From the Director:
John D. Richmond
WILD TURKEYS, FINCHES, DEER, & CLARINETISTS
If you think that the creatures listed above are unrelated, then on the one hand, you are right.
On the other hand. Certain parts of the world are writing and talking about The Transformation of Libraries. Or even The Death of Libraries (because now we have Google). “E-books shall reign where e’er the sun/doth his successive journeys run,” to toy with the words of an old hymn.
But just beyond our west windows, we have seen wild turkeys; deer; finches and hordes of other birds that we fed last winter (will they come again?); and, one day in October, two little girls playing their clarinets on a bench outside my office. I thought, “I’m hearing things, and they sound like clarinets. But why? And where?” It was…different. “At least they were practicing,” a music teacher friend said to me. “Lots of kids won’t practice.” Indeed. So it was all good.
Then again, in my first professional job I discovered junior high cheerleaders practicing their routine in the local history room one afternoon. Some were on top of a table—the others, less precariously, on the floor. I was sympathetic to their cause, but concerns about liability and questions of “outside” vs. “inside” voices overrode sympathy.
I have no idea what all of this has to do with anything, except to point out that, when we are not preoccupied with what we fear (“The car died!” “Mom said we’re having Brussel sprouts tonight!”)—including The Death of Libraries and The Attack of the Electronic Books—then we may discover remarkable things.
Or, if we’re not afraid or over-preoccupied, we may still take places, things, and people for granted. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I simply mean that we are used to seeing various people, things, and places where they ought to be.
By the time you read this, Debbie Wenzel, cataloging, reference, and former outreach librarian, will have retired after only 34 years of service to Alpha Park, and to you. I cannot speak for others, but I have taken for granted that I will see Debbie at her desk, preparing everything from books to toys for circulation to the public. I have taken for granted—because the pattern is familiar—that Debbie will be here to cover lunch breaks for other librarians at the reference desk.
After October 31, though, it would be more likely—for Debbie is creative and musical—to see Debbie, oh, playing a clarinet on a bench, outside somebody’s office. No matter how many times I say to a staff member, “You can never move/retire/run away!” I cannot stop progress. Retirements, electronic books and magazines, streaming video, technological marvels hovering out there in something called the cloud…all those things move on. We wish Debbie well—really, how could we not?—and thank her for 34 years.
That’s the news from the west side of the library. Wonder what I’ll see or hear next. As always, thanks for supporting your public library.