Why I Support The Library: Jeffrey Woodyard, Executive Director, Tri-County OIC
Jeffrey Woodyard was so fascinated by words as a child that he would read vocabulary books page by page. But “botheration? That’s not even a word,” he thought. “How could it even be a word if people can just say ‘bother’?”
“But it is,” he says now. “You can say to someone, ‘I’m not going to do all that work. It’s not worth the botheration.’”
On Saturdays, Woodyard says he would walk from his home “in the projects” to York’s Martin Library, “the big building with the pretty façade. As a kid, you’d look up at those books and be in awe.”
Libraries remained in his life. While Woodyard was a student at Lincoln University, the Langston Hughes Memorial Library – named after the illustrious Lincoln alumni – was newly built. “It had that new library smell,” he says.
Today, Woodyard promotes literacy as executive director of Tri-County OIC, provider of training and employment programs. It’s the place on Maclay Street where books are outside, rain or shine, for anyone to take. The OIC also sends its BookyMobile, a converted RV stocked with titles for kids and adults, to events throughout the region.
What did your love of reading and words mean to you?
Because of reading, I majored in English literature. I sort of fell in love with Shakespeare. I could probably quote you a Shakespeare line faster than I could quote you the day’s news. I probably have five or six or 10 Shakespeare LPs. Who else has that?
What are you reading?
I just finished a Louis L’Amour book. It’s something I picked up at a flea market. It takes you away. Now I’m reading The Great Black Jockeys by Edward Hotaling, a book about Black jockeys who started the horse racing industry. I had never heard about that before.
How does OIC partner with The Library?
We’re always partnering. Their MARCO van and our BookyMobile are always at events together. Right now, we’re partnering with The Library to find some volunteer tutors for our agency. We’re always looking for tutors and classroom aides who can help our students become better readers.
How does The Library benefit the people that OIC serves?
We work with many people who can’t afford to go to Barnes and Noble for a book. The Library has so many online resources, and the programming is fantastic for kids and adults. We encourage our students to get library cards and do things to support reading and learning.