by Stacey Embry,
Director,
Morgan County Library
Whatever happened to the village? Seriously, when did we start thinking we could do it all alone? We have all heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but I think it is bigger than that. I prefer to leave the proverb in its shortened form; “It takes a village.”
I have a hard time asking for help. My husband would probably not agree, but it is true. I am stubborn and strong willed and usually just want to do it myself. My current job has changed me. I ask for help all of the time. My staff is excellent. Each one has different strengths I use on a daily basis. The library has excellent volunteers. On days like today (opening day of summer reading program), we could not survive without them.
It takes a village and my staff and volunteers are just the tip of the iceberg.
Yesterday, I had a slight dilemma prepping our feather flags for display at the library. Due to a misunderstanding on my part, they came without a way to anchor them to the ground. Not good; these flags are almost 15 feet tall. By that afternoon, Terry Croy and John Embry were both at the library to help figure things out. With their expertise and some connections with SI Precast, the problem was solved and the flags were flying before I left work.
It takes a village.
I am working on another grant. Brenda Steffens and Susan Brinson have both been proofreading and giving suggestions.
The library is working on adding a fire alarm system. Duane Miller has met with the board and visited the library to answer all of our questions.
We have five programs with special guests for our summer reading program; Donna Chapman (food pantry), Cynthia Green (MDC), Debbie Eckhoff (local grower), Craig Baumgartner (building safety), Ruth Campbell (local grower), John Anderson (local grower), Samantha Richardson (grower). Of the seven people I listed, six are locals, so local, they have library cards with us!
When I made our case for our “can-struction” (the pyramid of cans), people reacted. The Baumgartner family has made multiple drop-offs of food, as have the Daughters of the American Revolution. Various individuals have helped fill our display case and made monetary donations. Berenice’s husband came in on his day off to help load cans purchased from G2M (at a special price for us). So, kudos to Jonathan and G2M. The Farm Bureau even brought in enough cans to fill the back of an SUV.
I could go on and on, you know this if you have ever read this column. Again, my point is, it takes a village.
As we head in to the next few weeks of our summer reading program, we will continue to ask for help. We will be blessed by people who are the village helpers. I don’t want people to read this and think they have to come out to the library to volunteer. Not everyone in the village has the same job. Not everyone is made for volunteering.
I think it is our responsibility to find our role in the village. What is your strength? What can you share? Find your spot. Maybe it is easier to donate your money than your time. Maybe you have a specific skill set that could benefit someone. Maybe you help us by showing up and participating in our programs. Maybe you help by bringing your kids and their friends to summer reading program.
Being part of the village should not be a burden. If it feels like a job and not your “calling,” you have not found your spot. Don’t retreat. Keep trying.
A lot could be said about the breakdown of society. Without the village, people have struggled. We have lost the input of each village member as we have isolated ourselves. I think the village broke apart with, maybe, good intentions. I have the best intentions when I don’t ask for help; I don’t want to be a burden and I want to be as productive as I can. I do think we are all working to get back to the village concept. Maybe we have just changed the terminology.
It takes a community.
For more information, visit the Morgan County Library, 600 N. Hunter, in Versailles; call 573-378-5319; or see the library’s website at morgancountylibrary.org. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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