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Words and Ideas Change Lives

David A. Howe Library started my journey into the love of libraries. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

By Jasmine Willis

WELLSVILLE — As I mentioned in my story about trains there were some good childhood moments involving my old hometown.

When I wasn’t wandering the train tracks of Wellsville. I was doing a lot of reading. We grew up in a home where reading was very important. From a very young age we knew to have a strong love for books.

My mother would take us to David A. Howe Library all of the time. It is where I got my very first library card. I recall bringing home about two armfuls of Dr. Seuss books every single time. I felt super important when the librarian would take my card, and check out my 30 books to carry back home.

David A. Howe Children's Section. My favorite place in the world as a child in Wellsville. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS 2016

That is what being part of a small town is all about. You get that feeling of being part of something special from everyone. We would park out back, and walk up the giant stairs to the walkway. When you are a small child it feels like you will never get up those stairs.

We also went there for the used book sales all the time. Mom would get all excited since there were about 300 National Geographic Magazines. My little brother and I would find some fun old books or children’s books to buy for a few cents.

I wonder how many people loved playing this piano. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

When I was in school, we would have our art displayed on the walls in the special room. It was a very thrilling time for us. We would go to the library to show all our family and friends the art we created on the walls. My Great Aunt Hilda Stout had several of her art shows in that library as well. She was a fantastic local artist for many many years.

It is neat to see all this old treasure hidden behind glass. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

In my childhood there was a fantastic little festival called Gabby Hayes Days. We would all go downtown for the crafts, artwork, yard sales, stores, and the snake man who had about 15 different snakes in the yard at the library.

Yes, there was always something fun going on at the library to spark joy to my childhood imagination. It remains a very important part of my hometown. I still take lots of photos of it every time I visit.

The long stairs that never seemed to end. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

We all have our stories of the David A. Howe Library that make it extra special to our hearts. I am thankful it was always there for me when I needed it most.

When I grew up, I became a nighttime librarian at the E.J. Cottrell Memorial Library in Atlanta NY. I just started working there in the start of this year. I get to be the one who sparks joy in people’s hearts now. It feels like I am giving something back to the universe. I have a lot of fun seeing the old books I read as a child; Dr. Seuss, Mandie Book Series, American Girl Books, Serendipity Books, and Choose Your Own Adventure Series.

I used to think those front doors were meant for giants. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

There is something magical about being in a library. No matter what words and ideas really do change everything. Right now, we are cut off from our local libraries. But we can think about how important they are to us, so when they reopen, we will cherish them more.

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