Tag Archives: Schlow Centre Region Library

From Rebecca: Letting go of an historic place

I live in a place that changes all the time. State College is a college town, with the main campus of Pennsylvania State University located here. We have construction and new developments all around the area, for retired people moving back, professors and their families, and students that need off campus housing. I used to know the names of all the streets, but now there are a lot of streets I don’t know. Businesses come and go, especially downtown and in the mall, and old buildings get torn down for new ones.

There are some businesses and buildings that have remained for decades, standing in the middle of all of this change. I like knowing that they are there, and that even though I don’t often use their services, that they make up the framework of my town. I almost never go to the Nittany Mall, for instance, but I like that it is still there. Schlow Centre Region Library is one of the anchors of downtown.

One of those mainstays is clearly struggling, and may shut down. A motel and restaurant, it has been here since before I was born. I don’t want to use the name in respect for the current owners, who are fighting hard to keep it afloat. They had to file for bankruptcy this year and have tried several things to save the business.

This place means a lot to me, as my mom used to work there and met my stepfather there too. She worked in the coffee shop in the evenings, and once in a while my sisters and I would go up while she was closing it down. We would do little chores to keep occupied and she would let us pick out a pack of Lance snack crackers or cookies as a reward. My mom was really busy at that time, and we didn’t have much time with her, so that was a chance for us to have a few moments with her. Now that I think about it, at this time we got more time with Dad, as he was with us in the evenings she worked. She eventually got a job at the university, and then attended the university. We stopped going to the business as much.

The business had a coffee shop, formal dining room, and motel rooms. It was owned by one family for decades, who were big in the community. As far as I could tell, they kept the place maintained and in good working order. Then they decided to sell the business, and I have a vague memory of it changing hands a couple of times, and now the current owners are struggling. At some point the coffee shop was closed, I don’t remember how many years ago. I would drive by the business, confident that it was the same as always and would be around forever. I had no idea it was in danger of going out of business, even when a local restaurant set up shop there in place of the formal dining that used to be a staple of the area.

Then within the last two years, the business was featured on a national show focused on helping failing hotels. I watched it and was shocked by how much it had gone down hill. So much on the property needed to be fixed, and supplies were low due to lack of funds. It was clear during the show that the business I took for granted might disappear like so many other places around here. The owners are still hanging on, but for how long?

My first reaction to losing this business, which I haven’t been in for five years, was that I didn’t want it to go away. It means something to State College and it is important to this area and its history. It is important to my history. But is it really? Today, I don’t know. I went by it yesterday and saw a new sign up for their new smoking bar. Another attempt to bring people in, which might save the place or might not. And for the first time I felt like it was okay to let the place go. With so many changes to it, the old place I remember from growing up is already gone. I would be okay if this version of the business did close up and okay if it succeeded for many years to come.

Having said that, I imagine I would not feel so peaceful about it if the buildings were razed and something else in that spot. It would seem wrong. But I would get over it. I’m not the one who is in debt for this business and I’m not the one working every day to make it better; the current owners have a right to do what is best for themselves.

We have lost a lot of businesses and places in State College in the many decades I have lived here, but we have gained some good new ones too. If we lose too many historic places, we lose a lot of our history, and that would be a shame. But life is not lived in the past, however much we miss it. We have to make our lives in this area the way it is now, and very often that is a good thing.

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Self hypnosis, anybody?

Greetings, readers. I’ve been very busy on YouTube the last couple of days, checking out different people’s self-hypnosis videos. I like what I see. Obviously, I’m not trying to make myself act like a chicken. I’m trying to use it for relaxation, memory enhancement, and relief of closed chakras. A year or so ago, my massage therapist had to retire and by now my chakras are as closed as they are going to get. It makes me feel lethargic, cranky, and depressed. When they open, I feel much more energetic, happier, and I’ll bet you my work productivity will greatly increase.

I even found a video that supposedly can turn you into a magnet for the opposite gender. This one I will have to watch and stay awake for to believe. There might be something to it, so as with most things, I will view it with an open mind.

In the last two or three weeks, my state of mind has been either depression or something I can not put a label to. I seem happy enough, but I just don’t have the energy to do anything. Not only is my writing suffering but my early to bed early to rise routine has shifted about an hour later each way. That is partly because the weather is so frigid here in Pennsylvania that I just don’t feel like going out to Panera at 7 in the morning. I do miss the usual morning crowd. I always enjoy greeting them as I would the folks at Bear Spring Camps.

