On a melancholy note, Tuesday was most likely the last Brown Bag Book Club meeting at Wayne County Braille and Talking Book Library, since the library is tentatively scheduled for permanent closure on May 29. One of our patrons brought in a delicious cake that said “Farewell to All.” The cake was delicious, but the moment was bittersweet.
Fifteen people attended our lively literary discussion, involving historical fiction, the prohibition, and a murder mystery. Before Book Club ended, everyone shared how much the library’s programs have improved their lives.
One woman talked about how she decided to retire early so she could bring her mom to programs. Both the mom and daughter enjoyed the social support, as well as the health information, adapted living tips, and local resources that proved useful in their daily lives. They didn’t like having to choose only one or two programs a month.
After book club, another woman confided in me that her mother was very depressed before she found out about our library. The daughter didn’t think her mom would still be here if it weren’t for all the support and friends she’s made through attending our library’s programs.
That story reminded me of a note I received in my first year or two working at the library. The note was from a person making a donation in memory of her mom. Because of how much her mom loved reading, the note writer felt it was most appropriate that mom actually passed away while listening to one of our books.
With Mother’s Day just behind us, I find these stories so poignant. Vision loss is hard on everyone involved, not just the person losing his or her vision. No one likes to watch a loved one suffer.
Obviously, I was emotionally drained after book club. I still am. I’m so angry that our community is potentially losing out on all the benefits that come with having a local resource for adapting library services for people with disabilities. Libraries are so much more than just books.
I’m hoping and praying that the Taylor Community Library will absorb Wayne County Braille and Talking Book Library. A few officials from the city had a meeting with us at the beginning of the month to discuss the possibility and gather information about our program, but we’re still waiting to hear back on whether there’s any interest. In my eyes, a partnership between the programs would benefit both Wayne County and the City of Taylor.
The city’s library would enjoy the benefit of enhanced library services for its elderly and disabled population, as well as staff training in how to adapt technologies to serve all people. The city may even benefit economically, as caregivers often drop off patrons for programs and pick them up an hour or two later. My guess is the caregivers would spend their time at local establishments, like Heritage Park or Southland Mall.
The citizens of Wayne County who use the Braille and Talking Book Library would benefit by having our library’s programs continue to exist, and not just exist, but exist in a place better suited to provide the programs. The current location is rather difficult for people using a bus to access. Not to mention that it is a stand-alone facility, with nothing nearby except McDonald’s and a 7-Eleven, both of which you need to cross major intersections to visit.
The Taylor Community Library has all the amenities of a public library and is right next to a public park, petting zoo, and conservatory. If your transportation was limited to only one trip a week, imagine being able to spend that trip going to a library, followed by ice cream in the park, petting animals, smelling flowers, and maybe even swinging at the playground. The trip would be a scrumptious feast for the senses, a feast where sight is truly not needed.
I’ve already decided that I’m going to approach the Taylor Conservatory Foundation about installing a sensory garden regardless of what the City of Taylor decides regarding Braille and Talking Book services. I’ve also decided that I’m going to make my kids do the planting. After all, they need to take pride in their community, too.