Guest Column: Tales from the Library | Opinion


I’m going to title this week’s library column, “The Joy of Learning Something New!” Just for a moment, try to imagine what would happen if you stopped nourishing your body with good food. Apart from being really hungry, not feeding your body would be catastrophic for your well-being and would create a domino effect… and things would end badly for you.

I would like to suggest that to a large extent your brain works the same way. Stop feeding it new information and it will stop growing. A spirit is not happy when it remains inactive. This is why the library has long been a proponent of lifelong learning. The more you feed your brain, the more those brain synapses fire, and in turn, the healthier your brain can be.

So how do you feed your brain? The library has you covered in more ways than you can imagine. First, we have fiction books galore. Your brain can learn to love disconnecting from reality for a bit and immersing yourself in a compelling novel. When you allow your mind to enjoy reading, your brain gets a little break from the daily reality of going to work, paying the bills, and cooking dinner. These little “brain vacations” can make many issues in your life a little less dramatic when you put your book down.

As a librarian, I’ve spoken to many friends and acquaintances who said they’d like to read something but weren’t sure which book to choose. Or maybe they just didn’t enjoy the last books they read, so they just gave up. This is where the librarians of the Tillamook County Library don their super librarian capes and say… I accept the challenge to find you a book you’ll love! They may ask you a few questions to gauge your interests, but then they get to work finding you your dream book. We sincerely believe that matching the right book to the right reader is our ultimate goal.

Then there are non-fiction books. These are all “real” books and they include just about any topic you can imagine. Your brain also needs those books. We have titles on everything you could want to know… UFO sightings, how to build a log cabin, how to raise chickens, drawing and painting, history, science, biographies, travel, poetry, antiques, stamp collecting… and I could literally go on and on.

Your brain is designed to digest and retain new information throughout your life! I am living proof. I had thought about going back to college when I was in my 30s, and again when I was in my 40s. But I kept thinking that I was too old to learn new things. But when I turned 50, I decided I just had to give it a try. I went to the admissions office at the local university and signed up for a full set of classes and jumped in head first. Not only did I complete my bachelor’s degree, but I also earned a master’s degree in library science. Sheer determination, lots of coffee and a supercharged brain got me through!

So treat yourself to a trip through the aisles of our libraries. Give your brain a little treat by picking up a “literary snack” to devour! He will thank you for it by becoming all the more intelligent.


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