Escape into a good story

Highland Springs libraries a haven for booklovers

Created date

October 24th, 2019
The Magnolia Place library is an inviting place to read, work on a puzzle, or simply relax.

The Magnolia Place library is an inviting place to read, work on a puzzle, or simply relax.

Delores Garbarini has long appreciated libraries as a window to the world.

“One of my earliest memories is my father driving my brother and me to the library,” she says. “I’ve had a lifelong love affair with books.”

Before she moved to Highland Springs, in North Dallas, Delores volunteered with the Plano Public Library System for many years. When she and her husband Joe moved to Highland Springs in December 2016, Delores’s volunteer interests translated to the Book Nook in the Hillcrest Clubhouse.

When the community’s second clubhouse, Magnolia Place, opened in April 2018, the library steering committee tapped Delores to serve as the head librarian in the second Book Nook location, the Magnolia Place library and reading room.

“The Magnolia Place library acts almost as a community center,” says Delores. “It’s a place for people to gather and socialize. It’s also a cozy retreat where residents can pass an hour or two immersed in a book.”

Something for everyone

Awash in natural light, the library’s rows of neatly arranged books, movies, and periodicals invite readers to linger.

“We’re a leisure reading library featuring current bestsellers,” says Delores. “Almost all of our inventory comes from resident donations. It’s a great way to maintain a robust collection of books without having to store them in your apartment.”

The Magnolia Place library’s special collections include a shelf dedicated to works by resident authors, large print copies of bestsellers, DVDs, and oversized art books.

“We subscribe to daily newspapers, so a number of residents spend a few minutes each morning in the library reading the paper,” says Delores.

Two puzzle tables flank each side of the library, with ongoing projects inviting residents to sit and work on puzzles for a while.

While most books are donated, the library also benefits from the Restricted Library Fund, a thoughtful way to supplement the library’s holdings.

“We have several residents who make a holiday contribution to the library fund,” says Delores. “That money all goes back to the library. We use it to purchase needed resources, such as large print editions of New York Times bestsellers or movies that have been requested by residents.”

Monthly book clubs

Highland Springs is currently home to five book clubs, which all meet monthly.

Delores’s book club, Chapter Chat, formed in May 2019, and meets in the Twin Oaks Square residence building.

“Throughout the year, each member takes a turn choosing a book to read and then leads the discussion during the month we read that book,” says Delores. “We make sure both libraries, Magnolia Place and Hillcrest, have copies of each book our book clubs read throughout the year.”

For those interested in joining a book club, Delores says contact information for each group’s leader is posted in the Magnolia Place library. 

“We welcome new members,” she says. “Each book club decides how they want to structure their group and what they want to read. In the Chapter Chat, we read an eclectic assortment of genres.”

In recent months, resident booklovers have started taping book reviews for Howdy Highland Springs, the community’s in-house television station.

“Howdy Highland Springs acts as a window to the community,” says Delores. “Our hope is the televised book reviews will provide a glimpse into the library and all the resources we offer.”

Delores Garbarini’s Top Reads of 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing

This debut novel from author Delia Owens spent 48 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the unforgettable story of a young girl making her way in the North Carolina wilderness.

The President Is Missing

President Bill Clinton and best-selling author James Patterson teamed up to write this fictional political thriller. “This book was so good I read it in a day,” says Delores.

—Sara Martin