Merriam-Webster defines joy as

1a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight

b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety

2: a state of happiness or felicity: bliss

3: a source or cause of delight

The Kitsap Regional Library System has been an extremely joyful place lately. It actually has been a joyful place for a very long time (there is something singularly wonderful and overwhelmingly joyful about working with people who know that the library changes lives for the better every single day). However, since the levy passed there is a certain spring in staff’s footsteps. Now we can joyfully roll our sleeves up with confidence and plan for a bright future.

Prior to the levy, I had many conversations with friends and family about the ways in which the library contributes to our community. In one case, my friend’s 97-year-old mother said she did not care about the fact that library staff helps with STEM education and online employment forms and small business grants. She “wants more books!”

Her comment makes me smile a little because the library system contains outstanding and popular physical book collections which are used on a daily basis. After all, even if one does much of one’s reading on a tablet/reader, there is still nothing like the joy of cracking open a brand new bestseller hardcopy book and seeing that crisp black text against the white background.

In fact, book-related joy was one of the central issues at one of the workshops I attended recently at the Washington Library Association Conference. One of the smaller library systems in our state, Whatcom County Library System, decided that they were going to embark on an exciting new training which would help staff recommend books to the public and to each other. Every staff member from drivers to reference desk staff was trained to talk about books with the public AND other staff members as well. They were given permission to celebrate the joy of the book! Needless to say, I found this workshop very inspiring.

As we head into the holiday season, I am deeply thankful for friends and family, book-related joy, the Kitsap Regional Library System and the wonderfully supportive community I am proud to live in.


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