Outside The Lines, A Library Story: I Am Who I Am

 I AM WHO I AM

Frances Kanneh

When I was asked to write a story about how libraries influenced my life, I was skeptical. Was I willing to open myself up to a bunch of strangers in my community or on the internet? I know millions of people do it on a daily basis. That is why Facebook is here.

Bill did not give up on me. He had heard my story before, and he realized that if I shared my story, it could give people hope. If my story could inspire someone out there, than it was my duty as a human to help my fellow beings.

Growing up in Liberia, I never did like to read, only because I never had anyone read to me. My Dad and Aunts were constantly working to get us everything we needed to succeed. That meant they spent little time with us on our education. We did not get a bedtime story from a book or trips to the library. I learned to read in school, but I was struggling because I did not have anyone at home to help me with my assignments or to encourage my reading. The only person that forced me to read was my step-mom, which was the only good thing she did.

My family and I came to America in 1999 from Liberia because of the war. My Dad wanted to make a better life for my siblings and I. When I started middle school (Northdale Middle School, MN), I was a little troublemaker. I never finished assignments or studied for tests. Then I started volunteering at the school library. I soon discovered new books and my love for reading grew.

I did not care about the genre or the page count. I began to love reading when I realized it had the power to transfer me to a different world.

As my love of books grew, my grades improved.

I am currently working at Triumph Inc. I work with mentally disabled individuals and I love it. I hope to become an immigration lawyer. I want to help immigrants just like me in this country. I am who I am, because of the library.