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January 10, 2023

Making Core Memories at HEPL

By Stephanie Perry

2023 is the year of stories at Hamilton East Public Library. Every month on our blog, we’re featuring a guest writer from our community to share in their own words what the library means to them. We hope these stories will demonstrate that there’s something for everyone at the library, and you belong here. 

Our January library story speaks about the importance of passing down a love of reading to children and cultivating shared hobbies and memories around our community.

“In 2015, the Pixar film Inside Out introduced us to the concept of core memories—key moments in our lives that shape our future selves and personalities. Since then, many of us have reflected on our own childhood core memories and the ones we are making with our kids today.  

For me, reading with my mom before bed is a core memory, right up there with summers at the lake and adventures at Conner Prairie. Every night before bed, my mom and I would snuggle up and read stories of faraway places and discover everything the world had to offer. It was one of my favorite times of day, and not only did it grow our bond, but it instilled a love of books that has stayed with me throughout my life. 

My mom was a 3rd grade teacher for over 40 years and even received her master’s degree in reading education, so books have always been a big part of our lives. I remember once during a family road trip to Yellowstone National Park, my mom and I took turns reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud during the three-day car ride (sorry Dad!). 

As a child, I have vivid memories of visiting HEPL’s Noblesville branch before a location opened in my hometown of Fishers. I would spend hours combing the shelves for my next adventure (Nancy Drew mysteries and the Choose Your Own Adventure series were some of my favorites). I loved having so many books at my fingertips, and it felt like there were endless worlds to explore.  

Now, as a parent of two young children, I hope to cultivate the same love of reading in them. My mom managed to keep nearly all my childhood books, so our home library is packed full of stories, old and new. We make it a habit to read together daily, and it’s been fun to share some of my childhood favorites with my kids (Berenstain Bears is a favorite in our household). We’re currently reading one of my husband’s childhood favorites—the Little House series— with my five-year-old and enjoying the time it gives us together as a family.  

HEPL’s Fishers branch has been one of my go-to places since it was built in the ‘90s, but now as a parent, I have newfound appreciation for the opportunities it provides our family. When my son was a toddler, he loved the Storytime program, and during COVID, we were excited that it was still offered virtually so we had something to look forward to during isolation. My kids get so excited every time they visit and pick out new books, and we also love taking advantage of the movie collection for our family movie nights. We just introduced our kids to one of our favorite childhood films, Matilda, and it was a hit! 

One of my favorite seasonal programs is the Seed Library. Vegetable gardening has become a family hobby, and my kids love helping to plant and harvest veggies all summer long. The Seed Library is such a unique concept, and I love how visitors can also bring in their own seeds to share with the community. I always look forward to picking out my seeds for the year, and I’ve discovered a few new favorites thanks to the extensive collection. Through the Seed Library, HEPL is giving us more than just seeds for our garden, but a shared hobby that brings our family closer. 

The library is also my sanctuary, a place to get away and get lost in the shelves. I often find myself planning to run in for just a couple of minutes, and an hour later, I’m still browsing. And, I can never leave without checking out the latest at the Friends of the Library book sale! 

I hope that, when my kids grow up, reading together and the experiences we shared through HEPL are some of their core memories. And even if not, I’m keeping a stack of their favorite childhood books to remind them.” 

About Stephanie Perry:

Stephanie is a longtime Fishers resident and Assistant Director of Community & Public Relations for the City of Fishers. Born and raised in Fishers, Stephanie graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School in 2006 and is now raising her kids in her childhood home on the west side of Fishers, which she purchased from her parents when they moved. She loves spending time with her family exploring all that Fishers has to offer, from the parks system, to the local business community, to destinations like HEPL and Conner Prairie. When she isn’t exploring, she loves running on Fishers’ trails, camping, and spending time at the lake.  

Have your own library story to share? Tell us about it here, and we’ll pick a few to be featured on our blog! You can also find storytelling resources and tips here