Spring means library time

'It all circles back to books and learning how someone else may be living their life'

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 4/10/24

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Library has made it very clear in recent years the facility is not just about shelving the world’s best-known stories and authors.

Quite beyond this …

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Spring means library time

'It all circles back to books and learning how someone else may be living their life'


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Library has made it very clear in recent years the facility is not just about shelving the world’s best-known stories and authors.

Quite beyond this fact, since taking the reigns as director just over four years ago, Cristine Braddy has undoubtedly made it both her and her devoted staff’s mission to encourage and welcome as many residents as possible.

With Braddy’s approach as she has said many times over, this library is and should be a safe and peaceful sanctuary for all who walk through its doors.

For Goshen County’s longstanding and treasured dwelling for mindful adventures, the fact remains regardless of age, social status, employment, political affiliation, or worldly viewpoints; the library is a sacred home away from home for everyone.

As Braddy and her staff understand too well, summer vacation quickly approaching means no school and lots of free time for our county’s youth. With this discernable fact lying straight ahead, the library is equipped and enthusiastic in making sure all facility services will be ready for community children as well as health-conscious adults.

“We had a really busy winter which was great, and we have been growing our adult programming which has been our focus,” Braddy said. “We have been especially busy on Fridays as there is no school. We have been super busy with our children’s programming, but we are really trying to focus on adult programming.” 

“I think other good things have been our partnerships beginning to grow out of our public telehealth booth. We are partnering with Goshen County Public Health, the Wyoming Center of Aging, the Wyoming Department of Chronic Disease, and the University of Wyoming in trying to get more access to health resources in this community. We will be providing resources for blood pressure, diabetes and will continue to help make our community healthy. Small communities require partnerships because none of us can do it on our own.”

It must be duly noted not only will out-of-school children remain a top priority during summer months, but adults of all ages will have plenty of access to knowledge, fantasy, history, and above all community.

According to Braddy, the word community continues to be spoken quite often regardless of what lies outside the library walls. Interestingly enough, Braddy attributes this philosophy to past experiences relating to a fairly common and sanctified familiar sight.

“I love seeing young moms gather with their kids as well as all the grandmothers who bring their grandkids,” Braddy began. “It’s a beautiful natural mentorship and support that happens without anyone planning it, and without someone having to show up and say, ‘I need an older woman to help me figure this out.’ It just intuitively happens, and libraries are good spaces for that. It’s a natural mentorship versus the feeling signing up for a class and someone telling you what to do, and somehow you feel less than in the process. Maybe because once upon a time I was a young mom feeling like someone supported me who said, ‘Let me show you how to solve this.’ I do love that.”

Braddy continued speaking with reflection over the last several winter months; particularly regarding the relatively impactful new school schedule for students who have Fridays off.

According to Braddy, Fridays have become an unexpectedly wonderful busy day for both her and her staff. As she has explained and advocated many times before, the library is the perfect place for a child with no school, and nowhere else really to go to find their mind and even their own self-expression.

“We love the energy of the kids; their parents and the joy they bring with a new book they want us to get. For example, seeing them run around doing scavenger hunts brings life, which despite this year’s challenges has made Fridays super fun. We have so many kids in here it’s like a kid party. They are all running around doing scavenger hunts, asking for random books, and playing chess, or Minecraft and it all happens on Friday. We see a lot of board games, snap circuits, school projects, and a lot of sitting in the corners reading. We were always busy Friday afternoons after school got out, now it starts at nine and just goes until five. Kids know they can come here, and they belong. The library is for everyone. Everyone should be able to come here and express their voice and hear others. Research still shows fiction expands empathy because of its capacity to broaden our imaginations.”

The thought process did not stop there, however. As Braddy continued an intriguing discussion of intellectual growth for children, the topic captivatingly evolved into the extensive idea of community understanding and tolerance for our own working minds and personal morals.

As Braddy eloquently put it, more reading and library time will almost certainly lead to cerebral patience and emotional understanding for individuals in the long run.

“We need each other, that’s the best part of small towns,” Braddy said. “We can’t do this on our own. The most successful organizations are the ones who understand we truthfully don’t have to agree on things to work together. We can respect each other whether we agree or disagree. We may vote two different ways or have two different ideas about how some things should work, but we can still respect and work with each other. How we become successful is by bringing our differences to it. Homogenous organizations don’t succeed over the long haul. It requires diversity to be successful. We understand that but sometimes we forget about the idea as well, and I’m very passionate about it.”

“We think we are all the same even in small towns, but we are all very diverse and different,” Braddy continued. “Our own experiences living in Torrington are going to be different than LaGrange, but we need each other, and we need to understand each other. The same is true within our communities. If we spend all our time on social media railing against each other, we are going to miss out on what we could be doing for our community and for our residents. When we work together, we just get a lot further. For some reason, we think we have to agree on everything, and that is just a weird idea. If you are really curious about someone else’s life, you might learn something that makes your life better. It all circles back to books and learning how someone else may be living their life. Maybe you’re not comfortable talking to someone who sees the world differently, but you can safely explore it in a book. The next thing you know, you’re sitting down having a conversation with someone who sees the world entirely differently.”

If you would like more information or have further questions regarding Goshen County Library, feel free to call 307-532-3411 or visit www.goshencountylibrary.org.