Library Impact Stories
Libraries have the power to change lives. Following are stories of real Highland City Library patrons and how the Library has impacted their lives.
- The Rees Family
- Jenifer and Sarah
- The Bushman Family
- The Johnson Family
- The Murdock Family
- The Craig Family
- Lowell Nelson
- Diana Elder
- Jacqueline Roettger
The Cedar Hills Library Patrons of the Year, The Rees Family!
The Friends of the Highland City Library would like to honor Joleen and Jake Rees and family as the “Cedar Hills Library Patrons of the Year for 2021” in recognition of the family’s exceptional support of the Highland City Library and its materials and programs. The Rees family has checked out more than 3200 items since they began coming to the library. They will be honored during the upcoming Cedar Hills Family Festival.
When Joleen and Jake Rees, both avid readers, moved to Cedar Hills six- and-a-half years ago, their oldest son, Derrek was just a toddler. It didn’t take them long to find the Highland City Library, and they have been coming ever since, usually about once a week.
Now Derrek, age 7, McKenna, age 6, and Addilyn, age 4, are faithful library patrons. Over the years they have attended story times and the Jr. Explorers Club. They try to participate in the summer reading program every year. The children have many favorite books. Derrek likes the Notebook of Doom series, the Last Firehawk series, and The Dragon Master series. McKenna loves the Elephant and Piggie books and Mo Willem’s Pigeon books. Addilyn loves lift-the-flap books and will often look through a chapter book as though she’s actually reading it.
Joleen and Jake can often be found with a book in hand. Joleen likes historical fiction, biographies, and Young Adult and intermediate fiction. Jake, who teaches English at Lone Peak High School, reads just about everything. He enjoys nonfiction in his free time.
The family enjoys many activities together. They love hiking, baseball, working and playing outside, and going on small family trips. Of course, they love reading together. Right now they’re reading The Magician’s Nephew, the first of the Chronicles of Narnia books.
The Rees family always manages to find fun and educational material at the library. They enjoy the discovery kits and the wide selection of books. They usually find a video or two to check out as well. They are grateful for help and kindness from the library staff. The staff also appreciates them. Juliawna Killpack says, “Joleen and her kids are a fun addition to our Jr. Explorer Club group of regular attendees this year. They rarely miss a week and are always excited about learning and making something new. Joleen seems to enjoy making the crafts with her kids just as much as her kids like making the actual crafts themselves.”
The family has enjoyed watching the library expand. They remember the days when the children’s section was tucked away in a corner, and they love the children’s room now with the space to read and play. Joleen says, “My children and I feel comfortable at the library and love to be there.”
The Library is where great families go for fun!
For Love of The Library: Two Story Time Moms
When Jenifer Kidd moved into her Highland neighborhood some 3 ½ years ago, it was almost like a homecoming. Her grandmother, Darlene Stice Van Werkhoven, was raised in Highland in the log cabin now located in Heritage Park. Jenifer also met a new neighbor, Sarah Harris, and the two of them and their children became fast friends. Sarah invited Jenifer to attend story time at the Highland City Library and it soon became one of their favorite activities to do together with their children.
For Sarah, attending library story time is a long and cherished tradition. It started in Lehi where her two oldest children Mariah and Mitt were born. At that time there was a main and a branch library so Sarah and her children attended story time twice a week. When the family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012, where Sarah's daughter Heidi was born, the first order of business was to find the local library and attend story time.
“We loved the small town library feel so much there,” Sarah says, “and having a mom with 3 kids aged 5 and younger attending weekly story time certainly wasn't the norm in North Carolina.”
Jenifer feels the same as Sarah about library story time. Since being invited by Sarah to attend story time at the Highland City Library, she has attended weekly with her son Jude, now 6, who enjoys being there with his mom and Sarah's son Howie, also 6, who is one of his best friends. They started story time with Miss Janice then Miss Gretchen and since last year, Miss Dorraine or Miss D, whom they love.
“We come every week to hear stories, sing songs, do crafts, check out library books and see our friends—the librarians,” says Jenifer. “Our week is brighter because of story time and Miss D. And every librarian is extremely sweet to Jude and knows his name. They say hello to him and make him feel special.”
They also notice small things as when Jude had his hair cut or when he brings his older sisters along. The library staff make them feel special too.
For Sarah, it's a poignant time with Miss D. “She has made this, my last year with my youngest kid before he, too, joins his siblings in full-time school, so enjoyable and full of laughter and fun every single week.”
