Often times people ask me if I think libraries have a purpose in an age of technology when anything can be found on a person’s phone.
I dare say the person who asks this question needs to spend a few hours in a library to find out.
I am a public library director. My days are never the same.
Some days I am asked about a book and I am not given the luxury of author or title. I was told what the cover looked like. This was a few years ago and I actually was able to find the youth fiction book because the cover was so distinctive — pink and green.
Some days I am a technology teacher. Helping patrons to open email accounts to apply for jobs, which is predominately done on-line now. Performing Christmas miracles when one patron opened an email account to keep in contact with her adult son across the continent. I often help patrons print pictures or nieces, nephews and grandchildren who are growing up far from the people who love them.
Some days I am asked how to download eBooks and audio books from the consortium we are a part of and sometimes the most basic question when they call and have problems is … our you on our library’s web site? Little do people know just how many Goshens are out there in the world!
Some days I lead book discussions on juvenile literature.
Some days I help moderate discussions on foreign policy.
Some days I write reports for my Library Board of Directors and grants for future programs.
Some days I counsel teens.
Some days I grieve with families.
Do we, as a society need libraries?
Well, all I can think of when this question is asked … what is one of the first things a dictator does when they start taking over a country? Gain control of education and close libraries.
If any of my friends read this post — they will laugh uproariously for I have been far more stressed than positive lately.
If I were to look at a scales and check my weight — you will find that I have found solace in more chocolate lately than I should have and since the weather has been horrible I haven’t been able to walk even if I could have found the time.
Yet I do try to stay upbeat in the daily routine. Some days it is harder than others though.
Budgets are due at work and changes are made.
Staff members are moving and retiring.
My son is going to high school, when did he get so old?
Rejoicing in the knowledge that family is close by, even if they are a world away. My children, though of course driving me crazy, are pretty good kids on the whole. Did I say that my son is looking at high schools? It has been a wonderful thing reading the answers to the high school application questions. It really does make me proud.
Rejoicing in friends with whom I keep in contact using Social Media. I can communicate in real time with friends in Great Britain, Ohio and Massachusetts as if they were in the same room. I also text friends and even my mother — don’t I have a cool Mom?
Rejoicing that I have a wonderful home with cool cats and the opportunity to be a “Home for the Weekend” service dog in training organization so that I do get the “dog fix” without being a 24/7 care-giver which we couldn’t manage right now.
Rejoicing that I have a career that I enjoy and wonderful people with whom I work.
So yes, high school choices and scheduling stress abound; but this does just help to reconsider all that is right at the moment.
What a cruel and wicked winter this has been.
We have had lots of snow, very cold temperatures and the kids have been out of school almost as much as in school. Well that is a slight exaggeration but not too far off.
I do actually like winter, but I suppose I want it Camelot style. Perfect amounts, spaced nicely apart, never during the week when I need to be getting kids to bus stops for school. It needs to exit March the 2nd on the dot. Hmm wait, is that really what the song says? It has been a while since I listened to “Camelot”! Winter really does need to leave earlier … especially if it has been a harsh one.
I swear there were some weeks this winter when I saw my plow guy more frequently than my best friend. I like my plow guy — he is really sweet, but I also want to see my best friend and sit over coffee and gossip!
There has been rampant images on Facebook with cats and wolves threatening the life of the groundhog, so I get the idea that I am not the only disgruntled person.
I have an acquaintance who works at a grocery store and I often ask him, so how was work today? He will just groan and say it was horrible.
There must come a point when we have gotten so hardened by winter that we no longer run out to the store to get bread, milk and eggs … we just buy them every other day in preparation for what we know is right around the corner.
It was still the winter holidays when seed catalogs started entering the mail.
I thought they had to wait until January, but I guess they have changed the rules somewhere in the realms of marketing. Are we supposed to send I.O.U.s to people for Christmas?
I.O.U. one apple tree — oh, wait a minute … usually you need two for pollination …
I started looking at these the other day when I woke to -2 degrees and thought, I need apple trees. I stopped my uncle the horticulturist and asked about which catalog I should order from and opened up to the Heirloom varieties.
I may be too busy — but having apples has been a dream for a few years. It is why I bought my house in all actuality, I have acreage which would be easy to convert to orchard. Now I just need time.
