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On the Loose: Cynthia Cheney

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Meet the people who make the place

“The library isn’t here to convince you of anything, except that there is something at the library for you.”

”I’ve lived here for 26 years now, and the library has always been a center of the community. Since Ruch isn’t a formal town, it doesn’t have civic buildings where people might have a meeting, or gather. So, the library has served that purpose more than anything else.

I know there are people in the community who have never set foot in the library and have no idea what it has to offer them—maybe because they think it’s a certain way and that it doesn’t have anything for them. But I’d be surprised if there is really anybody in the community that would not find something for them here.

Libraries are safe spaces for everyone, no matter what is going on in their life. They have outreach to the homebound, storytime for children, and provide a place where people can access the Internet, entertainment and knowledge. The librarians are here to help you for free. You can go and say ‘I’m looking for a job. and I know I’m supposed to do it on the computer but I don’t really know how’, or ‘I’m looking for resources about Alexander The Great’. They will help you.

Reading books is also said to be a big encourager of empathy. It helps you see someone else’s life from the inside. So, all of those factors-- from the very practical everyday factors, to the more intangible factors—make libraries very important to me. They are so important to me that that’s where I put my effort. I think a lot of us who volunteer for the Friends would say the same thing.

The library is free to everyone and nobody is keeping track of what you do. There is no record of what you check out unless you chose to have the computer to record it. Librarians have historically been strong supporters of civil liberties and of freedom of thought and freedom of speech. That is in their wheelhouse, that is in their DNA. The library isn’t here to convince you of anything, except that there is something at the library for you.” (Cynthia Cheney, Friends of the Ruch Library volunteer)

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