DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) — A section of the main branch of the Dothan-Houston County library could soon have a name. The downtown library currently sits on Oates Street right across the street from the Houston County administration building.
Several plaques hang up on the walls in the library, with certain sections named after people, but one section remains nameless. The plaque on the wall simply reads toddler area. Tuesday, a couple kids were there sitting down but at the same time anxious as an employee read to them. The power of reading and just the library itself is something that’s been on the mind of Jeanne Walding.
"It enhanced her life. It changed her life, for the better", said Walding.
The toddler area is special to Walding, because her daughter loved books.
"She wanted to get all of them and I kept saying was some other kids may want some.. we need to leave a couple. But that's really my favorite memory", said Walding.
Walding's mentally disabled daughter April died at the young age of 31, almost a year ago. But one of her favorite things was to come to the library. Her favorite books were the Arthur collection by Marc Brown. The section sits low on a book shelf right in front of the check-out counter in the Children’s room. Walding reminiscing how she remembered pushing her daughter around and she would always want to grab all the Arthur books.
But when April passed in December, an employee in the Children’s room mentioned a great way to memorialize her. Putting her name on the plaque that reads “toddler area”, and renaming the room after April.
"She mentioned it, you know about the memorial and of course I thought it was perfect", said Walding.
Library director Jason Leduc knows the library was a very special place for April and many others and agreed that, the renaming would be a great idea. It’s currently the only section of the library not named.
"The library exists to foster that love of reading and foster lifelong learning", said LeDuc.
Jeanne believes it will help other special needs children to enjoy what the library has to offer. When she sat down with WTVY she mentioned it will not only help people around the community but close friends and relatives. People like Brian, the handicapped child of a friend.
"She said I took Brian to the library and she said we checked out a book and she said we don't go to the library and she said we did that because of April. And that's when I knew this is bigger than April”, said Walding.
If you’d like to donate, you can do so by going to the Dothan-Houston County Library.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up.
Their current goal is to raise about $10,000.