Thursday, February 20, 2020

Mid February and birds sing in the trees

I walk my dog in a loop around my neighborhood, pass the flowers coming up, the houses still decorated with Christmas tree lights. One day it is fifty degrees. The next it’s twenty. The news switches back and forth between viruses and criminals.

I decide to stop reading it again.

Instead, I listen to podcasts. How Facebook spreads disinformation. Why it's okay to be addicted to caffeine. An interview with a teacher eager to take part in the Iowa caucus so she can show her students democracy in action. Now, a few weeks after that caucus fell apart, I can still hear her excited voice.

I read gardening books. I have dinner with friends. I paint the trim in my bedroom. I write the break-up scene in my rom com and wallow for a while in my characters' misery. It's okay, I want to tell them. You're going to get back together soon.

The other day a regular patron came into my library and offered the staff slices of caramel-drizzled chocolate cake. In the afternoon we had our monthly Reading with Rover program and the dogs (darling, kid-friendly, trained-as-emotional-support dogs) trotted down to the story room, pausing to let patrons pet them along the way.

It occurs to me that over the past several years I have lost faith in every institution. Government, the Church, the Media, the Law, the Police, Education, the Military. Okay, I take that back. I do still have faith in a few.

Science, Medicine and Libraries.

I can't speak for the scientists and doctors, but let me tell you some of what I did at work today:

--recommended a graphic novel for a reluctant teen reader
--helped a young couple operate the scanner so they could scan documents to apply for citizenship
--showed a man how to use his phone to download audio books
--signed up a child for her first library card
--looked up the phone number for a hospital for a patron who didn't know how to use a computer.

Oh, and here is something wonderful: Ohio is starting an Imagination Library! It's modeled after Dolly Parton's program in Tennessee, where every child from birth to five years receives a free book each month. Our library is helping get the word out, so see here to sign your child up:.

In other news, our system now offers video games for checkout and vinyl records. We're teaming up with other libraries in Central Ohio to bring Margaret Atwood to speak in the fall. We will happily print off any tax form you need.

Also, we will not turn down free chocolate cake.

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