“This Library is everyone’s library.” – Roberta Covington, President of FOL
Sounds of laughter and giggles escape the door as you make your way inside. Behind the paned glass door is a big smile waiting to meet you. As you pull open the interior door, bursts of purple, blue, and green seemingly parade across the floor. You approach the counter and find that the big smile is accompanied by laughing eyes that wrap you in a snug and welcome you inside. Here you are not a stranger. Here, you are more than another patron. This, combined with the many useful services, keeps many families returning to the Library.
Step into Mrs. Janeka's “classroom” – the enclosed study room. The six homeschoolers and their parents are new patrons and find security and comfort in the study area at the Library. They return every day to learn, participate in programming, and use other services. “We came in on a Monday and since then have been back every day,” says mom. “They told us we were free to use this study room. The kids love participating in the different science experiments. The little ones love the children’s area too!”
“I love the touchscreen table,” chimes in Chase.
“I love making art with Mr. T,” says Aaliyah. Meanwhile, Dad, Dermaine, is at the copier, printing lessons and worksheets for each of the children.
Journey back nearly twenty years and you’ll find Janice Hamilton walking in Janeka’s shoes. Here she found culturally inclusive reading material as a teacher and a warm environment as a mother. After retiring, she decided to explore her longing love of craft through the knitting club, whose members pack the Library faithfully on Thursday mornings. Janice resembles a child on Christmas morning each time she arrives for knitting “This Library has all that you need,” she says smiling as she begins to work on the new stitch pattern assigned to the group. The crafters take joy in affirming one another when learning and or struggling with a new stitch pattern.
The group enjoys working together on meaningful projects such as the crochet coral reef and the giving tree, where knitted winter gear is hung on a tree for guests. It’s incredibly fun when the Library Specialist D’Juana, who’s approaching her 24th year at Stark Library, introduces a new stitch.
“It’s important to me that patrons feel welcomed regardless of the purpose for visiting,” says D’Juana, as she scans the room in awe of the group's collaborating efforts.
The constant sounds of delight and laughter are engrained in DeHoff. Branch Manager, Katherine Newcity, loves the uniqueness and closeness of the community, watching children filing into the Library after school, and seeing families returning regularly for programming.
The DeHoff Memorial Branch staff welcomes each patron, regardless of their purpose for visiting, with warmth and comfort as if they were guests in their home – because here, there are no strangers.