The Library as Family Tradition: Lifelong patron passes love of books to daughters

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The Year of the Patron

The Greenbrier County Public Library is a favorite place to visit for avid readers Maddie (left) and Quinn Barker.

Maddie and Quinn Barker bounce happily through the children’s section of the Greenbrier County Public Library, picking out chapter books and picture books as though they were the most delectable treats.

For these girls, books truly are treats. It’s a love they got from their mother, Brittany Sears, who also grew up as a patron of the Greenbrier County Public Library, at its previous location. “I’ve been coming to the library since before I could read.” The same is true for her daughters.

“For me, the library has always been a revered place,” Sears said. “When I was little, it seemed so big and so full of books, which I found exciting and fun with the message: You can read anything, you can learn anything here.”

When it was Maddie and Quinn’s turn to be interviewed, six-year-old Quinn pronounced, “I love books,” and continued to read her newly selected Max’s Christmas and the rabbit’s Hand in Hand picture book.

Seven-year-old Maddie, who particularly likes such chapter book characters as  Geronimo Stilton and Charlie the Ranch Dog chapter books, said she likes to visit the library “because it’s fun to read. You can get books you don’t have.”

Her mother underscored that sentiment. “We check out a lot of books because you can get a diverse amount of books and try them out before you put in a significant amount of money purchasing books you may not like to keep. I am a single mom with not a lot of money, yet we can still always have new books in this way.”

They also enjoy books electronically, sharing free audiobooks and e-books on their tablet through the library’s Overdrive app. Maddie sometimes falls asleep to the soothing sound of an audiobook. Books in all their formats give the family from Frankford a chance to bond and spend time together.

They also enjoy the activities offered at the Greenbrier County Public Library, including movie screenings and the math club for kids.

But that hunt for a hold-in-your-hand book remains the most treasured activity. “Nothing can replace a real book in your hands,” Sears said. “The bookmark in the page, the smell, the flipping of the pages.”

The Greenbrier County Public Library offers its services to the public seven days a week. For hours or other information, the telephone number is (304) 647-7568. The library also is on Facebook. The library’s web site is at http://greenbrier.lib.wv.us/

The Year of the Patron is an occasional series celebrating the 10th anniversary of the library building that opened July 20, 2007, at 152 Robert W. McCormick Drive in downtown Lewisburg.