Library Committee Celebrates National Book Lovers Day

There are few things more easily rewarding or relaxing than escaping into the world of books. Whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, we’re able to explore new ideas, challenge our perspectives, dream, wander, feel less alone, reflect, cherish, and even weep at the stories of characters and what resonates with us. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures- to be able to pick up a novel, without any prior knowledge, and be changed by its writing, its character, or what reminded you of your childhood. Anything is possible in between the front and back cover. As we age and our bodies can do less physically, what a gift it is to still feel stimulated by a good novel or inspired to research a prominent character in history. We may travel less, but our minds have infinite possibilities to escape and explore unchartered territory through books.

Givens Gerber Park bookmarks, painted by Ms. Stauber, member of the Library Committee

For National Book Lovers Day, we sat down with our Library Committee at Givens Gerber Park, who laughed at me for asking a question where the answer was obvious, “Why is our library important to this community?” It is no doubt the residents who make up the committee are dedicated, passionate, and well-humored as they unanimously agreed, without needing to say so with words, that reading satisfies the soul and benefits everyone. Mr. McEwen, a committee member, expressed importance for the library because “many residents don’t or can’t have vehicles, and this is just one of many ways that they can stay engaged within those limitations.”

The Library Committee at Givens Gerber Park started organically with the initiative and passion of our first residents. Ms. Stauber moved in when the building was brand new, and the library shelves were empty. Before the holidays she asked if she could stock some books, so that residents moving into a brand-new building would have some familiarity of it feeling more like home, with full shelves of books in spines of many colors. What a simple thing that a full bookshelf makes us feel more comfortable in a space. With the help of some neighbors, they shelved 400 books, founding the Givens Gerber Park library. Since conception, it has grown from a committee of one to a committee of five and from 400 books to approximately 3,600. Since the beginning, it has always been resident run and on a seemingly non-existent budget. When it first opened, our then Community Manager gave Ms. Stauber $100 to spend on books; with pride she reminisced on spending $1 per book to add 96 more to their collection, saving the $4.00 for the next time the committee made a trip to the local library or bookstore.

Residents browsing for their next read

A labor of love and with a couple of dollars, they’ve cultivated spaces around our community for residents to access easily. The goal is for everyone to read, and they really hope that everyone does and that everyone feels welcome to borrow books, make recommendations, and continue to learn. The committee of residents come from diverse backgrounds, but one thing that is apparent is their love of community and love of books. One committee member, Ms. Dorr, has a master’s degree in library science and has taken initiative to catalog the books so residents can access that online. Another committee member, Ms. Dye, joined the committee with eagerness to meet like-minded people and volunteer her time to do something valuable. Ms. Franklin, the committee’s newest member, said “I’m an avid reader, and I’m so excited to be around folks who love to read.”

National Book Lovers Day is celebrated on August 9th and our library committee is hosting a drop-in day for residents who are interested in getting involved, volunteering their time (or books), and are asking residents to share their favorite authors so they can fill the shelves with more of what interests the community. They are hopeful to start book clubs, bring in more diverse authors and subjects, and update their selections. With vision-impaired reading machines, printers/ copiers, computers, large print books, etc. available for our residents, the library is an oasis and a resource. “This is a special kind of library,” one committee member said, and we nodded in agreement. Special may mean something different to each member, but it is undoubtedly that which is tended to with such care and a place that all are welcome.

A quiet corner in our community, Givens Gerber Park Library