I love the occasional shopping trip to the big city. I generally only do it about once a year, preferring to support local businesses; but, once a year, my mom, my daughters, and I head out of town and see what the rest of the world has to offer. It used to make me a little nervous. I worried about getting lost, annoying other drivers because I was unsure about what I was doing, or just generally doing any one of a number of things that "country folk" do when they wander into more populated areas. Luckily for me, now my daughter lives in the big city, so I can depend on her to be my guide. But after those little jaunts, isn't it just nice to come home? Home: where you can relax and not have to worry about the traffic, the crowds, and all the uncertainties.
When I venture out into the world as a librarian, I always love to stop and visit the libraries in the bigger towns and cities. They have so much cool stuff! So much space! Gorgeous artwork! Maybe even a cafe! That stuff would all be great here, too. But as I look around our library in Spencer, I can't help but marvel at what we have, too.
We are a second home to many regulars; people who utilize the library so much that they are just like family to the staff members. We are a safe place after school to kids who either can't go home yet, or don't want to sit home alone. Like Grandma's cooking, we might not be fancy, but we can get you what you need to survive: information, a quiet spot to read the morning paper, programs for all ages, or space to hold meetings. We don't need all that other stuff to be good (although it would be cool to have, I admit).
Iowa is a very fortunate state. The support network for libraries and librarians is extended, active, and dedicated. Most of the libraries may not be big; many are much smaller even than Spencer, but bundled together, they are an incredible resource for Iowa's citizens and visitors.
No matter where you go in the state, in almost every town, no matter how small, there is a place where you can go and it will feel like home. A place where you can relax, find a friendly face, and get the information you need so you don't have to worry about the uncertainties. Where's the best cup of coffee in town? We know that. How do I get from here to Waterloo? We know that, too. How do I make plane reservations online so I can go visit the really big city? We can help.
Little bitty libraries. Your home away from home. Statewide.