We're grateful to Melissa and her family for taking the time to submit this Love Letter.
Dear hardworking staff and librarians of Richard Elias-Mission Library,
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your work and let you know what an important support you've been for my family this last year. When the pandemic closed the schools in March 2020, I cut my work hours to care for my two small kids (ages 4 and 6). We tried remote learning, but it just wasn't working for their young ages, so we decided to homeschool. I checked out library books about homeschooling and eagerly used the resources on the library's Learning at Home website.
When the initial panic and overwhelm subsided, we settled into a homeschool routine that revolved around playing outside, arts and crafts and library books. My 6 year old, who was supposed to be in kindergarten this year, learned to read, learned basic math, science, history, geography all from library books. And I would dare say they learned much more than in a traditional classroom as we found books that followed their interests: frogs, China, pirates, maps, geology:). It turned into a wonderful experience being able to closely observe their learning and growth. I just looked up that we have read 350 books together since last March—and believe me, many of those we read many times!
But beyond essentially providing kindergarten and preschool to my kids, the library felt like an emotional buoy. In times that felt so scary, scarce, isolating and unknown our visits to the library are full of kindness, abundance and generosity. When my husband lost his job, library snacks gave the boys treats to look forward to; library take home activities gave us new materials and ideas to play with. This year was hard for sure, but I always feel grateful, wealthy, lucky, blessed after a library visit.
I'm sure this last year has been difficult for you all. I wanted you to know how much your work mattered to me, my family and I'm sure countless others. You got us through this long tunnel. Last week I got my second vaccination and registered the boys for school. Even though I'm excited about the future, I hope that we can maintain our "new normal" of excitedly pouring over stacks of library books together. Special thanks to whoever put together kids book bundles when the libraries were closed for entry. A million thanks to whoever pulled all our strange books for reserve. And now that the library is open, thank you to whoever turns books ,on the shelf for display. I'm not very good at searching for kids books and your recommendations are amazing.
Thank you. You allowed us to learn, travel, heal, escape, feel rich and connected all while stuck in our home. We love our library!
Melissa M. and family