Story's Story

Goodbye to Story the Gerbil
in Our Storybook
posted by: Brittany Malon
Last Updated: 14 November 2023
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Story the gerbil was a furry friend who made her home in a glass tank in the children’s area of the Pendleton Community Library. Story came to the library a little two and a half years ago and quickly became a treasured member of the library community. Sadly, Story crossed the rainbow bridge a few weeks ago. Story’s legacy consists of the beautiful memories she helped patrons of the library create during their visits and the lessons she taught in her steady, unassuming, nonjudgmental way.

Children’s librarian Rhonda Sparks expressed her sadness after Story’s passing saying, “she really made this such a friendly place.” Sparks shared that Story was a real “ham” and would always come out to interact with children who stopped by to visit. Children would rush to greet her upon their arrival, share the details of their days, and say goodbye before leaving. “I think she really made them feel like she was listening to them,” Sparks said of Story’s interactions with visitors. After her passing, farewell notes filled with well wishes, love, and the untidy scrawl of children replaced the habitat on her table. These notes are a poignant and beautiful demonstration of the larger-than-life impact Story made on the sweet souls who visited her at her library home.

Story’s home in the library and her place in the hearts of the youngest library patrons was made possible by an anonymous donor who initiated the Pendleton Community Library Endowment Fund in 1994. The Fund is designated for use by the Library to continue and enhance its service to library patrons. Our guess is, 25 years ago the fund founder wasn’t thinking about the possibility that a friendly gerbil could enhance a library’s services and spark joy in children’s hearts at the prospect of a library visit. Still, we’re certain the donor would be delighted with the creative use of their gift and the way Story’s place in the children’s area enlivened the library and introduced children to literacy, life, love, and even loss.

As you may or may not know, the South Madison Community Foundation has the honor of helping members of this community create a legacy that will continue even when their physical presence no longer graces our Earth. What will your Story be?