By Kelly Flynn
I am nine years old, a skinny bit of a thing, and as I step onto the creaky wooden porch of the quaint little building with the A-frame roof, I nearly stagger under the weight of the pile of books clutched in my arms.
And I experience again what I experience every time my mom brings me here, to the A.J. Phillips Public Library in Fenton, a heady feeling of abundance, and good fortune, and the distinct feeling that I have, once again, gotten away with something. Books. As many books as I can carry. I am a little bookworm and I feel fortified and relieved; this bounty of books will last me through the week.
The A.J. Phillips Library is now the A.J. Phillips Fenton Museum, of course, and the library, now called Fenton-Winegarden, is housed in another historic building — the old Fenton post office.
But my hometown library is just one of the Genesee District Library’s 19 branches, serving all of Genesee County except the city of Flint, which is served by the Flint Public Library.
That nine-year-old girl could not have imagined the library of the 21st century, a place still full of books, yes, but oh, so much more. The library of the 21st century is more relevant than ever, and is not only a hub of community activity, but is chock-full of exciting digital options as well.
Consider what you can get with a library card: access to Freegal, the free online music source that allows you to download – and keep – five free songs a week, and stream music free, 24/7, with no advertisements. You can download books for your e-reader, stream audiobooks through AudioBookCloud, access dozens of magazines online through Zinio, and even access the uber-valuable Consumer Reports. Film fans can check out DVDs – yes, even new releases — and keep them for a week.
You can visit the Business Center, attend computer classes and career fairs, access databases and research tools, and attend a wide assortment of programs including yoga, author talks, concerts, magic shows, craft classes, story times, and animal events.
On Tuesday, August 2, I’ll be voting YES for the Genesee District Library millage renewal. The GDL is primarily funded through local millage and the millage duration is 10 years.
If you haven’t been in a library in a while, stop in one of those 19 branches, or visit thegdl.org. You’ll be glad you did.
And please vote on August 2.
For more info, visit https://www.thegdl.org/gdl-strategic-plan-2
Kelly Flynn is the author of The Teachers’ Lounge (Uncensored): A Funny, Edgy, Poignant Look at Life in the Classroom.