Tag Archives: community

From Rebecca: Schlow Centre Region Library revisited

Greetings, Joe’s readers. Back in October of 2013 I wrote a post on libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library. I said a lot of good things in that one, so here is the link you can follow if you want to read it too. Since I wrote it I got faster internet at home and stopped using the library for their computers and internet, but I still go there once or twice a week to check out books and CDs. It is still one of my favorite places in the world.

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother-in-law might enjoy audio books and I wondered over to that section. Sure enough, Schlow has a large collection to choose from, including a lot of the J.D. Robb series that we both read. I knew about this section before, but until I was looking into them I didn’t appreciate it. It impressed on me one of best features of libraries, that they offer so many different resources and we might not need them for years, but when we do want something, there it is.

The upper level of Schlow contains the audio books, CDs, large print books, young adult novels, graphic novels, books for sale, public computers, helpful staff, non-fiction books, fiction books, a wide range of newspapers and magazines available to read, tables and chairs, two rooms with doors that close to use – one includes materials for crafts, and desks with plugs for people with laptops or who want space to study. The lower level contains the children’s section with computers, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, helpful staff, graphic novels, and games. Thinking about it, I am amazed by the variety.

Last year, I was looking at books on a return cart and picked up the first novel in an unusual series, Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham. The main character, Fiona Griffiths, has a rare mental condition that she struggles with to do her job on the police force in the U.K. I would never have found this series without seeing it at Schlow. I wanted to read more of these books, so I looked him up in the catalogue, and the library only had the first one. So I did an interlibrary loan request for the second book in the series once I looked up the title (my first time doing an ILL) and waited about a month for it to come in. When I picked up the book, I noticed it had Schlow Centre Region Library identification on it, and looking through it I realized it had the signs of being a print-on-demand book. They might not have been able to find a copy in other libraries. I realized that Schlow bought the book to fill my request and to put in their collection. Wow. I know at least one other person read the first one because it was on the return cart, so I hope that my request helps someone else read the second book, and now the third book. I want to read the rest of the series, but knowing that Schlow would buy the book instead of borrow it, I waited a few months before requesting the third one, and will wait a few months before asking for the fourth one. There are six books in the series and I would feel guilty asking for so much of their resources in a short period of time. I don’t have the space on my shelves or the money to buy the series on my own.

I had already noticed some books on the shelves that looked like print-on-demand (Joe’s books from CreateSpace are print-on-demand so I know the specific look of the back page) and was impressed by the many ways that the library supports all these industries in publishing and entertainment. Yes, we the public use it for free, but the library bought it all. That is a lot of money going into the world, and libraries are constantly having to raise that money – from government sources, from selling books and items donated to them or off their shelves, from local fund drives, from business donations, and from patron donations. They also need to keep the lights on and pay the staff. It makes me proud that I donate two dollars a week; I couldn’t afford to give Schlow a hundred dollars in one go, but by the end of the year my two dollars adds up to that. They do some much for me and the community.

I want to close with one paragraph from my October 2013 post, which sums up what I want to share about libraries in general.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

Joe will be back next Wednesday with a new blog entry. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

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From Rebecca: Libraries and Schlow Library

Joe is having dental work today, so you are hearing from me. He may be in some pain today and tomorrow, so the next blog post might be next week.

Libraries have been on my mind lately. I visit my local library, Schlow Centre Region Library, three times a week, and I love it. I use their public computers to be on the internet. I borrow two or three books, and three to four DVDs, from the library every week. I am a regular user. I know a lot of the staff by sight, and they are all nice, patient, and helpful. Someday I hope to have enough extra money to donate to the library that gives me so much.

Libraries have been in my thoughts lately because of two recent news items. The Centre Daily Times issue on September 27, 2013 reported that the East Penn Valley Branch Library in Millheim, Pennsylvania would close the following week, due to budget cuts in the county library system of which they were a part. I feel bad about any library closing, although in this case it is possible there will be a good ending. The community might open it up again on their own after the materials and resources from the library were donated to the Friends of the East Penn Valley Branch Library. And on September 17, 2013, the CDT reported that Schlow Centre Region Library may have to close for a week next year, to off-set money lost from state aid.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

I remember going to Schlow library when I was a kid in the 1970s. It was called the Schlow Memorial Library then, in honor of the library’s founder, Charles Schlow and his wife Bella S. Schlow. It was, and still is, at the corner of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue. I loved being able to take out any of the books in the children’s section. At that time, there must have been a certain kind of cover for children’s library books, with a textured cover, a certain font, and muted colors, because whenever I hold a book like that now it takes me back to happy memories of books in my childhood. The children’s books were in the room downstairs, and stairs and an elevator led up to the room upstairs with the adult collection. I think there was a check out counter on each floor, or the checkout was downstairs in the lobby outside the children’s collection room. I am just not sure now.

