Monday, December 28, 2009

Please treat the library books gently

Happiest of holiday seasons, friends, one and all.

Today I wish to address an issue that has arisen at our beloved Pine River Public Library. At least it’s my beloved Library. It is, after all, my home sweet home. In this age of disposable diapers, packaged meals, canned tire repair kits, throw away pens and the lot, it is sometimes difficult to understand that our books at Pine River Library are not disposable. They are not a one hit wonder. They are there for large numbers of patrons like yourselves to read and enjoy.

Here is what has been happening. People have been placing their books face down, marking their place, thus breaking the binding. They have been stretching the paperback books so they will lie flatter, thus breaking the binding. They have been dining while reading without benefit of napkin. They have been turning down pages to better mark their place.

Think of it this way… Suppose a large neighborhood was sharing a lawn mower. Everybody gets to use it for free. What if one person neglects to check the oil and damages the motor? What if somebody else mows right over large decorative rocks in their yard thus chipping the blade? What if somebody else leaves this gift out in the rain and it gets water in the gas or it rusts from exposure?

Our books are a gift. We should treat them with the respect they deserve and with a mind to others who also wish to enjoy this gift. The library has numerous book marks available if you need one. A Kleenex will also work, or a paper napkin, or the grocery list that is already filled.

You wouldn’t break the gift lawn mower. Don’t break the gift books. By the way, if you receive a book that is already damaged or losing its pages, please inform the librarians so that they can have it repaired or replaced.

Thank you for your attention.

Browser, the library cat

PS. The Pine River Library will be taking food donations for the local food shelf all winter. Please be generous and give.

Printed in the Pine River Journal 24 December 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here's holiday ideas to battle the blues

Dear Readers,

Normally during this season of holiday festivities I write about origins of winter festivals. Or I write about Santa. Or I write about short days and lighted nights. This year, however, I would like to address holiday blues.

For those of us who live alone the holiday season is not a perky time. It is a time of wondering what all the fuss is about. It is a time of mourning, on some level. Mourning the loss of sunshine. Mourning the loss of loved ones who once shared the season. Mourning the feeling of joy at giving the right gift or being surprised by someone bestowing on us some thoughtful present.

Fellow mourners, I have some suggestions.

1. Read a holiday inspired book. There are many at our Pine River Public Library. 3602 in all throughout the Kitchigami system with a “Christmas” theme. Some are fiction, some non-fiction. 1351 about winter solstice. 81 specifically about Hanukkah.

2. Take a drive after supper and enjoy the holiday lights. I can’t do that, being a cat, but you can, most of you. If you can’t, find a friend to take you or hire a taxi.

3. Buy a simple gift (a pair of socks will do very well), wrap it, and give it to a random stranger or visit a senior residence and bestow your gift upon an elderly person who is also alone. If you are shy, you needn’t stay for a long visit. The simple gesture will help cheer you and one other person.

4. Watch sentimental holiday movies on television. The nice thing about these is that the ending is nearly always happy. Light candles when you do in keeping with the holiday mood.

5. If baking isn’t your thing – it isn’t mine – then purchase some treat that you would not normally invite into your kitchen. You deserve it!

6. If baking is your thing, make cookies. (Try a new recipe from the many cookbooks at the library.) Bake loads of them. With sprinkles. Red and green ones. Take some to the neighbors or to your barber or hair dresser or…dare I say it?...the library.

7. If you go out to eat rather than cook at home, tip heavily. It’s the holidays. You are making another person smile and feeling the good feeling of giving at the same time. Waiting on tables can be dreary business, don’t forget. A surprise of appreciation is a wonderful thing.

8. Do you frequent coffee shops or taverns? Buy someone a beverage and include the phrase, “happy holidays”.

9. Even if you don’t normally go to church, this season is a wonderful time to go forth and visit a church in your neighborhood. It really doesn’t matter the denomination. Check the listing in “The Pine River Journal” or “The Echo”. There will probably be mention of holiday services. Many of these may include singing of carols. Not a singer? This is a good time to start, or just to listen.

10. Think of me! Alone in the library, sequestered because of the cold outside, I indulge in playing with the gifts under the tree. How fun is that?!

Happy Holidays!

Browser the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 7th Dec 2009