Great things going on at the library

Published 12:37 am Friday, September 28, 2012

One of the pillars of any community, in my opinion, is the library. And we in Selma and Dallas County are fortunate to have an active library that offers an array of opportunities for educational growth, especially for our youth.

Our library is so proactive, that it has made it their mission to register every first grader in the county and city with a library card — an extreme feat for an area like Selma and Dallas County.

I have been fortunate enough to witness two classes of first graders, one from J.E. Terry Elementary and the other from Clark Elementary, receive their very first library card.

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I have never seen so much excitement on a child’s face to officially become a library cardholder. When Becky Nichols, Selma-Dallas County Public Library director, premiered the shiny new cards to the crowd of 6-year-olds, shouts of joy could be head throughout the library. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on the new cards. After all the schools are registered, more than 600 first-graders will be official library members.

As I watched these young ones receive their cards, I couldn’t help but ask myself, when did I receive my first library card?

I can definitely remember visiting my local library as a child, although it was much smaller than the one Selma offers.

It was in an old brick building, just a few blocks down from my house. I remember there being just a few rows of bookshelves titled “children’s books,” and I would always look forward to visiting the library with my mother, who was an extreme bookworm herself.

And the librarian, I remember just looking at her in awe with her curly white hair and small spectacles. To me, she was one of the smartest women in the world.

Whenever I inquired about a book I wanted to read, which was usually a short story by Roald Dahl or a poem by Shel Silverstein, she would gladly look the book up in her dusty catalogs and find it for me.

Although I have all these great memories from my hometown library, I can’t remember receiving a library card at such an early age as our area first-graders.

The library can truly be a magical place, especially for children. It is so critical that our young Selma residents start visiting the library at an early age, because this is where a love for reading and education is cultivated.

We are truly lucky as a community to have a library like the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. Also, we are fortunate to have a library director who is so passionate about her community and making sure children stay active and engaged in their education. Nichols is always looking for new ways to encourage area children to stay active at their library, and it shows.

I’m sure many years from now, Selma and Dallas County children will look back on their time spent at their public library and smile, just like I do today.