Summer Hours Begin: Central Library will close at 6 pm on Thursdays and will be closed Sundays until September. Enjoy your summer!

Your Story: Gay Guard-Chamberlin

“...there is such a sense of welcome and of community.”


As a child, Gay Guard-Chamberlin’s parents instilled in her a reverential love of books and a passion for reading. “It was almost like a religion for her,” Gay says. “It was my mother’s goal to have book shelves from floor to ceiling. My father built that in one room of our home and together they filled those shelves with books.”

As an adult, Gay sought that same sense of refuge in libraries everywhere. She enjoyed a beautiful Louis Sullivan-designed library in her former Chicago neighborhood. But it was the Kalamazoo library that gave her a sense of home again. “I knew almost immediately that this library was different,” Gay says. “Its physical beauty is sanctuary like, yet there is such a sense of welcome and of community.”

Gay now volunteers for the Ready to Read program and is passing that reverence for books onto a new generation of young readers.