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And Another Thing: Celebration of Library Week a bit overdue

By: Susan Rushton
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So call me a bad journalist. I missed writing about National Library Week, celebrated the second week in April. Although I missed writing about it, not a week goes by that I don’t find myself wandering the stacks and celebrating. This year, my friend Bonnie Wilson gave me a head’s up about An Evening of Poetry on April 13, sponsored by the Friends of the Auburn Library in the Beecher Room. I had a great time, and not just because I could scarf down wine and appetizers. Children’s librarian Tom Wolfe hosted the event and encouraged us to share poetry — our own and others’. He also gave us the opportunity to create something unique: each of us wrote down a line of poetry, one after the other, folding over the paper each time so that we didn’t see what people had written before us. The result was lovely, fascinating, a salute to words and sounds and ideas. I’m already hungry for next year’s event. And in the Beecher Room on the Saturday before Easter, I attended another salute to words and sounds and ideas. Reference librarian Sophie Bruno presented the documentary “The Hollywood Librarian,” a DVD whose title implies a discussion of how Hollywood portrays librarians in the movies. And yes, we saw lots of stern, middle-aged women scolding and hushing library patrons. However, the movie focused on much more than fanatic silence-insisters. It was a paean to words, letters, writing, writers, the story, history, books, booklovers and information — as well as a tribute to the gatekeepers of all this lovely stuff: librarians. I was moved to tears several times. Of course the documentary assumes that everyone watching loves libraries. It’s preaching to the choir. But it reinforced my love for the written word, for communication. It stressed the importance of the book and reading. It honored those of us who promote these things. As a lifetime English major, I felt celebrated as a member of an ageless, vital and magnificent society. It’s a wonderful production, and Sophie assured us that it’s available to check out. Since I’m talking about books ... for May, my book group selected “Little Bee,” by Chris Cleave. I will astonish everyone later this month by telling them I’ve finished it. I’m not done yet, but I will be. I don’t like anyone in the book very much, and I keep slamming it shut because people keep behaving in ways I don’t like. But I want to know what happens. It’s pulling me, insisting I finish. So I will. I’m listening to a fascinating, albeit dense, book by James Gleick, “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood.” Publishers Weekly calls it “a sprawling history of information” — and by information, everyone means communication, ways of sharing words and sounds and stories. In the beginning was the word. Now there’s the bit. I heard from Linda Hawkins, who shares how much she’s enjoying “The Woman I Was Born to Be,” by Susan Boyle, who astonished Britain and YouTube with her wonderful voice. “I am about 30 pages from being finished but have totally enjoyed all of it so far ... This book is terrific. I don’t normally laugh aloud, but I sure did with this one. Maybe because she is Scottish, maybe because she is just naturally funny, or maybe I just clicked on her humor, but please check it out. I started it this past Friday and will be done shortly. Really can’t put it down.” I don’t envy Linda. She’s close to finishing a book she loves. What a tragedy: you don’t want it to end but you want to keep reading because you’re having such a good time. And the more you read the sooner you’ll finish. Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and loving? Write to me in care of the Journal, 1030 High St., Auburn 95603, or e-mail me at the address below. Susan Rushton’s column appears every other Sunday in the Auburn Journal. Her e-mail address is Rushton@cebridge. net.