Welcome to the Wannaska Almanac for Saturday, April 14th. Yesterday was Friday the 13th. I hope you survived unscathed. We enjoyed some Revelation Ale Works craft beer over in Williams - that's a ways out of Wannaskan country, but as my WA peeps have pointed out - I myself am technically not a Wannasker. Alas, my passport is a useful thing.
This past week, all of America celebrated National Library Week. I encouraged readers to send me their favorite library stories and I didn't get nary a one. Not even from my own mother.
But poets can always be relied upon.
My First Memory (Of Librarians) by Nikki Giovanni (Bonus! We share the same birthday!)
This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books — another world — just waiting
At my fingertips.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), "First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate."
This year is the 60th anniversary of National Library Week. There's more fascinating history about this event here.
I can share countless hours of gratitude and joy from the library. Children's storytime (as a participant and as a reader), crafts, music events, jugglers, exotic animals, comedians, meeting authors, ice cream socials, soup and sandwiches, cookies galore. Making Oobleck on the day the librarian was "out of the office." Permission to get a little noisy!
One of my prized possessions is a first edition, English language copy of The Diary of Anne Frank published by Otto Frank that I got in a Buck ($1) - A - Bag used book sale at the library. I found a copy of one of my favorite reads from college, Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, to replace the one I lost somewhere along the highway of life.
Last week I returned Stay With Me, by Ayobami Adebayo and this week I picked up The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge.
Movies I checked out from the library last week: The Emperor's Club, The Interpreter, Spy Game, Ghostbusters (the all-female cast version), Click.
The movie I've checked out three times because my daughter likes it so much: Leap Year.
The movie my husband has checked out multiple times because he likes it so much: La La Land.
The book that's overdue because my daughter has two chapters left to read: The Ship of the Dead, Book 3 in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan.
Recent audiobooks include: Turtles All the Way Down (Note 1: I met a tuatara at our local library last summer. Note 2: Kate Rudd is a brilliant narrator for this book!) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (another exceptional narrator). Last summer, the teenagers and I listened to the entire Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner on audiobook during our travels. I guess we traveled a lot. If you're looking for peace when road tripping with your family, try audiobooks. (Might I recommend Percy Jackson?)
And have you used Overdrive yet?! It's the online catalog for checking out ebooks and audiobooks. HEAVEN!
As a writer, I've spent approximately a bazillion hours at the library researching, writing, plotting, revising, editing, asking questions, requesting resources, and picking the librarian's brain on all sorts of related and random subjects. The librarian really does know a little bit about everything.
My favorite spot is in the back (at least I think of it as the back.) at the long table built into the wall, just below the windows. I prefer the second chair from the right.
And one more poem:
In the Library by Charles Simic
There’s a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one had opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered
The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.
Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.
She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.
Love your library, people, love your library.