Archive for August, 2008

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Eloquent words…about words

August 26, 2008

The other day I was shopping at Tuttle’s Hallmark and a book caught my eye. 

The eye-catching red book, a part of the (PRODUCT) RED campaign, was entitled: Be Inspi(red): Words of Hope and Courage.  (I think maybe Lisa saw me coming when she bought this for the store.)  Anyway, I had no intention of buying a book when I went into the store.  I went in for a box of thank you cards!

If you aren’t familiar with (RED) here is more info: 

(RED) was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver, Chairman of DATA to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund by teaming up with the world’s most iconic brands to produce (PRODUCT)RED branded products. A percentage of each (PRODUCT)RED product sold is given to The Global Fund. The money helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The book is absolutely beautiful, striking in its simplicity.  Well crafted and stunningly designed. There was no way I couldn’t buy it.

When I got home I immediately opened the book and began to read.   The following words greeted me as a way of introduction:

If you ever doubt the power of language, listen more closely. Witness the magic the first time someone whispers “I love you.”

Watch a woman put on headphones, close her eyes, and have her life changed by a lyric.

See a bad moment flipped upside down by a well-timed joke.

Words propel us, empower us make us human…and more than human.

We constantly struggle to say what we mean and mean what we say.

To “wrestle with words and meanings.” That’s what T.S. Eliot calls it.

But as we whisper and shout, stutter and spin, we create order out of the chaos around us. We are built of words, and we live by them, too.

Wow.  What a powerful piece of writing.  I guess it’s safe to say that I agree because I have a fundamental belief in the power of words.   Used for good, words can heal, enlighten, lift, console, educate.  Words truly do inspire. 

Every day this library staff sees someone whose life is in need of “words”.   Every day, our staff makes great effort to help connect that person with just the right words.   It’s an amazing process, sac(red) in its own way.  Last year our library tallied over 185,000 visits from citizens.  Hey, that’s a lot of word searching!

I’d like to share a couple of messages from the book that resonated with me (just a few, so I don’t have to worry about copyright):

Empowe(red)  Dig deep.  Look within.  It’s all there inside you.  Except sometimes…it’s not.  Everybody has days when all the digging deep only turns up mud.  And that’s when you hand over the shovel.  You reach out.  You let somebody give you what you can’t mine for yourself.  We are strongest together, holding hands.          

Remembe(red)  That’s the question.  What do you want to be remembered for?  It’s not really about what you made of your life.  It’s about how you made your life.  How you made the world.  Maybe just a little bit better?  Then you’re doing fine.

Perseve(red) It takes a glacier about a year to move as far as you can walk in a few minutes.  Eventually, it carves out canyons and slaps up mountains.  It permanently changes the world.  Just by keeping at it.  So can you.

I am very mindful of the value of our library’s place in our community.  And that’s why it’s so important to protect and envision the future of our very own treasure trove…of words.

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A graphic expression of our library’s words

August 22, 2008


As you might imagine, I’ve been thinking (a lot) lately about how we might use words to tell our library’s story. I discovered a clever website that allows you to create art with words.

All I had to do was cut the words from my post “Why expand the library?” and paste them into the Wordle website and voila! (Good thing it was that simple, because I’m no artist.)

If you want to see the words up close, you can view them in the Wordle Gallery. Just click on the words “Wordle Gallery” (in blue in the previous sentence) and you’ll go to this particular work of art on the Wordle web site.

It’s pretty amazing! Try it yourself with some of your favorite words!

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Highlights of the workshop

August 21, 2008

The library’s building committee met on Monday with architect Del Wilson to review the Workshop Summary Book. 

I’m delighted to report that the findings detail that our library’s program needs will be able to be met well into the future at the Dwight Foster Public Library with smart planning.  Here are a few highlights of the report:

  • The library expansion project will remodel the existing 21,000 square feet and add 12,000 square feet resulting in a final building size of 33,000 square feet.
  • The children’s department will be located on the main floor in the new space.
  • The lower level of the existing library will serve as the main floor in the evolving plan.
  • The exterior archtiecture, while not copying the original building, will be respectful of its historic context.
  • The main entry will be relocated where it can become a “grade level” entry without exterior steps or ramps.
  • Adquate parking is available in adjacent municipal lots and on street.
  • The project cost is estimated at $5.5 million (in 2009 dollars.)

If you are interested in seeing the Workshop Summary Book, please contact me.  It provides more detail about how the decisions were made and illustrates the ways the programmatic plan will fit into the 33,000 square feet.

We are continuing to move step by step through the process and will report our progress.  It’s an exciting time!  Each decision moves us one step closer to writing the next chapter for our community’s library.    

Stay tuned!  We’ve got more work to do…  

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Many thanks are due

August 7, 2008

For two full days recently, a group of people worked on planning the library of Fort Atkinson’s future.  Included in the process were: the library’s architectural team, library space planner, city council members, city staff, library board members, library friends, and staff members.

We are deeply grateful to everyone who participated.  Your input was invaluable.

We talked about all things library building related, including whether we would be able to incorporate new library services into the building.  For example, we talked about self service checkout and RFID (radio frequency identification) for materials handling.  These are two ways to increase efficiency while maximizing the staff’s ability to provide service.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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