TORRINGTON – As Goshen County Friends of the Library President Cathy Marsh led Madyson Banister through the newly-remodeled Goshen County Public Library, Banister took it all in almost silently, clearly contemplating the new reading nooks and amenities in the facility.
Banister, 13, took in each of the areas in the library. She toured the new children’s room with its Montessori boards and play places, the space for teens with USB chargers built into the tables, and the area where adults will relax by a fireplace to read – someday when the COVID-19 pandemic passes over. The newly revamped GCPL was modeled after a trendy bookstore and not many people have seen it yet, thanks to novel coronavirus.
Banister got the full tour, and she had an important decision to make.
Her birthday was June 2, but like everything else on the planet over the past several months, her party had to be put on hold because of COVID-19. She said she saw the writing on the wall long before her party was cancelled, but it was still “kind of” upsetting. Still, she got a decent wad of cash from family and friends to celebrate.
But instead of paying for her and her friends to go the pool all summer, or putting the cash toward the newest tech gizmo, Banister wanted to do something worthwhile with the money.
She donated it to the GCPL.
“When I found they were having a children’s room to get people going to the library, I figured I wanted to help our community out and help people come to the library and enjoy it,” she said.
“I wanted to make it unique. I want people to enjoy it and read more books.”
Even after the tour, Banister held fast in her desire to donate her birthday money to the new children’s room – namely, for books.
“I feel like they will have a better experience reading books when they are just starting out learning how to read,” she said. “I want them to have an experience liking new books.
“They’ll want to read.”
Marsh, who donated to the children’s room as well, said Banister’s donation was inspiring.
“Here is this little 13-year-old and in her word, that’s like someone coming to me and saying you can have $2,000 for your birthday, you can donate it – that’s a hard one,” she said. “For her to be so selfless and care about her community and making someone else happy, is such a neat thing.”
The reason Banister chose to donate to the GCPL is that she has a lot of good memories from visiting the library. Banister will be in eighth grade at Torrington Middle School this year. Her favorite subject is science and she aspires to be a teacher someday – but her favorite books are mystery stories.
“My favorite thing about the library, I like the mystery books,” she said. “When I came here a long time ago, before coronavirus happened, I liked to get mystery books.”
Marsh said the books Banister donates to the library will have a special label with her name on it, and young readers will enjoy those books for years to come.
“To be that selfless at 13 is pretty impressive, and we are lucky she was thinking of the library because it will reach so many people and make so many people happy,” Marsh said.
“I just think it’s so impressive at her age. If you can get that charitable spirit at this age and you see how far it goes, and the difference you can make, it’s for the rest of their life. I think she’ll be out there making our community and our world better for sure.”
It’s an enormous impact for kid who just wanted to help.
“I wanted to help the library,” Banister said.