My KDL Story: Kay Kiel

"There's just something about being around books. It's comforting..."

Kay KielKay Kiel has been a regular KDL patron since her 20s. In many ways, the library has been that constant friend, who, no matter how much your life changes, remains steadfast.

The Byron Center native said her regular use of the library began when she was expecting the first of what would be three daughters — Tammy, Char and Deanna — and she wanted to learn all she could about pregnancy and child development.

As her daughters grew, Kay brought them in to borrow children’s books. When she had time as a busy young mother, she enjoyed romance, mystery and historical novels. And as the first household in her neighborhood to get a videotape player, she said, borrowing movies also became a regular occurrence.

Later, she checked out books on how to parent teenagers, as well as on topics that presented themselves in her life, including depression, alcoholism and relationships.

She also has used the library to preview places she planned to visit, such as Las Vegas, Disney World and the Smokey Mountains, to name just a few. Library books often make the trip with her, she said.

"Right now I'm looking at the Grand Canyon, so I've got a few of those books checked out," she said.

Periodicals also get a regular perusing. "Anything on travel or genealogy, scrapbooking," she said. "And I read the newspaper here because I don't get it delivered."

Now a grandmother of nine and a great-grandmother of four, Kay has brought her grandchildren to KDL branch programs for toddlers, and is helping them discover books and other materials she hopes will instill in them an affinity for the library — that friend who has always been there for her.

"There's just something about being around books," Kay said. "It's comforting."


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