A friend from the library just gave me a book to read that I had somehow missed! As a librarian, I bow my head in shame for that! It’s called “The Library Book” by award-winning author Susan Orlean who has also written bestsellers such as “The Orchid Thief”. This is the story of the great fire that decimated the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 and which, although judged at the time as arson by firefighters, never resulted in them catching the guilty. Part of the book is about the person the firefighters blamed for the blaze, but couldn’t gather enough strong evidence against them to convict them. Susan Orlean is well known for her meticulous research and investigative writing.
In her quintessentially fascinating style, she writes about the fire and the investigation, but also about the history of the Los Angeles Public Library and its development to its current place in the community. It also describes all of the past directors and their individual talents and philosophies about the roles of public libraries and what the library’s mission should be. The directors’ personalities range from calm and efficiency to wildly flamboyant and visionary. Overall, this is a great read and I highly recommend it.
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Here in our library we are in the middle of the 2022 budget process with all its usual stresses and pressures. Thanks to the generosity of the people of Waynesboro, we have had a reasonably good 2021 despite the Covid-19 closures and the need these created for us to become largely ‘virtual’ for half the year. The staff here have developed so many great online programs that we have been able to stay in touch with our clients throughout. But it has definitely been good to be open again. The library continues to evolve and change.
For example, we don’t see as many books circulating as in the past even though our number of visitors is increasing every month. Of course, we still see dedicated book lovers and readers as well as researchers, but more and more people are coming to the library for programs and events or to go out after school and use the computers and makerspace. for work and for fun. This means that we continue to study library circulation patterns and audience demands so that we can pivot accordingly with appropriate opening hours and resources made available. The use of e-books continues to be stable. The library spends approximately $ 10,000 per year to provide free e-books.
One of the goals for next year will be to increase awareness in the town of Waynesboro. There are still too many people that we do not reach due to their inability to enter the building. We want to do more to bring books and programs to people rather than expecting them to always come to us. We hope to work more closely with the school system and other public and social service organizations in the city as well.
Three of our seven board members will be retiring in February and we will have new people entering these places. We hope they will bring ideas and suggestions to help us in our outreach efforts as well as suggestions for new ways to serve the city. I know they will. We will miss the experience and wisdom of our outgoing board members, but at the same time, we are also excited to gain new ideas. And of course, retiring board members are never allowed to walk away from us and we will depend on them to work with us in the future in any way we can. They can run but they can’t hide!
In the meantime, over the next couple of months we will be busy with all holiday programs and events.
We’ll have the staff door decorating contest which should be fun (if not fierce), we’ll be busy in the makerspace teaching people how to make their own greeting cards, ornaments, gifts and even cookie cutters for baking. holidays. Crochet and needlework classes will also make gifts and ornaments. We will enjoy another Story Walk with the Nature Institute and also participate in the Mainstreet Waynesboro Vacation Programs. Our cooking programs should be exciting and play days will allow not only children but also a few adults to get off the streets and participate in friendly competitions for prizes and laughs. Health programs are also continuing and we hope you will attend.
Author / speaker Beverley Eddy who wrote the “Ritchie Boys Secrets” will be here on December 14 at 1:00 PM to talk about the important intelligence gathering training that took place there during WWII. And the Socrates Café and the Genealogy Club will meet as usual.
Check out our schedule of programs on our website and sign up for anything that interests you. And, as always, we invite you to request new programs or even teach them.
I’m not happy unless I walk in the library and see people talking, meeting, reading, and browsing.
Remember, this is your library. On cold or rainy days, come in and stay warm. Treat yourself to a new book to read while on vacation or join a class. This is what we are here for!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!