People are sharing heartwarming stories of libraries being safe spaces and it's so wholesome
Photo courtesy of Canva, @schlaalfan/Twitter, @Amigo2Todos/Twitter

Libraries are one of the greatest inventions humankind has ever come up with.

Human civilization has its upsides and its downsides. On the one hand, we've built incredible cities filled with amazing buildings where people work and play and are entertained, we have infrastructure that connects people and places, and we enjoy conveniences that previous generations could only dream about. On the other, we have environment-destroying excess and capitalistic greed pushing us toward widespread inequities and injustices.

And then we have libraries.

The public library is one of the greatest inventions humankind has ever imagined and actually made happen. Libraries are perfect in concept and exceptional in practice. The idea that we ought to plop a building full of books to borrow wherever groups of people live is beautiful in its simplicity and the fact that we've actually succeeded in doing it is somewhat miraculous. Libraries are something humans have created that has stood the test of time and that we can be truly, universally proud of. There is nothing but upside to a calm, quiet place where any and all people can hang out and read, without having to pay anyone anything.


A thread on Twitter celebrating the wonderfulness of libraries illustrates this point perfectly.

"Today a woman with developmental disabilities came into the library, and she said she was lost," wrote Twitter user @schaalfan. "She didn't know her address, but her phone number was in her pocket on a piece of paper with Elmo on it. She kept saying, 'The library is a safe place.'"

"We called and her guardian came right over," they continued. "Apparently this happens pretty regularly. They even stayed long enough for her to check out some new books and Sesame Street DVDs. The library is a safe place indeed."

Indeed. The post prompted others to share their own stories of libraries being safe places for them, and it's enough to warm even the hardest of hearts.

For people who grew up in dysfunctional homes, the library can be a safe haven of calm and kindness.

For people with disabilities, it can be a safe place where people are patient and kind.

For people lacking financial means, the library is a space that provides free education and free entertainment, as well as a free indoor place to go.

People also celebrated librarians—the stewards of these wonderful places and the books and people who reside inside them. Librarians are right up there with teachers in the "best" category.

Libraries and librarians deserve all the love we can give them. When so much seems wrong with the world, we at least know we got this one thing right.

(And some people also threw a little love for Elmo into the thread, too, for good measure. "Sesame Street" is almost as wonderful as libraries, after all.)

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

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I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

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