Recently, I listened to the audiobook THIS IS WHERE YOU BELONG: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF LOVING THE PLACE YOU LIVE by Melody Warnick. The book starts with a test on how attached you are to your town. The rest of her book is more about how to be happy wherever you live. She talks about the benefits of shopping locally, walking the streets to see things you wouldn’t see in a car, getting to know your neighbors, getting involved in the community, learning the history of the place, etc. Warnick’s point is that the more involved you are in a community, the more you learn to love it, and the more you feel tied to it, the more you belong.
I think working at the Provo City Library gives me a leg up on becoming involved in my community, but a non-work-related example of this happened this past Christmas, when I dragged my family outside to do something we’d never done before: attend the lighting of Provo’s downtown. We wandered around and looked at the various booths, made friends with the reindeer and the sled dogs, and listened to the mayor give a brief speech before turning the lights on with a flourish. “I suddenly have a sense of civic pride,” my sister joked. But it was true. Spending half an hour downtown did give me a better connection to it.
For me, this is all tied in to this year’s summer reading theme: Build a Better World. What better place to start building a better world than the place you live? The librarians in charge of planning summer reading have embedded a few ways to become involved in our community into the summer reading program. You can get points for appreciating nature, for attending local events, for volunteering, and even for donating to a food drive. I think anyone who participates in our summer reading program will forge a better connection to our community, and as a result, we’ll all love this beautiful place a little more than we already do.