The magnificence of the Eiffel Tower. Walking up all 387 steps at Notre Dame Cathedral. Exploring the Louvre and eating a baguette at a sidewalk cafe. These are all things you can do when you travel to Paris.
But what if health concerns get in the way of a dream vacation?
That’s what happened to Katrina Kennedy who was born with a congenital heart defect and underwent open-heart surgery to repair it when she was 18 months old. For most of her life, she didn’t experience related issues — until last year when her doctors realized she needed a second surgery. She was told to prepare for a very long recovery.
“My way to prepare was by getting books,” she said. Her parents connected her to the Library at a very young age, and she’s always been an avid reader. She knew that books would be a great way to pass the time and help get her through her recovery.
What she didn’t realize was how much the surgery would affect her shoulders. She was limited to lifting no more than five pounds for several months, and could not hold up a book to read it.
It was then that Katrina rediscovered the Sacramento Public Library’s ebook service
She downloaded the Library’s phone app, "Libby," which is available on the App Store
, Google Play
, and from Microsoft
, and read every book from her phone, which was much lighter than the books.
Katrina read 63 books in 2017, and the majority of those were following the June surgery. A few standouts from her recuperation were The Signature of All Things
by Elizabeth Gilbert, Insomniac City
by Bill Hayes, and The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger. She also read several books about Paris, which helped to relieve her disappointment about her cancelled trip.
Those are among the 107,000 unique titles in the Library's ebook and audiobook collection. "The best thing about the books is that you no longer have to carry that stack of books around and there are not late fees — the books return themselves!" said Matt Hill, the e-resources supervisor for the Library.
Despite her long recovery, Katrina finally got her chance to visit Paris, where she was thrilled to be able to scale all the steps to the top of Notre Dame.
Katrina’s love of the Library goes way beyond her experience last summer in discovering ebooks during her recovery.
Her 12-year-old son, Ian, is dyslexic. Two summers ago he participated in the Library’s Summer Reading
program for the first time and was very excited to win a new book. He discovered graphic novels, which Katrina said were “the things that kept him connected to reading at a time when we could have lost him.” Now, Ian is reading faster than his dad, who is also dyslexic.
“Participating in Summer Reading is shown to help kids maintain or grow skills during the summer break, and reading books they choose for themselves is connected to greater motivation to read,” said Amanda Foulk, the Library’s K-12 Specialist. “Summer Reading helps kids rediscover the joy of reading, and encourages reading with a free book after they’ve logged five books and a medal after they’ve logged 25 books.”
Katrina Kennedy and her son Ian have discovered all the amazing ways that the Library can help them expand the world around them.
“I am forever indebted to the Library,” Katrina said. “My world grew because of the Library.”
By Jessica Berlin