“Something for Everyone”

“No matter who you are, where you are from or what you do the Library has something for you.”

When Yannis Papadakis arrived in Charlotte in 1996, his first stop was the Library. “I had to get my bearings in a new city, understand the landscape and start a job search. The Library helped with all of that. I’ve been a supporter of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library ever since,” he recalled.

Over the years, the Papadakis family used the Library in traditional ways. Yannis’ wife Margaret made sure their daughter had her own library card before she could read, and she’s grown to be an avid reader. Margaret reads and listens to audiobooks in the car; she’s been an active library user for 25 years. But Yannis traveled frequently for his job, and increasingly purchased the books he wanted to read.

Until recently.

Now retired, Yannis has returned to one of his passions – studying science, philosophy and literature. A PhD scholar, he’s resumed his interest in research and writing, and found himself searching for a rare translation of an out-of-print book. “It was nowhere. I couldn’t find it for any price, from any seller, anywhere in the world. But the Library found it for me – essentially free!” For $2 (the cost of postage), Charlotte Mecklenburg Library staff helped Yannis identify another library system that had the book and transfer it to his local branch. He couldn’t have been more grateful.

“That experience is the reason I’ve increased my annual gift to the Library. It reinforced my belief that no matter who you are, where you’re from or what you’re looking for, the Library always has something for you. And if it doesn’t, the staff can help you request it. The biggest public library network on the planet is at our fingertips!”

Much of Yannis’ current research relies on rare and out-of-print texts, but he recognizes and supports the changing role of today’s libraries and looks forward to the future. “As our Library becomes increasingly digital, I hope we can also reinforce that human connection. A library is one of the few institutions that has no agenda other than to be a place for learning, equally accessible to everyone. Libraries fill a unique void in our lives and culture – they are safe, welcoming spaces that allow us to learn and reflect without bias, share experiences and exchange ideas with a breadth and depth that other venues cannot provide. This is something our society will always need and benefit from.”

Molly Griffin
Lois McConnell McCallum James
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