Jane Mense at Washington Public Library

A trip to the library makes me happy—it always has. Despite the fact that libraries are becoming multi-media centers where quiet no longer reigns supreme, there is still something reverent about entering the hallowed stacks, surrounded by shelves of books that beckon, promising hours of stories to enlighten and entertain.

On a visit to Washington Public Library on Monday evening, I ran into an old friend, Jane Mense. She was all smiles heading out the door with a couple of James Patterson titles she couldn’t wait to read. It hadn’t been a good day, so she decided to do something for herself. Going to the library reversed her frame of mind, she said.

A recent blog post from National Public Radio reported that going to the library increases a person’s well being as much as a pay raise. The study, commissioned by the U.K’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, looks at ways “cultural engagement” affects overall happiness. There was significant association found between frequent library use and wellbeing.

You can read more about the study here

The NPR blog post, spawned The Missourian’s curiosity, and became the subject of the newspaper’s “On the Street Opinion” column conducted at Washington Public Library last week by reporter Joe Barker.

Most comments were positive—like Lisa Brough’s—“I frequently come here. I do feel better because you’re learning things. When you go to the library you’re excited about learning new things.”

An anonymous library patron said, “…I absolutely feel better when I go to the library. First of all, the people are lovely when you come in. I’m very proud we have such a nice library in this little town. It’s a peaceful place to get quiet in this busy world.”

A mom from New Haven, Jennifer, feels going to the library positively affects her little girl. “I bring my daughter all the time, and I know she feels better about herself when she comes. She always seems like a different person when she’s here, like she’s important.

In an effort to share your library love, you’re invited to take part in an online poll. Just click here. It’s a simple process and I’ll report the results next week, which just happens to be Children’s Book Week—yet another reason to get to Washington Public or Scenic Regional Library.