I think this afternoon, after work hours, I’ll spend some time seeing what videos various YouTube channels have to offer. I’m a little bit leery of it because I’ve never hypnotized myself before. So readers, keep your fingers crossed. If you don’t hear from me on Friday, you will know I have turned myself into Keekee’s cat.

On a side note, our local library here in State College, Schlow Centre Region Library, had major damage due to the severe cold. Flooding was the result of one sprinkler pipe bursting, leading to several hundred thousand dollars in destroyed books, clean up of water damage and mold prevention. Schlow will be closed until at least this Sunday. I don’t want to sound selfish, but my books were in the section that got it the worst. We just found out via their website that two of my three books were destroyed. I have other copies here to give them if they want; no big deal.

Until Friday, take care, please be careful, happy reading, and stay warm; a major cold front is dropping down from Canada.

From Rebecca: Sunrise memory

Greetings, Joe’s readers. I just heard from Joe and he is currently driving to a beach for a short while, and then he will finish the trek up to Maine. He sounded good.

I wrote a blog entry yesterday in longhand, but today I just don’t feel like typing it in. I think I will share it with you next week. For today, I have to come up with something off the top of my head, and in a hurry because I am short of time on Schlow library’s public computer. Entirely my fault; before my work shift started, I looked at a bunch of other things on the internet before buckling down to do this.

With Joe traveling today, I am thinking about times when I was on the road, usually for family vacations to the mid-west to see my extended family when I was growing up. My father, mother, and two sisters would get in the car and drive two days each way to visit relatives.

I remember one early morning we were parked somewhere off the road. I woke up at dawn. I think one of my parents had been driving all night and had to stop for a bit. I have a vague memory of my dad being up and moving around, but I’m not sure. My mom and sisters were asleep, I know that. I got out of the car, and it was like we were alone in the world. I haven’t seen a lot of sunrises in my time, but they all feel like that one morning. Slightly chilly, even in the summer, and sleepy. The day was new and full of possibilities. The colors in the sky were breathtaking.

I know that Joe’s schedule in Bear Spring Camps sometimes includes getting up early to fish. I hope he enjoys his sunrises next week as much as I enjoyed that one so long ago.

As Joe would say, until next time, take care and happy reading.

I’ll be at Addison Court for at least one more year

Greetings, readers. Today I began the process, i.e. paperwork, for renewing my lease for another year at Addison Court apartment building. I moved in here in 2006 or 2007. I can’t believe I’m quickly approaching a whole decade here in this place. The first year was murder; I wasn’t used to the downtown traffic or all the hustle and bustle outside my window on a Penn State football Friday night. Now I barely hear it.

A few months ago I was highly debating whether I would renew, but suffice it to say there is far less drama than there used to be, and it is once again a very enjoyable place to live. Addison Court is next door to a small grocery store, very near the public library, as well as my very much-loved Panera cafe. In the last year or so something called Zipcar was added to our town. For those that don’t know what that is, it is called car sharing; it is car renting but better. I love it so much I did a blog entry about it. Five Zipcar vehicles are parked near Addison Court, making almost any errand I need to do at a moment’s notice convenient to do.

The folks here at Addison Court are some of the nicest people I have met. Do I love everybody here? That might be going a little extreme, but I try to get along with everyone. We all have our faults. When I finally do leave Addison Court and some time has passed, I think I will write a book about my experiences, changing all the names of course. Watch that be my big seller. Lol.

My absolute favorite thing about Addison Court is my top-floor living room picture window looking out toward Beaver Stadium, where on the 4th of July I have the best seat in the house for the fireworks. I can see them plain as day, without being too close to cause any hearing damage. Those shells are loud folks. Keekee the kitty cat is also fascinated by it; I tell her that it is time to watch the boom-booms.

Will I ever leave Addison Court? Oh, I’ve had pipe dreams of living in a lavish home in Florida with servants, but that is just what dreaming is. We can say, what is your ultimate life and enjoy living it through our dreams. Though in reality I have a nice apartment that takes pets, a good little kitty cat for company, good friends, and for the most part my health. So I’m content to be here at Addison for the foreseeable future.

