Letter from the Library Director:

Make a Connection @ Your Library

I often hear that the digital age is here, where images and video have taken over the place written words used to occupy. “Everything” is online, so who needs books or a library? The reality is that we are reading more than ever in the digital age – on our various screens and devices. What’s changed is the type of reading we’re doing online. It’s a frantic type of reading that races from unrelated thing to unrelated thing, giving our eyeballs whiplash and exhausting our brains. This is not the reading where deep connections are easily made. That’s why books are more important than ever.

It’s not that we need to be reading more. It’s that we need to be reading books more. In a disconnected digital age, books foster connection. They connect us with other people, and they connect the dots of ideas. Books show us the inner workings of multiple perspectives and let us know there is more than one way to view the world. Books unite us. Sharing stories that are important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Reading—especially books that extend beyond our experiences—expands our worldview.

We feed our imaginations, encounter new places and ideas, understand emotions, learn, relax, escape, or explore through reading. We learn empathy and meet others like ourselves and those with very different lives … all from the comfort of our desk, bed, or favorite chair.

It is important to remember that the characters you like to read about are very personal. Just like you do not make friends with every person that you meet in real life, the characters that you want to read about, the ones that make you laugh or whom you connect with, might be different from the characters your friends like to read about. Experimenting with other topics, asking for recommendations, or trying out different formats like audiobooks or graphic novels can be brilliant ways to fall in love with reading and explore the many benefits of making fictional friends. Ask your local librarian for some new recommendations.

St. Johns Reads 2024 is about making connections through books and the library! We are excited to announce that Sara Nisha Adams’ debut novel, “The Reading List,” is the next selection for our annual One Book-One Community event. Mark your calendars now and plan to read the book, join a book discussion, and attend one or more of our programs throughout January 2024. The month will conclude with a series of conversations with the author. 

Have you made a special connection with a librarian? Public librarians change lives in their communities every day. The I Love My Librarian 2024 Award invites library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional librarians. Ten amazing librarians will receive $5,000 and the honor of a lifetime! All nominees receive a copy of their nominations. Nominations close on September 30, 2023, so please spread the word about this opportunity. Details on how to make a nomination are in this newsletter.

With six branch locations throughout St. Johns County and a traveling Bookmobile, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make a new connection at your library. Check us out!

Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System