Stephanie from New Richmond, Wisconsin

In 1997 at the age of 41, due to one of life's quirky changes, my library became one of the most important sources of entertainment and knowledge in my life. That was the year I became totally disabled due to Crohn's Disease, an autoimmune disorder that makes you feel like you have the "flu" all the time with abdominal pain, nausea, vomitting, weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea and bowel obstructions along with lots of other not-very-fun symptoms. I had to quit a job that I loved as a Triage Nurse and change my life completely. Prior to that time I had enjoyed an occasional visit to the Library and took great delight in introducing my daughter (when she was just a toddler) to the wonders and delights the Library has to offer.

I always had a few authors that I loved and usually only checked out their work. After going on disability I began to check out books by other authors and found an array of fabulous authors who filled my hours with page turning suspense and drama. Soon I became hungry for more and discovered biographies where I could step into the lives of famous people who we always think "have it all" and found that they lived through trials and tribulations just like the rest of us. I explored religion, money management, cooking, self-help, herbal remedies ~ a vitual rainbow of subjects that broadened my mind.

Being artistic and "crafty" I found that I could learn everything about any possible artistic expression that I wanted to explore. I checked out books on stamping, knitting, crochetting, woodworking, glass art, weaving, aromatherapy and SO MUCH MORE!!! These books gave me so much knowledge that I never would have taken the time to learn when I was working. The Library has expanded my mental horizons beyond belief.

I usually visit the Library every couple of weeks and check out 8 books as well as instructional and movie DVD's and books on tape. And all this knowlege and entertainment comes to me FREE which is really important because I live on a very limited income. The Librarians are fabulous and always help me find what I need. My Library also enables me to request books, DVD's and tapes from many other Libraries and notifies me when they have arrived for pick-up.

I am so grateful that I have the Library to help fill my life. I have expanded my world beyond that which I ever thought I could. In this respect my disability has been a blessing in disguise. I only hope that others will take time out from their busy lives to discover and appreciate all the wonders and knowledge their Library has to offer.