Finding my name in a library book

By JASON MAYFIELD / Guest Columnist

Unless your name is Stephanie Meyer, it’s not every day that you come across your name at the public library.

I found myself, or rather, my name, on the inside front cover of “William Cooper’s Town,” a book an American history professor wanted me to love for its description of early American Republic life, and that I loved because it was about the city that came to house the Baseball Hall of Fame. I had searched my parent’s garage until I was convinced my parents hid the book just so I would keep searching and sort of cleaning up downstairs — and at that point, I gave up.

Finally, I found a copy in the library. Surprisingly, it was my copy.

I’m still not exactly sure how it landed at the library, but considering all the hundreds of books I check out every year, it’s probably the absolute least amount of myself I could’ve given away. The Columbiana Public Library makes me a better teacher, both in supplying me with out-of-county loan books on teaching literature/middle school/gifted better and in equipping me with loads of non-fiction, enabling me to ruin any conversation with “fascinating” trivia.

In “William Cooper’s Town,” the author, James Taylor, said that William Cooper was able to rise from wheelright to town founding father in part because Cooper joined a local library group and read his way past his lack of formal education. I too have read well beyond my schooling thanks to the public library, beginning when my grandfather would take me on June days to start my summer reading and continuing with my current quest to read through all six books the high school’s Battle of the Books selection committee chose for the April competition.

The children in your life can’t escape visits to the school library. But are those visits enough to make them fall in love with the written word? Most families supplement a child’s PE instruction with league practices and games, even driving hundreds of miles over the weekend to attend tournaments.

Your local library is a much closer visit and stands as proof that books have a place outside of the classroom, even when the book makes its way from your parent’s old house to a public shelf.

Jason Mayfield is a gifted instructor at Columbiana Middle School.