When I was older, I became familiar with the adult collection too. The adult section had the reference books that no one could take out, photocopiers, (computers in the 80s and 90s), maps, records (later with tapes and CDs), and, in the back of the room, the fiction books. The non-fiction section was in a loft area over the fiction section, reached by climbing stairs. If you couldn’t get up the stairs, a librarian was available to get your selection for you. The children section and the adult section each had their own card catalogue, with cards for each book in long trays; a patron would write down the location information on paper provided. Now, of course, the catalogue is on computers.

Schlow went through a couple of renovations in the 70s and 80s. Then sometime before 2004, it was decided to rebuild the building from scratch. As I recall, a long fundraising project raised the funds they needed before they put the plans in motion. In 2004 the library materials and operations were moved to the old borough municipal building while the library building was torn down and the new building built. In 2005 the new library building opened, with the name Schlow Centre Region Library. The children’s collection in still downstairs, with a room with computers and a collection of video games, as well as the books and puzzles. The first floor also holds the circulation desk. The upstairs is the adult collection, non-fiction on the same floor as the fiction section and other resources. If you want to read more about the history of Schlow library go their website at schlowlibrary.org or click this link to their history page on their website. [Oops. The history page link doesn’t go there anymore. It does go to the website, if you want to click it anyway. – 4/24/15]

It all looks different from when I was a kid, but I still get the same warm feeling of home inside the walls.

From Rebecca: Reading blogs

Hi, Joe’s readers. Joe has been doing this blog for a while now, with me typing what he dictates and helping him with editing for almost every entry. This has been a great experience for me, and lets me see the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts of a blog. I love reading blogs and I follow a few regularly.

I started reading blogs about ten years ago when I got a library job where I checked out laptops to patrons and answered their questions, and could use the computer in between patrons. I worked one or two over-nights a week, so I had a lot of time to fill. I checked out blogs, web comic strips, and sent e-mails. Over time, I had a long list of websites I would regularly visit and people I would keep up on through their works. When I lost the job, I also lost touch with most of the sites. But I retained a few that I still visit and love.

I enjoy reading different viewpoints, and when a blog has a strong thriving community of commenters who respect each other and the host(ess), my mind is challenged in a good way. I feel like I am hanging out with a bunch of people who are talking about cool things. Often, the host(ess) will refer to some event or hot topic that other bloggers are writing about, and add a link to the source material or another blogger. I have found some interesting bloggers by following the links and reading a different voice. I feel plugged in to a larger community when I do that.

I do admit that I am a lurker, reading what the host(ess) writes and other people add to the topic without leaving a comment of my own. I just never got in the habit of adding my opinion or commenting. I feel too shy, which is so funny considering how strongly I share my opinion in real life.

The blogs I follow the most are Tor’s tor.com, John Scalzi’s whatever.scalzi.com, Carrie Vaughn’s carriev.wordpress.com, and Wil Wheaton’s wilwheaton.typepad.com. Your taste may not be my taste though, and there are so many out there, ready to be explored.

I talked to Joe and he is having a lot of fun. Keekee is fine, and was really clingy to me today. Cat hair everywhere as I pet her a lot!

P.S. I wrote this last Tuesday but due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to post it until today. Technology … Grrr!

I’m new here so please….

Hi readers. I am having a little bit of trouble sorting through my spam folder. Some of the comments are obviously spam (filled with gibberish for example) and those are easy. Some look like real comments, but when I click on the website link it takes me to a business website (like for an online bank) or to one in another language. They might be real, or they might be spam. I’m having a lot of trouble telling.

If you write a comment on my blog, and you don’t see it show up in a day or two, it might have shown up as spam and I deleted it. Please try again, and put either your first name or my name in the body of the comment so I know a person wrote it. You could also add a specific detail from the blog post you are commenting on, to let me know it is real and to give me more feedback on my writing.

I want to have a community of people reading and responding to my blog posts. I will be responding personally in the comments when the opportunity comes up. I just need to figure out this spam vs. real people thing.