Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Funny Thing About Libraries

 The funny thing about libraries is, they are still needed, and i believe they always will be.

Maybe i'm just spoiled, because our libraries in this parish are really, really great.  Spacious and beautiful and full of helpful, knowledgeable people, wonderful reference works, and the ability to find out something besides what Google can tell you.

They also have the most fabulous children's summer programs imaginable.  Every day of the summer there are events at multiple branches, and not just story time.  Ballet performances, visits from zoo docents with fascinating animals, crafts, science experiments, and one branch even hosts their now famous watermelon seed spitting contest each year.

When i first moved to this area, the libraries were at a crossroads.  This was well before the internet, and it was all budget related.  The people who ran the libraries made a promise.  If the voters would give them a property tax millage devoted solely to running the libraries, thus protecting them from the vagaries of budget decisions being fought from year to year as people argued about such things, they would give us the best library system in the state.  It was voted in, and they kept their word, and the tax has been renewed every time by a huge margin.

We love our libraries!

My favorite library story came from a friend whose husband was career military.  During budget cuts many years ago, one thing the commander of one base was considering was shutting down the base library.  While there was a hue and cry from the school and others on the base, his idea was that "nobody really needs a base library."

Then the officers over him heart about it.  An edict was issued -- any base that chose to close down its library to save costs because libraries aren't needed had better not leave its golf course open, either.

No libraries were closed.  That story always leaves me grinning when i think of it.

If you live in any area where the librarians are speaking to legislators today (see below for an explanation), give them your support if you can.

No matter what Google says, we need our libraries!

Today is

Beaufort Wind Force Scale Day -- birth anniversary of the British Navy officer whose wind scale, in refined form

Box Camera Day -- George Eastman patented the Box Camera on this day in 1888

Childhood Depression Awareness Day / Children's Mental Health Awareness Day -- sometimes also called Green Ribbon Day

Day of the Soldier -- El Salvador

Experience the Awesome Stomach-Churning Wonder of a Thrill Ride Day -- internet generated, and they can have it!

Feast of St. Nicola -- Bari, Italy (celebrates the moving of the relics of St. Nicholas -- yes, later Santa Claus -- to this town, where they still are; here he is patron of orphans and pirates, and the date of his body's arrival is celebrated as a huge three-day festival with fireworks included)

Fire Escape Ladder Day -- Joseph Winters patented a wagon-mounted version on this day in 1878

Hamburg Harbor Day -- Hamburg, Germany (founding of the city)

Homeland Defender's Day -- Kazakhstan

Homespun History Day -- internet holiday often exploited by Modern Drunkard Magazine as a day upon which to drink specifically so the stories will sound better

Library Legislative Days and Virtual Library Legislative Days -- sponsored by the ALA, encouraging librarians around the US to go to Washington, D.C., or their own state capitals to speak to legislators about the important library issues; through tomorrow

National Roast Leg of Lamb Day

National Teacher Appreciation Day -- US

Nones of May -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Primary Day:  Live from Delaware Street -- Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis, IN, US (hear conversations of the day and time of President Harrison, and speak to re-enactors who play the parts of his family and staff to see what life was like in 1898)

Radio Day -- Bulgaria; Russia

St. Domitian of Huy's Day (Patron of Huy Liege, Belgium; against fever)

World Asthma Day -- International

Anniversaries Today:

Founding of Univerzita Karlova in Prague, the first university in Central Europe, 1348

Birthdays Today:

Owen Hart, 1965
Tim Russert, 1950
Johnny Unitas, 1933
Teresa Brewer, 1931
Darren McGavin, 1922
Eva Peron, 1919
Gary Cooper, 1901
Archibald Macleish, 1892
Gabby Hayes, 1885
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840
Johannes Brahms, 1833
Robert Browning, 1812
Francis Beaufort, 1774

Today in History:

The dome of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople collapses, 558
Joan of Arc leads the final charge in the Battle of Orleans, 1429
Louis XIV of France inaugurates The Palace of Versailles, 1664
The city of New Orleans is founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, 1718
Jews are expelled from Ukraine by Empress Catherine I of Russia, 1727
Chief Pontiac begins the "Conspiracy of Pontiac" by attacking British forces at Fort Detroit, 1763
The world premier of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, 1824
The independence of Greece is recognized by the Treaty of London, 1832
George Eastman patents the "Kodak Box Camera," 1888
In Saint Petersburg, Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrates to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning  detector — a primitive radio receiver, 1895
German  submarine  SM U-20  sinks RMS Lusitania, 1915
England lowers age of women voters from 30 to 21, 1928
Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) is founded with around 20 employees, 1946
The Council of Europe is founded during the Hague Congress, 1948
The concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, is first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer, 1952
Canadian Patrick Morrow became the first person to climb each of the Seven Summits, 1986
The Space Shuttle Endeavour is launched on its first mission, 1992
Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for $40 billion USD and forms DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history, 1998
The tomb of Herod the Great is discovered, 2007


  1. that was one of the biggest OOOOH. HUH. when we moved. the austin libraries were amazing clean spacious and lovely.
    here? notsomuch :-)

  2. Thank you for supporting a very important public service!

  3. Ours would be a sad society without libraries.

  4. Carla, maybe this is something you want to tackle, starting a movement to upgrade the libraries?

    Tabor, it's a pleasure.

    Stephen, i agree!

  5. My favorite library story..

    I took Eddie, my 10-year old nephew, into the Newtown library.

    Eddie soon spots the librarian's counter. He has seen This setup before. With glee, he runs up to the counter and loudly says, "I'll have a cheese-burger, fries and a Coke!"

    "Shhhh!" says the assistant. "This is a library. You'll have to be quiet!"

    "Sorry," my nephew replies.

    Eddie then whispers in a very low voice, "I'll have a cheese-burger, fries and a Coke!"

    Have a great week!



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