Little House on the Prairie – Books That Influence You

Well, it happened again! As I said in an earlier Blog Post, I’ve spent the last few months rediscovering and revisiting all the books and other influences that helped me decide to become a librarian, and this weekend I had an epiphany of sorts.

Let me tell you about it. I decided, at long last, to go through some boxes that had so far managed to not be opened after repeated moves. When I opened the last box, one that was particularly nasty-looking, there were my complete hard-bound set of the Little House on the Prairie books I enjoyed as a kid. Now imagine me; a 1950s Ohio kid even owning a set of Little House books.. Never one to do things by halves, I tried to live the life. I even called my parents “Ma” and Pa.” Did these entirely influence me to become a librarian? Not entirely, but hey sure helped

When I shared this with Laureen Mehlert, one of our accounting faculty members, her eyes just lit up; they had influenced her as well! I better let her tell her own story.

“When Doug asked the question: “What book influenced you the most?” My answer is they all do. I am a voracious reader, my reading list is miles long, and crosses all genres. However, this was not always the case.
When I was young, right after my Father retired from the US Air Force, we moved to a little town in eastern North Dakota. It was at this school that my parents discovered that, as a second grader, I could not read. This discovery sent me back to the first grade room for remediation and I can honestly say that for the next three years I ABSOLUTELY HATED to read. The only time I ever picked up a book was when I was pushed into it. However, my feelings changed when our Librarian showed me the “Little House on the Prairie” series. I got hooked on being able to read the books and watch “Little House” characters on Sunday nights with my family. I found that this initial connection between the written word and live action really caught my imagination. Over the years I have found that every book I read, I get mental pictures of the characters and action which means I make a live action out of every book. Additionally, in every book, no matter the genre, I learn a new fact or something about myself.

As an educator, I truly believe people can gain knowledge from any book they read, no matter the topic. By this I mean that all books offer some thought or fact that you did not know before. Some may question this statement but if you think about it, when you read a biography, you are learning about that person’s life and the history they lived through or created. I believe this statement also holds true for fiction, but I think the knowledge you gain from fictional reading may be different from non-fiction. In fiction, the knowledge you gain from the reading may be more internal. By this I mean that fictional writing is someone else’s opinions and thoughts which give the reader the opportunity to help develop their own opinions and thoughts.”

So what books influenced you in your present career choice?