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04 May 2010

S.W.M.B.O. is elected to an important public office in our new town

New neighbors urged S.W.M.B.O. to run for Trustee of the Public Library. When she happily agreed she was out of town and phoned me at the last minute and asked me to crank out a Vote For Cynthia poster (above) and spread it around town in time for the election. With permission, the poster went up at the Transfer Station -- taped right above the big hole where everyone has to throw their trash -- the Public Library itself, and the General Store. (The Town Office, Senior Center / Grange Hall and Post Office were closed.)

My efforts as Campaign Manager bore fruit. The polling place closed at 8 pm, and we got a call from the very nice Town Clerk at 10 pm to inform Cynthia she'd been elected, with 38 votes -- which is many more townspeople than we think we actually know or could possibly have met yet. Any voter who wanted to vote for a Trustee had to have memorized the candidate's name, spelled reasonably correctly, to write it on the ballot; no candidate names for this office had been printed on the ballot.

Okay, so our Public Library is not exactly the Library of Congress or the Great Library at Alexandria. 

From the Library's website:

The Chesterfield Public Library is the community connection to reading, lifelong learning, and personal and professional enrichment for people of all ages. The library maintains an open, unbiased environment and upholds the public’s right of access to information. The library also serves as an informal community gathering place.

But it's got books, bunches of books, books crammed floor to ceiling on every wall, it's got computers, it's comfortable, friendly, even intimate, and if a public school student can't find what he/she needs there, the expert librarians will track it down and get it for the kid. With the help and resources of our Library, an ambitious kid can get into Cal Tech or Sarah Lawrence.

The Library -- like every public library in this economy -- is stressed, stripped of traditional funding, important resources it's depended on -- the travelling Bookmobile -- have been shut down. So the challenge is to keep the Library as healthy and strong as possible during the Hard Times, to make sure it keeps serving every patron well. The neighbors thought S.W.M.B.O. would be good at that. She's excited and enthusiastic.

As for matching her talents and interests with this job, S.W.M.B.O. and I are both obsessively fond of books. Books were those physical, tangible things made of sheets of paper with words and images printed on the paper in ink. Older people may remember them. To read them, you sat down in a comfortable chair, held them in both hands and turned the pages one at a time. They didn't use batteries or need to be plugged in or recharged. No wi-fi involved, they just magically already had all the knowledge and wisdom inside them, reliably, every time you opened them.
With a little kindness and respect, some books get very old, and the older they get, the more beautiful they became to the eye, to the touch and to the mind and heart; they even exuded an especially lovely fragrance. I have a wonderful badly knocked around (beloved, used, studied) Euclid published in Philadelphia around 1820, from plates originally published in Edinburgh, Scotland. It thrills me every time I see its spine in my bookcase, and intoxicates me with its nearly two centuries of preserved wisdom whenever I open it. I think it begins

A point is that which hath no dimension.

A line hath one dimension, length.


and with a great big
valise full
of books to read
where it's peaceful
where I'm
killing time
being lazy

............ -- "Lazy" by Irving Berlin

S.W.M.B.O. will be sworn in as Trustee, along with about ten other new and re-elected Town officials, some volunteers, some paid a small salary or stipend, at the upcoming Town Meeting.

I'm Bob, the new Library Trustee's husband (and campaign manager).

1 comment:

patfromch said...

I would like to congratulate Mrs Rumpole to her election as trustee of the local library, good on you, Madam. I have good reason to believe that the reason beind this remarkable event is the result of a thoughtful, intelligent, but not agressive campaign where the issues at hand were more important than the personality of the candidates or irrelevant mud in the backyard.
I say Democracy still works, works best at its roots. It is also worth mentioning the tireless work of your campaign manager, undoubtedly fighting the good fight over the airwaves and billboards for the benefit of the electorate.
I salute you and wish you all the best. May your library prosper and be frequented often, may the aquisition of Darwin or Tom Sawyer to the stock never be questioned by concervative circles and an education reform reign money over your library to make it possible to buy new books during your reign and beyond !

(Just kidding a bit, I would honestly give congrats, good on you guys)