Fully Booked

National Library Lovers Month prompts reflection of book love, reading communities

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photo courtesy of Katie Rattenborg

Sophomore Katie Rattenborg’s home book shelf is currently organized by genre, where her favorite books tend to be on the bottom, and the top is more random. In the past, Rattenborg has organized her books by color, as well as the last name of authors.

Sonya Sud, Assistant Editor

The month of February contains one of the most love-filled days of the year, Valentine’s Day, a day all about expressing love in relationships with other people. However, the month itself offers opportunities in love for other things. February is the National Library Lovers month, and students and staff at Lafayette are finding small ways to celebrate.

Lafayette’s Book Club and Library Advisory Board offer students a space to share their love of books with a whole community. Senior River Meise is a part of Book Club, and he has been an avid reader starting from a young age. Meise’s favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal and realistic fiction, although he enjoys reading a little bit of everything.

“It was interesting to explore other worlds and the possibilities. I just kept on doing it because sometimes it’s nice to go to a different reality and escape the stresses of this one,” Meise said. 

Although Meise loves libraries, he also has a big collection of his own at home. Because of his large collection, he filled up his first bookshelf and had to get a second one. Even though the shelves are taller than him, Meise still runs out of room.

“There’s no specific way it’s organized, it’s usually just like whichever book is newest just goes on the bottom of the shelf. And at this point now they just go on the floor because there’s no more room left on the bookshelves,” he said.

One of his favorite books that has impacted his perspective on the world is Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. Books may have different meanings to different people. To some, books change perspectives, provide a safe space or even help people build relationships.

Sophomore Katie Rattenborg has also been impacted by a love of reading. Rattenborg is also a member of Lafayette’s Book Club, and she reads a variety of genres of books. Currently, she likes reading a lot of contemporary and realistic fiction, although what she likes to read can change depending on what time of the year it is. 

“I know it’s kind of basic but I really like Harry Potter, specifically Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it’s just been a book that I read when I was little and then I always read it every single year,” Rattenborg said.

Rattenborg enjoys using books to relax the most. She read 40 books last year and said reading is something she does when she’s feeling stressed out or has a lot going on. 

“It just helps me feel calm and it makes me feel happy,” she said. 

She also has a relatively big book collection at home, but Rattenborg also likes to take advantage of the books she can get from the library. Since she usually only buys books when she gets a gift card, the library provides Rattenborg with a much more practical way to get books. 

“[My book collection is] kind of big, but I think it could be bigger. I tend to get books from the library, just because I don’t have to pay for them. I usually go to a library once a week,” Rattenborg said. 

For Rattenborg, reading not only provides relaxation but also shows her different aspects of the world. 

‘’I try to read a lot of diverse books in order to gain more perspective on things,” Rattenborg said. “So I think that’s probably changed and affected my relationship with others and it’s helped me connect with other people.”

Librarian Jane Lingafelter’s passion for books and literacy runs so deep that she has made a career out of it. For Lingafelter, reading is an escape from reality.

“I don’t watch much TV at all. I always have a book with me because if I’m sitting at a kids’ practice or I’m between games, I read,” Lingafelter said. 

Lingafelter’s love of books didn’t start when she became a librarian in 2018, but rather grew over time beginning in her childhood.

“I loved to read when I was a kid. I love to spend time in the library. I remember choosing books. I remember going to the county library. I remember the bookmobile,” she said. “Reading has always been a part of my life.”

Before becoming a librarian at Lafayette, Lingafelter taught 7th Grade language arts for 22 years at Rockwood Valley Middle School. In this way, she has always been connected to books.

“I loved helping kids pick books and loved reading books with kids and watching them get really excited about a book. So, becoming a librarian kind of seemed like a good extension of something that I was already doing, but this gives me much more time to focus on helping kids find books they love to read,” Lingafelter said. 

Lingafelter thinks books play an important role in kids’ lives, although her perspective on the importance of books, reading and libraries have slightly changed since she’s become a librarian. 

“As a teacher, I wanted kids to read to learn things. If it wasn’t learning something that would help them become a better student, it was having them read something to show them how to be a better person.” Lingafelter said. “As a librarian, I want kids to read because I think it is a great form of escape. I think it is also a great way to learn. It gives us a chance to experience things from afar that we might never have a chance to experience otherwise.”