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Libraries are communities

December 5, 2011
 by Mike Kalmbach

Mike KalmbachFor the record, I love books.

When I was young, my mother did everything she could to instill a love of reading. She would take us once a week to our local library to check out a bounty of books. I couldn’t wait to solve mysteries with the Hardy Boys, visit mountains with Bilbo Baggins, or fly through space with Peter and Broxholm.

Libraries still offer these adventures, of course. But today they offer so much more. And I’m not just talking about movies, music, and Internet access.

What amazes me about today’s libraries is how they’ve evolved to become communities. Here in Rochester, volunteers tutor area students through the Homework Assistance program. Authors visit and offer tips for creating new stories. Children have story times several days a month. The library even offers free independent films and family movie nights.

The Rochester Public Library has also supported the Rochester MN Writing Group, which I lead, by offering free space once a month so writers can meet and improve their craft. With the support of the writing group, I recently self-published my debut novel, The Caldarian Conflict.

When I received my first batch of physical copies, one of the first things I did was donate three paperbacks and ten digital copies to the library in thanks for their support. Without our library, it would have been much more difficult to finish this book and to work on the others I have in process.

As a child, I never thought I could love libraries more. Libraries exposed me to many great books that I might not have found any other way.

As an adult, I find myself even more dedicated to libraries. More than a place for books, libraries have become a supportive community where people come together to learn and develop.

And I am proud to be part of that community.

P.S. The books I refer to in the first paragraphs are the Hardy Boys Mysteries by Franklin W. Dixen, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and My Teacher is an Alien series by Bruce Coville.

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