What Libraries Mean to Me by Jerri Keele

Feb 4, 2016 by

Our guest author blog series continues with an installment from Jerri Keele. Don’t forget, the Friends of the Library Book Store Half-Price Sale ends this Saturday, February 6, so now is the time to get out there and stock your shelves!


What Libraries Mean to Me

By Jerri Keele

When I was a child I was a latch-key kid before the term was ever coined. For two glorious years, however, we lived in an apartment across the street from the local library. I would spend my after-school hours there, first doing my homework, and when that was done, reading my way through the shelves and shelves of books. Ballet Shoes, and all the other wonderful “shoes” books by Noel Streatfeild, Little Women, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and just about anything by Beverly Cleary provided my entertainment in the early years.

When I exhausted the juvenile section, I wandered into the main part of the library, sometimes picking up a book my mother had requested I check out for her. It was there I fell in love with authors such as Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and Robert A. Heinlein. As my teen-aged years began I explored Philip Roth, James Michener, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Chaim Potok, and even Jacqueline Susann.

And while some people at the time may have felt I was reading above my level, I was reading. Everything. Anything. And I preferred to do this reading at my local library. It was quiet, peaceful, had the most exceptional smell about it, and I could hide in the stacks if I so desired. I often read while sitting cross-legged on the floor. Our library was small, and didn’t sport the nice cushy, comfy chairs of today’s libraries. Hard wooden chairs and wooden tables were our only choices. I didn’t mind one bit. As long as I was there, in the arms of the greatest babysitter I could ever have wanted.

I often hear people today say horrible things like “the printed word is dying,” or “why should I go to the library when everything I need is on the Internet?” My response is always quick: Because libraries feed our souls. When I was a child, the library only held books, but today one can surf the internet, apply for jobs online, do research, join summer reading programs and after school programs, and borrow music and videos in addition to books. So, why should I limit myself to the Internet when I can have all of that and more at my local library? And enjoy that heavenly fragrance of… books.


Jerri Keele resides with her husband, two dogs, and three cats in Salem, Oregon. She is still an avid reader and spends most of her time raising funds and awareness for her favorite charities. She has recently published her first book, and all royalties go directly to one of those charities, The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation. She is currently working on a sequel, with the royalties slated to benefit that same charity.

Purchase Jerri Keele’s book, A Monkee On My Shoulder

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