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Here is the entire "periodical section" of my town's 900-square-foot library (the rack only has room for three issues of each periodical, which are displayed in alphabetical order. Issues older than three months must be discarded.).

Now look more closely . . .

Unless you are vegetarian . . . )
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My question now is, "But did they donate, too?"

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In many ways, time has stood still at Shutesbury's M. N. Spear Memorial Library. As you'll see from the video you'll find on the link below, the 900-square-foot building, built in 1902 for a population of 400, has scarcely changed.

Today, with a population close to 1800 -- lacking not only a community center, but even a place where one can meet a friend for coffee -- we need a library that can serve future generations as well as those of the past. We need a place truly accessible to all, with room enough to comfortably browse the shelves, read, study, search the Internet, and attend community gatherings of every kind.  (Running water and flush toilets would be lovely, too!)

By early January, the Friends of the Library had already raised $170,316 in donations and pledges from individuals in town (I was among them). A few days later, we received a generous anonymous Challenge Gift. It would match new donations dollar for dollar – up to $150,000! So if we could raise $150,000 in additional gifts on top of what we already had, we’d receive another $150,000 – for $300,000 in all!  Gifts are tax-deductible, and will be doubled in value to support the Friends of the Spear Memorial Library New Library Fund.

But time is of the essence.

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has given the Town of Shutesbury an extension until June 30, 2012 to secure the $1.4 million in local funding required to receive a $2.1 million state library construction grant. Now we’re racing the clock to qualify for the full Challenge Gift, because it will move us significantly closer to our goal.

I have volunteered at the library since 1995. Conditions are so crowded, I and another volunteer joke that we are in a game of "Twister" as we try to do our jobs behind the circulation desk. One dare not stand on the metal heat grate in the floor for more than 10 seconds, because the heat will melt the soles of one's shoes!

You'll find more information on the link, as well as a cute video that includes a quick shot of yours truly pointing out our composting toilet!

Please visit the site, and consider making a contribution to a cause that is very close to my heart. Thank you.

Shutesbury needs a new library! -
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One of the people behind the library video on YouTube just wrote:

Video up to 10,966 views. Donations in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates. And you wouldn't believe the activity over at!/MNSpearLibrary
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(My moment of fame is the scene with the composting toilet!)

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By request, a volunteer put out 35 "Yes for New Library" lawn signs on Sunday. In less than a day, two have been vandalized, and one (his own) stolen.

Meanwhile, I spent this evening selecting and printing out about 35-40 photos of 250th anniversary events for a display at a school play tomorrow, under the heading, "The Spirit of Community."

I was asked to do this precisely to try to remind people of the sense of community all our events appeared to foster. But as someone said at a committee meeting last week, that sense of community was more fragile than we'd realized.


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December 2016

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