The single cluttered room of my childhood library was hardly anything special to the untrained eye, but the escape it provided was limitless. Otterville, Ontario is a small town in every sense of the term. It is encompassed by the farms of the Amish and the village itself is inhabited in large part by Mexican Mennonite families. Both of these cultures are fairly inclusive and although their families are close-knit and caring, the itch to see beyond the walls is inevitable. Even having the privilege of a family with cars and televisions didn’t stop me from feeling stuck in the loop and wanting to know more about the world outside. This is why the community library is such pillar in my hometown. It serves as a cultural vista, a portal to places otherwise inaccessible. It allows us to explore the world in ways that many of us wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise whether it be because of financial strain, cultural practise, or lack of transportation (You can only get so far on horse and buggy.) While I still had access to the world beyond via tv and internet, nothing quite scratched the itch like reading a good book. Over the years I’ve felt that while you’re reading, you’re living vicariously through the characters as you take on their perspective. You get to experience their world first hand in unparalleled depth. Connecting with the innermost thoughts of a character makes them so familiar that they almost merge with you in a way. Aside from physical travel, there couldn’t be a richer way to explore the world. This is the escape that many small town residents need to break the monotony of a rural lifestyle and this is why the Otterville public library is the heart of my community.