When I was in elementary school we had a librarian with a head full of curly, steel gray hair. We third graders thought of her as a cranky, old teacher. The children in my class tried to stay out of her way. If we didn't she would scold us for being noisy and send us to our library tables to read.

I was an avid reader and our once weekly trip to the library was my favorite day of the week. I really didn't share my classmates' dislike of the librarian, maybe because she reminded me of my favorite aunt. I always turned in my books on time and perhaps that was why the librarian took an interest in me. She seemed to care what I was reading and occasionally when I returned a book, she would ask me if I wanted her to suggest another. She took the time to figure out what kind of stories appealed to me and then recommended books she thought I might enjoy.

Over a period of four or five years this woman gave me access to every age appropriate award winning book in our little school library. She introduced me to the shelf of classics after which I found my way to the biographies of Clara Barton, Nellie Bly and Louisa May Alcott. The librarian encouraged me to try new kinds of books. This kind teacher invested in my educational growth. She shared her love of reading with me without ever saying that was her intent. Her generosity broadened my world beyond the community I knew and led me to imagine a larger life experience.

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