Dreaming of spring with seed/tree catalogs. Dreaming of having time to do something with them. Now to make the dreams a reality!
Yes, I know more cheese with more whine.
But somehow in all the climate change hoopla we have forgotten just how hearty New Englanders have been. I don’t remember just how cold it was day to day when I was young, but I do remember piling on the clothes before sledding and wearing multiple layers while waiting for the school bus at the end of the driveway. Yes actual waiting at the end of the driveway as opposed to waiting inside and going to the bus when it gets there!
Now since all things worsen with age — “When I was your age we walked to school and we went in blizzards when I had to go up hills both ways!” — and all that stuff, however, in general it is rare nowadays when temperatures are actually negative. On average if it is in the teens at night that is deemed cold.
This year though things seem different. We are returning to the cold of yester year and I am grumpy. I mean … I work 1.5 miles from my house. Yet I have to run my car for 15 to 20 minutes before making the drive because it takes that long to get the engine light above C. Thankfully I have a garage, but it isn’t heated so on average it is only about 13 degrees above the outside temperature and thankfully if any of that white stuff falls from above I do not need to sweep it off …
I spoke to the gentleman who plows my drive way this morning, he apologized for coming so often … I told him it wasn’t his fault.
Pretty soon I will take up mumbling to myself and rocking in the corner … put I will do it with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders and more than likely a cat will be joining me.
Do you ever feel ashamed of whining when so many things are going right? We are healthy, we are fed, we are warm in our home, we have our cats that love us when we feed them. What more can we ask for?
Hannibal in a Box
Yet there are so many things that are annoyingly frustrating — my son is applying to high schools and all those applications and recommendations are due. There is a web site which some schools accept as general applications. (i.e. one general recommendation can go to all schools who accept this — of course one of his select schools doesn’t) Financial Aid information is due on the private school web site but I don’t have W-2′s yet. Meetings abound at work — and they are interesting and helpful, but that means that other paperwork is piling up.
And I finally had to admit that I couldn’t get to see my sister and her family this year unless a major miracle occurs.
I do believe in miracles and I know I have experienced them in the past — but sometimes it is hard to see how they can occur.
So — I do try to be hopeful and look for the silver linings … sometimes though it is just plain dark.
I guess that just means that sun rise is just around the corner. Yeah! I need that sun rise…
Isn’t the intelligence of parents a curious mathematical function? When we are toddlers we think they are near god-like intelligence. When we are teenagers they are nearly functional. In our twenties they are slightly more intelligent than previously believed but it isn’t until we are parents ourselves and we turn to them as adults that we no longer believe they are not complete nincompoops.
I am so happy that both of my parents and myself have lived long enough to see the time when I turn to my parents for their wisdom and experience.
It isn’t the toddler belief that parents know everything. That belief is inaccurate but to the toddler brain it would seem that a parent may know everything for the toddler’s world is small and contained. A toddler is concerned about shelter, food and family. As long as a parent is able to answer questions revolving around that sphere of course a parent seems omnipotent.
a picture found in Facebook on the timeline of a friend
As a child ages and the sphere of experience and influence expands, the child sees that the parents do not know all and since the child once believed that the parents did … there is a sense of betrayal. The parent never said he/she knew all — but it was the belief nonetheless.
As a college educated twenty-something — the child sees how small the parents world actually was … had the parents gone to college? Had they ever left the country? Did they have a passport? Somehow if the student had any of these experiences they saw themselves better somehow than their parents … or at least more worldly.
However, this changes when a child is born. When your sleep is disrupted and you are changing sheets of the bed of a sick child at 2 A.M. When your heart gets on that school bus for the first time or that same heart comes crying to you because of the bullying of peers … you turn to your parents saying what do I do? Somehow the fact that they never lived in a foreign country seems mute when you need the experience of parenting in a very real way.
When you feel discouraged because you aren’t where you wanted to be when you were that idealistic teenager who thought she would be famous by the age of thirty … because thirty just seemed so OLD. When you are asking for advice of those seemingly unworldly individuals … you know you have returned to your parents being wise and the child being less experienced.
I am thankful that we have all lived this long … may I live long enough to gain that wisdom in my children’s eyes!