Look for another blog entry on Friday and as always, take care, have a good day and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Twitter, so far

I wrote last May that Joe was starting to use Twitter. We thought that it would help him find a bigger audience for his books and this blog, and could be useful for research. Well, not yet. It isn’t that easy to just sign up and find a big audience for yourself, though I know a lot of people put in the time and energy to connect on the social media sites. Joe and I don’t; we just don’t have the set-up to be on for several times a day, every day. So we are a little bit limited in the networking department. As for research, that is slow going too. Joe tried a few times to ask questions and no one replied with a specific answer. He is also a little disappointed that he sent Tweets to a few people and most did not respond at all.¬†I think he likes being connected to the people he has followed, but he has not gotten much back for his effort. I thought that Twitter would help Joe a lot, but so far it has not.

I do not expect the same things from my personal Twitter experience, and I am getting a lot out of this service. I love using Twitter. I follow 56 accounts, with a few being people I know, like Joe, and most being creative people who do works that I enjoy, like Star Trek stars, book writers, and webcomic artists. I feel like I am at a party where I get to walk around and listen to different groups talking. Sometimes I put a reply on someone’s Tweet, which usually does not get a response, but mostly I lurk. I put up my own Tweet when I am on the computer, about four times a week. I have six followers, three of them people I don’t know who I assume follow me so I will follow them. I am not witty or funny in my Tweets, but I try to make them true to who I am and what I am doing.

My most exciting interaction with Twitter was the first week in October, when I wrote the blog post here about Schlow Centre Region Library and then Tweeted a link to it on my account. Schlow library saw that Tweet, and promoted the blog post on their Twitter feed! And Tweeted me a thank you for the blog post. And then the views on Joe’s blog hit 36 on October 3rd, which is a big number for one day. Wow, that felt powerful. A real taste of what I was hoping Twitter could do for Joe, if we could figure out how to do it on purpose.

So we are still beginning to explore Twitter, and I am having a lot of fun with it. Maybe Joe will too at some point. Twitter does not fit his style though. He fits Facebook much better. He likes to socialize with people he knows and likes already, and to write more than can fit into 140 spaces. And when someone comments on something he wrote, he can easily see it; with Twitter he has to look in a certain area and even then it might not be obvious.

Joe should be writing another blog next week. Take care, and happy reading.

Stop the world, I want to get off

Greetings, readers. Oh what a start to the work week. This has been one of those stop the world I want to get off mornings. I was up late with a sick computer, trying to de-bug what appears to be a Yahoo! email problem or a virus in my computer. My anti-virus system has been finding viruses but I thought once caught they were out of play. I got a call from a friend of mine warning me about something he sent me and I’m not certain if the acting-up email account is due to that or just coincidence. Until this point my anti-virus has caught everything and kept my computer free from harm.

Topic of the day number two. Minor mouth agitation continues to exist from my dental surgical procedure. I was a big boy and only took the higher powered pain meds one time. Since then it has been Advil to the rescue. Today I see another dentist for my semi-annual cleaning. I will, of course, ask the hygienist¬†to go around the hurting area quite gingerly. Next week, I have another doctor’s appointment yet to be rescheduled and a visit to my massage therapist. Again, stop the world I want to get off. Too much, too fast.

On to good news. A couple of book sales here and there on the blog book, Greetings, Readers. Yay us. Rebecca and I worked so hard on that book and had fun putting it together. I’m happy to see that we have engines started and are headed for the runway. Take off will be soon I hope.

Now on to what is coming in the near future. With all these blessed appointments I have to go to, the next couple of work weeks (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) will be hard to iron out plans for. Blog entries will be catch-as-catch-can and note taking for new projects just as slow. I’m going to promise myself that when these next two weeks are over, no doctor’s appointments for the foreseeable future. I must get back to that steady work schedule that was so beneficial to our writing production.

Lastly, Rebecca’s last post hit big with the views-per-day statistic, thanks to her reaching out to Schlow Centre Region Library by Twitter. I checked the stats that night and was happy to see a spike for the day of 36 views. I of course texted her immediately. To any of you who are here because you followed the link from Schlow and are still reading me: Welcome. I am glad to have you. And to the staff member that got the word out about the blog post: Thank you.

Well, I’m off to feed Kitty and then I’m off to the dentist. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

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.