"THE COLLECTION OF written knowledge in some sort of repository is a practice as old as civilization itself. About 30,000 clay tablets found in ancient Mesopotamia date back more than 5,000 years. Archaelogists have uncovered papyrus scrolls from 1300-1200bc in the ancient Egyptian cities of Amarna and Thebes and thousands of clay tablets in the palace of King Sennacherib, Assyrian ruler from 704-681bc, at Nineveh, his capital city.
The name for the repository eventually became the library. Whether private or public, the library has been founded, built, destroyed and rebuilt. The library, often championed, has been a survivor throughout its long history and serves as a testament to the thirst for knowledge."
OK. I'm back with the soapbox.
Personal Story #1. When I was a kid, I went to my library (at least) once a week. One week, I checked out Little House in the Big Woods. When I went the following week (or was it the next day?) to return it, I asked the librarian if there were any other books "just like this one?" She rose with a smile and led me to the stacks. She pointed out A WHOLE ROW of Laura Ingall's adventures. A few years ago, while working in the Childrens Department at Abington Free Library, I was able to return that favor to a child, looking - just as I had been - for another book "just like this."
|Abington Free Library's Children's Dept Mural|
painted each year by the high school art students
for the library's Summer Reading Program
Libraries are much more than that, though. The Friends of the Library fund a lot of the programs that ranges from my own Teen Journaling classes to the Socrates Club. For free. Knowledge is free at libraries, it runs rampant as if there is just so much of it that they can give it away for free and never run out. They build community in ways that are large such as the WWII meetings with speakers to tiny, serendipitous meetings. One night I was helping a mom looking for information on autism. As I was looking it up, another woman came to the desk and was waiting for me to help her. These two struck up a conversation and by the time I'd retrieved a couple of books on autism, they had bonded over their autistic children. They were sharing information and resources. Each helping the other in ways that I wouldn't have been able to.
|Incoming "hold" books being sorted by Susan in Technical Services|
And then there is the librarians' sense of humor and fun.Personal Story #2. One time (really only one time!) I was late returning my library books. I apologized and gave the librarian my 5 cent overdue. I felt so bad that I told her I had been sick. She looked at me and said "Ahhh, that's a shame ... was it Spring Fever?" Of course, that seemed like a good name to me so I agreed that this was exactly the illness that had befallen me.
|Laurel, Jackie and Marla processing the held books at circulation .|
|Anne or Laurel shelve the held books - ready to be picked up by AFL's patrons|
Here's a little slideshow. (Can you tell I'm a product of the 60's?)