This week’s article was penned by team member Ashley Mangin. Ashley works in our Circulation Department and brings a special joy and enthusiasm to her work. This article originally appeared in November 16th’s O’Fallon Weekly.

November is a time of turkey and thankfulness. We gather around tables filled with family we’ve been born to or chosen to be a part of. Our hearts are filled with thanks while we are filled with pie. Now I’ll admit, there have been years when I haven’t felt super thankful.

Especially during the height of the pandemic when I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and kids and we couldn’t be with a group. That was a hard one because I really consider Thanksgiving to be a holiday you spend around people. I remember as a kid, we would go to Thanksgiving dinners at relatives houses almost all month.

This year, I’m feeling a little more thankful.

Last month, I went with a coworker to a handful of different libraries as part of the Library Crawl event put on by over 100 of the libraries in the Illinois Heartland Library System, or IHLS, and I have to say, our community is very fortunate. We have a great library that is not only full of books, but is also a great space. So today, I’d like to talk about some things about the library that I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that I can share stories with people. Not just the books, though those are great, but people’s stories. Every so often a patron comes in who has lived an amazing life or has family who have done fantastic things. I feel touched that they would share their stories with me. Some have made me laugh and some have made me cry, but I love them all and appreciate everyone who trusts me with that.

I’m thankful for every single child I get to help. I’m not a children’s librarian, I work at the front desk, but sometimes a kid will come and ask me if I can help them find a book in their favorite series. I’ll look it up and walk them over there. The best part is when you see them walk out of the shelves with arms full of books.

I’m thankful that I’m a community resource. Well, we are and so is google. Usually between all of us and a bit of internet sleuthing, we can come up with an answer to most questions. I just helped a patron today that wasn’t sure who else to ask for help. It’s great that the library could be there for her. It’s great that we can be here for everyone who needs an answer. We hold so many of them in our books.

I’m thankful for every single person I’ve made a library card for. I am giving them the keys to the kingdom. I am giving them all of the books, all of the resources, all of the power! They have so many things at their fingertips now. They’re unstoppable. The best cards though, are for kids. They are almost always so excited to have their very own library cards—so excited!

I’m thankful for our familiar faces. It’s nice to see people consistently using the library. I enjoy seeing a regular patron and giving a wave or remembering their name. It makes the library more of a community. This really is a special library. And it’s made that way by the special people who run it and frequent it.

Finally I’m thankful for my job here. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to work at a library, and you know what? It is. Every day is a new day full of new things— new books, new cards, new patrons, new things I forgot. Every day I get to come to work with some amazing people, and that’s something to be thankful for in itself.

So thank you patrons, for making the library a fun place to be, and thank you library for my paycheck. Have a great holiday everyone.

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