Elk Rapids Library: “Like Dessert for our Brains”

By Mary Ann Miller

Elk Rapids resident and senior citizen Marlene Boik grew up in Detroit. Her love of libraries began when she was five and her mother took her to the Lothrop Library on West Grand Boulevard and Warren Street for her very first library visit. Because she could read already, Marlene was allowed to check out four books. She read all of them that very day, and asked her mother to take her back to the library almost every day.

Avid reader Marlene Boik. “When I read a book, I feel like I’m part of that book –wherever it takes me.”

Avid reader Marlene Boik. “When I read a book, I feel like I’m part of that book –wherever it takes me.”

By the time she was seven, Marlene had read every children’s book in the Lothrop library. She was such a frequent visitor, the librarians took her from the children’s area to other rooms in the library where there were books at her reading level. When she was 18 and working downtown, Marlene often spent her lunch hour browsing in a large book shop nearby. Finally one day she was delighted to purchase her first hardcover book for her own personal library – The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky!

Marlene’s love of reading has continued throughout her life. Downstate, she took her granddaughter to the library at least three times a week during the school year and every day in the summer.

Here in Elk Rapids, she seeks out our library and spends a lot of hours there, feeling right at home! She is an avid reader, and so appreciates having a library right here in the center of our village. She says, “When I read a book, I feel like I’m part of that book –wherever it takes me.” And she loves the library porch. “Where else can you sit on a porch that gives you the most beautiful view? You’re totally comfortable rocking in the rocking chair and it’s like you have your own little sitting room overlooking the marina. In the summer I see the beautiful bay, and in the winter I feel like I’m in the book Dr. Zhivago, looking at the magnificent trees and snow. It’s simply fantabulous!”

Marlene especially loves the library hours. She says, “I feel secure knowing I can go there seven days a week. It’s not like some stores that are closed on the weekend. The library is open seven days a week and they don’t close for lunch.” She also says, “I so appreciate all the ladies and gentlemen who volunteer at the library and are so exceptional and kind when it comes to dealing with you.”

Marlene is “all for the library expansion!” and looks forward to when it will be completed. She has some suggestions for when the library is enlarged. “I’d love to see lots more books in the large print book collection, and it would be nice to have some comfortable chairs right there to sit in and read without distraction. I would also like to have an automatic entry door so that when my arms are full of books or for people who use walking sticks or are frail, we wouldn’t have to struggle with getting the door open.”

Final thoughts from Marlene… “When you get to be my age, there are certain things that bring you comfort and joy. One thing I know is my best friend (the library) is just a short distance away and I’m always warmly welcomed there.” Thinking about the library expansion plans Marlene says, “For an aesthetic thrill, do what I did and just look at the flyover view of the new addition that is posted on the library website. Our Elk Rapids library is like dessert for our brains.”

Gera Witte