I was lying on my bed one summer morning in the year of 2015, when I heard our landline ring. My eyes were closed and I had no plans of waking up. My sister rushed into my room, and I remember how irritated I was, because I didn’t want to be woken up by anyone. Especially because it was summer, and it is typical for teenagers, like myself, to sleep during the day and to be wide awake at night. As she handed me our telephone, a lady who introduced herself as Alix-Rae, interviewed me on the spot about my application to YAC (Youth Advisory Council). After our conversation, and her affirmation that I was part of the team, I remember jumping out of my bed with the energy I never would have imagined to have in summer time, and my perspective about the library was changed forever…
I was born in the Philippines. In my area and on my street in Winnipeg, we don’t have a library. In my school, we do have books, but they’re just books about school stuff. With that, I had spent 15 years of my life believing that libraries are boring. Never in my life had I imagined myself to be in a library, and actually reading a book that could take me someplace else. Let’s be real, teens. I know some of you might feel the same irritation and boredom I once had every time you see yourself in a library….like you’d rather be at Starbucks, have your phone in your hand, and be connected to the coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi.
At most libraries, you see a lot of older people. You know why? Because books are basically an escape to reality. Books can change our perspective in life. I remember talking to an older gentleman at the library, and asking him why he goes to the library instead of spending his life outside in the sun, travelling and enjoying it. He answered me with a smile, and said: “My dear, the sun will always be there, but time goes by and by, then the next thing you know, 50 years have already passed. I was just like you before, but books and a silent atmosphere….if you only try to place it in your heart and listen to every meaning of the words of a book, you’ll understand what I am saying.”
If an old man has had the joy of books in his heart, and has spent the last 50 years not even appreciating it enough, how much more should we take his words to change our perspective?
Libraries are sometimes seen as boring, and worse, just as a place for nerds and geeks. But I tell you this day, that you have to change that perspectives of yours! I have spent the last 15 years without even realizing all the things that the library has to offer:
- Programs that you will really enjoy (Minecraft, MaKey MaKey, Jewelry Making, Ductigami, and more!)
- Involvement, interaction and a chance to make new friends in the city
- YAC meetings — volunteer hours and a chance to build your resume
- Free Wi-Fi
- Computer access for homework or projects
- Good place to relax and hang out — especially the libraries with second floors
- New books (Like imagine all the books of John Green or Sarah Dessen. Legitimately, they have it all)
I remember the first time I went to a library here in Winnipeg, and how YAC had welcomed me. The library became like a “second home” to me. Sometimes people see libraries as a boring place, but they really aren’t, because beyond their four walls, you can find yourself.
My first volunteer experience was with YAC downtown, where I had to assist kids at a fun literacy event, and just play with them. With just playing around, I earned my volunteer hours! I will never forget that day because it was actually my first time seeing food trucks in Winnipeg (like more than 20!), and there was a mini concert at the side of my volunteer tent. Imagine if I had just stayed in my bed the whole summer. I couldn’t have experienced any of those things.
Sometimes in life, we misinterpret things. We assume. And that’s often why we don’t get to experience things that are already around us. In every corner of your life, try to take a look at what’s going on, and what you can do to get involved, because once you try to explore, regrets will never be with you. The experiences you gain are more than enough to call your day a good one. Trust me on this, because I, myself, have had many great experiences already.
— Mitch J.