Jenifer gives credit to all those who work at the library for making their time there so special. She says that because of the pandemic, story time during 2020 was challenging and that they missed attending regular story time. Still, the library staff made it possible during the summer to attend story time at the park and then in-person story time again with social distancing and the wearing of masks.
“I am grateful for story time and the friendships I have made with the dear librarians who are cheerful and welcoming to children,” Jenifer says. “I feel loved and happy to be part of the service they provide.”
For Sarah, after years of attending library story time and having seen each of her four children benefit from story time before moving on, she continues to value what the Highland City Library has to offer including Teen STEAM and the summer and winter reading programs.
“So even though, after 14 ½ years of weekly story time attendance I am down to my last few months, I know the Highland City Library is a place that we will always visit, cherish and make memories with on a regular basis.”
In 2020, despite the pandemic, the Library provided fun and educational story times for 2139 kids and parents. Story times teach a range of early literacy skill that help children be prepared to be successful in school.
The Library is a Place Where We Can Feel Love.
When Dannen and Claudia Bushman moved to Highland two years ago, they quickly found that the Highland City Library was a happy place for their family to be. "Not many places are excited when you show up with six kids," Claudia says, "but the librarians are always welcoming." Kyla (12), Bailey (10), Brooke (9), Bratcher (5), Emilia (5), and Allison (2) have all enjoyed the many programs offered at the library as well as the stacks of books they have been able to take home.
The smallest Bushmans have participated in Baby Bookworms and love singing with Sammie. They enjoy Story Time with Ms. D. The older girls often attend the Tween STEAM program with Devin. They also enjoy the Parent/Child Book Club, being able to read books with their parents and discuss them together. Kyla especially likes the Wings of Fire series, and she and Bailey are fans of both the Michael Vey and the Fablehaven series. Everyone loves the summer reading program and all the other activities the library sponsors in the summer.
Nine-year-old Brooke has special needs. Claudia says that many people see a non-verbal child in a wheelchair and don't pay much attention to them, but the librarians have been absolutely awesome with her, including her in the programs and activities. They make sure Brooke can see the books and pictures during Story Time. They include her in as many activities in the summer reading program as possible, so she can listen to and watch what the other kids are doing. At the Super Hero activity, the librarians helped her participate in some of the activities with parental assistance. Brooke likes to be read to, so she is contented and appreciated at the library.
The Bushmans haven't been able to visit the library as regularly during the pandemic. With a high-risk-daughter, they are cautious about taking her out or getting the other family members exposed. During the lockdown, they were able to get library books with curbside pickup. They continue to get lots of audio books and e-books through Libby, Overdrive, and RB Digital. They are also enjoying the new TumbleBooks programs. They love being able to access so many options with their library cards.
Claudia writes, "I just love that the library is a place where we can go and be accepted and wanted and loved." The library staff is just as enthusiastic about the contribution the Bushmans make to the library. Library Director Donna Cardon says, "The Bushmans are such avid library supporters. They attend several of our programs and are always ready with expressions of appreciation. I was especially touched when a teenage sister brought her younger sister to the Parent/Child book club. They are just a great family."
Everybody can access so many options with their library card.
Alpine Family of the Year for Highland Library
The Johnson family moved to Alpine about ten years ago, and they began visiting the library soon after. This last year they checked out more than 1500 items.
Blake and Suzy started coming to the library after their first daughter, June, age 11, was born. Even as an infant, June loved books, and her parents spent a lot of time reading to her. Milo, age 9, Bess, age 5, and Nils, age 3, have come to the Highland City Library their whole lives. The family loves the summer reading program, and they are always eager to see what the next theme will be. All the children have enjoyed story time over the years, and the older children love the STEM activities they have attended.
The Johnson kids have read lots of books, and they could almost be librarians themselves. They recommend Wonder, Hatchet, The Penderwicks, the Harry Potter books, the Percy Jackson series, Lord of the Rings, Little House on the Prairie, and Junior Genius Guides.
The parents enjoy the library as much as the kids. Suzy says, "We love that the library is a place to go that all can agree on. It’s always a peaceful environment I love that it’s a place that I can say ’yes’ to almost anything my kids want." She and Blake like to browse the new books section and always come away with something good to read. They appreciate the warmth, friendship, and advice of the librarians.
The Johnsons come to the library every week. They find it awesome to have an influx of new reading material come into their home each week, especially during this time of isolation. Besides Finding new books to read, they can also pick up some magazines, and even a cookbook with a new recipe to try.
