I’ve always been a bit of an outcast. I don’t say that for your pity--it’s just the truth. I can be somewhat socially awkward, and I have a tendency to play by the beat of my own drum. Because of that, although I had plenty of friends, I never really had a cemented “group” in school. It was frustrating and lonely when I was younger, but these days, I don’t mind it so much. I have my family, I have my friends, and I have my art. I’m at peace with who I am, and libraries are a big part of how I've achieved that.
Libraries were my safe haven when I was younger. When I was feeling lonely or misunderstood, I could lose myself in the pages of a book and find characters who weren’t all that different from myself. From Hermione Granger to Annabeth Chase, Violet Baudelaire to Susan Pevensie, books gave me a window to better understand both myself and the world around me--and libraries gave me access to hundreds of them, all for free (in theory… I admittedly tend to rack up late fees rather quickly!).
More recently, libraries have also become a way for me to be more involved in my community and break out of my shell a little. I’ve made some of my closest friends through volunteering at the library, and I’ve been able to meet so many more wonderful people (and read so many more wonderful books!).
To me, the library has never just been the place you go to find free books (although that is a lovely perk). Libraries are places where you can find a sense of belonging and self-knowledge that is incredibly difficult to find anywhere else.
-- Fiona Battistoni, teen blogger