In Honor of: 
Main Library
3650 Summit BLVD, West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Why I Love My Library: 

How the Library has made a difference in my life,
As well as a very special individual: my literacy student.

by Nancy Senior

“Thank you for coming to the library today”, I smiled and gestured, “Have a seat. Tell me about yourself and why you are here today.”

Hesitant, and embarrassed, he began. “I am Pierre, I come from Haiti, to Florida since 5 years ago. I want to help my grandchildren with their homework, but I cannot.”

“I imagine it was very difficult for you to meet me here? I want to ask you some questions and observe your reading ability.”
Pointing to the workbook, I asked Pierre to read the sentence. Nothing. Awkward Silence.

A B C …”yes. You are correct. Those are the names of the alphabet. Now, tell me the sounds.” He lowered his head in shame, as he struggled.

“It’s okay”, with compassion, I touched his shoulder and nodded to proceed.

“There are 26 letters in the alphabet, each one makes a sound, you put them together to form words, words become sentences, thoughts, and stories.” I explained. Smile.

Every Tuesday night, Pierre and I would meet at the same table in the local library. He did not learn to read instantly. It took a long time. The day finally arrived when Pierre was able to read and write enough to fill out a library card application, and he left with a stack of Easy Readers, and told to practice reading with his family. In time, I had to move on, and Pierre was now on his own.

How did he survive? People along his path helped him, and he always used excuses, like he forgot his reading glasses. Sooner or later, the strategies ran out.

Estimated seven billion dollars yearly go to child welfare costs and unemployment compensation caused directly by the numbers of illiterate adults unable to perform at standards necessary for available employment. Our prison system is laden with illiterate men and women. Together, these 60 million people represent more than one third of the entire adult population.

What 25 million American adults (illiterates) cannot do:
Read the poison warnings on a can of pesticide.
Read the menu in a restaurant.
Help with homework.
Write a letter to the teacher.
Read instructions on a bottle of prescription medicine.
Find out when a medicine is past the year of safe consumption.
Understand the written details on a health insurance form.
Travel freely.
Read daily paper.
Read their mail.
Look up numbers in a telephone directory.

In conclusion, the library has made a difference in my life because I know:
reading is fundamental, and our community services provide the needed help.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Nancy