Submitted by Blair McFarlane
Community Outreach Library Assistant at Invermere Public Library

“Reading isn’t important because it helps you get good grades or a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. Reading makes the world better. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.” — Matt Haig, author (@matthaig on Instagram).

This quote is from British author, Matt Haig (find his latest book, The Midnight Library on our shelf now), and it wonderfully captures the magic of reading. This past year, we’ve all felt the need to exist beyond our reality more than usual, and escapism has always been one of the best parts of reading. We read to get lost in a book, and when we return, perhaps our perspective has changed enough to face reality once again. But reading is much more than escapism. It is, “how humans merge, how minds connect… it is love in action.” This is such a nice idea, to think about reading as a form of love. Love is so often depicted as a big gesture, a grand declaration, but love exists most fiercely in the small actions, in the little things we almost don’t notice. We can foster it and share it through the stories we read.

Taking the time to read a story about someone whose life is completely different from yours, creates empathy. A book is the most effective tool to understand a new perspective, to gain a new appreciation for someone else’s lifestyle. It allows us to see the humanity in everyone, regardless of whether their beliefs differ from ours. It allows us to see other ways of thinking, to remind us that we all approach every situation differently based on our past experiences. What I love in particular about a library book, is how one copy of a book will wind up in many different hands (books are cleaned after each check-in!), and each time that book is read, a new story emerges. We all read a story from our own perspectives, connect it to our own unique experiences, and likely walkabout with something different after reading it.

In a time where it seems much easier to see our differences instead of similarities, we could all benefit from reading a few books; to help us actively love beyond our own circles, and to strengthen our empathy.

The library will be extending our hours almost back to normal after Labour Day weekend. Beginning Wednesday, September 8, we will be open 10 am-8 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays again! While we are still unsure about when we can proceed with indoor, in-person programs, we are happy to go back to almost regular hours and provide a space for people to work, study and read. We will still only be open 10 am- 2 pm on Saturdays for the time being. Please head to our website for the most up to date information, as it is ever-changing lately: