Thank goodness for the library!

Jul 26, 2019 | 0 comments

So, here I am at the Ocean Park Timberland Library and not for any of the reasons that Andrew Carnegie might have imagined, either.  After all, the Carnegie libraries — more than 2,000 of them — Carnegie  were built between 1883 and 1929, long years before computers and the internet were invented or even dreamed of.

And, basically, that’s why I’m here.  I need to access the internet for several reasons — not the least being to post this blog — and, even though I spent more than an hour on the phone with the nice-but-ineffective Century Link troubleshooter, I am informed that I will be without internet access for a while yet.  “If possible” a technician will come to do some further troubleshooting on Monday.  Those words “if possible” never seem to sound anything but ominous.

Alameda Public Library (my first library experience 1941-1946)

Mr. Carnegie envisioned that libraries would “bring books and information to all people.” He gave over $60 million to that end — a vast fortune in 20th-century dollars.  His offer was to build and furnish libraries to cities who agreed to maintain and staff them.  He systematically funded 2,507 libraries throughout the English-speaking world including some belonging to universities. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. By 1930, half the American public libraries had been built by Carnegie!

Ocean Park Timberland Library

Our Timberland Library in Ocean Park is not one of the Carnegie Libraries, but I’m sure that he would approve of it.  And I’m equally sure that he’d love “the modern touches” — like the computer area and the internet access.  Who wouldn’t?

And, not to worry if I’m “dark” (as in invisible and silent) for a few days.  As fabulous as this connection to the outer world is, it’s not exactly as convenient as schlepping into my office in my bathrobe and slippers…  As my mother often lamented, “Why me, oh lord?  Why me?”



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