In Honor of: 
Poquoson Public Library
Poquoson, VA
Why I Love My Library: 

My library was there for me during a very emotional and difficult time during high school. When I was a teenager, I suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and went as far as to hurt myself. I did not want to have anything to do with other people; I just wanted to be by myself and do nothing. Since I had isolated myself so severely, I turned to reading because I have always loved books since I was a little girl. One summer during this time, I discovered that my library was doing a summer reading program to track how much a person reads during the summer and to reward them for their achievements. I decided that since I was already reading so much that I would join the program. I was not aware, however, how much that simple reading program would help to bring me out of my dark hole.

When I started the program, I was skeptical about its usefulness. After reading five books and adding them to my log, I received my first reward which was a free book. I was actually ecstatic because I had never been given recognition for my accomplishments when it comes to reading. I could feel myself changing at that moment for the better; I became determined to read as many books as I could to try and receive more prizes. Each time I added books to my reading log, I felt myself becoming happier and more hopeful.

While the reading program itself helped to boost my overall mood throughout that summer, it was the last event of the program that truly brought me out of my depressed state. All the teenagers who participated in the program were invited to a pizza party at the end of the summer. I figured that I had worked really hard, so I deserved a little fun. What happened during that party is I met so many people like me, who loved to do nothing more than read. I got to talk with so many teens that were no strangers to secluding oneself from others and turning to reading as a result. The most important thing they taught me that helped me to truly heal was that it is okay to use reading as a way to escape from the world around you, but eventually, you need to join reality and live your life outside of your hole. I will never forget that summer. I just wanted to track my reading and get a few prizes. I was not prepared for my library to become my personal therapy. I did not realize how much I leaned on my library to always be there for me no matter how hard my life felt at the time. I stopped hurting myself after that summer because I had learned that it is okay to try and escape reality through books, but I needed to find the strength to live my life no matter how hard it is because without that balance I became unstable, and I did not ever want to go back to that state again. I love my library for its ability to be more than a building of books and more like a safe haven to heal oneself.

Lauren