Marion Community Library at the Crossroads

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I discovered that the library is the real school.” ~ Ray Bradbury

 “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.”
 ~ Harold Howe, former US Commissioner of Education

I just scrapped an entire post. It wasn’t terrible. It was just too much. Here’s what I really want to say. I’ll try to make it brief.

In 1992, Marion ISD and Marion Community Library Association (MCLA) created a joint-use library, a partnership between the school district and a public non-profit organization.As one of the few school-public libraries in Texas, it was an experiment. I was founding librarian.

The experiment worked–for everyone. The school district had three (later four) campus libraries with existing collections of books and materials. The MCLA was eligible for grants and government funding not available to the school district. Together, the two entities built a library system that served people of all ages. The libraries were busy places. Everyone was welcome there.

When I retired, a co-worker took my place. The library got busier and better. For several years, it was listed on the Texas Library Association website as an exemplary small library. It was the center of activity in the town and the school district. My successor retired after several very successful years of service.

Now the library is in crisis. Public patrons have reported feeling unwelcome there. Public attendance and participation have decreased. The three branch libraries no longer qualify under state regulations as public libraries. The library lost its state accreditation.

Marion Community Library Association needs help to revive the library as a positive force–for the entire community. It needs and welcomes new members..

If citizens want to keep the library serving the public, they must step up and make their wishes known, to both the MCLA and the school district.

They also must show up–join the public library board and get the Marion Community Library back on its feet.

*****

I found the quotation from Ray Bradbury on Aimless and Purposeful, a wonderful blog that comes out of Seguin, Texas, about twelve miles from Marion. Read the rest of Bradbury’s comments there: http://aimlesswithpurpose.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/the-real-school/

My Heroine

Librarian Costume
Librarian Costume (Photo credit: Librarian Avenger)

I made a librarian happy.

This morning I drove to Taylor to meet writing buddies at Java Junction on Main Street. I arrived in Taylor in timely fashion but, upon reaching Main Street, I realized I didn’t know whether to turn right or left.

I was not concerned. I’m an expert at driving around blocks.

First I turned left and drove a while, then turned around and drove back a while, then called friend #1 and spoke to her husband (she’d forgotten to take her cell phone), then called friend #2 and got no one, then turned around and inched along the other way again, then reversed and inched that way for a while, then called and reached friend #2, listened to directions, and inched back the other way…

I had visions of two women sitting beside the coffee shop window, watching me drive back and forth, back and forth. And pointing. And laughing.

Finally I came to my senses and turned at the little green and white sign with the graphic of the man reading a book.

If you want to make a librarian happy, someone told me, ask her a question.

I stopped at the reference desk and asked. The young lady’s face lit up.

After eliciting the information that I knew nothing about the town’s commercial district except where the Shell station was because I’d passed it several times–this is called a reference interview–she said Java Junction was right next door. Then she gave me a card with the library’s phone number, just in case I needed extra help.

I was sitting at the red light beside the Shell station when my phone rang. It was friend #2. “Do you know where the Shell station is?” she said.

I replied, “As a matter of fact, I do.”

“Java Junction is just on the other side, the building with the little blue sign.”

I turned left. It was as she had said. The sign was very little and not very blue and the lettering was not very bright. I almost drove past it.

I was thirty minutes late, and if it hadn’t been for that reference librarian, I would still be cruising Main Street.

Once again, a librarian saved the day.

But all was well. The coffee was good. The company was good. The mammoth cinnamon rolls my friends had consoled themselves with while waiting looked good. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I didn’t check for myself.

Anyway, that’s the story of my Wednesday adventure: narrative only. Just this happened and then this happened and then this happened. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t squeeze out a moral.

Except that librarians rule.

*****

ROW80 has been going on for weeks. This is my first report. There was no point–there it is again!–in reporting that I was ignoring my goals and staying up till all hours of the a.m. Last night, however, I got to bed shortly after 10:00 p.m. I’m shooting for a pre-11:00 p.m. turn-in tonight. So I have to get a move on. Please forgive egregious errors. I’ll proof tomorrow.

*****

Image belongs to Library Avenger’s photostream on flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Tizzy

What follows is a repost from January 2011. It’s one of my rants. And it’s worse than I remembered it. It’s an example of what happens when I write instead of withdrawing to a funk hole to get over it. (If you don’t know what in the world I’m talking about, see the previous post.)

14th Amendment of the United States Constituti...
14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, page 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I began a post about the proposed cuts to library funding now before the Texas Legislature. A 99% reduction to state funding to school libraries. Elimination of state funding for public library TexShare databases. Elimination of funding for K-12 data bases. Elimination of state funding for direct aid to public libraries.

I was a librarian when the Legislature–headed by pro-education Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock–put a chunk of money into school libraries. K-12 databases. A state-wide union catalog. A system of public school interlibrary loan. Later came the Loan Star Libraries program–the first time funds flowed directly from the State of Texas to individual public libraries. That money paid for summer reading programs, new books and media, conference registrations…Now it’s all on the table…Cities, counties, school districts are facing deep cuts of their own…Many won’t be able to pick up the increased costs…There’s talk of $25 million a year for ten years for a  Formula 1 racetrack…

By paragraph five, I’d written myself into a tizzy. I saved and rummaged through the files for something without emotional significance.

