My Town – Gayle Harrington

Generous and Supportive…

I can still remember my first introduction to Cottonwood many years ago.  As a young wife and mother living in Anderson at the time, I ventured out with our two young daughters to explore a unique little store with an attached ice cream shop. Back then, I was intrigued by the horse rings and high sidewalks that make Front Street famous. Little did I know that one day my life would embrace Cottonwood as a place to call home, a safe haven to nurture and educate our daughters, and an opportunity for a career of a lifetime.

In 1988, Cottonwood’s branch of the Shasta County Library system was closed due to budget cuts. Luckily, many people in town rallied to find a way to make a library possible. In 1996 we proudly opened the doors to the Cottonwood Community Library. The next few years would find us moving locations as we grew in size and popularity. People responded when we put out the call that we wanted a permanent home for a community-supported library. Land was generously donated by Dr. Jim Reifert and his family, and ground was broken to build a forever home to house our great library.

As the library director, I have the privilege to see and hear on a daily basis what takes place here. We welcome young parents and children who faithfully attend our Storytime, where families get to mingle and form friendships while their children benefit from hearing the spoken word. Our computer lab is constantly used by young and old alike. Our meeting room acts as a classroom for those working to increase their English language skills, as well as a gathering place for our very lively and active Book Club discussing the book of the month. Students and teachers, businesspeople and clients, or those looking for a central place to meet often gather around our tables. Travelers on the road stop in to ask for information from our friendly and knowledgeable volunteers.

For me, the Cottonwood Community Library is a microcosm of the community itself. Something was needed, and the townspeople found a way to make things happen. They generously do this time and time again – whether it is supporting the library or other nonprofit groups located here, or by providing a network of watchful eyes for the people and the town. Cottonwood proudly supports a traditional cowboy way of life while embracing a new world of technology and modernism.  

I am proud to call Cottonwood my home.

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