all the world’s information.  That card catalog took up a large room just by itself.

By the late 1970’s personal computers were being sold and by 1984 I found I could connect my Apple IIe to the telephone line at 110 baud and have access to a new Minnesota wide public library catalog of all the titles in most of the system.  In 1996 I found I could get on this new thing called “the internet” and find all kinds of books I hadn’t had a chance to read before, although it was just text, not photos.

Now I have found that this miraculous combination of technologies has come together to where I can sit comfortably at home and have access to more of the world’s books, maps, audio and videos than I could ever hope to finish in a lifetime.  For people who don’t want to fight viruses and malware on their home computers, a new inexpensive item called Google Chromebook has appeared and shows a lot of promise:  it basically operates just like a terminal, with the operating system out on the network.  This is analogous to the system I used to learn computer programming at MSU in 1975-6, where we had telephone access to a mainframe in the Twin Cities via teletype machine.  Later they went to 300 baud and an actual video monitor and printer, so we could get nearly instant results.

Some fun experiences:  I had always wondered what hedgehogs looked like, ever since reading about them as a child.  So I looked them up on YouTube.  There is no better way I can think of to learn what they are and how they act.  Same thing goes for lots of exotic animal species.

I just want to thank LARL for having been a part of all this for this little corner of the world.  I only hope people appreciate it and make sure it doesn’t go away, what with all the rather frightening changes in our world recently.  As time allows, I hope to get completely logged in with the library system with all the magazines, books, etc.  I already have downloaded many classic books directly from a place called Gutenberg, but haven’t had the time to read most of them!  I was able to read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness on my little PDA, a TRGpro, as well as some of Herman Melville’s early experiences in the South Seas where he jumped ship to escape unpleasant shipboard working conditions.



Karen’s Story
I love the Moorhead Library. I’ve been an active user of libraries since I was a child when I’d take out a stack of books every week or two and work my way through them until the next library visit. I continue to check out and read or listen to quite a lot of books – far more than I could ever afford to buy or store in my home.

As an adult, I have also brought my children to the library to take out books and some DVDs as well as to attend child/youth programs. I regularly attend both the adult book group and the classics book group. I have read a lot of wonderful books that I might not otherwise have known about and I have learned a lot by discussing the books with other people. I’ve made friends there who share my love of books. As a result of discovering just how much I love to read a book and then discuss it with other people who have read the same book, I’ve also become involved with some online book groups. And, I’ve led book groups in my children’s school, which is something I might have done anyway if asked, but I was more excited about it and more confident about doing it because I’d become involved in book groups before that.

More recently, I started attending the Yarn Circle at the library and learned how to knit, which is something I’ve intended to do for a few years, but never managed to get to before. This is an example of the library as an important community center: the library has books available to help people learn to knit, but I was fortunate to have an experienced knitter teach me, which I found very helpful as a beginner. I’ve also gotten to meet authors whose books I’ve enjoyed and to hear them speak, which I’ve really appreciated.

The librarians are wonderful! They’ve been helpful whenever I’ve had a question, and I’ve gotten to know several of them through visits to the library and involvement in various library programs and events. They make the library a welcoming place as well as being a source for information and materials. And, they organize many fun, interesting and educational events.

My love and appreciation for the library has inspired me to get involved with the Friends of the Moorhead Library, as well as to become a library volunteer, helping to re-shelve books. I consider the library a very important part of my life and the lives of the rest of my family. It provides many different things to different people in our community and we are fortunate to have access to all it offers.

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