Library Stories

Stories from the Community

Mitchell’s Story

 “Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” – Ray Bradbury

You can reinvent yourself at the library, as many times as you like. I certainly did.

When I was in grade school and high school in Texas where I grew up I didn’t apply myself. I had a difficult family life and I slipped through the cracks of the system. I was not college bound.

During one of the last spring breaks of high school I visited a friend out in California, in Sonoma over spring break. I had an awakening there. I fell in love with the place. I met people like me who liked what I liked, who loved what I loved. I determined at that point that after high school I would move to California, find a nice town with a community college and good libraries and give myself a second chance.

Santa Cruz was the place. You all know why. The weather, the location, the people. I got a job as a bank teller and went to Cabrillo. I applied to UCSC when I first arrived just for the heck of it. They more or less laughed me off the campus when they saw my high school grades and test scores. This motivated me. I had something to prove now.

When I was not in class at Cabrillo I was working downtown at the bank. On every break I would walk over to the library. I used the resources there to discover jazz and classical music, to watch old educational PBS and BBC programs like Nova and Connections. I sucked up eastern philosophy books. I read the classics. I explored poetry. All the while, right next to me people were studying to become welders or car mechanics or nurses or farmers or chefs, you name it.

For me a library is a place to fill out an empty part of yourself. It’s a place to remake yourself. It’s a place to start over and become a better version of yourself.

Thanks to the resources available and to my motivation to use them I eventually transferred from Cabrillo to Stanford. There I gained proof that I was perfectly intelligent and capable. Today I am a successful entrepreneur. I run a company that supports many families. I have a healthy happy family, a good life and a contented soul.

Much of what I have is due to my local library.

Mitchell Kimbrough

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