David Osborne on the Library: Genealogy Help, Local History…

David A. Osborne on the Library: “Staff are very cooperative, very knowledgeable, and assist me in any way that they can.”David Osborne

David A. Osborne remembers a time before the library, “Years ago, we did not have the luxury of going to the library. It took years to get a small library. As the population has increased, the library has stepped up to fulfill needs.”

Mr. Osborne uses the library a little differently than you might expect. He is a regular visitor to the Local History Department and a genealogy enthusiast. “I attended a one-night class at the Florence Library. At that class, I found out about the Local History section at the Main Library in Burlington. Because of that I started coming to Burlington 9 years ago. I was impressed.”

“Burlington has a Local History Department made up of different individuals with different responsibilities. Staff are very cooperative, very knowledgeable, and assist me in any way that they can. When I have difficult issues with genealogy, Kaitlin and Hillary find the resources to help me.”

He credits the Local History staff’s community involvement as a major contributor to its success, “When they employed (Local History Coordinator) Bridget to come aboard, she was very involved with the community. She has always partnered with other organizations to bring programs to the community.”

If the Local History Department isn’t partnering with organizations, community members are gracious enough to volunteer, “It is impressive to see the number of volunteers, almost every day that I come in, transcribing old records and doing other things.”

Mr. Osborne notes the other activities available at the library, “The public has noticed that they need more reading and activities for children. In the summertime, the libraries are busy with reading programs all through the county.”

“I’m grateful that people had the foresight to enhance a major library like we have in the county.”


Kaitlin Barber is a Boone County native with an MA in Public History from NKU, and an MLIS from the University of Alabama. She began her work with Local History at BCPL in 2011, as a digitization intern. She is now a Local History Librarian who is grateful for the opportunity to work with members of the community like David A. Osborne.

4 Generations of Library Users

Discover how BCPL customers use the library in this new blog post series.

Can you imagine Boone County without a library? Sounds horrifying, however it is true. There wasn’t a library in Boone County until 1974.  Local resident Betty McDavid said, “Before Boone County had a library we had to go to Erlanger for books.  I’m so thankful we have our own now. I read over 200 books a year. I couldn’t afford to buy all the ones I want to read. Although the books are the main attraction, I also appreciate and enjoy the concerts and classes held at the library. I especially like hearing authors speak of their life and works.  I’m from a family of readers and passed it on.”

Wow, she really did pass it on! There are four generations of McDavids using the library at the present time. Betty’s two daughters Sheree McDavid Breitholle and Christy Biggs are regular patrons as is Sheree’s daughter Kate Moore who brings her daughter to visit.

Sheree has great memories from her youth when her father would drive them to the library, “When I was young we went to the library in Erlanger. My Mother didn’t drive, so my Daddy would take us. He would wait in the car but always said, ‘Don’t hurry, take your time.’ We were so excited when Boone County got its own library. Later Lents became my library home. It was a place to take my daughter for activities and exploring the shelves. The Lents staff became my library family. I have many treasured friendships and memories of all my time there. I love all of the concerts, classes and book clubs sponsored by the library. It’s such a special place. Now I’m blessed to be able to share this wonderful place with my granddaughter. As I see her participating in Storytime, exploring the activities, and getting books from the shelves I can hear my Daddy saying ‘Don’t hurry, take your time’.”

Sheree’s sister Christy has similar warm feelings about the library, “I grew up in a very rural area with not a lot of close neighbors. Books were an opportunity to experience far off places and have adventures with characters like Alice and Dorothy. I visited places like Narnia and Neverland while remaining safe in my own backyard. We didn’t have the money to buy all of the books we wanted to read so the library was essential. I can remember when the first Boone County library branch opened in Florence when I was a little girl. I remember standing in the children’s section and being excited to learn the number of books that I could check out at one time. I don’t ever think that I left with anything less than the maximum allowed amount! Throughout the years the library has not only been a form of escape but a place for me to learn more about topics that caught my interest. I now check out at least as many ‘how to’ books as I do novels.  I may not master the skill but I certainly get further than I would just trying to figure out stuff on my own steam.”

Like Betty shared her love of the library with her daughters, Sheree passed her love to her daughter Kate Moore, “Some of my earliest and fondest memories are going to the library with my mom. It was a special place. We would go to storytime at Florence and all the other fun events and classes, then later at Lents.  As an adult, Mom and I still participate in book clubs together and different library concerts, speakers, book sales and classes at Main. I remember getting my very own library card and how exciting that was. Summer Reading has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I fill out my book log as soon as I finish a book. It’s a race with myself to see how many books I can read, no matter how busy I am. The library has offered up to me new authors and new books to discover. It is still a special place to me and my family and has brought a lot of joy. Now I’m a mom. I bring my daughter to storytime when I can, we play and read in the children’s area and we participate together in the summer reading activities. She was old enough this year to pick out her own summer reading prizes and she was so happy. She loves books and the library. Before she was 2 years old she recognized the library building when we would drive by and I was so proud that she already knew the library as a special place. I look forward to her excitement the day she gets her very own library card. I hope that when she is my age that some of her earliest and fondest memories will be of going to the library with her mom. “

I hope the story of the McDavid family’s love of the library inspires you to come in and find your own library experience.  You might hear the voice of Sheree’s father saying “Don’t hurry, take your time.”


Karen Helmle has been with BCPL since 1999, first as a Circulation Assistant, currently as a Public Service Associate. Nothing pleases her more than finding a great book and sharing it with customers and co-workers!