Eileen Button

Eileen Button

Libraries Inspire Gratefulness

L ong before I worked for the

Genesee District Library, I was a faithful patron. Several times a week, I would find my way to my local branch to write, read, listen and think.

Sometimes as I wrote, frustrated by words that went together like a mismatched outfit, I would wander the library for ideas, grabbing my favorite authors from the shelves in search of inspiration. Anna Quindlen, Richard Russo, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Berg and others never failed to stir in me a new and better thought.

As I wandered through the library, I took it in. I loved the smell of the hardcovers … the look of the older gentlemen who came daily to read the newspaper … the laughter of children captivated by a storyteller … the click of the keyboard when a patron’s fingers would finally catch up to his muse.

It’s a scene that I still adore as I visit our 19 branches. (As a patron, I had no idea the GDL had so many locations.) I’m amazed by what we offer: books, movies, magazines, databases and career assistance. I’ve even silenced my inner Luddite so I can download books, music and magazines, all for free.



With all they have to offer, libraries inspire an unmatched gratitude in the people who love them and visit them regularly. (And by the way, there are a lot of us: over 100,000 in Genesee County alone.)

Our gratitude is derived, I think, by the fact that a library is the one community center that never discriminates. Lady Bird Johnson said it best, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

As we celebrate this week of Thanksgiving, I find myself deeply grateful for our libraries. I’m grateful they exist and that, in the face of economic hardship, they’ve prevailed.

Perhaps on every library there should be a sign that reads, “We are all welcome here.” Because we are.

Eileen Button is the Community Relations Manager for the Genesee District Library. She can be reached at

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