Lebanon Public Library Is Open
Hello, old friend
The Lebanon Library is open.
Libraries have always been among my best and oldest friends. A few years ago, I wrote the story of my 4 year-old self ‘s quest for a library card and entitled the work “Metamorphosis;” that little square of beige cardboard was truly that life-changing. (You can click the title to read but once there you will have to enlarge the print.) So I am eagerly anticipating a return visit to the Lebanon Library, its doors flung open this week after a year or so of renovations that now feature greater accessibility, comfortable chairs, and two new meeting rooms. A grand opening is scheduled for the spring.
Little did I know as a preschooler that my life would be bookended by not just robust neighborhood and town libraries, but in both cases, by Carnegie Libraries. Scottish-born industrialist Andrew Carnegie built over 2500 public libraries across the globe when free libraries were practically non-existent. Carnegie Library on Pittsburgh’s North Side was my home library and the first Carnegie Library commissioned in the United States. In 1907, Lebanon, New Hampshire benefited from his largesse when Carnegie gave the City of Lebanon $12,500 to build the library at its current location on East Park Street. There are 5 Carnegie-funded libraries in Vermont and 9 in the State of New Hampshire (click here) including one in Claremont and an academic library at the University of New Hampshire, now known as Hamilton Smith Hall.
A final library-related thought: In yesterday’s Daybreak, Rob Gurwitt included a reference to Priscilla Long’s “On Writing: An Abecedarian” published in The Hudson Review. In alphabet-titled paragraphs, the author sought to explain the act of writing . L, of course, is for Library. This sentiment has kept me company through the drafting of this post:
The smell of old books, their glue and embossed covers and sewn bindings. The weight of a fat book in your hand as you turn the page. The silence seeming to emanate from rows and stacks of books. The rustling of another patron pulling down a book, opening it, turning its pages.
And then there’s this: The only thing that you absolutely have to know . . . is the location of the library. —Albert Einstein
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.