Sunday is National Booklover’s Day, and the Bruce C. Clarke Library has all the resources the Fort Leonard Wood community needs to brush up on late summer reading.
Shannon Solomon, the library’s technical services lead, offered some tips for people who feel they may not have the time to read a book.
“A lot of people think, to read a book, they have to sit down and read the whole book, cover to cover, rather than that they can read snippets, and fit it in here and there,” she said.
Solomon encouraged busybodies to find and devote just 30 minutes from their daily schedule to a book. The vast cognitive benefits associated with regular consumption of literature is worth it, she said.
Studies suggest book reading can actually lead to a longer life. But to Katha Dirkman, library tech, literature has given her more than one.
“‘A reader lives a thousand lives,’” she said, quoting author George R. R. Martin. “When I read a book, I’m going through that (character’s) life. That can be true whether you’re reading a memoir or biography.”
Solomon, who has worked at Clarke library for 16 years, said books can promote empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.
“I think it improves your quality of life in that when you read a book, you tend to be able to put yourself into somebody else’s shoes,” she said. “It would make you more willing to look deeper into things, make you feel part of a bigger community. Just reading things and understanding that other people feel the same way that you do makes it easier for you to understand when they actually come at you from a different point of view. That seems to make for a better life, I would think.”
Aside from developing deep mental traits, library staff said that taking time to relax with a book reduces their daily stress levels.
“I have to read – it’s like if I don’t read, something’s wrong,” said Joyce Waybright, Clarke Library’s chief of community services.
“It takes you away from where you are,” she said. “You can step outside the problems you are having in your life.”
Library staff urged people to consider spending whatever free time they may have – however little – between the pages of a book.
“Start with something that is segmented,” Solomon said, advising new readers. “Start with an anthology, a book of poetry, a graphic novel – something that has shorter bits to read to it, and once you get in that habit, you can start expanding how much you’re reading.”
Waybright said that although the library is temporarily closed, potential readers can request books through curbside pick-up or by accessing digital repositories through the Clarke library’s portal at https://AULS.insigniails.com/bccl-flw.
Curbside pick-up is available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Request books by calling the library’s front desk at 573.563.4113, or by emailing Dirkman at email@example.com.