March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her. Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project. To read all the blog posts so far, click here.
By Brittney Matthews
Books are valued primarily for education and creativity, but local librarian Sarah Freeland values books most for the connection they provide within communities.
Books have a different impact on each individual and for Freeland the book “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery is the book that has had the biggest impact on her. It’s about Anne, a young orphan girl, who lives on Prince Edward Island and gets adopted by a family, when the family thought they were adopting a boy. Anne uses writing and storytelling to cope with the darkness in her world. In the end, the family falls in love with her. Throughout the series, the reader walks alongside Anne and her life up to adulthood.
“It really is this wonderful story of family and community,” Freeland said. “But for me, I love the way you see community connecting through story… and it’s her stories that connect people and unite them.”
Freeland said this book impacted her by connecting her to other people who had read the book. It amazed her how this book could create a common ground of understanding between two people.
“I think reading really gives you the opportunity to explore, engage with and connect with people that are different from you,” Freeland said.
Freeland encourages others to read “Anne of Green Gables” because Montgomery doesn’t shy away from the hardness of reality, while at the same time showing that there’s more than difficulty in life.
“You have that [difficulty] but you also have this sense of imagination with a positive outlook,” Freeland said. “There is opportunity for joy and wonder. That to me is really encouraging.”
As a librarian, Freeland sees firsthand how books impact people in the community. For Freeland, being a librarian means assisting people in making the connections that books create within the community and helping others grow in their love for books.