"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You are most cordially invited!

This Friday (April 23rd), I'll be the guest speaker at the Placentia Library Friends Foundation's Annual Meeting. It will be held at the Placentia Library from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. If you're in the neighborhood, please come to the meeting.

If you live in Placentia, I'd order you to come to the meeting if I could.

Why would I be so ruthless? So exacting? Such a demanding diva?

Because libraries need all the love we can give them, in all the ways we can give it. We take our libraries for granted, but we shouldn't. In the past year, library branches in cities as large as Boston have been closed, hours and staff have been reduced for libraries all across the country, and some smaller cities have watched their libraries disappear. Budget cuts, friends, budget cuts. The economy has been bad, our government has been running out of money, so where do they cut? Public education and libraries - the very things our youth could use to learn how to get us out of this mess. Hmm.

We are blessed to have a library in our community, and we need to attend to it, as if it were a rare flower in our garden.

I know what you're thinking: a meeting? You mean, I have to listen to by-laws and elections and boring stuff? Waaaahhh!

Quit being a baby. Yes, elections can be painful, but they're not the entire meeting. By-law changes can be interesting, but you don't have to get uber-involved. A discussion of volunteer activities and plans for next year, though… that's the interesting part.

Do you know what the volunteers do for the library now? What they might do next year? What you might do next year?

Wait - what? Me? No, I don't have time to volunteer.

How do you know if you don't try? Volunteering doesn't take wild amounts of time, especially for the Placentia Library. Do you have an hour or so to give on Sunday every few months? Consider helping at the monthly book sale. Do you have more free time in the evenings? Help with one of their special events. Do you have ten minutes? Stop by their book store and spend a dollar on a used hardcover.

For those of you who think, oh, no, if I say I can help, they'll bug me constantly - I can tell you for a fact it's not true. I get called every three months or so to see if I can help at the Sunday book sale. Sometimes I can make it, sometimes I can't. Trust me, they know how to take no for an answer.

For those of you who don't live in Placentia, maybe you'd like to stop by and see what our library is doing that you could adopt for your own hometown library. I think each library has its own volunteer organization, and we could all do with some idea cross-pollination from time to time.

If nothing I've said convinces you to come to the meeting, come because I want to see you, to meet you if we're strangers. I'll be talking about being a writer, so if you write and you're like me, you want to hear about other writers' methods. Hopefully, I'll have something of value to pass on to you.

My last, desperate plea to get you to the library is this: they'll have refreshments. Yum!

Mark it on your calendars, set your iPhone alarm, to be at the
Placentia Library this Friday at 7:00 p.m.

As a bonus, here's a link to the early edition of my column this week. It's all about libraries!

WHAT A DAY by Gayle Carline

1 comment:

L.J. Sellers said...

I'd be there if I could. Keep twisting arms (and selling books).

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.