My Public Library Helped Make Me Who I Am Today

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Richards Memorial Library in North Attleboro, Mass.

 By Monica Drahonovsky, Monica Reads         `

Her name was Miss Ryder and she was the librarian at Richards Memorial Library in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, where I grew up.

It was the beginning of my literary life and Miss Ryder was as excited about teaching me the library ropes as I was to learn.

I was in the fourth grade when I met Miss Ryder. She greeted me at the door of the library after school and asked if I had a library card. When I said no, she took my hand and said I was going to have a wonderful time meeting new people. I would go on wonderful adventures through books, she told me.

Monica Drahonovsky

I signed up for a card. Every week, she greeted me and asked about the books I took out the week before. She wanted to know what I thought about each one.  She said she would introduce me to a fabulous new author and let me pick out the ones I wanted to read.

For every ten books read, she gave me a certificate.  Wow!  I loved collecting those pieces of paper and I delighted in her interest and knowledge of the world beyond our small town.  Miss Ryder made me a lifelong reader. I still love reading today and writing about the many wonderful books I find. You will probably meet someone as nice as Miss Ryder at your library.

Today, libraries offer meeting areas, children’s reading groups, knitting and crocheting lessons, lectures, and whatever interests local people, including mahjong classes.  Most libraries now offer different courses on taxes, Medicare, health programs and any other topic you are interested in, something for all ages. And all for free.

So, we can put down our phones and make some new friends through our local librarian. There are novels begging to be read.  There is a nonfiction section that will give you all the information on any topic you will ever need.

Have you ever made soap?  There is a book that will tell you the history of soap and how to make it yourself.

Today I want to hear from you about your library experiences.

  E-mail me at   I’d love to hear from you.   Keep reading.

Monica Reads is Monica Drahonovsky. She is the sister of Nancy West, founder of

I have a real love of books, authors and especially libraries.  Not just Richards Memorial Library, but ALL libraries.  I have travelled and lived in many areas of the world from Ethiopia to Europe and did a stint in England.  This connection with books and libraries has made me feel at home all over the world.

Where are you in your relationship to your public library?  Why do I ask?  Because there is one near you and they are easy to find. And you will undoubtedly make a new friend.

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