Many of you out there share my love of reading. I believe most of us have our kids enrolled in the summer reading program at our libraries. Reading is FUNdamental, as the old literacy slogan used to say. I believe that. With all that is in me, I believe in reading.
Well, I am writing to tell you, that while Hope, Arkansas has many wonderful qualities, it does have one flaw. The library is lacking. Big time.
Upon registering for the reading program and getting our cards, I found out that no one knows what the prizes for the program are. No one knew the minimum requirements. No one knew anything about it, other than you got a reading log, which only kept track of number of books read, not the time you spend reading. My son can count the number of books, because his books are short. My daughter reads longer chapter books, and therefore doesn’t read as many. “Okay. I’ll make up my own incentives, and not even worry with this contest.” I thought.
We explored this library and it took all of twenty minutes; all the while I was struggling to keep my mouth from standing open in disbelief at how small this library is!! “This is Bill Clinton’s birthplace? And Mike Huckabee’s???” I thought as I perused the shelves. The books are ancient. They charge a .50 fine per item, per day! That isn’t too bad, if they had something to show for it, but they don’t!! So this tells me one of three things: 1. no one uses this library 2.everyone is extremely conscientious 3. they are blowing the revenue from fines on magazine subscriptions. There are no videos either.
But, my dear book loving friends, here is the most disturbing part:
Today I went to try to find some books for the kids. They were all sick and I thought it would be a nice surprise, and something quiet for them to do. I checked out my few things. I could only get three mystery books for Lauren because you cannot check out more than three books on any given subject. I headed to the desk to check out. I asked the lady if their was another branch (hoping against hope in Hope) sadly, she shook her head “no”. I asked about inter-library loans, and to my horror and dismay she said “No, we don’t do that.” Trying to hide my shock and be kind, I said “You’re kidding.” (smiling). “No. We used to do it but it just got out of hand.” I’m thinking, “Got out of hand? As in “we had people lined up to the street to borrow a book from another county??” I can’t believe that. I took my books and headed out the door. That was it. I had no way out. No other branches to patronize, no inter-library loans??? They certainly had no funds to start purchasing more media. My library loving life was over, or so it seemed.
When I arrived home, I found out that I can get a library card to the Texarkana public library or the Nevada county library. These are near to us, so at least it is something.
My feeling of desperation assuaged somewhat after hearing this news.
Still, I am absolutely amazed at this. My library is my gateway to other worlds!
“So, what’s your point, Valerie?” you may be asking. Well it is this:
If you have a great library, then please tell them the next time you drop in. Or write to them and say thank you. Bake them some homemade cookies. Buy them a Christmas gift. Pay a fine you don’t owe. Do something, but whatever you do, do not take it for granted. If you have a good library, then you have a wonderful window to the world, and that, my friend, is priceless.

4 thoughts on “My Window to the World

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so sorry that you don't have a good library. We use ours so much and I can't imagine our life without it. I hope you can find a better library somewhere nearby.



  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Valerie, that would so totally stink!! I really feel for you!! We have awesome libraries here. Hopefully, this will help Melanie realize there are a few nice things in North Carolina!!! LOL
    I hope those other libraries turn out to be a lot better. I think you should write a letter to the editor of your paper – maybe it will bring it to the attention of the public!! And you know, when all else fails, hit the book section of Goodwill or the Salvation Army!! 🙂
    Kim Winemiller 🙂
    (Melanie's friend in NC)


  3. Mother says:

    Have you been able to contact the mayor's office yet? I'm as amazed as you are. It certainly makes the Saline County Library look even better!

    Love you.


  4. Valerie,

    Thank you for your post. Fortunately “Reading Is FUNdamental” that created the “old” slogan is still around!

    Last year we gave 4.6 million children 16 million books. We have great on-line resources at as well…

    Look for us on YouTube and you can take a walk down memory lane with our PSA's from the past.


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