Thank you Boston Public Library, specifically the Adams Branch, for supplying me with the books that are feeding my current grand reading spree!
I have no time to be reading as maniacally as I am really, but I’m making time because I feel compelled. This happens from time to time, when I move from being an avid reader to becoming an obsessed reader.
I’ve been keeping a list of books I read about and that have been recommended by real and virtual friends on my shelfari.com shelf. Recently I printed out the list and went to my local branch to see what they had. They had seven books in house and called me less than a week later to tell me that eight more had arrived from other libraries! Oh, joy!
Currently, I’m reading Mr. and Mrs Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved out of Slavery and Into Legend by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, a Professor in Biography at Dartmouth College, who also chairs the English Department. It is a riveting account not only of the lives and love affair of Lucy Terry, the 1st known Black African-American poet, and Abijah Prince, her husband, a veteran of the French and Indian Wars, but also about the process of uncovering information about them. They owned land in Vermont and Massachusetts – two places that are dear to me.
Other books I’ve read on this tear are: Unbowed – a memoir by Nobel Prize Winner and head of the Greenbelt Movement, Wangari Maathai, Mixed and The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel, My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy, and Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichel, I’ve got nine more library books stacked patiently on my beautiful hope chest (a Craig’s List find) waiting for me. I also expect to get notice any minute when a few others come in. (I’m returning the books as I read them so as not to hold up other people who are waiting for these titles.)
These books would cost well over $300 if purchased but their value is truly priceless. The memoirs take me into other people’s lives and teach me lessons of perseverance and resiliency. I am also reminded of our common humanity and how much biology determines destiny as I read about women’s lives. The fiction and fables pull me into deeply-imagined worlds that often feel as real as the real world around me. The history books teach me more than I knew about this land I inhabit and the lives/sacrifices/contributions of others have walked before me. I am especially grateful to read history accounts of people whose lives and contributions to this country were over-looked in the text books I was exposed to in school.
And all this reading and learning is possible because of public libraries! I, for one, am extremely grateful for this incredible resource. (Yes, I’ve joined the friends of the library group.) It is exciting to see the cross-section of people coming into the neighborhood branch (children, teens and adults) checking out books and DVDs, using the computers, perusing the bulletin board, holding meetings, and interacting with librarians and other staff.
I am thrilled that I can renew books on-line or by phone!
If you haven’t been in a library lately, I encourage you to do so. It’s working for me.
We read critiques of theaters, motion pictures, literature, restaurants and we should have reviews of our libraries. Critical theory can be applied to our libraries as with anything else… the qualities of level of customers services at the library branch or at a division of the central library, the expertise of curatorial staff, the expertise of reference desk staff.
What we need at our Boston Public Libraries are listings by topic of treasured staff willing to share their particular areas of expertise with BPL collections or willing to share their particular fields of interest in exploring BPL collections. Navigating the buildings, floors, departments, curatorial staff at BPL if problematical and a guide to problematical library use is needed. Usability is tantamount to library love!
I like your idea of having a rating system for libraries and finding out more about the expertise of the staff. It would be helpful.
There is a difference between branches throughout the city and even between different branches in the same neighborhood, like Dorchester. Some branches are very vibrant when you walk in them. Others are blase.
Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your reading – for reminding me that I believe reading makes us better, grows us,nourishes our hearts. I think I’ll start on your list over here! Aren’t libraries just the coolest thing?