Dear Decorah Public Library,
I miss you so much!
I miss walking up the stairs and being greeted by the staff, a feeling of entering a common home. I miss the sunlight coming through the east windows in the morning, coming through the west windows in the evening. I miss the coming and going of the youngsters and their caregivers into the childrens’ area, where Rachael the children’s librarian welcomes them with such kindness and care. I miss the energy that I can feel as Rachael is preparing for a children’s program: an art project, a read-in, a singing circle. I miss the particular kind of quiet up in the atrium in the middle of the day.I miss arriving in the evening among a steady flow of other community members for another great public presentation. I miss the book displays, always brilliant and attractive, luring me to take another book home. I miss the free access to so, so much great stuff. I miss seeing the regulars at the public computers. I miss seeing and getting to meet people who I would run into nowhere else. And I even miss the funky half-working water fountain in the old postal office memorabilia room.
Dear library, you are such a special, vibrant, important place! A sanctuary, a democratic commons, and a community center, all under one roof. And though my gratitude for you is not newly-realized, this time of being shut off from you has amplified that gratitude and added a strong measure of longing, hope, and fervor–for now I know what it is like to live without you and it is not ok. We need you.
I know that our library staff are working hard to keep providing access for us even in these strange times. People can sign up for a library card at the website (www.decorah.lib.ia.us), children’s programming continues through facebook, and ebooks, audiobooks, and films are available through the website too. Thank you. Director Kristin Torresdal, Rachael Button, Nick Chill, Carmen Buss, Deanna Hageman, Julie Ohde, Erin Larson, Ann Neuzil, John Pankow, John Romelton, Heidi Swets, Mark Whelen, Angela Henry, Blair Shaffer, and Rachel Uhlenhake.
I miss you. On behalf of hundreds in our community, I thank you. Thank you for making our library a wonderful place to be. May we be together again soon, there in that common space that is big enough to hold all of our ideas, ways, and needs.
40 year patron
And grateful taxpayer