Summer Refuge

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By Heidi Hess

Cartoon by Chris OBrion

100 degrees? No…my dashboard must be malfunctioning. One of the gages registers the temperature and she’s coming in at a sweltering 100 degrees. I have been a Palm Beach County girl since I was five years old and I can not remember a summer this hot and rainy in… well never. The weather has certainly been extreme. These conditions and a few random posts on Facebook got me thinking.

The random posts were the usual complaints about the excessive heat. But the one that caught my attention, and I hope gets you to rethink some things, was about our local library.  The post read: Destroy the myth that libraries are no longer relevant. If you use your library, please share. Did I share? Yep. And I’ll keep sharing. 

If you have been a local for any time, you know that we stay inside during the summer. Summer in South Florida is the equivalent of Canada in the winter. Can you go out? Yes. Is it dangerous – you bet. Summer is when we do some serious reading and movie-watching at my house. 

Growing up here, during the summer, you could find me at the Main Library on Summit Blvd, crossed-legged, leaning up against a wall in the kid’s section with stacks of books on either side of me. And then of course there were the movies they would play. The library always had entertainment on hand. 

This was also wwwwaaayyyyy before the internet (I think my age is hanging out…) and having a curious mind, I was always looking up different things. It was a constant source of knowledge. It still is. Can we Google anything at a moment’s notice? Yes, but having a large table with books opened to different pages and seeing everything laid out in front of me was, and is, different.

I’m here to tell you, Wellington, that you have a refuge right in town. Tired of being inside with the kids? Looking to do something that isn’t going to break the bank? Need the kids to be entertained for an hour so you can think a thought? I feel you and I got you. Now I know what you are thinking…it’s only for little kids. I mean do they have story times, snack times, and craft times for the littles? Yes. But, guess what? They have activities for teenagers as well. Learn to play Chess. Learn to play guitar. Hang out and talk manga with other people your age (your parents try to understand but…it’s just not the same). 

The library is so many things to so many people. I’ve often called it society’s common denominator. Everyone is welcome here and its resources can be accessed by anyone. We need to keep it relevant. We need to attend book discussions and story times. 

My kids grew up in the library and the librarians watched them grow. I’d like to see my grandkids grow up in their library and their kids too. That can only happen if we make an effort to support them. If we can’t donate to help fund programs then bringing our kids there to attend events will help. Showing up lets our local government know that we still care about these things and want to see them continue. 

So this summer go to the library. Take your kids, take your neighbor’s kids. I used to give my kids a reusable grocery bag and tell them they could check out as many books as they wanted, but only two movies. Hey – I was trying to raise readers. But if you want to fill your bag with all movies, rock on. 

Trust me, on the ride home, when the kids are in the back of the car, quietly sifting through their new treasure, you’ll thank me. Oh, and if you run into Marisa at the library, tell her Heidi said hello and thank you.