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When I First Fell In Love With Books – An Ode to National Reading Awareness Month

March 18, 2016 ET

March 18, 2016

Editorial Note: To mark March as National Reading Awareness Month, we asked our intern, Josie Brown, a senior at Carbondale Community High School in Carbondale, Illinois, to share her experiences with books. Below is her story.

By Josie Brown
IMLS Intern

During my infancy my father “taught” me how to read by placing my tiny body on the daily newspaper. As early as back then, he hoped that I would learn and appreciate the words through osmosis. All of my dad’s efforts were rewarded when I first learned my letters and memorized the rudimentary spelling lists I would receive in class, all while family members’ beaming faces egged me on. I picked up English with ease and speed, and I looked forward to every Christmas and birthday subsequent to entering prekindergarten because I received new books wrapped in lovely paper from my doting family members.

Kathryn Matthew (right), IMLS Director, poses with Josie Brown (left), IMLS intern

Pictured: Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew (right), IMLS Director, poses with Josie Brown (left), IMLS intern.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of the times when my grandmother would take my older sister and me to the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library in New Orleans, Louisiana, back when practically my whole family resided in the quaint Southern hub. I learned to associate clean hardwood floors, “old book smell,” and sunny Saturday afternoons with the time that I spent in the library perusing the shelves and begging my grandmother to loan out just one more book for me.

Kathryn Matthew (left), IMLS Director, shares her experience about Museums with Josie Brown (right), IMLS intern.

Pictured: Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew (left), IMLS Director, shares her experience about Museums with Josie Brown (right), IMLS intern.

After relocating to Carbondale, Illinois, when both of my parents became employed by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, I spent several hours each week in my elementary and middle schools’ libraries reading just about every book stocked on the shelves and entering in various reading competitions. Somewhat expectedly, I bagged the prize for reading the greatest amount of books out of every student in the entire school . . . for three consecutive years! Now that I am older and about to embark on the next chapter of my life (college--yikes), my childhood curiosity and nerdery, fiercely enabled by all of the libraries that I frequented throughout my life, continues to shape me into the articulate, knowledgeable young adult that I aim to be.

Josie Brown, IMLS intern, interviews Kathryn Matthew, IMLS Director, about her experience working in Museums.

Pictured: Josie Brown, IMLS intern, interviews Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, IMLS Director, about her experience working in Museums.