Leona from Audubon, Oregon

Many people remark that libraries open their minds to a world of possibilities. For me, libraries have done even more. If it were not for Conwell Library at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1947, I would not have met my husband. We will mark our 58th anniversary March 13. So, entering the library that magical day, truly transformed my life.

I was a junior, enrolled in Secondary Education. When my sociology teacher assigned a project requiring several resources, I went to the college library to find them. During those years there were no computers. Students had to hand write withdrawal slips to obtain their books. After filling out 14 slips, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the assignment with me. If I returned these books, I would have to fill each slip out again. I needed another solution.

When I looked around the room, I saw a handsome young man. He was looking at me, too, so I approached him. "Would you mind minding my books for a short time?" I asked him. He agreed.

That was the beginning of our romance.  During the remainder of the school year, we did many assignments together at Conwell Hall Library. Before the semester ended, we were married. Within the next few years, we became parents of three children. Thus, my days revolved around them and thoughts of completing my college degree were put on hold. But, they remained inside my heart.

Marcia, Barbara and Gary were all in school and I hoped to realizel that dream, when along came Tami. She was nine years old when I read "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Freidan, a "call to arms".

I had several interviews and was accepted back to Temple University on a part-time basis.  Immersed mentally in my classes, I soon turned to my neighborhood librarian, Mary Knowles, for her expert advice and help. She searched for and found books I needed to use for classroom assignments. When I started my student teaching at a center city Philadelphia high school, she continued to provide books with helpful ideas.

After graduation, I began to substitute, always with a book in my hands, looking for ways to get the students involved. During one of those days I was called for an interview The principal later told me it was my book that convinced him of my enthusiasm. He hired me, and my 20 years as a classroom teacher of English, grades 10 through 12, began. I made sure that my students visited the school library often and realized its value.

After an often rewarding and some time difficult career, my husband and I decided to retire to Florida. We found a home and then a library. With no lesson plans to prepare, I could read anything I yearned for, and I did. We visited the Vero Beach Library often and were grateful for its proximity.

After 10 years there, we moved 30 miles South to St. Lucie West. There, Florida Atlantic University and Indian River Community College combined their campuses and offered their contents to students and the public.  The librarians there became dependable friends, reserving our book requests and suggesting others they knew we'd enjoy. In fact, Elaine suggested that I write for this contest.

Since those librarians had become like family members, there was mutual sadness and regret when we made the decision to return to our home state of Pennsylvania and live closer to our children.

So, here we are in Audubon, new members of the Lower Providence Township Library. And, it is providential that we have new friends in these librarians, who greet us warmly, locate the books we seek cheerfully, suggest titles, and renew the magic, offering knowledge, tranquility and friendship.

No matter where we live, once we find our library, we are at home.