New Mexico State Library

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Patricia Shamp, OverDrive Fan Extraordinaire

During a recent visit to the Lordsburg Hidalgo Public Library, library director Alice Webb shared an exceptional story about one of her patrons.

Thirty one years ago, Patricia (Patti) Shamp was an active, young mother of two small children. Then, in 1986, she suffered a brain-stem stroke which left her body in a quadriplegic state. She has lived in a care facility in Lordsburg, NM since 1998. Patti cannot speak, but one can read her facial expressions and get the gist of what she is feeling and, often times, trying to communicate. She can move her head and has the use of her right thumb. This movement has given her the ability to use a specially adapted computer which allows her to email, look at things on the Internet and communicate with her caregivers.  

Throughout her adult life, Patti has had little control over her environment. She has had to rely on others for every need. Although her mother lives close enough to visit often, Patti has spent a lot of time alone in her room, watching a television she could not control or listening to audio books she could not pause, stop or play. She certainly never thought she’d be able to read a book of her own choosing, turning its pages and reading as long as she chose to.  

In February of this year, the activities director at Patti’s facility contacted the Lordsburg Hidalgo Library to get help contacting the state library in Santa Fe to inquire into books on tape. However, after looking at her computer, we realized she was a good fit for our OverDrive program and told her about it. She was very excited at the idea and agreed to give it a try, so we helped her get the app downloaded and showed her how to check out the materials of her choice. Patti could once again choose a book, read it at her own pace and put it away or get it out as she chose.
Soon after this, Patti emailed the library director with the following, “Hi…This is totally awesome. I never thought I’d read again!” Typing out a message is a laborious process for Patti, so this short and simple phrase speaks volumes to us. Patti has the freedom to move about in the world of books without limits, without assistance. What she chooses to check out is entirely her business and gives her privacy over an aspect of her life, something that most of us take for granted. Written by: Alice Webb, Library Director, Lordsburg Hidalgo Library.

We enjoy hearing stories of how the library can impact people’s lives. If you have a story, please tell us about them!

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