By Debra K.
I first discovered the world was much larger and more exciting and exotic than I had ever imagined thanks to my local public and school libraries. Though I loved school as a child, it was mostly due to the social aspects rather than the learning, that is until I read my first young adult novel in early middle school, which sparked a serious (some would say obsessive) love of reading. By the end of middle school I was reading a book a day — sometimes hidden behind my textbook in the back of class. I took my current book with me everywhere — often bumping into furniture and walls at home as I walked and read. This earned me the nickname of Mrs. Magoo after a beloved myopic cartoon character popular at the time.
Though I read mostly fiction, the facts I picked up and the reading comprehension skills I developed helped me succeed in every academic class, except maybe algebra and French. And maybe gym. At the rate I was reading, my parents never would have been able to keep up, so it was the local public and my school libraries that allowed me to continue reading at that book-a-day pace. That early and sustained love of reading fueled my later success in college (I was the first person to attend college in my family) and on the debate team as well as in my career, which not so surprising, began as a journalist.
To this day, one of my very favorite things to do is visit my local library and just browse the shelves till I have as many books as I can carry. Once I’m home I sit down with a nice cup of tea and read the book jackets and first few sentences each to decide which one I’ll read first.