Toledo Lucas County Public Library in Toledo, OH

"Open to all"

Check out a book — and this smile! (Credit: Toledo Lucas County Library)

One of the nicest feelings in the world is when you can go someplace and be accepted just as you are. A place where you are greeted with unconditional goodwill no matter your race, socioeconomic standing, age, educational level, gender, fashion statements, hair color, or marital status. In Toledo, that place is the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. I have only worked at the library for six months, and seeing the inherent kindness extended to all customers has quite literally restored my faith in humanity. No question is too big or too small for our librarians to answer, and they never make people feel inferior for asking. They help people reset passwords, find documents to trace family histories, find books when people only know one word in the title, send insurance forms, and spend lots of time helping people navigate the internet and job search sites.

Stories About Toledo Lucas County Public Library

There are numerous kind interactions I witness every day at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, including:

  • A business librarian sitting down to chat with a downtown resident with the same respect that he affords CEOs with whom he works. The man took the librarian’s hands and said it was the first time in days anyone spoke to him like he was a person.
  • A librarian helping someone set up a Google account so they could get an email address so they could apply for a job, create a resume and cover letter, and complete the online application with attached documents. All with extraordinary kindness and patience.
  • A resident in an assisted living center calling the bookmobile visit the highlight of her month, and clapping her hands as the librarians delivered books chosen just for her.
  • A librarian partnered with a local construction firm to help their Spanish speaking employees complete certification activities needed to remain or advance in the industry. These experienced steelworkers could not move beyond the most physically demanding aspects of their jobs due to language and technology skill barriers. She worked with the company to design a five-week course. All 20 men in the first class completed their certifications.
  • I ran into a Ready to Read librarian as she was just returning from a bus ride, where she was so elated that she had just connected with an older dad and his toddler daughter. They all had such a nice time together that he was going to start bringing his daughter to the library regularly.
  • Another librarian learned that some organizations in her community were trying to help grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, but couldn’t find the spaces or times to help people. She opened up her library branch to the community groups and secured additional partnerships and funding to provide regular classes with local experts, including lawyers and judges, as well as meals and activities for the grandchildren during the classes. One grandmother I spoke with was in tears, saying she felt so alone and embarrassed before, but everyone at the library was so nice she felt she could finally get some help.