It is always illuminating to look over the past year and think about where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and reflect on where the year ahead might lead. Knowing of course, that if one thing is for certain, there will be surprises! 

While 2022 held its up and downs, looking back, it was full of adventures, opportunities to meet and get to know new people, lessons learned, and fresh insights acquired. Even better, many of these occasions were related to my contributions to the Library Connect Blog posts. 

How can I forget my very first-ever visit to the Gold Hill Library, which also happened to coincide with the town’s annual Gold Nugget days? The town was a bustle that day, with local volunteer groups offering a parade; photo opportunities, games, and activities for people of all ages; and local vendors selling everything from cool knitted hats to delicious treats. 

Then there was my visit to beautiful Butte Falls and its lovely little library, wonderful waterfall, and surrounding forest. 

How lucky was I to take part in the fun and excitement of the Talent Harvest Festival, while also visiting the wonderful Talent Library and participating in some of the activities offered there that day? Between the book sale and the crafts provided by the Rogue Valley Hand Weavers Guild, I could have spent most of my time just in the branch alone! 

Even covering the Ashland Library, a place where I work every day, presented its share of insights and a fresh perspective. Just spending a few moments gazing up at the Deodar Cedar that graces the front lawn was an opportunity to experience a feeling of wonder and awe! 

At the end of the day, however, one of the most important things I took away from these visits was an appreciation for the Branch Managers and library staff at all our libraries. Each of our communities is unique and special in its own way, and for many people, the local library serves as a place to build community, gather information, and see a friendly face. The branches, while part of a bigger library system, have the unique responsibility of getting to know and value the things about their individual cities and towns, tailoring programs and services to community needs and interests. It is not always an easy path to walk, but from what I have seen so far, the folks who work and serve in the libraries of Jackson County are doing an awesome job. 

For 2023, I’m looking forward to visiting more of the branches of the Jackson County Library System and the communities in which they reside. It will be exciting to check out new places and share the wonderful things about each of them. My hope is that, in the coming year, folks from all over Jackson County will be inspired to check out someplace new, visit one of our libraries that they’ve never been to before, and experience a piece of the beautiful and intricate fabric that makes living in this area so unique.