I found the lie, lay, lay lecture. I wrote it for fun, as an offering to my paralegal study group. I posted it.

Tonight I began a post about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement that the U. S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis or gender or sexual orientation: The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, applied to former slaves, and so the word person as it is used there does not refer to women. The first clause reads as follows:

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

As I wrote about the logical conclusion that the Constitution does not prohibit depriving women of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, and that it does not prohibit denying women the equal protection of the laws…And wondered whether the Justice would, if push came to shove, follow the precedent set in 1971, when a unanimous Court held that the 14th Amendment does apply to women…I became a little testy. A little cross. A little agitated.

In other words, I’d written myself into another tizzy.

But I don’t have another ready-made piece suitable for posting. So I’m telling the truth about the process.

I learned a long time ago not to write when angry, irritated, agitated, tizzied. The result is never worth reading. The meaning comes through, but so do several other things, none of them impressive.

A critic–I think it was Ellen Moers, but since I read the comment in 1982, I can’t say for sure–compared Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte in the following way:

Austen is detached. She doesn’t betray her emotions in her fiction. She doesn’t intrude into her characters’ points of view.

Bronte doesn’t contain herself so well. When Jane Eyre, for example, speaks about the differences in the lives of men and women, her voice veers off–suddenly it’s Charlotte Bronte’s voice we hear, not Jane’s, and it’s Charlotte’s anger. And the anger poses a distraction.

Again, it’s been thirty years since I read that assessment, but I think it’s true. The principle applies to other types of writing as well.

Anger addles the brain. Words pour out in tangles. To the writer, the result sounds high-minded and righteously indignant when it’s really over-wrought and poorly reasoned and sometimes downright silly.

The tizzy-laden paragraphs above are longer than I intended. I got started and didn’t stop. At least one of them should have a violin playing in the background.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me.

If you care to read more about the library situation, links to articles appear below. Be sure to read the one from the Guardian.

And did you see the story about the community in England that checked out every single book in the library to protest impending cuts? Amazing.

Times are hard, and we can’t have everything we want. But surely libraries are as important as racetracks and pro football.

And no matter what anyone says, I think women are persons.

Tizzy

Last night I began a post about the proposed cuts to library funding now before the Texas Legislature. A 99% reduction to state funding to school libraries. Elimination of state funding for public library TexShare databases. Elimination of funding for K-12 data bases. Elimination of state funding for direct aid to public libraries.

I was around when the Legislature–headed by a pro-library Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock–put a chunk of money into school libraries. K-12 databases. A state-wide union catalog. A system of public school interlibrary loan. Later came the Loan Star Libraries program–the first time funds flowed directly from the State of Texas to individual public libraries. That money paid for summer reading programs, new books and media, conference registrations…Now it’s all on the table…Cities, counties, school districts are facing deep cuts of their own…Many won’t be able to pick up the increased costs…There’s talk of $25 million a year for ten years for a  Formula 1 racetrack…

By paragraph five, I’d written myself into a tizzy. I saved and rummaged through the files for something without emotional significance.

I found the lie, lay, lay lecture. I wrote it for fun, as an offering to my paralegal study group. I posted it.

Tonight I began a post about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement that the U. S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis or gender or sexual orientation. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, applied to former slaves, and so the word person as it is used there does not refer to women. The first clause reads as follows:

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

As I wrote about the logical conclusion that the Constitution does not prohibit depriving women of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, and that it doesn’t prohibit denying women the equal protection of the laws…And wondering whether the Justice would, if push came to shove, follow the precedent set in 1971, when a unanimous Court held that the 14th Amendment does apply to women…I became a little testy. A little cross. A little agitated.

In other words, I’d written myself into another tizzy.

But I don’t have another ready-made piece suitable for posting. So I’m telling the truth about the process.

I learned a long time ago not to write when angry, irritated, agitated, tizzied. The result is never worth reading. The meaning comes through, but so do several other things, none of them impressive.

A critic–I think it was Ellen Moers, but since I read the comment in 1982, I can’t say for sure–compared Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte in the following way:

Austen is detached. She doesn’t betray her emotions in her fiction. She doesn’t intrude into her characters’ points of view.

Bronte doesn’t contain herself so well. When Jane Eyre, for example, speaks about the differences in the lives of men and women, the voice veers off–suddenly it’s Charlotte Bronte’s voice we hear, not Jane’s, and it’s Charlotte’s anger. And the anger poses a distraction.

Again, it’s been thirty years since I read that assessment, but I think it’s true. And I think the principle applies to other types of writing as well.

Anger addles the brain. Thought is uncontrolled, words pour out uncontrolled. It sounds high-minded and righteously indignant when it’s really over-wrought and poorly reasoned and sometimes downright silly.

The tizzy-laden paragraphs above are longer than I intended. I got started and wouldn’t stop. At least one of them should have a violin playing in the background.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with me.

If you care to read more about the library situation, links to articles appear below. Be sure to read the one from the Guardian.

And did you see the one about the community in England that checked out every single book in the library to protest impending cuts? Amazing.

Times are hard, and we can’t have everything we want. But surely libraries are as important as racetracks and pro football.

And no matter what anyone says, I think women are persons.