Did you know April 8-14 was the 60th celebration of National Libraries Week? This year, the theme set by the American Library Association was “Libraries Lead”. Since I’m one day too late to the party to enter the national contest, I’ll use this week’s blog post to share what libraries have done for me to lend value to my life (contest prompt).
I hope libraries have offered value to you, too. I’d love to hear your stories. Here are mine:
- Attending library story hours are a strong, fond childhood memory. Whether it was the well-stocked Children’s Room on the lower level of Needham’s expansive public library, or the small corner of our tiny summer library in Cotuit, I remember sitting on the floor listening to stories read by the librarians and the very fun game of “Where’s the Penny” in Cotuit. I wish I could remember the name of that librarian, Miss Something. She was ancient! A blunt stringy haircut to her chin with black cat’s eyeglass frames. Scary to look at but very nice in her demeanor. You could tell she loved her job and reading to summer kids on a Saturday morning. I was eager to share that experience with my sons during their toddler and preschool years. Even better, I met other moms with kids the same age, many who are still my friends more than 20 years later. Cathy Weslowski 🙂
- Seeing my Mom in my elementary school library was a special day. She volunteered with the PTA for this small task on a monthly basis, taking her rotation. Something about seeing her in the middle of the school day, helping me and my classmates check out our books made me realize how important it is for parents to get involved in schools. It was only a couple of hours a month, but to me, it said a lot that my Mom would take the time to participate.
- Our high school library was a refuge for me during study hall and lunch. I had a difficult couple of high school years that led to a lot of social anxiety. Knowing that I could hunker down in a study carrel in a quiet spot where I didn’t have to speak with anyone was a salvation.
- And now, today. I’m using our local library here in NH (photo above) for book research work – anyone want to guess what the large open volume on my desk is? I definitely didn’t want to buy it! – and a quiet spot with a change of scenery for some writing. I did get a few notes down and a new idea to weave into Eliza’s story that will work well with where I am in plot development to help move the story forward.
- Another bonus from yesterday’s trip to the library was checking out their used book sale corner. Five books for $2.50! One for my own pleasure reading, one for Jim to bring some laughs on a gloomy gray weekend, one for future reference and two paperback editions of books on my Kindle that I read for my book club that I’m happy to share with others from the lending library at Daly’s Den.
It’s a bit ironic that both of these books delve into the same theme of slavery, secrets, and interracial relationships in nineteenth century Virginia. America’s First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie offers an inside look at the Thomas Jefferson’s presidency and diplomatic posts through the eyes of his daughter, Patsy, including his liaison with Sally Hemings. It’s the “upstairs” story, while The Kitchen House: A Novel debut novel by Kathleen Grissom, is the “downstairs” story of the women who work in the kitchen house of a tobacco plantation. I enjoyed both books for their research and emotional tugs of all the women portrayed in the books as they faced similar challenges dealing with family relationships, class and demands of running a household.