“When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”
Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road

I once attended a seminar on understanding people and why some people are easier to relate to than others. While there were many things revealed to the group that day, the one thing I have always remembered is how well a person can relate to another based on their shared experiences in life.

There have been many events, large and small, taking place in my lifetime and the knowledge and the emotions associated with each event always seem to come around when meeting and talking with individuals in any age group that also recall a specific shared event. While perhaps the most widely remembered are of a tragic nature, those heartwarming shared events or experiences of kindness are the ones I hope you will recall as you read over this writing.

The Alamance Reads project is something on a small local scale that is just such an opportunity for individuals to cultivate a shared experience. The opportunity to explore and discuss with other individuals the selected book and events that take place in the story. This human connection creates a community or a bond of sorts for all involved.

One element of importance in the book this year was the comfort offered from a teddy bear. At your Alamance County Public Libraries a program was held to hand sew teddy bears with intentions of distributing these handmade bears in the community. The library’s Knitting Club quickly accepted this project and began to knit and crochet teddy bears. The response from patrons and library staff has been incredible and the bears are still coming in. It is our desire to distribute these bears to the ACPL Outreach homebound and disabled community of patrons with their December library deliveries, not as a Christmas gift, but simply a gift of kindness and comfort.

It is shared experiences such as this that leave all affected with a good feeling and memory. I am sure that it will be quite some time if ever before I forget the display of kindness and good will as a result of the event still unfolding in what has become to be known as “the teddy bear project of 2015.”  If you would like to participant in this project and become a part of this experience of good will and kindness, please feel free to contact me or visit any library branch for patterns for the sewn, knitted, or crocheted bears. The timeframe for completion of bears is open until the middle of November.

I am proud to share in the common bond established with all participating in this project. It seems we have succeeded in creating a community around a wonderful program which will soon be expanded to include recipients of these bears. Thank you Alamance Reads and all participants for this unexpected and heartwarming shared experience.

Cathy Wright is the Outreach Services Coordinator and may be reached by phone at 336-229-3588, ext. 244, or by email outreach@alamancelibraries.org for more information.