The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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November 2008

What’s New · Making a Difference in Your Life Writing Competition Winners · Ages 13-18

Maddie Sabatelli, age 15, 1st place

The Library: Making a Difference
The library has come to mean so much to me over the years. One of my first experiences was when I was two years old. On a weekly trip to the library, I was babbling away about all the books. The library’s policeman thought I was talking too loud, and proceeding in telling my parents to hush me, their small daughter. This memory really showed how in love I was with the library. For the next eleven years I spent a good amount of my time in the library, researching or looking for yet another novel to enjoy.
Ever since that first encounter with the library, I have an insatiable zeal for reading. Funny books like Forget About It distract me from my problems and put me in a good mood; coming-of-age books, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn help me get through hard times by relating with the characters; and true stories, like The Perfect Mile, inspire me with the amazing things that people accomplish. Each time I go to the library is another chance to learn something about myself from a book.
In any student’s career, she will have to write a research paper or essay for various subjects. My first encounter was in 4th grade, with a research project on chocolate. While more recent papers have not been as delicious, the library has been an essential location for all of them. An impossible accumulation of information exists at the library: books, encyclopedias, newspapers, magazines, letters, and other paraphernalia. There’s something about having a tangible source of data that trumps the act of simply looking it up on the Internet.
Once when I went to the library downtown, I noticed people weren’t just reading or looking for books; two guys were playing chess in an alcove, in another wing, college students were having a discussion, and a librarian was reading to children in the juvenile section. The library instantly went from a place to pick up books to a place where those looking for knowledge and fun could come together. Visions of myself as a high school student coming to the library to quietly study and then as a college student to sketch floor plans flashed trough my mind. I see the library as a haven and a central hub for learning, alone or in a group.
The library has been a constant figure throughout my life, acquiring almost human characteristics and connotations. It has served as an educator, a reliable friend, and sociable place. My love for books and the haven that houses them is something I hope to continue to enjoy and share with others.

Raivynn Smith, age 15, 2nd place and honorable mention

How the Library Makes a Difference in My Life
The Library has, does, and always will have lasting effect on my family as well as myself. My mother, who is a teacher, believes that education is one of the most important aspects in life. The Library has always had a hand in my education. From when I was a little girl checking out picture books, to now, in which I do a lot of my studying there, the resources of the Library have only helped fuel my need of knowledge.
Another way that the Library makes a lasting impression on my life is the people who work there. They are always friendly, kind, and ready to help. Since I began to volunteer at my local library, Bond Hill, I can’t help but notice how the staff has become somewhat of a family to me. I know everyone by name, and they are happy to see me when I come. I’m happy to see them too.
The Library opens up a whole world for people like me who have limited materials at home. I can access Internet, fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs and videos, as well as hundreds of programs that have helped shape my personality to make me what I am today. I can also access materials that aid me through my schoolwork, especially when using the HomeworkHelp program. I have the ability to use hundreds of credited websites and articles, and I can also use the tutor system to ask questions about things in my work I don’t understand.
Speaking of programs, the programs I participate in are fun, cultural, and enriching to my mind. I am currently in Teen Book Club, Teen Advisory Board, Teen Newsletter, and many other programs like Trivia and Game Night. I also volunteer at my Library. These programs are not only fun, but give me leadership and team skills that will help carry me through the rest of my life.
In conclusion, the Library has been an important part of my life since I was born. I use the Library at least twice a week, sometimes more. It is a valuable resource not just myself, but the entire community and the entire city. Books and reading are a favorite pastime of mine, and always will be, thanks to the Library.

Whitni Smith, age 15, 2nd place and honorable mention

How the Library Makes a Difference in My Life
The library has made a great impact on my life, especially when the new Bond Hill/Roselawn library in Jordan Crossing opened. Through people, and books, my knowledge of the world has grown, and I consider the library one of the best assets to this country.
When I moved from Aurora CO, here to Cincinnati the only people I knew were my family, and a couple of family friends. Being home schooled, I didn’t see the same people consistently, and I would feel lonely sometimes. But through the library, I found lots of different friends. Our bonds only got stronger when the new library was open, and a designated teen area was available. I now see my friends all the time, mostly through library programs.
The library has also made a great impact on my education. I have been home schooled since 8th grade and the library is a very important resource in my education. My family and I use many of the library’s items, like books and videos. These items can become very expensive, but because of the library, all of these items are free!
As well as myself, I can also see the library having an impact on the people around me. For example, if a person wants to apply for a job, but doesn’t know the steps, they can come to the library. They can look up a book on jobs and resumes, and then they can use the skills they’ve learned from the book to write their own resume on one of the many, useful library computers. When more people come to the library, and check out materials, it betters the community, therefore bettering my own life.
Another way the library has bettered my life is through volunteering. I have volunteered at the Bond Hill Branch library for three years, and it’s been a wonderful experience. Not only have I gained the trust and respect of the library staff there, but I also have a more intricate knowledge of how a library operates. Volunteering has allowed me to meet others, and help others, all in one place.
One person at the library who has really impacted my life is the Bond Hill Branch teen librarian Kate Toebbe. Kate is a wonderful person, who is great at her job. She not only provides activities for the teenagers of Bond Hill, but encourages us to do the same, and become leaders in our own library.
Through wonderful people and informative resources, the library has really changed my life. I hope that when I’m older, my own children will get to feel the same joy I do at they’re own libraries.