The Superior Express -

Country Roads


September 17, 2020

There is a saying, “A book is a dream you hold in your hand.” There is nothing like the feeling you receive when on a snowy winter’s day, seated in a relaxing chair, wrapped up in a cozy throw, you hold a good book in your hands. Even on a summer’s day, walking out into the yard and seated on a blanket in the shade of a tree, it’s great to throw yourself into the pages of a book.

Memories as a child sitting on my mother’s lap I enjoyed listening to her as she read from a Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme book. I don’t know who enjoyed those classic rhymes more - Mother or me.

While living in Stockton as a young child, I was mystified walking up the concrete steps into the large Carnegie Library and looking upon the shelves and shelves of thousands of books. The librarian would guide my friend and me back to the children’s section where we’d each pick out two books to take home to read. I remember reading the Bobbsey Twins series of books and many others of that time.

The libraries in school held a world of information, but of course that was before computers came about. If there was information to find for writing a term paper, a person headed to the school library for help. It was handy finding an interesting book to create an assigned book report.

I think back to the library history in my hometown of Burr Oak. It certainly has come a long way from it’s humble beginnings. First started by the pioneer doctor who knew the importance of having a library, Dr. Hawley used his own books placed upon shelves in his office. He allowed others to check out those books. The first formal library in town was in the Methodist Church basement. It was started by the town’s business people and the doctor. For a time, the library was moved into what was then the city building and the town’s clerk also served as the librarian. The first library building I can remember in Burr Oak was a small building on a corner of the main street. That library was kept busy.

When the grade school was moved into the new school on main street, the former limestone schoolhouse became the town’s library. It served that purpose for many years. Mrs. Lila Dillon was the faithful librarian for several years. My two sons enjoyed going into that library and choosing books to read. They attended many summer reading programs. I served on the library board for a few years while it was in the former schoolhouse. It was a joy to read to my sons some of their favorite books and later reading to my grand daughters books such as There Is a Monster at the End of This Book, Green Eggs and Ham, Would You Could You and The Secret Garden. “There are so many little ways to enlarge a child’s world and the love of books is the best of all,” said Jacqueline Kennedy.

Today my hometown’s library was made possible by becoming a district library. It was planned, designed and built with a labor of love by many in the community and beyond. The library is a pleasure to visit and see the bright colors and uniqueness there. It beckons people to read. Features include a children’s section, an adult section, computers, a film screen area and seating areas for all ages throughout the library. Books are available for check out. The library has a large table and chairs where group meetings can be held. An outdoor seating area and colorful flowers are on two sides of the building.

Most every town in this area has its own library. Some of the libraries have a research area where people working on their family’s history can seek out information. The Jewell County Reader’s Club meets regularly reviewing books the club members have read. Schools still have their own libraries. Having reading options are so important.

In recent years E-reading is offered online. Some people have taken advantage of this kind of book reading method, but to me nothing replaces holding the book itself and turning the pages by hand. Some books can never be put down until the last page is read. Others are read from time to time. The book is laid down next to my chair and at just the right time it seems to call my name to pick it up and read it once again. It is said that “no two people read the same book” and this is true as I’m sure the reader club members have found out.

I hope reading books plays an important part in your life. Visit your local library soon.


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