Sunday, July 11, 2010

IMHO: The library changed my life

"A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life."
-- Henry Ward Beecher

The fact is that the Troy Public Library will close next summer unless a proposal for funding is placed on November's ballot and approved by the voters.

Yesterday, I attended a rally held by the Citizens to Save the Troy Public Library.

As a journalist, I must be impartial. But, as a citizen of Troy who loves the library, I am partial to the cause.

Here is what I can do: I can present the facts in a timely, accurate manner. So, that is what I will do.

That said, here's a fact -- the library changed my life.

I haven't always loved living in Troy. Like every city, it has its positive and negative aspects. Yet, when I count my blessings, I find that Troy has given me opportunities that I might not have found in another city.

It began with a writing workshop offered at the library called "Taking Leaps." I thought the title was very appropriate because I was taking a midlife leap into self discovery.

The workshop was presented by author, journalist, and farm girl Iris Underwood who became a source of great encouragement as well as an exemplar.

The first thing I learned was that poetry was not for wimps. One of the first projects I wrote for the workshop was a sestina -- a complex form of poetry. I went on to write short stories, and feature articles. I repeated the workshop again -- and again half-way.

The ultimate goal was to take the leap into publishing. It took some time -- along with a lot of rejection -- but finally I published a series of columns in Suburban Lifestyles about my experience training for and participating in the 3-Day breast cancer walk in 2006.

I also attended several more of Iris' wonderful workshops -- all presented free thanks to the Friends of the Troy Public Library. These included journaling, memoirs, and exploring women in literature.

Having rediscovered my love of writing, I decided to pursue a latent dream of studying journalism. I finally found the courage to return to college in the fall of 2007. I will graduate from Oakland University this December.

My experience at Oakland reaffirmed where I belong. I found kindred spirits in the journalism department and later in the women and gender studies program. Although the scene of the world continues to change -- I'm on my way. Who knows where my journey will take me.

And it all started at the Troy Public Library.

How many other lives have been changed because of the library, I don't know. But, what I do know is that others will not have the same opportunities if the library closes permanently.

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