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Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 8:05 am

My Take

By mark McGee

No matter how many times I visit a library it is never enough.

This is National Library Week and it is a good time to talk about how lucky we are to have the Shelbyville-Bedford County Library. The Friends of the Library are hosting a coffee on Friday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

As a member of the Library’s Board of Trustees I urge you to make every effort to attend. You will quickly find out that while books are the mainstay of any library, technology is also a growing and important part of the offerings with a bank of computers for free public use.

Under the leadership of library director Margaret Petty many enhancements are being added.

The History Room is one of the more popular areas of the library. A new printer and scanner have been added to the room to make is easier for those performing research, particularly in genealogies, and to help extend the life of some of the more fragile editions.

The late Sidney Sheldon, a novelist, was quoted as saying, “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.”

Of all the quotes I have read about the importance of libraries what he said certainly has applied to me in my library experiences.

I can remember sitting in a blue chair to the right of the entrance of the old Argie Cooper Library and reading the “New York Times.” The quality of the writing, especially the sports pages, was outstanding.

But most of all I would read about all the sports, concerts, Broadway shows, and other events being held in the New York City area. I was motivated to do more than read about them. I wanted to be there and eventually I was able to start making trips to the Big Apple.

I love writing, but I enjoy the research required for many of my projects just as much. In addition to my local library card, I also have a card for the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Even with the convenience of the Internet much of my research still requires time in libraries.

In college, while most of my fellow students cringed at research paper assignments, I always looked forward to the challenge. And in the days before the Internet that research meant trips to several libraries to pore over books, newspapers, and magazine.

When I walk into a library my first impression is there is so much to learn. And there is no way to absorb it all.

Through technology there are various ways to read a book. But like feeling the pages of a newspaper in my hand instead of on a computer screen I like to be able to hold a book while I am reading it.

I’m not much of a fiction reader, but I love good history and sports books.

I invite you to attend the coffee at the Shelbyville-Bedford County Library. If you have never been, this is a great time for your first visit. Join the Friends of the Library and provide your financial support.

If you don’t have a library card then this is a great time to get one. You will be surprised what worlds it will open up to you.