The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
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Set in 1930’s Appalachia, and inspired by the true stories of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the Kentucky Pack Horse library service, this new book is winning praise and acclaim for its beautifully written story of courage, hope, and the power of the written word to connect us all. One review by fellow author Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) describes it as “a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack, dispensing literacy, hope, and - just as importantly - a compassionate human connection.”

As a firm believer in the power of the written word, this novel is immediately being added to my TO BE READ list!

-Executive Admin, Vanessa

ImagineIF Admin
Discovery of 500-Year-Old Library Reveals Books Lost to Time
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Here’s one for all you history buffs delighting in treasure troves from the past. A library catalog containing thousands of summaries of books from 500 years ago has recently been found in Copenhagen, where it has existed untouched for almost 350 years. The collection belonged to Hernando Colòn, the illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus.

After amassing his collection, Colòn went to work with a team of writers to read every piece and summarize each one in what is now known as The Libro de los Epitòmes. A virtual time capsule, this article from The Guardian describes the resulting manuscript as a “discovery of immense importance, not only because it contains so much information about how people read 500 years ago, but also, because it contains summaries of books that no longer exist, lost in every other form than these summaries.”

A comprehensive account of the library is being worked on, with plans to publish in 2020. There is also work in progress to digitize the manuscript.

-Board member, Valerie

ImagineIF Admin
It's Okay To Be Less Picky About What You're Reading
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Ever feel like you’re spending all your time researching what to read next instead of just reading? You’re not alone. Reading is a time commitment, even if it is rewarding, in our otherwise busy lives. And that’s why it makes sense that we seem to pressure ourselves to read things we deem worthwhile.

But this refreshing article from BookRiot presents a counter-intuitive idea. What if we use our libraries to be less intentional about what we read, and read more instead? The author smartly ruminates “the chief benefit the library serves in my own life is to make me a more adventurous reader. Not every book I take out of the library becomes a new favorite, but the experience of reading them is enriching, nonetheless.”

And she’s so right! Why aren’t we using the simple (and FREE!) method of borrowing library books to our advantage? If reading equals joy, then we should most definitely spend more time doing it, no matter what we choose to read!

-Library Director, Connie

ImagineIF Admin
The Thirst of Learning
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In this NPR StoryCorps segment, Ronald Clark reflects on his unique upbringing, at least in location. In the 1940’s it wasn’t uncommon for the library custodial staff to take up residence where they worked, and that’s how Ronald came to live in a branch of the Manhattan library with his family and custodian father, whom Ronald lovingly refers to as the “keeper of the temple.”

His story is touching, and demonstrates the notion that when you surround yourself with knowledge, inspiration, and action, are not far behind.

-Board member, Valerie

L: Ronald Clark and his daughter, Jamilah

ImagineIF Admin
Books Are Not Dead
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This relevant article from Time explores one of the surprisingly frequent discussions we find ourselves in with patrons, supporters, donors and the general public, alike. Do people still read books? Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation, gives her opinion in this short essay from Time’s 2019 Optimists issue. And her answer is optimistically resolute.

Books aren’t just about reading, they’re about connection to and exploration of the world around you. They’re about hope. As Ms. Lucas so eloquently reminds us, “Storytelling is fundamental to human beings. It is how we explore and make sense of this world and understand one another. Literature strengthens our imagination. If we all have the tools to try to imagine a better world, we’re already halfway there.”

-Foundation Admin, Vanessa

ImagineIF Admin
Spread the (LIBRARY) love on February 14th

Betcha didn’t know that February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, it’s also Library Lover’s Day - a very special day to honor the libraries, librarians, bookworms and library lovers in your life! Here are some ways to get out and spread the love:

  1. Show your appreciation by volunteering your time or donating to your local library Foundation.

  2. Visit the library! Take your family, take your friends, take your colleagues. Encourage them to love it as much as you do!

  3. Thank your local library staff at ImagineIF. They are talented, inspired, and passionate, and we are so lucky to have them!

    -Board member, MB

ImagineIF Admin
A Compelling Case That Libraries are One of Our Most Crucial Social Institutions
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In this NY Times Opinion piece the author, Eric Klinenberg, advocates what we already know to be true: libraries are a necessary social institution. For almost two centuries, public libraries have offered a unique haven that nary another brick and mortar structure has been able to provide. In addition to access to free information for all, libraries continue to be one-stop-shops that offer those critical intangible currencies -knowledge, camaraderie, interaction -all in a welcoming space that you just can’t seem to find anywhere else.

-Foundation Admin, Vanessa

ImagineIF Admin
This American Life's "Room of Requirement" Will Have You In Tears

Last week’s This American Life, “The Room of Requirement”, chronicled three stories of libraries, and more importantly, librarians, filling unexpected but critical roles in the lives of patrons. All three stories are wonderful, but the third act is a real doozy.

As a child Lydia Sigwarth was insulated from the trauma of homelessness by the boundless welcome of the place where her family took refuge- the Dubuque Public Library in Iowa. She was insulated so well, in fact, that she didn’t realize her family had been homeless until adulthood. She revisits her childhood library and reconnects with the librarian who made her feel so cared for during what could have been the worst periods of her life, but wasn’t.

I’ve seen this same scenario playing out at ImagineIF weekly, and it struck a resounding chord to hear an adult reminiscence about the graciousness of a librarian to a disenfranchised child.

Grab a tissue and have a listen.

-Executive Director, Charlotte

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