We've asked Anythinkers to tell us their stories about all the ways that the library empowers them to be their best.
"As someone who has always loved books, even to the point of becoming a librarian, I quickly turned to books to help learn my newest hobby, papercrafting. It was no surprise then that the first thing I did, even before actually moving to the Bennett area, was to get a library card. I not only checked out more books on papercrafting but looked at the available magazines and started attending the crafting programs. It wasn’t long before I was asked to teach some classes at Anythink Bennett. It recently came full circle when I was asked to be an artist in residence and taught classes around the district for the One Kind Word Project.”
– Valerie Doyle is an Anythink Bennett customer and artist in residence
"You can’t ask me to name just one experience at the library as the ‘best’ or the ‘most important.’ That’s impossible! Through Anythink Libraries, I have made lifelong friends, had amazing and unique experiences, learned more about the people and the world around me, and developed into the person I am today. The library has had the most positive impact in my life, and I am forever grateful for it. However, if I had to choose only one thing, I would probably say presenting at Denver Comic Con two years in a row was probably one of my favorite experiences.
I don’t know how or why it works, but the teen program at the library is phenomenal. Every day after school when I walk into the teen area, I feel automatically accepted for who I am, just as I am. Never before have I seen such an accepting and diverse community. Everyone at the library always has such a positive attitude and actually take the time to get to know you. There have been times in my life where I have felt unappreciated or unwanted, but just a single trip to the library can always remind me that that’s not the case.
The library has presented itself to be a place I can grow in many different aspects. Whether it is working on my writing with Write On, learning how to improve my slam poetry in the music program, or gaining better leadership skills by organizing a TAB [Teen Advisory Board] meeting, there is always something I can learn and improve on at the library. Plus, I have met so many amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life through the library. There is so much that the library has given me these past few years, and I will forever be grateful.”
– Lexxie Clark, 18, is an Anythink Huron Street customer, recent high school graduate and will attend college in New York City this fall.
"Jackie Tomlinson is a retired gentleman who comes to the library every day. I have gotten to know him because of his kindness and generosity to both staff and customers. He is quite the joker at times, telling me that he’s a teen – despite the graying beard and wrinkles around his eyes as he smiles. When I asked him how he could be reached if needed, he smiled and said, ‘You can find me right here, at the library.’ In reality, he doesn’t have a phone, and does spend most days at the library, even bringing lunch and dinner with him. For him, Anythink is a great place to socialize or just play computer games. He feels welcome and loves that the library is such a nice, friendly place to be. Jackie’s favorite thing about the library is listening to the children giggle and play during programs.”
– Genne Boggs is a teen guide at Anythink Huron Street
"This is pretty much the only place I come to, and I get everything I need.”
– Jackie Tomlinson is a customer at Anythink Huron Street
"I first visited Anythink three years ago for an Hour of Code program. As a writer, actress, reader and artist, I’ve found other teens with similar interests by participating in library activities over the past few years. In fact, I met my best friend at the library. I’ve been able to explore different community projects here, including participating in Denver Comic Con, leading the Teen Advisory Board and helping make embryology programs possible for the younger students to enjoy at the library. Preparing and presenting panels at Comic Con helped me to get out of my comfort zone by speaking in public and in front of a large crowd. It’s helped me to be more brave and to talk to people more.”
– Grace D., 14, is a regular at Anythink Huron Street and reviews young adult fiction for Anythink’s blog.
"Ever since my mom passed away, I have been drawing every week to improve my skills to a higher degree. I enjoy drawing, especially at Anythink York Street. I’ve been drawing every week at the library for over three years straight!”
– Alan Henninger, Anythink York Street customer and artist
I have worked for the library system since 1984, when I was just 18 years old. I think all along we were meant for one another. When I was in grade school, I struggled with reading until one summer my mom bought me Archie Comics. It opened up a whole new world to me and soon I wanted to know what else there was to read. I wandered into a library by my house called Perl Mack. I read so much after that my family nicknamed me the bookworm. Where once I dreaded school, I began to enjoy and excel at it.
In the course of 33 years, I have held numerous positions in the library but in 2009, I became the manager of that library by my house. For me, it is a real privilege to give back to the community I grew up in. I hope in some little way by working at the library, I’m able to change a person’s life for the better like it did for me.”
– Annette Martinez is branch manager at Anythink Perl Mack.
With Anythink’s programming, I encountered many teens excited to learn things that many don’t get the chance to until they’re much older,
such as 3D printing, photography and more. The idea that concepts are too ‘difficult’ doesn’t apply at Anythink, and teens get the opportunity to pick up skills and work collaboratively together in ways that are unique and also fun. They are also in charge of their learning, because these programs are centered around their wants and needs; it’s hard to beat seeing the excitement in their eyes as they figure out concepts that they’ve been interested in but were out of reach. Libraries continue to hold a critical role in our society’s fabric, and it’s wonderful to be able to watch how Anythink happily serves its community through feedback, engagement and respect for its members.”
– Daisy Patton is an artist and former artist in residence at Anythink. Daisy’s work will be shown next as part of the “Cross Pollination” group show at 516 Arts in Albuquerque, N.M., running Aug. 19-Nov. 11.
It has been my family’s great fortune to live less than a mile from Anythink Wright Farms. A run or walk up the steep ‘Holly Street Hill’ is rewarded with the grassy lawn and elegant profile of this lovely library. Yes, we use Wright Farms for its intended purpose…a wealth of books, magazines, and DVDs that my wife, my children and I check out in such volume that it becomes hard to keep track. (Let’s just say we are appreciative fans of the ‘no fines’ policy!)
But our Anythink is so much more to us. My wife and I often work there, tucked away in a quiet corner, waiting to be inspired. My daughters play there, jumping from log to log and rock to rock, splashing in water drawn from the hand-pump. In summers, we listen to concerts on the lawn amid a comforting cacophony of adult chatter and children running free. And sometimes, as the sun is rising, the parking lot becomes for me a great traffic-free place to run.
Sadly, we are soon moving back East to be near family. It is not hyperbole to say that our Wright Farms experiences are some of the things we are the saddest about losing. The staff has always been without fail so kind and so supportive. Often, a simple book search has turned into an engaging conversation about myriad other subjects. I’ll admit, some days when I have needed a boost, I have visited Anythink just to be near these friends. I will miss them.
We will miss everything about Anythink, in fact. I know there will be no duplicating the likes of it in our new home. But we will always have our lovely memories of Wright Farms, and will never miss the chance for a visit on our return trips to Colorado. Because that sums up the spirit of Anythink libraries: they are warm and welcoming places that draw you back again and again.”
– Jonathan Fenske is an Anythink Wright Farms customer, author and illustrator. His children’s book A Pig, A Fox, and A Box was named a Theodore Geisel Honor Book by the American Library Association in 2016. ■
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