The Waterville Public Library is much more than a media service. The welcoming culture of the library creates a fertile space for community members to be together. The library is a community hub. In our society today, there are few places that function as a “commons” where people can come together, which is what makes the library a gift to the community.

The reasons for using the library are diverse and beyond the simple search for media. For instance, I often meet people who are new to the community and looking to connect. They bring their children to read books. They are welcomed by the librarian and learn of the programs the library offers, such as “Crafternoons” on Tuesday, and decide to participate. While the kids enjoy making crafts that connect to nature or imagination, the caregivers meet with each other and the library staff, participating in conversation and community without even realizing it.

From there, curiosity is shared and sparked, and the next thing you know, people are sharing what they are passionate about with each other. We learn from and benefit each other. Being in each other’s sphere of life would not happen for most of us, and it would not happen to the degree and high quality that it does without the library creating a place where we can share life together in a positive, affirming way.

The cycle continues and spreads. The librarian listens to our passions, questions and inspirations, and then connects us to stories, ideas or others, enriching our lives. This all happens so smoothly that friendships develop among the patrons and staff. We realize that we are not separated, but that we share in community life together. The library is a tide, raising all ships for those of us who are lucky enough to participate in this community gift.

 

Nicholas Lykling

Fairfield


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