The library helps keep the world open to them and other patrons
Highland Library Family of the Year
The Aaron and Marci Murdock family have been chosen as the “Highland City Library Patrons for 2020,” and according to Donna Cardon, Highland City library director, a better choice could not have been made. “They are regular library patrons,” Donna wrote in her announcement, “and have checked out over 1800 items.”
For the Murdocks, the library has always been a way to help their children love reading. In fact, Marci began taking her children, Rex (8) Marshall (5) and Claire (2) to the library when Rex was 1. Since then, the Highland City Library has become something of a “family affair” where the librarians and staff workers greet them by name.
“I like the family feel of the library,” says Marci. “There’s a niche for everybody.”
This certainly is true for Marci and her family. They not only check out a lot of books, but they make good use of the library’s many programs as well. The children attend Story Time, Baby Bookworms, the Junior Explorers’ Club and participate in the summer reading program. They play with puppets, decorate coloring pages provided by the library, try on dress-ups and enjoy the magnetic board in the children’s area where Claire is learning to spell her name.
And that’s not all. Rex is old enough to enjoy the coding classes and brings his father, Aaron, to those. The family also make crafts, attend the Reading with the Mayor event at Christmas and one spring, Marci took a gardening class. She is already looking forward to joining the parent/child book club when Rex is a little older. And while Aaron still prefers holding a book to read, he is starting to enjoy using ebooks as well.
Of course one of the best parts of any library is the books on the shelves, and the Murdocks look forward to checking books out to take home. “We read about a half an hour after school,” Marci says, “then another half an hour before bed.”
Right now, Rex loves the Magic Tree House book series and reads about one a week while Marshall is into superheroes and Claire likes anything. Marci decided that her children could get their own library cards between kindergarten and first grade so now Rex checks out his own books using his own library card which he keeps on a lanyard to hang around his neck. Marshall is in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program where for every 100 books he reads, he gets a prize at the library and a new reading chart to track his progress. He is well on his way to accomplishing his goal.
Marci says that as a young girl growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, she wasn’t much of a reader, but she and Aaron are well on their way to giving the gift of reading to their children. And with a little help from the Highland City Library, it will be a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Libraries give the gift of reading
Cedar Hills Library Patrons of the Year
The Friends of the Highland City Library would like to honor Sarah and Bryce Craig and family as the “Cedar Hills Library Patrons of the Year for 2020” in recognition of the family’s exceptional support of the Highland City Library and its materials and programs. This family of eight has checked out more than 2000 items from the Library and have supported the Library in many ways.
The Craig family moved to Cedar Hills five years ago, and they started coming to the library as soon as they arrived. Over the past several years, they have loved coming regularly to story times, and the whole family has participated in the summer reading programs. They make a weekly visit to the library.
The family has many, many favorite books. Bryce’s favorite read-aloud books are Wonder and the Way of the Warrior Kid series. Sarah enjoys Atomic Habits, Harry Potter, and The Way of Kings. Blake, age 13, recommends the Janitors and Masterminds collections. Bently, age 11, can be found reading Gordon Korman books and the Upside Down Magic series, while Cannon, age 9, likes Hocus Pocus Hotel and the numerous adventures of Geronimo Stilton. Corbin, age 7, enjoyed listening to Call of the Wild; Reed, age 4, is fascinated by the Elephant & Piggie books; and Rosie, age 2, just loves the shaker song and the goodbye song with Miss D at Story Time. Sarah and Bryce also enjoy using Overdrive to listen to audio books.
A year ago when the library was getting close to reaching the book limit to become part of the Utah County library cooperative, the Craigs assisted in hosting a neighborhood book drive to help them reach their goal. Everyone in the community was eager to support the effort. The librarians were delighted when the kids brought in the books. They took their picture and displayed it during the summer.
The Craigs love the librarians. They find them to be friendly, helpful, and personable. Sarah writes, “Best library ever!! We love this library and every person who works and serves there. They’ve blessed our lives with books, story times, programs, activities, and friendships of the amazing librarians.” The library is grateful for such enthusiastic, dedicated, and helpful patrons.
The Library is grateful for all our wonderful patrons.
Watching the Library Work
Lowell Nelson has always been involved in community service. He has lived in the Highland/Lehi area since 1977, and he and his wife raised their seven children here. From 1986 to 1990, Lowell was on the Highland City Council, and he then served in the Utah State Legislature from 1992 to 2000. He encouraged a multitude of scouts to achieve the Eagle Scout award, and he was given the BSA Silver Beaver award.
