“This is my library baby!” patron Ruby Brower proudly proclaimed as she lovingly introduced me to her grandson, Tyrin. She went on to explain that she moved to South Bend for a job which fell through, and then found herself in a predicament which left her homeless. It was at that critical time in her life she discovered the library, and the resources proved to be just what she needed.
Over the years many library staff members have played a role in Ruby’s life. The literacy services proved to be a wonderful aide as she was homeschooling her daughter, Kimmy. Brower remembers one staff member in particular, Shannon Belcher. She “just took Kimmy up under her wings, and they began to talk about things that she didn’t even talk with me about. She felt comfortable with Shannon. If she needed some information, she went to Shannon who would help her look it up. It was amazing, they had this amazing relationship,” Brower described.
While her daughter was busy with school work, Brower was able to start her own business and run it using tools in the computer lab at Main Library. She also made use of the services–and the knowledgeable staff–at Studio 304. “Matt Wynn was working there when I first started using it,” she recalls. “One of the things he always used to say to me was, ‘No Ruby I’ll teach you how to do it, so that when I’m not around you’ll be able to do it yourself.’” Using Studio 304, Brower wrote books, designed book covers, and created videos and other marketing materials for her business.
With all the time Kimmy spent at the library, she met another library patron, named Chris. Soon, they started doing their school work together and completed their high school education. As time progressed they fell in love, decided to get married, and along came their “library baby,” Tyrin. Kimmy, Chris and Tyrin all moved out of state, but every time they come to visit Ruby they stop by the library too!