COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A local man said he’s grateful to the staff at the South High Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library for their help on his journey decades in the making.
At 46 years old, Terry Magers has overcome several obstacles to earn his college degree, spending several hours a week at the library.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of people here at the South High Library,” Magers said.
Over the last six years, he’s learned to take advantage of the library’s resources while taking college courses online.
“The actual library resources, they did so much research for me between tests,” Magers said. “I’d have access to printing.”
When he was 21, Magers was forced to quit college and worked two jobs to make ends meet. As he got older, he was diagnosed with epileptic seizure disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder after he witnessed his stepsister and nephew die in a car accident.
“And I got put on disability for the seizure disorder,” he said.
The University of Phoenix has an online program with an ADA accommodation for his disability. So, at the age of 40, with the help of the library’s staff, Mager started on his journey to a degree in psychology.
“I have it in my heart that if I can make a difference in just one person’s life before this Earth, I’ve accomplished something,” he said.
Staff members who’ve helped Mager daily said they welcome students of any age or learning ability to come to the library and take advantage of its resources.
“So, we have subscription databases to research in many different fields,” said librarian Tessa Grindle-de Graaf. “We also have a couple different resources like Help Now and Job Now, where you can practice all sorts of skills and build your technology skills, do your resume, get live tutoring.”
When he finally received his diploma this spring, Mager stopped by the library to show his gratitude to the staff for their support.
“I teared up, I got very emotional,” Grindle-de Graaf said. “I’m very lucky to know Terry’s story and that he shared that with me.”
Mager has been overwhelmed with the response a library social media post of his achievement has received and hopes to inspire others on their journey toward higher education.
“If you have a dream to go to college, go and finish it,” he said. “Anybody can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
Mager works as a high school sports official and said that’s a way he can be an active part of the community. He added that he’s now thinking of earning a Master’s degree so he can become a counselor for troubled teens and youth.