Read On! Information Eases Fear

When my husband and I were dating, I found a giant spider in his apartment while he was at work. Like anyone would, I put a cup over the spider and left it where I found it. When Phil got home, I told him, “I don’t know if you read the fine print of dating me, but it clearly states you get to deal with anything that has more than two legs. There’s one upstairs.”

Now, many years later, when we find a spider in the house, we carefully identify it and relocate anything that’s not dangerous to humans. I’ve come a long way and it has taken some deliberate time and effort. Mostly, my journey took the path of deciding to research and learn about the object of my fear.

Learning about spiders inspired my family and me to happily work our way through the Pryor Library’s wildlife books (found in the 500s in nonfiction). We’ve learned about spiders, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, insects, trees, and wildflowers. We’re even citizen scientists now and record bird sightings with the Cornell Lab’s “Merlin” app.

All this information doesn’t keep us from being cautious around (or even freaked out by) dangerous things – wasps will always be treated like the stinging jerks they are – but our habit of researching and learning about things we encounter in our world has changed our initial reaction to things from outright terror to cautious curiosity. Each member of my family feels more confident when we encounter something strange and potentially scary because we know that the more we learn about it, the less scary it becomes (wasps notwithstanding).

If you’d like to learn more about something in your world, let us know. We’re happy to help! Call us, email me (reratc@pryorlibrary.org), or come by. We’ll help you find good, trustworthy information or get you in touch with experts who can.

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