Lai Hwa from Fremont, California

Oh my gosh ... it has changed my life so much and this is within a span of a year.

I am a stay-at-home mom to two rambunctious boys. Motherhood did not come easily to me mainly because of the challenges my firstborn presented. To cut a long story short, he had severe eczema during the first year of life. Severe allergies and asthma from 6 months onwards. Prior to having him, I always thought that motherhood consisted of feeding them the foods I ate, baking cookies and taking them to school. Unfortunately, none of that came true. He had weeping skin rash from head to toe. He has severe food and environmental allergies. His asthma gets triggered by exposure to his allergens and cold viruses.

I obtained a library card when older son was three at which he was tested for speech delay. I didn't use the card until he turned five. For two years, we've been trying out alternative treatments for his asthma but with no success until someone recommended a particular modality. I took him there but didn't understand what was going on. It made me wonder if I'm wasting my time. I found a few books in the library that explained about the process of their treatments and it convinced me that there may still be some hope. There is. My son is healthier today. Without those books, I might not have remain faithful for the length of the treatment.

Through this alternative medicine, we found out that he has environmental allergies. He always coughed whenever he went to the certain places, including his school. I had to make that decision whether to home-school him or not. There are lots of books on education in the library that helped me reach my decision. I believed it's the best decision for him even when others did not think so. I learned about the various options of home-schooling too and how I can be a better teacher to my son.

The program I chose provided speech therapy. The library has books on IEP so I knew of my rights. If I hadn't read the books, I wouldn't have had the courage to request for those services.

I also love the online website and the variety of hours at my local library. Besides having my son's asthma triggered by the air in the library, both my boys think that the many book shelves are a playground for hide-and-seek. I cannot go there without losing my mind. With the online services, I found books appropriate for my children's age, reserved them and spend just a few minutes in the evenings picking them up. I'm just so grateful for those late hours when the library stays open.

Both my children have eczema on their legs. The pyjama pants sold at the retail stores were either snug-fitting cotton or loose-fitting polyester fabrics. Both were itchy and uncomfortable to their tender skins. I picked up a few books on sewing and was on my way to making comfortable cotton pants for my kids. I'm not dependent on the retail stores anymore. It gave me a sense of freedom that I can make clothes for my children.

I have been cutting my family's hair since I got married. I've been to a hair salon once to cut my own hair but they always end up cutting it the same old way. I found a video and books on haircutting from the library. Within a few days of reviewing it, I cut my own hair! I can't wait to cut my family's hair with this new found knowledge.

At the end of the day, I am usually quite knotted up in stress. I would snuggle up in my bed with a good book from the library and travel to castles, western frontiers, England, France  and other imaginative places. And it's all free from the library.

The library has given skills to my hands, courage and freedom to my heart and hope for my children's future