Wednesday, December 15, 2010

T'was the Week Before Christmas

T’was the week before Christmas
And my what a bustle
Library patrons were
Starting to hustle
And stock up on books
To read o’er Yule;
They were checking out tomes
Like lit-starved fools.
The Circ Clerk was harried.
The Page was agog,
But the Director was counting
Up stats with a nod.
And happy to see that the
Stats were a-climbing
She took to her blog
And started a-rhyming.
Composing this ditty
To post with a click
As homage to Patterson,
And that Evanovich chick
And Cussler and Steel,
Salvatore and Cookson,
Grisham and Grafton
And Cornwell and Brooks ‘n’
Kootnz and King and
Deaver and Reichs
And Clancy and Francis
And Coben and Whyte
And Ludlow and Thor
And McCafffery, too
Kellerman, Roberts and
McCall-Smith (wouldn’t you?)
And all of the authors
That keep people up nights
Turning the pages filled with
Romance or frights.
And when she was done
She turned with a smile
And looked o’er her domain
With pride for a while
“I truly am blessed,”
She said with a tear
“Happy holidays to all
And a Happy New Year!”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Little Local Food Never Hurt Anybody

I would be remiss if I didn’t hop back in time a bit and talk about an event that happened within my walls some weeks back. The event was joyfully attended by a small group of enthusiastic connoisseurs of local victuals who gathered to share an evening repast of some significance. The menu was unpretentious, consisting as it did of ingredients indigenous to an area not more than 100 miles away from the table on which it was served. The event to which I refer bore the modern and relevant appellation: The 100-Mile Diet Potluck Dinner and was organized to raise awareness of the variety of foodstuffs available to the budding locavore.

Eating locally is a challenge no matter where one might reside, but in the Bulkley Valley, it seems, it is vital that, to be successful, the locavore must enjoy meat and vegetables, particularly since the availability of anything else is somewhat limited. Coffee, many fruits, dairy products, grains and the all-important chocolate are either completely unattainable or require some sleuthful acumen to unearth and acquire. Seasonings are tricky, too. Where does one get salt, for instance?

While the group dined on meatballs, cabbage salad, kale, potatoes, apple sauce, pumpkin and raspberry/rhubarb pie, it struck me that some of these revelers in locavorism would be hard-pressed to sustain such a regimen if, for some unfathomable reason, they had no choice. Being used to a wide range of fruits, breads, pastas, cheeses, coffees, teas, and the ever-versatile sugar, going local would create its own unique form of withdrawal. Then again, I devour high-voltage electricity, sulphur-injected natural gas and, of course good books, none of which (except for a few of the books) are locally produced. I’m not at all certain that I could survive on a 100-mile diet…

Is the growing phenomenon of self-sustainability a portentous one? Will the future bring a halt to imported delicacies? Will grocery stores become a thing of the past? I have no idea, but it does seem that the paradigm in food production and distribution is shifting. (And here I’ll slide in the literacy angle…) Tomes such as The Zero Mile Diet, Locavore and Just Food are among the first (no doubt there will be more) publications to discuss local eating and educate people on how to do it. From growing your own, to bartering for food, “experts” are emerging and publishers are rallying to the cause to ensure that you, the reader, are duly educated.

I will leave you now with some photographic evidence that eating local fare is entirely possible.
And a lot of fun, too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Many Blessings of HPL

The holidays are fast approaching. Only 23 more sleeps until the big day arrives, explodes in our faces and passes again, leaving many in a daze for days.

The staff has been bustling about decorating me for the past week or so. There are gorgeous paper snowflakes hanging from my ceiling, a gaily decorated tree stands between the two couches in the sitting area, garland and wreaths and pine boughs and stockings dangle, drape and dress counters, shelves and tables. It’s all so very festive! One thing about December – display topics are a no-brainer.

As I watch my patrons come and go, I’m already seeing signs of the strain this particular holiday etches on the lives of so many. The pressure is building. The race is on. The bank accounts are draining. It makes me rather glad that I’m a 5000 square foot building and not a shopper. I intend, as I do every year, to let the mad rush pass me by and spend a few quiet days with… oh, about 24,000 good books.

I’ll be all alone. Santa will not be sliding down my chimney, nor will he be leaving any be-ribboned gifts under the tree for me. But I’m not complaining; I’ve been blessed this year with so many cool things, it’s hard to imagine Christmas morning being any more exciting.

Bev Lyons of the Pleasant Valley Restaurant donated a theatre-style popcorn machine for use during the NID Matinees and other programming. The Friends of the Library purchased a new pre-lit Christmas tree and contributed to the purchase of new tables and chairs for the Canfor Room. The BV Foundation also provided a grant toward the tables and chairs. The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and Telus gave money to buy a 77” electronic white board and multi-media projector. The District of Houston is upgrading my electrical and adding floor plugs in the sitting area. And the BV Credit Union donated eight guest chairs and new furniture for the Children’s area. I don’t think that Santa could do any better than that! As far as libraries go, especially small libraries, I, HPL, am extremely fortunate. I have a supportive board, dedicated staff, wonderful patrons and happen to have been built in a great community.

If you are planning on dropping in over the next couple of weeks, there are two donation boxes waiting to be filled. One is for the Salvation Army food bank and the other is for the Houston Link to Learning Book Under Every Tree program. So, please do stop by and help fill these two very important donation boxes.

Oh, I almost forgot… the coffee is always on at HPL, along with tea or hot chocolate. So if you care to browse the shelves in search of some great holiday reading material and would like a little refreshment while you do, I’m more than happy to oblige.

In case I don’t get a chance to post another blog before then, have a very safe and happy holiday!