MEET ME IN THE STACKS. CHATTING ENCOURAGED.

Ever notice how some folks wrinkle their noses in perceptible scorn when the talk turns to libraries?  They’re convinced that the spirit of the printed page is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.

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Everyone loves to paratweet The Bard.

 

Will you and I seek wisdom only in the cloud? Will libraries come to an end, like fins on cars and tubes in TVs?  Will we remember the fabled church-like hush and what exactly those shelves were for?

 

 

I see libraries as powerful agents of community change. I don’t worry about them anymore.

 

 

I’m confident that we will still have buildings filled with print. And large public tables. And couches.

Libraries are vibrant hubs of comfortable, collaborative spaces. And full of services that aren’t limited to the virtual and physical walls of the building.

 

We are part of a society that consumes and spreads knowledge while socializing. And our libraries reflect this.  Libraries today are about what they do for us.  They are idea stores, not book warehouses.

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapons in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!

~Doctor Who, “Tooth and Claw,” Season 2

 

Libraries aren’t just places for quiet study but creative and engaging community centers where people meet. There’s plenty of chatter in the stacks.  And it’s encouraged.  Oh, the bookmarks? They’re still free.

 

The slap-honest truth about libraries is that we need them. For study. For solitude. For human connection. For answering Big Questions.  And little ones.

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The power of my library, and yours, is the conversation it inspires ~ between books and readers, children and parents, us and the collective world. Seems to me that libraries have less to do with clouds than connecting. My library and its staff is thriving, energized, enthusiastic, and ever so valued.  And they make us, patrons and volunteers, feel the same way.

 

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Library attendance and use is cloud-piercing. How-to manuals and health magazines, audio books and antique guides, Bibles and biographies ~ my librarians stamp out so many books in a week, their hands blister. (OK, so my nostalgia is showing. That’s one for #TBT. I miss that stamp, don’t you?)

 

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Index cards? Not so much. Not even here, in this lion-guarded haven.

 

 

 

Libraries feed our passion for information and self-improvement.enhanced-buzz-wide-19609-1388669893-18

 

So be aware of what’s happening to them, just when we need them most. They’re easy targets for local budget cuts, duck soup compared to potholes, pipes, and high school marching bands.  I’m thinking that it’s because what libraries give us is so intangible. How do you measure the worth of what someone gets from a book?

 

 

So, next time you’re at the library, borrow a book of recipes. Whip up something to share~ bagels or biscuits, brioche or baguettes, a pie or a pancake.

Blow off the cloud

and make a connection.

Toni 4/21/18

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: PEDESTRIAN

Scholars date the word ‘pedestrian‘ to the early 18th century, its origin from the French pédestre or Latin pedester (going on foot). But it was also used to mean ‘written in prose’.

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded a few days ago.  You might remember last year’s winner, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.  A controversial pick, his quirky long-delayed response annoyed academy members.  (It was rumored that he used SparkNotes to write his lecture. Really?)

 

Every year I hope the academy chooses perennial contender Haruki Murakami.  (Alas, this year, one of Murakami’s favorite writers, Kazuo Ishiguro, took home the prize.)  Murakami was born in the same month and year as I was but that’s where the similarities end, even though he thinks of himself as an ordinary guy.

 I see myself as a kind of ordinary guy. I don’t think of myself as an artist, mostly. I guess I’m just engineering something. I like to write. I like to choose the right word, I like to write the right sentence. It’s just like gardening or something. You put the seed into the soil at the right time, in the right place.

 

His prose is intricately fashioned, whether fiction, non-fiction, or a personal essay.   What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a collection of gems.  It’s by turns memoir and diary, a laceratingly beautiful (and educational) narrative. Murakami writes the stories we all need to get through life, confront the past, understand the present, and move on to the future.

 

Unresolved mysteries, tales-within-tales, maybe-dreams, everyday worlds, and supernatural realms ~ in Murakami’s hands, his stories fascinate and confound.  An accomplished writer and translator, he knows how to tell a tale circuitously.  He is the kind of professor I yearned for in college, learned and challenging in equal measure.

Haruki Murakami poses questions and tenders ideas you will think about, and then think again. Exactly what Alfred Nobel had in mind.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive.  And you may not even be sure, whether the storm is really over.  But one thing is certain.  When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.  That’s what this storm is all about.”

Stresa, Italy

Toni 10/8/17

 

THE LIBRARY THAT BELONGS TO EVERYONE ~ IT’S LITTLE AND IT’S FREE

The Little Free Libraries project is the brainchild of Todd Bol.

The first Little Free Library I ever saw was in Savannah.  What a charmer, tucked under the stairs on East Charleton Street, the site of Flannery O’Conner’s childhood home.

 

Now these little book boxes have gone viral.  (Find one near you here.) This one is ready for it’s coming out party, in front of my YMCA in Stuart, FL.

 

Here’s the skinny.  There are no rules or fines, the books are always free. If you see something you want to read, take it.  You can leave a note in the book if you want. When you’re finished with a book, pass it along to a friend or return it to any Little Free Library.  I’ve got one ready to tuck inside after the ribbon-cutting.

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In a time when Google, Amazon, and Netflix unnervingly predict what we want to read/watch/think, it’s crackling good fun to open the door of a Little Free Library.

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Want to build your own?  I know I do.  But, if you’re like me, you have minimal non-existent carpentry skills. No worries. It’s a cakewalk.

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Little Free Libraries are bringing people together through books. The political right likes them. So does the left. Who says ‘no’ to reading?

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Little Free Libraries bring out our sweeter side.  So, what are you waiting for?

Whatcha Readin’ ? is the new Hello.

Toni 2/25/17