I’ve never really bought into that way of thinking. In my mind, the more things change; the more things change. However, sometimes I do have to stop and wonder…

My maternal grandmother–Nana–loved books, reading, and libraries. She was a volunteer at what was then the Mount Joy Library Center on Main Street in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, where I grew up and lived until the age of 6. I also lived in Mount Joy from the ages of 11-12; and again from the ages of 13-23, at which time I got married and moved to Ephrata. I lived in California during those in-between years–ages 6-10 and 12-13. But I digress…

I never thought much about my grandmother’s volunteer work at the library until recently. I can picture her, though, behind the desk, stamping cards and checking out books without the aid of a computer. Nana was a voracious reader–she would go through paperbacks so fast. She loved Agatha Christie, and as a result, so do I. In fact, I introduced my younger daughter Nicki to the book And Then There Were None, because Nana introduced it to me. I remember going into the library on Main Street when my grandmother was working and looking for the newest Nancy Drew and being so excited to find out what was happening between Nancy and Ned.

That small library on Main Street has evolved into the Milanof-Schock Library, which is not only a part of the System where I currently work and not only built a new, bigger and better building right next to the apartment complex where my grandmother lived out her life after moving from Main Street, but was named the “Best Small Library in America” for 2006 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Library Journal. I referenced that library several times for various reasons during my graduate studies at Clarion. And I have thought about my grandmother over and over again as a result (not that I wouldn’t think about her anyway, but the library connection became strong).

I wish I could tell my grandmother that I became a librarian. I was working within the library system when she died, but I had not yet earned my professional credentials. She would have been so pleased, I think, to know that my early memories of her work with the library helped to instill certain values in me even though I never realized it–reading, access to books, volunteerism, to name a few.

Continuity is comforting. And I cherish the memory of my grandmother and that small library on Main Street and the knowledge that much of her is in me every time I pick up a book.