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Local Columnists

WRITE TEAM: For the love of book stores and libraries

If someone said to me, “I’ve got errands to run so I’m just going to drop you off at the book store or library and pick you up in a couple of hours,” I just might put them in my will!

For me it would be the next best thing this side of heaven! A knitter gets a fix by going to a yarn shop or a sewer gets the same feeling when entering a fabric store and it can’t get better for a do-it-yourselfer than to wallow in all the possibilities of a hardware store, Menard’s or Home Depot. Ah, yes, being surrounded by books makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. So much so that I always want to instill that love in others. Our great-granddaughter is just 10 months old, but I seek to impress her with the love of books and reading every chance I get.

Perish the thought we will one day read everything online when it comes to news. I’m not ready to give up reading a newspaper, wrapped up and delivered to my home. I love to keep up with what is going on locally especially and think The Times does a great job with its varied columnists and features. Kudos for giving teens a platform — what they write is a breath of fresh air! I look forward to Lonny Cain’s "Paperwork" each Saturday — I love his style, his humor, the variety of his topics, he makes the reader feel like they are in his brain. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and he provides it in abundance.

Could there be a more plum job than being a librarian or the owner of a book store, surrounded by books every day? Hmmm, I wonder if those people avidly read, or are they like the shoemaker’s family in need of shoes? Alas, where have all the book stores gone? We are soooo fortunate to have an independently owned book store in our midst — how quickly they have faded into obscurity is scary. And the word “independent” is critical as they do not have the big umbrella of a company or corporation. Prairie Fox Books must be supported wholeheartedly if they are to survive the Amazon online invasion. They are all-in with service, suggestions and supply — anything the big guys can do. Customer loyalty and word of mouth advertising is their lifeline. Another “perish the thought” moment just thinking about not having Prairie Fox Books here in our community. They have rallied to the call and have moved to a larger location, to 1. Provide a bigger book selection 2. Accommodate customer needs with various fun, unique and informative book events.

Thankfully, we still have libraries in all the communities around. Besides their plethora of in-house books to peruse and borrowing systems with other libraries, they provide wonderful programs, like 1. American Girl clubs 2. Read to a dog (what could be more inviting to a child?!). And, I well remember when our three grandchildren, who are now 20-22, went to the library in Marseilles as kids to play chess with the old chess master, Mr. Abbott (Burton). He surely enriched their lives! Libraries are often underutilized, especially once we no longer have school-aged children. I’m as guilty as anyone and endeavor to change that. When you travel, they are a great resource for audio books as well — we’ve done that many times. Most of the libraries in the towns around are new structures, but the Marseilles library is housed in an iconic Carnegie architectural beauty built in 1905 — so much history there, you can just feel it. They were able to modernize access in 2018 so it is much, much easier to avail oneself of.

Well, unfortunately, I have run out of words for today. I have so much to say on this subject, I am going to continue it in my next column. In the meantime, happy reading!

LYNNETTE JOHNSON has lived out of state for more than 20 years, but returned home two years ago, settling with her husband in beautiful Marseilles. She can be reached by emailing tsloup@shawmedia.com.

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