At 93 years old, Jeannine Crosby continues writing her story by reading

The Detroit Lakes woman received a Certificate of Achievement from the library for being a prolific reader.

Jeannine Crosby, rural Detroit Lakes, has become known at the local library for devouring books, with new novels checked out frequently.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — Jeannine Crosby’s biography, to date, intertwines storylines of romance and a generational saga that has been built on the foundations of love, family and hard work.

While the 93-year-old Detroit Lakes resident is still writing her book, she found herself spending more time at home due to mobility issues.

Filling the hours between visits from six children, 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Jeannine bends book bindings and lets the written word add to her adventures.

Detroit Lakes Public Library Director Greta Guck noticed a woman was visiting nearly every week, picking up at least two books at a time. Through friendly banter, Guck learned Cindy Crosby was ordering and picking up novels for her mother, Jeannine.

“She reads two books at a time — one in the morning and one at night,” Cindy said.


Jeannine noted her favorite genre is romance, although she also enjoys a good western or mystery.

“You learn a lot from reading,” Jeannine said.

In addition to increasing her already large vocabulary, Jeannine said books can open doors to new perspectives, or simply transport her to another world.

Jeannine learned the opportunity and knowledge that comes with reading when she was a child growing up near Toad Lake. She recalled the country school that she attended had limited books, and it didn’t take long before she read through the in-school library. Stories like "Heidi" and the "Little Women" series were favorites in her youth. She admired the characters' can-do attitudes and dedication to family, both of which were traits she took on in her life.

As Jeannine shifted from childhood into adulthood, time became hard to catch. While she always made time to read the newspaper, novels fell by the wayside due to work and family obligations. She and her husband, Dean Crosby, welcomed seven kids into the world (one was stillborn).

“There was always a lot of work to do,” Jeannine recalled. “When the kids were younger I tried to read to them — those dime store books. Reading to kids makes them good readers, and reading is important.”

After 62 years of marriage, Dean passed away. Time slowed down and Jeannine marched forward the best she could, despite the absence in her heart.

In 2019, she again had to redefine her story. After a nasty fall, she ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. That is when she got her first library card at the Detroit Lakes Public Library.


Detroit Lakes Public Library Director Greta Guck (left) provides Jeannine Crosby (right) with a Certificate of Achievement for being a prolific reader in the community. Cindy Crosby (center) helps order books for her mother and makes weekly visits to the library to pick up new reading material.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

After being released from the hospital, mobility has become more of a challenge than in her younger years. Now, many of her travels happen in her imagination, between the black and white lines of a novel.

“Now the challenge is finding books in big print,” Cindy said.

The Detroit Lakes Library has “a good selection of large print books,” according to Guck. Not all of them are in-house, as the library is part of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library system, which includes 13 branches and nine smaller sites.

“A reader lives 1,000 lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives once,” Jeannine said, noting the wise saying is from author George R.R. Martin.

To recognize Jeannine’s dedication to reading, the Detroit Lakes Public Library honored her with a Certificate of Achievement for being a prolific reader in the community.

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