About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Monday, April 22, 2019

On the Road With Books

Imagine life before the Internet. If you're as old as I am, that's easy because, like me, you grew up without it. Sometimes it's hard for me to think of how I ever got along without IMDB. But we managed. We also lived without social media, cable television, and cell phones. When I wanted to make a phone call, I walked out to the kitchen to a shoebox-sized device hanging on the wall and dialed the number, assuming, of course, that there was nobody else using the party line at the time.

Yes, I grew up in a simpler time. As a youngster in the late Fifties, I had the unique experience of attending first and second grade in a one-room school house. If you're thinking “Little House on the Prairie,” you're not far off. We even had one of those little hand bells that the teacher would ring to signal time for school to start. This school was probably a rare breed back then. It closed a couple of years after I had completed second grade and moved on to a larger school. But I have many fond memories of that educational experience. One special memory is of the bookmobile, the traveling library that made regular visits to our little schoolhouse. Yes, it was a simpler time. We didn't have ebooks, and we couldn't often make it to the library, but the library came to us.

Today bookmobiles are alive and well. There is actually a designated National Bookmobile Day on the Wednesday of National Library Week. Hundreds of these mobile libraries serve communities all over the country. And bookmobiles aren't just for rural areas. New York City recently announced that it will operate three new bookmobiles in the metropolitan area.

These traveling book repositories are as various as the brick and mortar libraries from which they originate. Some are sleek and colorful like the one pictured above from Marshall County in Kentucky. Others are quirky and charming like the one Antonio LaCava created in Italy.


Some mobile libraries don't even have wheels. Luis Soriano Bohorquez in Colombia created Biblioburro—The Donkey Library. He loads over 100 books onto the back of a donkey and spends hours traveling to meet with his young patrons.

Hats off to all the wonderful mobile librarians and bookmobiles of all types!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

National Library Week

Grand Rapids
Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

It's National Library Week! I love and admire libraries all year long, but it's wonderful that a full week has been designated to give special appreciation to these storehouses of knowledge and imagination. Libraries are an integral part of our society. I have several special libraries on my want-to-see bucket list. And I have seen some pretty spectacular ones already. I visited a stunning library born from a vintage school. I discovered a remarkable library inhabiting an old train station. I was awed by a spectacular library in Hong Kong. And I enjoyed a memorable trip to the librarians' library, the Library of Congress. This is but a small sample of the institutions I have visited and appreciated.

Thankfully I am not alone in my admiration for these institutions of information. Here are just a few inspirational quotes from other library lovers:

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”
Albert Einstein
“A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.”
Norman Cousins
“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”
Andrew Carnegie
“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination.”
Sidney Sheldon
A library “. . . is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you—and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.”
Isaac Asimov

No better time than this week to write about a recent visit I paid to a great library not far from my home, the Grand Rapids Public Library.