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Winter is a wonderful season to spend at the library

December 27th, 2017 | Kate Finn Print this article   Email this article  

Libraries seem to have always been a keystone of civilization.

When I misbehaved as a young girl, my mother often threatened to send me to Timbuktu. It turns out that Timbuktu, an ancient and modern city, is in the country of Mali in west Africa. It has a long history as a center for learning dating back to 1510, when books sold for more money than any other merchandise in the city markets. Libraries in Timbuktu actually date back to the eighth century A.D. As a lover of libraries, maybe being sent to Timbuktu would have been fine.

As it turns out, libraries date back at least to 200 to 300 B.C. in Syria, China, Greece and Rome. They back to 600 B.C. in the Neo-Assyrian Empire (now the Middle East) and back to 2,500 to 1,500 B.C. in India. Books were so valuable that conquerers brought them home as part of their military plunder. From the Royal Library in Alexandria Egypt, (200 to 300 B.C.) the scribes would collect all the books that came into the harbor on ships to make copies. The originals were kept in library and the copies given back to the owners.

Many early libraries were connected with monasteries, temples, palaces and universities. Some were also private libraries of the wealthy. The Alexandria Library is famous for many reasons. Among them, is that it may have been the first public governmental library in history, thus recognizing the value of all citizens literacy. In the United States, it seems that The Darby Free Library in Pennsylvania, established in 1743, is our nation's oldest public library. We in Homer are lucky heirs to this centuries-long legacy of growing and protecting our cultures arts, sciences and literature.

Since libraries can be an almost unlimited tool for expanding our awareness, understanding and enjoyment of life, I'd like to offer you a challenge for 2018. Step out of your routine. Try exposing yourself to different genres of information. If you love mysteries, maybe try an autobiography; if your habit is science, try a novel. If you love poetry, try a non-fiction adventure story. You get the idea. As you try something new, maybe your appetite will be whetted to expand your selections even further.

Beyond utilizing the awesome book, DVD, etc. collection, regularly scheduled events and on-line programs, please consider:

1. For anime/manga enthusiasts, Jan. 6 is a chance to swap novels.

2. Sharing lunch at noon Jan. 8 with Councilmember Caroline Venuti and Kelly Cooper, our Homer representative on the Borough Assembly.

3. Learning critical coding skills at the "Girls Who Code" event on Jan. 20.

4. There is still time to buy the library a gift book from the Giving Tree.

Knock knock. Who's there? Snow. Snow who? Snow better place to hang out during the winter than the library!

See you there!

 

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