Thankful for the Library

The holidays seem to have arrived so quickly this year!  It’s time again to be thankful and to gather with friends and family to share meals, traditions, and memories.

Before the calendar charges onward (shopping pun intended) into the big holiday celebration season, I have for you some library moments of thanksgiving.  Do you have lists or stories to share about being thankful at your school or public library?  Please share in the comments!

First, from the Chatham Patch of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township, New Jersey, comes this story from editor Laura Silvius, on the opening of The Library of the Chathams in the days following Hurricane Sandy.  From the story, “What Are You Thankful For This Thanksgiving?”

“After the worst of the storm passed, Diane O’Brien, the head of the library, got a call from Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris asking her to open up the library so residents could come in, warm up and charge their electronic devices.

O’Brien herself lives in Chatham Township. Her street had power lines down and she could not get to her car. Borough police came and picked her up and brought her to the library that day.

That day, the library was one of only a few places in town that had power. ‘There were so many people. Everybody was here, they were charging all over the place,’ O’Brien said. ‘People brought in their power strips and shared them with others. It was really nice to see how people helped each other in that situation.’

When news spread that the library was open, O’Brien began to get some help. ‘Two of the librarians who live in town here came in and stayed to work,’ O’Brien said. Librarians who work in other towns or at specialty libraries also gave a helping hand.’

Without those extra staff members, O’Brien said she would not have been able to let people rent books or other items from the library. ‘I would have been totally swamped,” she said. ‘I’m so grateful to them.’

It took several days, maybe even nearly two weeks, but the power came back on throughout town and life has, for the most part, returned to normal. Many residents will travel this weekend, or host relatives and friends from out of town—including places hit far worse by Sandy than the Chathams were.”

What a stirring example of the library as the heart of the community!  I’m awed by the staff and community’s togetherness, and the part of the story where the police picked up the head librarian to take her to the library.

And here, in a different take on being thankful for the library, from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is this new Tumblr site inviting the community to share their photos and stories of “Why I Need My Library.” So far the site features mostly stories of public libraries: giving thanks for story hours, the breadth of resources, interlibrary loans, and the library as a place for friends and neighbors to meet.  But I came across the blog in a message from the state school library association, so more school library stories- like today’s post from Dartmouth Middle School’s “Xtreme Readers” are likely on their way.  And so am I . . . over the river and through the woods!  Happy Thanksgiving, SLM Blog readers!

–Rebecca Morris

Image: Turkey Art Work: Thanksgiving by cambodia4kidsorg, on Flickr. Used with a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

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