By Sue Tiffin
Ellen Davey has fond memories of her mom, Irmgard Neumann, engaged in one of her favourite pastimes after a visit to the Wilberforce branch of the Haliburton County Public Library.
“I remember seeing mom reading, reading, reading – a great pastime,” said Davey. “That library was such a focal point of her lifestyle. I remember having fond memories of her sitting on the couch, reading her favourite book. It was just a wonderful pastime. That always kind of stuck in my mind.”
And so recently, in Neumann’s memory, a $1,000 donation for large print books was made in her name by her family.
“The Wilberforce library was so helpful,” said Davey, who lives out west. “The point she couldn’t drive anymore or get to the library, the girls would gather up large print books, and either home care or my brother and his wife would pick up the books and get them back to her.”
Neumann adored reading and was a frequent patron at the library.
“She really liked the romance, she was a romance kind of gal,” said Davey of her mom, who died in 2019. “No murders or mysteries. Nothing violent, just nice, easy reading – and an avid reader, an avid reader.”
But as Neumann got older, she was no longer able to see the fine print of books. She turned to large print books to continue being able to read with ease.
“So that’s where the large print idea came in, her eyesight was failing and it’s a definite need for the elderly for sure, or anybody that has any kind of visual impairment with their eyes,” said Davey.
The Haliburton County Public Library currently has more than 1,500 large print titles in a variety of genres – romance, mystery, thrillers, gentle reads, historical fiction, non-fiction – in its collection.
“Large print books improve the quality of life for people with visual impairments, print disabilities, or who suffer from eye strain,” said Sherrill Sherwood, HCPL collection development coordinator. “With fewer words, more white space and larger font, roughly 16-point type, they can make the difference between enjoying reading or having to give it up.”
Davey said while the donation was directed toward large print books, her family is just happy to support Neumann’s beloved library.
“It doesn’t matter either way, buy books and that’s great, right?” she said. “Grow the library. The community sure needs a library, even over COVID times. There’s still something about that library, brings the community there.”
Donations to the library can be general, or targeted to a specific program, collection or service. Donations can be made online through the HCPL website (haliburtonlibrary.ca) or by contacting email@example.com.