Mother raising funds to name library tower in child’s honor
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — One Dothan mother has established a local campaign to name the children’s reading tower in the Dothan-Houston County Library’s main branch in honor of her late daughter.
Jeanne Walding’s special needs daughter April died Dec. 18, 2016. She was 31.
“April loved the library,” Walding said. “She was a long-time patron, and although she could not read, she made her own stories up to go along with the pictures. To see her sit there and laugh about her story, well, it was priceless.”
During her lifetime, April visited the Dothan library on a regular basis. According to Walding April had the mindset the library belonged to her.
“Every time we went to the library, April would have to check out at least 40 books,” Walding said. “She not only enjoyed the books, but she enjoyed the friendships she had made with the library staff, and for that I am so grateful. I am extremely thankful the staff installed such a love for books in April. Everyone always made April feel welcome, and they allowed her to enjoy life by doing what she loved — visiting the library.”
Following April’s death, children’s librarian Kristin North came up with the idea of establishing a memorial to honor April, Walding said.
“What better way to honor April than name the children’s reading tower in her honor?” Walding said. “I believe April took her love for books with her to heaven and if there is a children’s library there, she’s running it.”
According to North, April also impacted the staff members’ lives during her visits to the library.
“April was always so energetic and happy,” North said. “She loved to visit the library and we are glad we had the opportunity of sharing April’s love for books. It is our hope that if the tower is named after April, more people with special needs will not only visit our library, but they will feel welcome, just as April did.”
During April’s visits to the library, she, like many other patrons, realized what her favorite books were.
“April loved any Disney book, but her all-time favorite was Dragon Tales,” North said. “As I would see April coming to the door, I would double check to make sure Dragon Tales was not checked out. She also enjoyed Arthur, Clifford, Franklin, and Herbie the Love Bug.”
In order for the tower to be named to honor April, roughly $10,000 must be raised.
“Our goal is to create a lasting legacy for April, but to also encourage other children with disabilities in our community to visit the library,” Walding said. “There would be no greater tribute to April than for other children to develop the same love for books that April enjoyed.”
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the April Walding Memorial Fund may do so by mailing the donation to the Dothan Library System, 445 North Oates St., Dothan, AL 36303. All donations must be designated for the fund. Donations are tax deductable.
All extra funding will go toward purchasing new books for the children’s library in honor of April.
Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com