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Community Book Bliss


I had the most perfect day this past Monday. I was invited and surprised for the momentum that is moving forward in my little town especially with books in mind. I can't even believe it fit with such a puzzle perfection. Sometimes you stare at a puzzle and wonder where to start. You manage a first attempt but the difficulty leaves you helpless and all the pieces sit on the table for a while. Later you put it back in the box because your life is too busy to tackle such a project. Besides, you need more table room so you put it on a shelf and in a closet.

This is what I did with my vision of a getting a library in our small little town eight years ago. It was too difficult for me to see how to bring it all together. Although it is hard to completely let it go because it just happens to be the historical place and home to Beverly Cleary. That's right, one of my teacher and author heroes of education who wrote stories kids want to read about. When children came into her library, she asked them what they wanted to see in books. These ideas came to life in the many characters of her stories. She became a writer who wrote about neighborhoods, families, and the ordinary trials of kids growing up. One such book she wrote was a fictional history of her own life growing up and how she and her mother brought a library to her small town. This fabulous book of hidden history is called, Emily's Run Away Imagination, written in 1961.

If you read this lovely story of a girl who desperately wants a library, you will find that it is not just her but actually a whole town that comes together to bring stories to children. This is where my puzzle box has been pulled off the shelf, once again.

First, my new neighbor, Beverly, no relation to the actual Beverly Cleary but certainly a serendipitous kind of twist to the path we are heading. She knocked on my door and said she had some news about trying to get a library and heard from another neighbor that I also wanted to get a library in the area. She found out the Bookmobile of McMinnville needed to find more opportunities. She made some connections, pulled together a meeting at the local school, and gathered interested individuals who could help piece this together. Way to go Beverly! I was invited and we found out it would cost around $5,000 to bring the Bookmobile program to Yamhill for the summer.

Half the money was confirmed that day through a grant! By the next week, the rest of the money was secured through local supporting groups! This momentum is certainly just beginning for the future, Beverly Cleary Historical Library of Yamhill. Beverly, my neighbor, next invited me to the community action meeting to improve the vitality of our town. We signed up to be on the Downtown Revitalization Committee.

This brings me to this past Monday when we went to the community meeting for the Carlton Walk in the Park Foundation. They presented the last needed check to make the Bookmobile happen. Afterwards, we were off to lunch with our new downtown committee who are rich with history and love for the town. It truly is like a storybook that has come to life. I feel like I am treading on the pages of an unwritten path filled with town people who are all trying to make way for more growth and vitality in a community. The puzzle is coming together, a perfect day, especially for a writer who has a run-away-imagination.

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