The sun shone, the crowd gathered and the celebration began. Ground was broken for the new Buckland Public Library addition. I was there for this joyous occasion.
For nine of the happiest years of my life I was the Buckland Librarian. The library is small, only about 900 square feet, but the Board of Directors was devoted to making it the best library possible, and the patrons were all devoted readers. While libraries are full of information of many kinds, they are also full of pleasure. Buckland Library patrons read for pleasure of the plots, of the characters, of the setting and the pleasure of sharing these with others. “Have you read . . .? What did you think about . . . .?” are reliable conversation starters.
When I retired from the library 18 months ago and left it in the capable hands of Liz Jacobson-Carroll, the library was near the end of the process that would provide the funding for a 3000 square foot addition that had been in the planning, almost since I began in 1999. Along with many (many!) others I was part of that planning; Liz took the ball and kept running. Today we broke ground.
Library trustees, past and present, selectmen, the architect Chip Greenberg, the project manager, Denis Guyer our state rep, and Liz-Jacobson Carroll on one end, and me on the other, had an official photo taken.
But we had a job to do. This addition will be universally accessible. It will have bathrooms that don’t frighten people. It will have room for more books, more audio books, more DVDs. It will have room for browsing, but money is still being raised for chairs to make that comfortable browsing. It will have a comfortable room for children’s programs (with a washable floor) and that room will be available for community meetings. It will be perfect. Thank you Chip Greenberg for taking all our dreams and hopes and putting it down on blueprint paper.
Neighborhood kids did their bit for the new addition. These are serious readers.
Ursula is the youngest regular patron. She has to use her parents’ library card until she can sign her own name, though.
Only those in the know would recognize the title of this post. Read Until Your Heart Stops! is the Buckland Library motto, rendered in a beautiful mosaic that the notable mosaic artist Cindy Fisher (former Trustee and loyal library supporter) created with a crew of youngsters. It will be installed in the new library.
The motto makes adults nervous, but kids subconsciously know that reading can be a heart stopping thrill, as well as a joy and comfort until their last days on earth. After all, it was a young Mikayla who put this sentiment into words. Here is how it happened. After Reading Aloud to the Buckland Rec day campers a couple of times, I realized I needed a ritual closing. My modest motto was “Whatever you do keep reading.” I taught the motto to the campers and each day, before I left the group I would ask who remembered the library motto? And they would shout it out. That was sufficient for a couple of years.
Then one day when I was Reading Aloud in the elementary school I began to leave after my session. Eight year old Mikayla stopped me and said I hadn’t asked for the motto.
“Well, since you mention it, do you remember?” I asked.
Now she was on the spot, and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. “Ummm Read . . .” she said and then hesitated looking up at the ceiling. “Ummm Until . . .” Another hesitation. “Your heart stops!” she finished, looking pleased.
The teacher and I burst out laughing, but agreed that I had a new motto. And so it remains. Thank you, Mikayla.
I want you to know that you haven’t lived until you’ve heard 80 kids, 5-12, shout, and I mean SHOUT out, Read Until Your Heart Stops! Three times. I told them I was hard of hearing.