The Jacksonville Public Library (A Vital Community)

PICTURE AracelyI have always been a regular of libraries, often running around in the children’s section when I was younger, and musing over poetry in nonfiction when I was of age. But it did not occur to me until I was older that libraries were an establishment that played a vital role in my own community.  Not only promoting literacy, but hosting community workshops which inspire and educate. In the children’s department, they put on an event, “Superheroes Read,” where kids dress up as superheroes and keep a list of the books they’ve read. Running around in capes, they come to associate reading with a positive memory. For teens, they host writing contests, where submitters write a story to a theme, and volunteer at the library to be considered eligible, thus fostering artistic creativity.

There are also valuable services for adults. In the main library, they hold classes for speakers of other languages to learn English, which give adjusting immigrants the opportunity to learn to communicate and be articulate in our society. All of these things in combination show that the library is a valuable resource for the people, as well as a place to check out an interesting book, and sit down leisurely to crack it open.

It hurts me to see cities and politicians not respect the roles libraries play. Indeed budgets to fund the libraries are tightening in an unmerciful fist. Where else would impoverished kids with homework, but no computer, go to type assignments? Where else would the homeless go to relax and read? Where else would free knowledge be made so readily available?

Whenever I go to the library, I browse bookshelves with new-found interest and stop when I see a book about healthy cooking, cultural revolutions, or classics. I take it off the shelf, and I read.

-Aracely Medina, Senior Poetry Editor


Writing Communities

1-writingIt pains me to think that some people finish their education and never read another book. Words have woven themselves so deeply into my life. If I stopped reading and writing I wouldn’t be myself anymore. It would be like reincarnation.I don’t know who I would become.

Lately, I’ve been telling myself this quote a lot: “Dream big, work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people.” Right now my classmates and I share a common goal to work hard and focus on becoming better writers. A community like this should never be taken for granted. It should be appreciated completely.

Pretty soon, I will graduate from high school, and perhaps, I will never see some of these amazing people again. My creative writing class has become a family. Writing reveals such intimate, personal parts of ourselves, and over the past four years, my classmates have come to understand, accept and love each other. It takes a lot to create a community as strong as the one we currently have.

It’s strange to think where we’ll all be ten years from now. Which of us will stay writers? Which of us will get married, have kids, or live somewhere other than Jacksonville?

Maybe our decisions will not only surprise others, but ourselves. I’m such a calender, plan oriented person. Maybe I will make a decision and forget who I am. Maybe the person I will become will be better than the person I am now.

I can’t believe that all of the years of learning, workshopping, and critiquing are almost over at Douglas Anderson.Whoever the members of my class become, we will always know each other within the experiences of our pasts.

I can’t ignore the power of having other writers in my life. People influence each other. I want to stay connected with other writers. Being with other writers creates an even stronger desire to create an art with words.

I will forever try finding other writers to connect with. The power of a writing community creates incredible bonds and paves pathways for improvement.

In the future, the worst thing that could happen to me is that I would wake up one morning and realize I never pursued my passion.

My life is all about the people I surround myself with. Graduation, the summer, and the start of college will really test me. Staying connected sounds like a good plan, but people drift, and meeting new people and making connections takes a leap of courage.

For right now, I’m going to appreciate every moment I have with this writing community. We’re all different and come from different areas of Jacksonville but we cam together for one thing. The love and support a group of strangers can create when they come together is powerful. I can’t say thank you enough for my experiences here at Douglas Anderson with my teachers and peers, who have become my writing family.

-Kat Roland, Art Editor