With the library summer reading program in full swing, our patrons are all giving us cause to celebrate the wonderful ways we can “Build a Better World,” the summer reading theme at the Bertha Bartlett Public Library this summer.

It’s an interesting theme, covering construction and design, beautification, recycling, and taking care of our planet. The program also has a focus on taking care of each other, acts of kindness, anti-bullying, friendship, sportsmanship and compassion. It has a component of team building, how we are more effective when we work together, and a component of understanding the diversity of our cultures, our looks, our beliefs and our lifestyles.

Individual efforts these days seem to get lost in the overall scheme of life, but it is individual efforts of making the world better that make a difference. As I talked to the Kids Club this week about this aspect of better world building, the kids knew a lot about recycling, littering, about taking care of animals and trees and about how bad bullying is for all ages. It’s apparent that these positive messages are going out from the schools, discussed by parents and the after-school programs. But as I told them, if they see litter on the street, they can help by picking it up. They should be proud of how their community looks to others, and demonstrate their concern by acting. They can show friendship and kindness to their classmates, show respect to their elders and set good examples for those both younger and older. If we all did this, the world would be a much better place.

It’s how things get started. People set examples for others. We have so many positive role models in our community that we don’t have to look very far to point out people who do many things to make Story City a better place. Our mayor and city council people work together to beautify and repair infrastructure in the community. We have volunteers working on bike trails, on flower beds and businesses improving their store fronts. Our students compete and excel in music, speech, sports and many other areas, demonstrating that students from a small town in Iowa can do amazing things!

Another great role model from Story City is Fran Kinne. She continues to support so many projects in Story City, long after she moved away; it reminds us all that we can support causes and people from afar. Dr. Kinne has piled up a list of accomplishments and firsts that continue even as she celebrates her 100th birthday. She was the first American to be awarded a doctorate after World War II from the University of Frankfurt, Germany, was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, earned doctorates in three disciplines, has five honorary doctorates, was the first woman university president in Florida, the first female serving as president of a Rotary Club and just recently was the oldest person to give a commencement address.

Take the time today to find a way for you to help us “Build a Better World.” If we all pull together and work on our own little corner, the world will be a better place is no time at all.