Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Morsels: Library Funding

Rep. Thomas Stanley has a compelling defense of library funding over at the Boston Globe.
Stanley: Protecting libraries from budget cuts

According to Stanley, he and 109 colleagues have signed a letter supporting an override of Governor Patrick's Deval's veto of state aid to regional public libraries, which reduces the amount of funding by 2.25 million.

Unfortunately, many agencies, groups and services in Massachusetts are facing funding cuts. Libraries aren't the only deserving group facing painful choices about budget cuts and service reductions. However, I have a sweet spot for the library and think many people don't realize the breadth of services and and programs libraries run. They do so much more than just check books out.

"Public libraries are important to our communities, especially in these tough fiscal times" Stanley notes.

Library services can include classes, English as a second language and even job training. Job hunters can search online for job postings and print out their resumes.

For more on libraries in tough times, I blogged about this topic months ago - Libraries in tough economic times.

I've tallied how much money the library has saved me this year (based on prices listed on Amazon):
Books I've read:
Elsie's Business - $17.95
Revenge of the Spellmans - $16.50
Curse of the Spellmans - $10.98
Hunting and Gathering - $16.00
The Help - $24.95

Books I'm reading:
The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner - $15.00
Middlesex - $7.95

Total: $108.88

This list doesn't even include a few books that I just could not get through. Many of these books were also shipped to my library as part of library exchange program.

According to Stanley, more than 28,000 Waltham residents have library cards.

Do you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Elsie's Business - Frances Washburn

On a recent trip with a friend, I happened to glance at some books her daughter had brought home after her freshman year at college. Despite the grim description, I was intrigued by Elsie's Business by Frances Washburn.

The novel begins with the brutal attack of Elsie, who is beaten and raped by a group of white boys. Elsie, is half African American and Native American. The narrator of the book pieces together Elsie's life from various people he talks to including Nancy Marks, who befriends Elise. Elsie, like her mother cleans homes and makes beaded moccasins and other crafts from deer hides.

After leaving the town where she is attacked, Elsie is murdered. The mystery of who killed her is never solved. There are several other questions raised that are never answered.

I have to admit, this was a tough book to read. I think I sniffled/ cried through at least half of the book.

Morsels - A literary look at Massachusetts

Sunday’s Globe rounds up literary references to Boston. Literary Boston Neighborhoods includes Dennis Lehane, Roland Merullo and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There’s a handy map that accompanies the article.

From Revere Beach Boulevard:
“The language of racing felt like my true native tongue. And the track itself - Suffolk Downs, with salty breezes shifting in off the ocean, and the sweet smell of cigar smoke, and crowds of bettors … lining up at the windows - felt like my truest home, a place where the rules were as familiar to me as my own face in the mirror.”

The Times Travel section visits Provincetown – The Land and Words of Mary Oliver, the Bard of Provincetown. The story focuses on poet Mary Oliver and the inspiration she draws from Provincetown.

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