Librarian Musings and Reviews

I greeted this lovely foggy Fall day in Humboldt County California early at 6:40 am. I enjoyed a good breakfast with my husband which included a homemade meal that I cooked in 15 minutes while unloading the dishwasher, and preparing tea to drink later at my job. I made fried eggs in olive oil, apple crisp which I prepared yesterday, and a seeded baguette toasted, and coffee.

I quickly read the Times-Standard the local newspaper and was saddened by the struggle of the local Eel River King Salmon. The article called Eel River Salmon Go Blind” (cheery huh?) started like this: “Recent high tides and brief mid-September rains gave some Eel River salmon a fleeting chance to move closer to their spawning grounds. But a lack of adequate flows on the river is causing many fish to fall ill as they crowd within small pools for the week…”. I thought of all the beautiful and struggling salmon waiting to spawn in an increasingly hostile environment and wondered how the drought inflicted river could support these wonderful fish. I thought of all the delicious fish I have had in my life, including salmon, and hoped that these strong and powerful fish could make it up the river to spawn and create a new school of fish to survive next year. I was somewhat cheered by the lovely foggy and moist weather as I drove at 7:35 am to the College of the Redwoods to my job as a reference librarian. The eery fog along the Bay evoked memories of living on the coast and how I have always enjoyed the lighting with varied views and weather patterns that the Bay and seashore inspire us with. The autumn is a relief from the on slot of warm sun and lack of moist weather. The rain has been peacefully falling off and on the last couple of weeks.

My librarian work is rewarding and calming. I found three books to display for our “staff picks” book display. I chose The Alchemist: a Fable about Following your Dream by Coelho, Paulo. The book details that what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods and turns into a discovery of the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts. The other book I chose was: A walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. In this travel writing expose Bryson uses his acute powers of observation to conjure a poignant backdrop of silent forests and sparkling lakes, thereby making a gentle but unforgettable plea for the ecological treasures we are in danger of losing. Fresh, illuminating, and uproariously funny this book, now a movie with Nick Nolte and Robert Redford is worth reading and watching the movie. Finally, the 3rd book I recommended is called 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Shultz. This book has encyclopedic and descriptive listings of where to go and stay during travel adventures around the world. If only I had enough money for these wondrous journeys.

Other things about my job I like are the varied and contrasting questions  I get sitting at the beautifully appointed reference desk at the college. I also work on a library subject guides, do library instruction classes, and keep busy in general with librarian projects. I would love to have more hours and am considering teaching online so I can work more with distance learning and other colleges. My occasional extra help librarian work at Humboldt County Law Library and Humboldt County Public Library has kinda dried up this autumn.

Additional book recommendations which I have read lately are the listed next. I just finished Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites. This was a fiction about the life and family of Camille Pissarro the great French Impressionist. Much of the story took place on the Island of St.Thomas and in Paris, France. The strong persistent Jewish Mother, her husbands, and friends make for a powerful read about this great historical figure. I am also reading  The Public Library: a Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson. This visual essay takes a person across the U.S on a journey depicting new and older libraries. The photos and essays definitely give a picture of the beauty, struggles and inspirational aspects of  libraries. It really is a gorgeous visual celebration of America’s public libraries including 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more. Public libraries have been my predominant work background for 25 years. They continue to inspire me and their missions and democratic access are close to my heart. Finally, I recommend The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry it is a  handy guidebook that teaches the reader how to get through writer’s block, and shows tasks on producing successful poetry. From the nuts and bolts of craft to the sources of inspiration, this book is for anyone who wants to write poetry and do it well. These book suggestions are all for now but check back for other musings and reviews.

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