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Trading Stories

story by Margaret Cheatham Williams

A swimsuit calendar clings to the cluttered yellow wall, frozen on March 2011.

“But, Dwayne,” Cheryl says, “it’s October.”

“I like Miss March,” he replies. “I don’t need anyone but her.”

Confined to a motorized wheel chair, Dwayne Varble spends his days watching the DVDs that Cheryl Mathias delivers to Medco Center of Henderson.

“My favorite is Dancing with Wolves,” he says. “I must have seen that one a hundred times.”

Cheryl has worked in libraries for her entire professional life and transitioned to the Bookmobile, an outreach program of the Henderson County Public Library, when she craved autonomy. Twelve years later, she continues to deliver materials to all walks of Henderson life.

She strives to bring stories to the otherwise inaccessible. Cheryl frequently visits childcare centers, nursing homes, government subsidized housing and homes of the elderly.

“They are hungry for companionship, and I like hearing their stories,” she says.

Cheryl met her husband Jimmy when she was 13, and they were married immediately following her college graduation.

“Though we have no children, we have plenty of children in our life,” Cheryl says. She and Jimmy invest their time into their large extended family of nieces and nephews.

An orderly line has formed in anticipation for her arrival at Henderson Manor, and one by one, each eager patron stepped into her world.

“I finally got some batteries,” one said as he perused the CD collection. “Thank the Lord.”

“Part of it is escapism, and I’m just looking for a good story,” Cheryl says.


Cheryl Mathias delivers Joan Woodring books and movies each week to her apartment complex for seniors. Joan, moved to Kentucky when she married someone in military service.


Dwayne Varble sifts through the bookmobile's DVD selections. "My favorite is Dances with Wolves," he says, "I must have seen that one a hundred times." Dwanye's mother lived on the same hall of the nursing home before she passed away. "People who have an advocate do well here," Cheryl said of Dwayne. Cheryl Mathias, the Henderson County bookmobile librarian, delivers books, music and movies to hundreds of Henderson residents. The majority of her patrons are elderly and have limited mobility or are disabled and cannot otherwise access the library. Many residents she visits live alone and appreciate Cheryl's regular visits.


Martine Vincent, left, attempts to call her son on her birthday as she waits for the bookmobile at Pleasant Pointe apartments for seniors, where Cheryl Mathias delivers books, music and movies.


"Do you have 'Me and Bobby McGee?' " Tonya Callahan (left) asks as she joins Corine Cropper in the orderly line in front of Henderson Manor. The home for adults and teens with special needs is a regular stop for Cheryl Mathias, the Henderson County bookmobile librarian.


Jeanne Ray, a former librarian, visits with Cheryl Mathias during her stop at her housing complex. Before she began her position at the bookmobile 12 years ago, Cheryl worked in elementary and high school libraries. When people ask why she was interested in serving as a mobile librarian, she says, "I was tired of spending my day on the floor. You can have an intelligent conversation with an adult."


With no children of her own, Cheryl and her husband spend a great deal of time with their extended family. Her great niece, Rose Schreiner often comes to Cheryl for help with homework assignments.