Long live our libraries

Jimmie Batchelor


Allow me to get personal concerning our local libraries. Being a writer, I love books, not a room in my house is without, but libraries offer so much more than shelves of books. In an effort to save county money, our libraries have lost operating hours which has hurt their employees and those of us who utilize our libraries frequently.

When I was working at Hidden Valley Senior Center, one of our guest speakers was a woman from our local library system. She was there to enlighten everyone on all the different programs and opportunities available at your library. I was disappointed in the turnout for this interesting program and afterward, many wished they had attended. I had asked one of the seniors why she didn’t attend and she replied, “What is there I don’t know about the library?” I answered, “That is exactly why you needed to attend the speaker’s lecture, to find out!”

I won’t attempt to list all of the values of our libraries, for that you should visit your local branch and discover for yourself. You will be surprised and just might find a program or service you never knew existed that can benefit you.

Libraries have always been a dear part of my life. All through school, we were provided a library that we visited weekly, promoting reading and the English language. My fondest memories are the yearly book fairs I faithfully attended with my family. My brother and I were allowed to choose one book. It was almost impossible to narrow my selection down to one, but I never left empty handed.

The very first public library I remember visiting by myself was a block down the street from my grandmother’s in a small South Georgia town. Having no air conditioning in the large old home in which she lived, I would escape to the little cinder block library situated in a grassy, park-like setting. I can still remember how very cold it felt, but it was so wonderful being out of the sweltering heat. I would delay my visit as long as possible before selecting my allotted number of books, mostly on subjects of horses or ballet.

Every summer that little library would offer programs for the children, keeping them busy and happy while out of school. I remember participating in a doll show. Both my bride dolls won ribbons, one for the “smallest” bride and the other for the “tallest” bride. One year, my best friend, Judy, entered my pet goat (my grandmother provided various animals for our visits through the years) in the pet show. He won for the “shortest tail.” You get the idea that all entries were awarded ribbons? I believe none of the children were wise to that. I know I wasn’t. I remember being so proud for my dolls and my little goat!

Libraries are wonderful places. They teach, mentor, and build skills and self-esteem. Their wealth of knowledge has no boundaries, all there for the asking.

Since retirement, I plan to spend every 2nd and 4th Sunday 2-4:00p.m. at the McDonough Library, Florence McGarity Boulevard, meeting with the Heritage Writer’s Group. Anyone interested may attend and join if they choose. Come and visit the library to see what is offered since your last visit to one of these wonderlands of opportunities. You will have no regrets.

Let’s support the good programs we have in Henry County, our libraries being at the top of the list. We cannot afford to lose them!

Jimmie recently retired from Henry Co. Senior Services in Stockbridge, where she managed Hidden Valley Senior Center and resided for 38 years. She plans to use her new found time writing (for The Times) and enjoying life!