The Greenwood library holds many special memories for me. I remember my mom taking me there when I was very young. I was involved in Mrs. Baker's summer reading program in the early 1980's, and went there on a regular basis when I was in Mrs. Baker's Learn and Play preschool program at First Baptist Church. When I got a little older, I was issued my first library card. It was the old type of card, made of thick cardstock and a metal strip. When I went to renew my card in high school, I was issued a more technologically advanced card with the bar code, which I still have and use.

Throughout junior high and high school, the library was a place where students could meet to do research or work on homework. When I was a part of a group working on a History Day project in 8th grade, we would meet at the library after school for our research on asbestos. We would walk over to Walters Variety Store and buy a quarter's worth of candy, which was almost more than we could hold. We would then eat junk food and study until our parents showed up. It was beyond our comprehension that the Internet would come along and forever change how students conducted research.

For someone who loves to read, the library is a place where there is an endless supply of plots, stories, and history. My wife and I have collected quite a library of our own, but space is limited in our home. The library is a place where we can find access to our favorite stories and authors (and discover new ones) without having to purchase and store even more. My favorite genre has always been westerns. I grew up reading Louis L'Amour with my dad. When I was older, I discovered Larry McMurtry and Lonesome Dove. In my later years, my favorite genre became suspense thrillers. My favorite author is Vince Flynn, and since his death I've enjoyed Brad Thor as well. As a building principal, there isn't much time to read for pleasure, but it has always been a hobby and a joy.

Reading provides an education that can't be duplicated in a classroom. It builds a person's vocabulary, takes you places you can't go on your own, and puts you in the story in your imagination. Not only that, but a firm foundation in reading skills will benefit each and every content area in a person's education, from English literature to mathematics to science and beyond.

The library has been and continues to be a special place in my life and for my family. No matter what the future holds, a town the size of Greenwood needs a library. I believe the library, like the churches and schools, should be a reflection of that town’s values. As a proud Greenwood Schools alumnus, I’ve watched our schools grow and progress. I hope to see the same with the library.

Aaron Gamble

Principal, Greenwood Junior High