I’m happy to share my story – It’s one I have revisited in my mind many times! One of my earliest recollections as a toddler is going to the Charles County Public Library holding my mother’s hand. At that time, it was housed in a small two story brick building behind the Charles County Courthouse, still standing today, across Washington Avenue from where Sanders Insurance is today. It was a magical place where we picked out books together each week by Beatrix Potter, among others, and began my lifelong love of reading and books. As I moved into elementary school, the library also moved, into a space in the East Wing of the Courthouse. This is where I remember getting my very own library card! I can mentally walk into that library right now and find my favorite blue bound biographies of famous people. More than any history lesson in school, these books brought historical figures to life. I especially loved reading about women such as Dolly Madison, Louisa May Alcott, Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, and Harriet Tubman, and the men – George Washington Carver, various presidents, and inventors. I can also go to the shelves in my mind and find all the Betsy Books by Carolyn Haywood, the Sue Barton books about nurses, and the wondrous world of novels. I found the card catalog to be fascinating and loved the organization and information it contained. During my teens, the library had moved to the present location where I spent endless hours reading and doing research in the volumes of materials there, since this was before the internet! In my late twenties, I did what my mom had done – I took my little girls in hand to (of course) the library, where they had one of their first introductions to organized learning with other children during story time with Mrs. Pence. Our weekly visits also included their first hands-on computer experience as the library had one in the children’s section, long before we had one at home. It was during story time that I met one of my best friends of now almost 40 years, as she and her husband and small children had moved to the area and she, too, was there with her little ones. Through the years my family enjoyed many programs developed by the library, and I attended Girl Scout and other meetings and events in the facilities. When I asked my now-adult daughters about their favorite library memory they said “the paper mache dinosaur” made as part of a summer reading program. The public library has been a part of my life for decades and I treasure these experiences. Even in the world of high tech, to this day, the library is my go-to place for books. I am excited to see what the future will bring and, once again, I will embrace the next home for a new Charles County Public Library.
~Bonnie Levering Rafer