Get to know Ryann and Julia…
Ryann: Hi! I’m 14 years old and I’m a sophomore at Northwest School of the Arts. I’ve loved reading since before I can remember and have always turned to books when times have gotten tough, or boring, or if I just needed a quick escape from regular life. If I’m not reading, you can probably find me either practicing piano/violin, baking up a storm in the kitchen, or writing whatever new story popped into my head that day!
Julia: Hi! I am 14 years old and a freshman at Myers Park High School. Books have been my life long friends that are there when times are tough. Along with being an avid reader, I also love to play the violin. Some clubs I am in are Battle of the Books, Girl Scouts, Odyssey of the Mind, and the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra.
What made you interested in being a library ambassador?
Ryann: I applied to become a library ambassador mainly because of the questions that were being posed. Libraries are super important to me, and I know tons of other people who have been affected by them as well. The growth of libraries from hard-copy books to digital has been interesting to watch, but I think that as technology grows and becomes more and more advanced, libraries, and the stories they hold inside, are being left in the dust. I wanted to become a library ambassador to help make sure that that didn’t happen. It’s extremely important to me that libraries continue to evolve to keep up with the times, and are given the resources and opportunities to do so.
Julia: I don’t know where I would be without books. Reading gives you so much knowledge on a variety of topics and that is what makes libraries what they are. Whether you are there to study, to relax, to brows, or borrow, libraries will always be there for you. I applied to become a library ambassador because I wanted to share the experience I have with libraries with others.
Would you like to give a shout out to your home library?
Ryann: I don’t have a specific home library to mention. However, I would like to give a shout out to school libraries and/or media centers. I have so many amazing memories of all of the different school libraries that I’ve been to, and the amazing librarians who worked in them. From Battle-of-the-Books meetings to hiding out in the historical fiction section during my lunch periods, school libraries have always been one of the main safe spots for me, no matter what school I’m at.
Julia: I don’t exactly have a “home” library, since my family loves to explore different libraries and each of them is unique and all have different enjoyable aspects. For instance, the Myers Park library is nice and close, so I pick up the books I checked out online from there. If I had to choose, the ImaginOn library is one of my favorite libraries because of how it has much more than just books. They also have many resources there, as well as activities and lessons.
What is your earliest library memory?
Ryann: When I lived in California, my house was walking distance from our county library. I remember constantly visiting, whether it be on my way home from school, on a boring summer afternoon, or just whenever I felt I needed something new to read. It was a long time ago so I don’t have a whole lot of memories, but the ones that stand out to me are when I got my first library card and tried to sign my name on the back in cursive, and every Sunday when I wanted to go down and get a pile of new books, but it was closed (something that still annoys me to this day).
Julia: One of my favorite memories of going to the library was when I was in first grade and we lived in Virginia. Our apartment was very close to the park and a library, so we would go visit very often. My sister and I loved to plop down onto the beanbags in the children’s section with a pile of books and read until we had to leave.
Ryann: I don’t think I could ever choose an absolute favorite book. I definitely have ones that I enjoyed more than others, such as Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys) and The Last Dragon Chronicles (Chris d’Lacey), and of course I have my comfort books that I can always turn too, mainly the Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling), any Rick Riordan book, and The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series (J. R. R. Tolkein), but I’ve read way too many books to remember them all, much less choose a favorite.
Julia: I have had many favorite books over the course of my life, but none lasting too long. The more I read and the more I grow, the books I like change. My most recent favorite books have been I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram.
What do you want legislators to know about libraries?
Ryann: I think that the most important thing that legislators know about libraries is how important the library itself is to a community. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how libraries are becoming digital thanks to the help of Overdrive, Kindle, Libby, etc. and how the actual buildings are no longer necessary, and I heavily disagree. Libraries are one of the number one spots for anyone who needs help, whether it be a homeless person looking for shelter and wifi, or a student trying to pass a test, or someone who needs a sanctuary for any reason at all. Libraries are a perfect spot for teams and clubs getting together outside of school, or for adults to hold meetings at. I think the most important thing to remember about libraries is that they have been the center of towns, cities, and trading capitals for thousands of years, and if you take them away, you are taking away part of our community.
Julia: Legislators need to understand the full impact of libraries. They are so much more than just a place to study and borrow books. Libraries are diverse communities that aid people from all walks of life. The resources found there can lift people up and let them see their full potential. Libraries free us and need to be able to be accessed by more people.
View Ryann and Julia’s video NCLA 2020-2021 Student Library Ambassador Program on YouTube.