Faith Brautigam

I have yet to meet a pet that cannot anticipate suppertime, walk-time or other frequent, and sometimes less frequent, rituals. The only time I put a bandanna on my dog was just before we went to festivals or community events. As soon as the bandanna came out, he quivered with excitement, presumably imagining sticky-faced kids, puddles of melted ice cream and hordes of strangers who would pet and admire him. That is because his brain was like ours: It looked for patterns, made connections and put things into categories.

Your brain has more categories than I can imagine, and some of those are quite helpful. As I am writing this, mine is ticking off the list under, “signs a thunderstorm is coming,” a good thing to recognize in advance. The problem is when we misclassify someone or something, or create a whole category based on faulty premises or misperceptions.

As the director of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, my job title elicits library-related comments. In the process, I encounter those who seem to have relied on false assumptions to categorize public libraries or library events. I have heard multiple variations of, for example, “We went to the library all the time when our kids were young. Now that they are grown up, I haven’t been there in years.” The underlying assumption is that KHCPL’s purpose is to serve kids; adults, aside from their roles as parents, are nothing more than an afterthought. Contrary to that, our recent and upcoming programs include informational meetings to answer your Medicare questions, opportunities to learn about topics specific to local history or genealogical research, and, my favorite, a series of cardio drumming classes called Drums Alive: Golden Beats. At the latter, adults 55 and better will use drumsticks on exercise balls while led by a trained instructor, fostering physical wellness and trying what is likely to be entirely new experience. The Monday afternoon classes will be at KHCPL South beginning July 11; call us or visit khcpl.org to sign up.

Other comments I hear run along the lines of “I’m not much of a reader.” Those statements tend to be in the context of explaining why the individual does not visit KHCPL or know much about it. What I hear is the background assumption that libraries are only for bookish types. I can see why you might assume that. Certainly, KHCPL serves readers of all ages with physical and digital materials, and we are delighted to interact with any and all of them. Many of our events, however, offer ways to connect, have fun or learn in person. This summer, for example, adults can become more informed about gardening topics; one program will focus on invasive plants and another on how to identify helpful and harmful garden critters.

If your idea of gardening is writing a check to the landscaping company, then consider visiting KHCPL’s Craft Corner events or, if you want to understand a loved one living with dementia, come experience a simulation of mild to moderate dementia at our Virtual Dementia Tour. These limited examples cannot capture the entire range of what KHCPL has in store for you. For complete information, look through our latest “Explore Your Opportunities” newsletter or scroll through the “events” tab at khcpl.org.

You may be unaware of just how many ways KHCPL educates and entertains, or your brain may have filed “library events” any number of ways. Do me (and yourself) a favor and take a few minutes to question the categories you use for “library.”

Faith Brautigam is the director of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library.

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