As regular readers of this blog might remember, my very first post (November 10, 2011) was titled “On the Thrill of Libraries”. That piece detailed the excitement I felt on knowing that my first book was part of the Northfield Public Library’s collection.
Today, I am still thrilled by the Library, but even more I am thrilled for the Library — and for all of us who love and depend upon it — because of some very good news about its future. Indeed, when I visited the Library the same day that the news reached me, I thought the fallen leaves looked like confetti.
The news? That by this time next year our Library will be even better than it is today.
Here is an excerpt from an email by Bill North, President of the Friends and Foundation:
Hurray! City Council Votes Unanimously to Approve Library Project!
“I write with wonderful news. The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously last night to approve the Library Project recommended by the Director and Library Board. But they did more! They also voted to pay for $352,000 of essential infrastructure and code compliance matters from other city funds, allowing the city funds and our private fundraising dollars to go entirely to pay for improvements to the Library. Finally, the City has created a “float” of $252,000 with which the City will cover construction costs while the Friends continue their fundraising efforts. This is great news because it will allow the Friends to accept multi-year pledges and apply for grants.”
I want to thank our far-sighted–and hard-working–City officials, staff, and volunteers for supporting this plan. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for all of us who love the Library to support it with a capital gift. Our own gift is the satisfaction of knowing we’re helping to create a stronger foundation for a fine and essential public treasure. Gifts of every size count! Below are materials I collected last week in the Library entryway. For anyone who has not yet seen the plans, or who is planning a gift, I encourage you to pick up your own copies.
It is not news that the Northfield Public Library is a flag ship institution of education and culture, or that having it firmly anchored on that wedge of land between Washington and Division Streets enhances the economic and civic liveliness of our downtown. It is also not news that Northfield citizens have been working for some years to expand the Library’s physical plant in order to keep pace with the leaps and bounds of demands for service since the last major renovation was completed thirty years ago in 1984.
So it is definitely a cause for celebration that the Library renovation project has a green light! The Library has given so much to our family–truly an incalculable amount. Tim, Julia, and I are glad to be able to participate in this capital campaign, just as we do as patrons, as annual fund donors, and as volunteers. I would like to encourage everyone to join in–it is a mighty and joyous endeavor that requires us all.
In other Library-related news, the TRIVIA BEE returns on November 14, 20014 from 7-9 p.m. at the Grand Event Center. This event, run by the Friends, is a wonderfully educational and entertaining one. Do consider putting together a team or just come to cheer on your friends and neighbors!
Wherever I went this week, it felt as though I was in a “Maple Street” state of mind. I keep hearing the opening line of a poem I memorized this year, “The Wild Swans at Coole” by W. B. Yeats. The poem begins, “The trees are in their autumn beauty…” No wonder the line reverberates when there is vivid beauty everywhere I turn.
My neighborhood has been filled with glowing leaves this year. Northfield’s actual Maple Street is just a few blocks from my house, and I took most of these photographs on the same day last week. Within a single block, I found yellow, green, red, and orange trees, and every nuanced shade between.
There was a time when I only knew the names of two trees: maple and pine. Years later, I am familiar with, and admire, dozens of other varieties, but there is something about maples of any color, size, or shape of leaf that calls to my heart. This year I am entranced by their choral presence. En masse, they can function like stained glass between the dark leading of trunks and branches.
We think autumn colors are predictable, but are they? It seems to me that each year is distinct. Some years have next to no arboreal fireworks. This year, there must have been an optimal balance of moisture, temperature, and lack of winds and lashing rains. The colors this year took me by surprise, seeming to explode out of nowhere. Whether the sky is grey or milky or burning blue, all of the deciduous trees — and particularly the maples — are brilliant. As this photograph of a mirror in the heart of my home demonstrates, they even radiate their brilliance indoors.
Although I am especially dazzled this year, autumn has, of course, its distinctly elegiac side. Sometimes these maple leaves seem like hand-shaped silk handkerchiefs waving farewell as the growing season drifts out of sight.
Julia and I are thrilled to learn that our second Sundog book, And Sometimes Y, is now available as an audio book. The illustration above shows the original group of five friends and the boy new to Sundog, Yves, who is sometimes a friend and sometimes doesn’t seem to be friendly at all.
People of all ages like to be read to, and we are happy to have both of our books now in audio form. To celebrate, the first five people who email me a request will get a coupon from our publisher for a FREE COPY. This generous offer is made possible by publisher par excellence Lisa Cottrell-Bentley of Do Life Right, Inc.
Here is a link to Amazon with information on how to purchase a paperback book, a Kindle version, or the new audio version. The paper- and e-book versions have the wonderful map of Sundog and incredible illustrations by Heather Newman.
The new audio book is a completely different experience using the vocal talents of Carol Mintz, allowing you to spend time in Sundog as you move about your day.
The first book in our series, The Howling Vowels, is also available in all three formats. Die-hard fans can create a six-pack!
Thanks for helping us to spread the word by forwarding this email and considering a brief review on Amazon–people really do read those!
Leslie & Julia