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Written by Rebecca Shakespeare Armstrong, local business owner and influencer, RJS Fashion

Ever since I was a little girl, I had a real love for the Library. You know how a real sports fan cries over a victory game, or an artist loves a new palette, or an adventurous kid loves using their imagination? That's how I am with the Library. It has always been a part of me.

Growing up, my family didn’t have cable television and the only time we watched cable channels was when we visited my grandparents’ house. We lived near our local Library, which was about a twenty-minute walk for me and my siblings. My brothers were old enough to stay home with me and my older sister, but to keep us from getting on each other’s nerves, we would walk to the Library on the regular.

Although, we had some dope things to watch like Johnny Quest, Captain Planet, Reading Rainbow, X-MEN and ABC's One Saturday Morning lineup; we needed something else to make it through those long hours of free time. We would walk to the Library and rent VHS movies (I’m really showing my age now), CDs, records (our dad had an old school album player shaped like a dresser), and of course books.

My favorite kind of literature was anything about fashion, African American public figures, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes. I loved reading books that made me sit on the edge of my seat and books that featured characters who looked like me and who I could relate to.

We went to the Library so much, the employees all knew we were the Shakespeare kids. They knew would be there for a while, but was always on our best behavior. As I got older and went away for college, I was always at the campus library. I think it reminded me of home.  
 
I started my business while in undergrad. When I went home for the summer, I was always at the Library checking out business books because my major was in fashion merchandising.

Through my business RJS Fashion, I am a blogger, accessory designer, and wardrobe stylist. The Library has always been one of my top ten places for my entrepreneurial research. I recently found out about the MakerSpace at an event the library hosted and I cannot wait to get down there and work on some projects that I have on my Pinterest list

They also have the Small Business Resource Center in the Information and Reference Department at the Main Library dedicated to helping local small business owners that I'll have to check out one of these days. 

After I moved back home, got married, and had kids, I started bringing them to Toddler Storytime at various branches and they love the library too. My oldest even knows the landmarks before we get to some of the branches and asks, “Can we go to the Library today?”

Now that I am on the go a lot more, I can’t always get to the Library when I want to, so I downloaded the OverDrive app on my iPad and I love it! When I want to randomly look up a new book, movie, or audiobook I got it at my fingertips. Sometimes I download more titles than I can read at a time because I feel like I need to! I’m hooked. Or should I say, I’m booked! 

Rebecca Shakespeare Armstrong launched RJS Fashion in 2012. Armstrong started making fashion items while attending Bowling Green State University where she obtained a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Product Development.

On her lifestyle blog, she interviews music artists, poets, local business owners, food bloggers and more. She has hosted women's empowerment events as well as get-togethers like workshops and a self-defense class for young women and girls. She recently founded the Instagram account @cincy.cocoabloggers, a network of women of color who blog, create, and share their journeys by way of the Queen City. You can follow her there and on her own Instagram account @rjsfashion.