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November 06, 2023

Our School Away From Home

By Crystal Taylor

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 November library story demonstrates the role public libraries play for homeschooling families, providing a safe, welcoming place to work, learn, and create.

“Early many mornings during the week, you can find my children, ages 9 and 6, and me standing at the doors of HEPL’s Fishers branch waiting for them to open at 9am. We are greeted warmly by staff, many of whom have started to recognize us in the morning crowd, a crowd who smiles and exchanges pleasantries as faces start to become more and more familiar as we each make our way to a quiet place to work, learn, educate, and ultimately utilize the many services that HEPL is able to provide.

Now, you might be wondering why we are standing at the doors at 9am many mornings, and the answer is simple: we homeschool and are a one-vehicle household which requires us to drop my husband off at work on days we need the car. The library has become our classroom in more ways than we could have imagined when we first moved to Noblesville in 2022. Having moved from out-of-state, one of our biggest concerns was finding a robust public library system that would be capable of supporting our homeschooling journey. What we weren’t fully aware of was how much the HEPL system would not only support us but also in many ways become an actual physical extension of our schooling, our school away from home so to speak. A place where my kids know how to find our books on the holds shelf, where to ask for help, and which computers are the kid computers. A place where we’re able to utilize library laptops, a place we can check out museum passes, and a place that expands our ability to educate our children tenfold.

As we and many HEPL patrons gear up for winter, we know that we will have a safe, enriching place to spend quiet afternoons, as we did last winter in the award-winning Ignite Studio. After we have finished our lessons upstairs, my children are practically begging me to be able to check out a kit and create in the space HEPL has created for children and adults to create art in. We sheltered many days from the cold and gloominess of winter while painting and drawing and making beauty in a season where there isn’t much beauty outside.

What makes HEPL ultimately special to us though is the staff and amazing leadership team. My kids feel safe asking questions and conversing with any of the HEPL staff members. They feel seen and heard, which, as a parent, I appreciate beyond words. I know the entirety of HEPL value children being in these spaces. These spaces are not only for learning and growing through reading but also through the interactions that librarians and library staff give to humanize all patrons that come within these walls.

As we continue to grow our roots here in Hamilton County, we envision HEPL being a large part of that. We will continue to show up many mornings, we will continue to utilize the resources the library has to offer us, and we will continue to feel like a welcomed and valued part of HEPL.”

About Crystal Taylor:

Crystal was born and raised in California, having moved to Indiana in the fall of 2022. She has been a stay-at-home parent since the fall of 2014 and has been homeschooling since the fall of 2019. In her limited spare time, she enjoys reading and listening to audiobooks, follows Formula 1 racing, and has become active in local library affairs.

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

Read previous library stories: