John Scalzi is, among other things, a science fiction writer
whose popular works include the Old Man's War
series and Redshirts,
which takes a Star Trek in-joke and turns it into an unusual story that is hilarious and moving at the same time.
Scalzi is also the "proprieter" of one of the longest-running blogs on the Web, Whatever
. This morning Whatever features his Personal History of Libraries
. I highly recommend the entire post, but here are a few excerpts:
Finally I arrive at my present library, the one in Bradford, Ohio. It’s a small library, but then, Bradford is a small community, of about 1,800. For that community, the library holds books, and movies, magazines and music; it has Internet access, which folks here use to look for jobs and to keep in contact with friends and family around the county, state and country. It hosts local meetings and events, has story times and reading groups, is a place where kids can hang out after school while their parents work, and generally functions as libraries always have: A focal point and center of gravity for the community — a place where a community knows it is a community, in point of fact, and not just a collection of houses and streets...
My library is used every single day that it is open, by the people who live here, children to senior citizens. They use the building, they use the Internet, they use the books. This is, as it happens, the exact opposite of what “obsolete” means. I am glad my library is here and I am glad to support it...
I am, in no small part, the sum of what all those libraries I have listed above have made me. When I give my books to my local library, it’s my way of saying: Thank you. For all of it.
Thank you, John, that's exactly why we are here.
The Friends of the Library's 8th annual Chocolate & Wine Tasting Benefit was a huge success. Tickets sold out, there was a lot of delicious chocolate and wine, lots of conversation and fun, a great silent auction, and good music. The Friends raised over $14,000 for books and other library resources. What a magnicifent example of community spirit! A huge heartfelt thanks to the Friends, our guests, and all the local bakeries, grocers, candy makers, restaurants, wineries, and other businesses and individuals who contributed, and to the local media who helped get the word out.
In Jennifer Egan's novel
– if it can even be called a novel - is more like a collection of stories, or better yet a collection of characters, is one that I find very challenging to describe, so I’m glad that you read it, and want to talk about it, too. Bennie the former punk rocker, now a successful record executive. Sasha a troubled young woman who works for Bennie. Scotty, now a middle aged musician on the skids. There are thirteen chapters in all, each told by one of the protagonists. We first meet several of these characters as teenagers in the 1970s, and the stories span a period of about 40 years into the future 2020, and take the reader back and forth in time. As far as setting is concerned, we wander from the therapy couch, to punk clubs of San Francisco, to a plush Park Avenue office, to New York’s polluted East River, to an African safari, to the streets of Naples, to an airfield in a Banana Republic. Some of the characters are very sleazy, some are very vulnerable, some a little off-kilter. The author sometimes deals with her characters harshly, and at other times, sympathetically.
One of the characters in the book says, “Time is a goon squad, right?” A good squad being something that bullies and punishes people. And indeed time messes with everyone in this book – as time brings with it disappointments and loss and sorrow that haunt the past, present, and future. And yet the book is not without humor.
So, this book sounds like it might be a mess, right? Wrong! It is small miracle of craftsmanship, and it has a very uplifting conclusion.
Diane Wolkstein, folklorist and children's author has passed away at age 70. She was in the forefront of the storytelling revival movement, becoming New York City's "official" storyteller in 1967, earning a salary of $40 per week telling stories in the city's parks.
She went on to be a major force in the national storytelling circuit, and appeared in the Monterey Public Library's Stories for Adults
series in 1988. Over time, she enlarged her original repertiore of fairy tales to specialize in folktales from every part of the globe. She retold her versions of these stories in over two dozen children's books.
Goodbye to a storytelling pioneer. Read more about the life and work of Diane Wolkstein