During my years as a member of the Delta County Libraries board of trustees, I have had the opportunity to hear many stories of the impact our libraries have on people's lives and on the community (such as the time the library wi-fi came to the rescue of Union Pacific). The story I want to share today is about the impact of library resources on a young mother and child.
Ana came to the United States as a young woman. She hardly spoke the language and it took her years to learn it and to feel confident enough to finally speak in English.
When Ana moved to Paonia with a six-month-old baby, she began to attend the baby lap-sit program at the library. The library became her refuge and Ana and her son attended almost all the programs for children that the library offers. Ana learned a lot about how to stimulate her son's brain development. He learned to enjoy stories and music and she used the library resources to answer his ever-expanding questions and prepare him to enter school. As her son grew, Ana, too, was inspired to keep learning, to be prepared to answer her son's curiosity, and to help him with school work.
Ana was thrilled when she found out she could study for the GED test through the library district's literacy program. Ana could have taken the GED in her native language, but she wasn't satisfied with that option. Although the tutors explained it could take years of work, Ana was determined. She wanted to learn all she needed to take the test in English.
Ana worked faithfully with her literacy program tutor for over two years on this goal. Despite her apprehension about the essay section of the test, she passed with excellent scores. She continued to work with her tutor to prepare herself for college-level English and online college opportunities.
Ana hoped to become an English teacher for other new arrivals, so she volunteered to help her tutor who also taught English as a Second Language classes. She assisted her friends whose English was at a beginning level by interpreting for them at the doctor and at other appointments. Ana's story has become an inspiration to all those who are still in the beginning stages of learning and also to the tutors who work with GED and English language learners.
Ana and her son found the resources they needed for growth, education and entertainment at their local public library. Early childhood and adult education programs are a key to success for many young adults and for new arrivals to the country. Libraries change lives and change families, and changed lives build communities. As to Union Pacific's story — I'll save that for another time!
Thanks to each of you for your support of our libraries.
Ann G. Murphy
DCL Board of Trustees