Empathy is kindness, nonjudgmental understanding, and emotional feelings for the plight of others.
“Some of the young people who come here have negative attitudes and resistance to rules,” notes Lillie Simmons, a security officer assigned to the Villard Square Branch of the #MilwaukeeCountyFederated LibrarySystem. “I tell them, no matter where you are and what you do, there will always be rules. Your attitude determines your altitude. If you have a negative attitude, you won’t go far in this life.”Located in the modest 53209 zip code, Villard Square Library occupies the ground floor of a mixed-use building of apartments for grandparents raising their grandchildren. Contemporary libraries, where visitors spend an average of 1.5 hours, provide free access to streams of resources that encourage social inclusion and equity, i.e., classroom instruction, entertainment, computers, audiobooks, Braille materials, community meeting spaces, and tutoring for adults. As Simmons tells it, “A lot of young people don’t have respect for their elders. But I believe that if they are approached with respect, most will respond that way. Some parents and grandparents today work so much and don’t have time for their children. I feel for them and talk to them as a caring parent would. I also help the librarians if needed.”