In recent years, Lowell Nelson has become a familiar face at the Highland City Library. Typically he comes there three times a week to study, write, and work. Often you will find him writing to dozens of missionaries, sending them the current news from our area and encouraging them in their work. At other times he will be conducting business, doing work for his financial planning company. Some days he is scanning and printing family history material. The library provides him with the space and equipment he needs.
The library has become a haven for Lowell, and he notices and appreciates the smallest details. He feels warmth from the smiling faces of the staff, the concern he sees as they plan learning opportunities for children, and the consideration they give to each patron.
Probably few patrons notice the careful care given books when they are returned, making sure they come back in the same condition as they went out. Lowell observes how they are carefully checked for marks, wiped down with cleansing cloths, and then placed back on the shelves.
Lowell enjoys the quiet of the library, but he also likes the noise of children when they come for library-sponsored activities. He says, “The Highland Library is a place of learning for the upcoming generations, and the staff puts a lot of preparation into making these events memorable and exciting!” The children can be noisy, but they’re never disruptive.
Lowell watches as the library welcomes those with mental disabilities to the library each week and gives them opportunities to be taught in simple and loving ways. He observes that the library staff takes their needs seriously, plans special programs for them, and allows them to sit in the City Council Chamber, which gives them a sense of importance.
Lowell Nelson treasures the organization of the library. He says, “As I have walked through the book stacks and looked at the different titles, it becomes very clear that every book is in its correct place. There is order and nothing is misplaced. This is a wonderful library!”
The Library welcomes between 4000-5000 visitors each month.
Libraries have something for everyone.
Reaching a Goal
Diana Elder has always loved reading, learning, and libraries. When Highland City built its very own library, she was thrilled. She belongs to two book clubs and over the years has been happy to find that most of the books she needed were available either in house or through the inter-library loan program. Diana says, “That program has been a wonderful resource not only for me personally, but also professionally.”
In 2015 Diana set a goal to become an Accredited Genealogist professional and needed several reference books to prepare for her testing. The books were on the history and records of her chosen region—the Gulf South United States. Through inter-library loan, she was able to order books about researching in states such as Arkansas and Texas. Those books came from libraries throughout the country and gave her the opportunity to study from the comfort of her home.
Now as a professional genealogist, Diana still uses the inter-library loan system to order reference books that she uses in her research. She and her daughter, Nicole Dyer, own Family Locket Genealogists, a professional research company. They also provide learning opportunities through their books, podcast, study groups, and eCourse, all of which can be accessed on their Website, Family Locket. They love helping others learn how to find their ancestors. Diana states, “The Highland City Library has proven to be of great benefit to me and my family.”
The Inter-library Loan service is available to all library card holders and allows patrons to access books from almost any library in the country.
Libraries help people follow their dreams.
Making Highland Home
Thirty-six. That’s how many times Jacqueline Roettger has moved in her life, and the local library has played a crucial part in each of those moves.
It was from the local library that Jacqueline and her family learned what was happening in their new community, where they found programs for children and adults, met and made new friends during story times, and found information and learning opportunities through a host of books and movies. In fact, a new library card was always one of Jacqueline’s first acquisitions in any new area.
This was true for Jacqueline even as a child. Because her father was a pilot, she changed locations and schools a lot, and found that the local library helped her even out her education. If she was behind, the library helped her catch up; if she was ahead, she found challenging material to fill her time.
Eventually Jacqueline married and had five children. She also continued to move often, and over the years she obtained many, many more library cards. Her children became participants in many library programs. While living in North Logan, her boys rode their bikes over three miles to attend teen nights at the library. One of her sons was vice-president of the Teen Advisory Board. They helped clean the library and decorate it. They did service projects, held quiz bowls, had video game nights, and played putt putt golf between the stacks.
In April, 2018, the Roettger family moved to Highland, and before they even unpacked, they found our community library. They loved the summer reading programs, came to story hour, and joined the robotics club. Today, Charlotte, age 8, especially loves the arts and crafts projects the library provides. Alex, who is autistic, enjoys reading in the alcove where he can pursue a single topic over an extended period of time. Ethan, 15, enjoys his independence, exploring subjects he likes and helping his siblings do the same. They all do homework on the computers, and mom appreciates the firewalls the library has in place. Last year when the family had to make an unexpected trip to a funeral, they went straight to the library to find movies and books on CD for the long journey. It was yet another way the library has been a help to them.
The Roettger family wants to give back to the library as well, so Jacqueline recently joined the Friends of the Library where she works with others helping to keep our community library strong. As Jacqueline says, “The library is a place of abundance and happiness. We can have any dream we want because the library is there to help us build it.”
The Library issues about 90 new library cards each month.