Micah Reads! This Inspiring Story Proves That Libraries are Extremely Important
NOTE: We saw this inspiring story on Facebook written by Steven Bellah and we got permission from Steven and Micah to share their story here.
The guy holding the shirt is Micah. He has been coming to the Red Bridge Branch of the Mid-Continent Library for about a year and a half now. He walks about a half mile to get there. In the beginning, he would come in and check out about 10 DVD’s, multiple days a week. He told us he lived in a group home and the movies kept him entertained. He was just another satisfied customer.
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Then, and I don’t know when or to who, he revealed to us that he couldn’t read. Even simple children’s books were too difficult for him. That is when my staff shined their brightest, and showed how purposeful and helpful they were.
Several members of my staff started to take the time to sit and read a book with Micah almost every time he visited. It eventually became a regular occurrence.
They were usually Level 1 or Level 2 children’s books. About 15 minutes each time, line by line, page by page, helping him sound out words and building trust and dedication. Soon, Micah was coming in every day, reading a book with us, improving his literacy skills, and finding the library a welcoming place. Soon, I became one of his library readers too, and Micah had no problem sitting and waiting for us if we were busy.
This is why we fight so hard for libraries. In fact, in 2016, your contributions allowed us to help the Mid-Continent Library win $12 Million Dollars for new operating funds and facilities upgrades. Find out more about our work and join us for less than a cup of coffee here.
This summer, my staff and I have sat with Micah almost every day and read together. It only made sense for him to participate in the library’s Summer Learning Program. Why not? We read every day with him, filling in the boxes on his reading logs for every ten minutes he read.
He read with our staff for 1,000 minutes this summer. ONE. THOUSAND. That’s over 16 and a half hours. He completed the Summer Learning Program. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t read even the simplest book a year ago.
It’s never to late to start working toward something. Micah is proof of that.
Today, we presented him with his “Libraries Rock!” t-shirt for completing the program. He doesn’t drive, so I went to the t-shirt store for him and had it printed. We all signed his completion certificate. The staff in this photo with Micah and I helped him earn that shirt, along with several others not pictured. It was a team effort. And it was the BEST team for him to succeed with.
Find out more about our work and how you can help us support local libraries all over the United States here.
Micah told me he comes to the library because everyone here is nice to him, unlike where he lives. He looks forward to visiting, to reading, to bettering himself.
What other public place would take the time to do something like this? To offer genuine, selfless, servant assistance? I would have a hard time thinking of one, if at all.
This is why I do what I do. This is why I have the best job in the world. This is why I have the best staff in the world, and the best library system in the world.
CONGRATULATIONS, MICAH! Well deserved. I hope to keep seeing him at the library, and reading with him for many years to come.