Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Library Tuesday

“Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a 1000 years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible, solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age.” "Books" Society and Solitude, Ralph Waldo Emerson Libraries have been an important part of my life since before I began school. Our local library had a summer reading program and Mrs. Kelly, our gifted librarian, helped us to feel that reading books was one of the most delightful things we could learn to do, right in the category of learning to ride our bikes and making new friends.

“Here is where people,
One frequently finds,
Lower their voices
And raise their minds.”
---Light Armour

When our own children were small we moved into a rural community whose library consisted of a storage room provided by the local drugstore. Our librarian, Jessie, had retired and retired again but continued serving as librarian because of the satisfaction of watching children fall in love with books.

Our family got actively involved in seeing that we had a “new” library and community center. We raised funds, stripped and re-finished display cabinets, helped to clean and sort books, and even participated by presenting some of the community lecture programs.

After moving to Sullivan County New York, we discovered we are part of a large library system. By Internet we can access books from many county libraries, having them delivered to our local branch library for us to pick up. Since deliveries are on Tuesdays and Fridays, Tuesday has become our “library day”. “Believers and doers are what we need -- faithful librarians who are humble in the presence of books.... To be in a library is one of the purest of all experiences. This awareness of library's unique, even sacred nature, is what should be instilled in our neophytes.” — A Passion for Books, Lawrence Clark Powell The Eldred Library, http://www.rcls.org/eld/ --- Sunshine Hall Free Library, to give it its rightful name, is one of the centers of community activities. In addition to the story hour and reading programs for children, our librarian, Carmel, offers weekly French classes. Many of my friends are people I met at library programs. The Friends Of The Library provide very active support; volunteers come each day to see to the routine tasks of keeping the library going. When we first arrived and were trying to keep names and faces straight, there were some of the people we knew by the day of the week they were volunteering at the library.

Thinking about the limited resources of our little library… I have no idea how so many services are provided. The librarian must work with a miniscule budget, woefully inadequate for something so important to the community.

Today I can order from the library network and receive not only the best sellers, but audio books, history books, nature journals, art books, and on and on. The service gives me online access to historical collections, technical data as well as things like consumer reports. While the Internet has expanded my pool of information the library is still one of the centers of our world.

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” Andrew Carnegie
A Branch Libraries card is free to anyone who lives, works, pays property taxes, or attends school in New York State.

"There was one place where I forgot the cold, indeed forgot Siberia. That was in the library. There, in that muddy village, was a great institution. Not physically, to be sure, but in every other way imaginable. It was a small log cabin, immaculately attended to with loving care; it was well lighted with oil lamps and it was warm. But best of all, it contained a small but amazing collection from the world's best literature, truly amazing considering the time, the place, and its size. From floor to ceiling it was lined with books - books, books, books. It was there that I was to become acquainted with the works of Dumas, Pasternak's translations of Shakespeare, the novels of Mark Twain, Jack London, and of course the Russians. It was in that log cabin that I escaped from Siberia - either reading there or taking the books home. It was between that library and two extraordinary teachers that I developed a lifelong passion for the great Russian novelists and poets. It was there that I learned to line up patiently for my turn to sit at a table and read, to wait - sometimes months - for a book. It was there that I learned that reading was not only a great delight, but a privilege." — Esther Hautzig, The Endless Steppe


Blogger Fran said...

Yes--another library person here. I think you may have noticed my SoulCollage card a few days back on The Library Girl. Liked hearing your own connections.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

You did inspire me. I took the photos just after Christmas and when I saw your library post it generated new inspiration. Thanks

8:16 AM  

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