End-of-Summer greetings, Massillon Public Library patrons and supporters. I can’t believe how quickly these months have passed. When we left the library at 8 pm last evening, I noticed how much earlier the sun is setting. Summer Reading Club has passed again with what looks to be record participation, and staff have been gearing up for events like Kindergarten registration and the Salvation Army’s school supply giveaway. I read yesterday that one of the local stores is already carrying Christmas decorations, but that’s just plain crazy!
By the time you read this, construction on the pillars will have already started. Thanks to many generous individual donors, a recent grant from the Massillon Rotary Club, and a second substantial donation from the Gessner Family Foundation, we have the funds for the project. Thank you all so much.
If you drive by the building, you’ll also notice that a decorative gold shield that hung above the porch is missing. With no warning, several weeks ago it simply fell onto the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon, and we feel blessed that no one was hurt or worse. The decoration is original to the 1936 building, and is constructed of plaster and horsehair. The largest chunk takes two people to lift. Where will we find another like it? That’s the current puzzle we look forward to solving with the help of architects and contractors.
I do want to address a library-related issue with you that has recently been in the newspaper. You might have seen a letter to the editor from me regarding the library’s move from print to online reference sources. Following my letter, a very regular library user and supporter still had concerns about the issue because of his understandable love for traditional books. I expect some of you might have similar concerns, so I asked “Guest Columnist” Jessica Watkins, our Adult Services Manager, to answer them in this column. Since I once was the reference librarian, the subject is near and dear to my heart, but I think you might also get tired of only my perspective. Here is her response:
"In a Letter to the Editor dated July 20th, 2016, a patron made an impassioned plea for the Massillon Public Library to keep outdated and inaccurate reference materials on its shelves. He recalled the time he spent paging through a print encyclopedia as a child and bemoaned the fact that students who visit the Massillon Public Library today may not have that same opportunity. While I appreciate his concerns, his letter demonstrates that he does not understand the role of the reference collection in a public library.
I agree that print encyclopedias can be valuable resources. I too have many fond memories of losing myself in a random volume of my parents’ Encyclopedia Britannica set as a child in the late 1980’s. It was a great tool for discovery, and it helped to spark my curiosity to such an extent that I grew up to become a librarian. However, I also knew that much of the information it contained was outdated. It made reference to countries that no longer existed, scientific theories that had been disproven, and technology that seemed cutting-edge when the encyclopedia was published but had since been superseded. As much as I enjoyed paging through it, I knew that this aged encyclopedia was not an acceptable source for timely, up to date information. When I had questions that required timely, up to date answers, I turned to the public library, which I knew would have access to the overall best resources to answer my questions.
As the Adult Services Manager of the Massillon Public Library, it is my duty to make sure that our Reference Department provides access to the most current and accurate resources available that meet the needs of our patrons. Many of these resources still exist in print, but many more -- including our general encyclopedias -- have transitioned to online databases that can be updated with greater frequency. These are not websites, but subscription-based databases provided by the same companies that used to publish the print books of the same name. They are every bit as accurate and trustworthy as their print predecessors, if not more so.
The World Book Encyclopedia set that was most recently discarded was published in 2007, and it was not replaced with another encyclopedia set because they are no longer being printed. The letter-writer may consider a resource that is nearly ten years old to be only “slightly outdated,” but I do not share that opinion. My primary concern is accuracy, not nostalgia, and I believe that it would be irresponsible to keep this print encyclopedia set on the shelves when a better and more current alternative exists.
Although today’s students may not have the opportunity to browse a print encyclopedia the way the writer and I did, I am confident that they will find plenty of other resources to satisfy their intellectual curiosity at the Massillon Public Library, both in print and online. I would encourage anyone with questions to stop in. The Reference Department staff and I would be glad to answer your questions, demonstrate our print and online resources, and help you take advantage of everything the library has to offer."
Sherie here again. I wanted to close as always with a book suggestion. I was on vacation last week and read four books all for pleasure. The one I’ve already handed off to my sister is the best I’ve read in some time, Lauren Belfer’s And After the Fire. In the ruins of Germany after the war, an American soldier takes a manuscript from a piano bench that turns out to be an unknown J.S. Bach composition with blatant anti-Semitic text. Part of this spellbinding novel traces the piece of music from Bach himself up to that abandoned house. The rest follows the story of the soldier’s niece and several Bach scholars as they try to piece together the story and in some cases, come to terms with their own faith. It will stay with you. I can also highly recommend Belfer’s City of Light, a richly imagined story of Buffalo in 1901, including a murder at the Niagara Falls power plant, and of course President McKinley’s assassination. That reminds me that she has a third novel I’ve not read, so I’m going right now to find it before you beat me to it!
Coloring for Grown-Ups
The Outreach Department will be at the Massillon Salvation Army on Wednesday, August 3 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m to issue library cards for the annual Back-to-School Program.
Genealogical Society Meeting
Animals from the Akron Zoo
Red Cross Blood Drive
The Pam S. Belloni Branch Library will hold its annual Book Sale from Monday, August 15th through Friday, 19th. The hours for the book sale on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the sale will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Massillon Fun Fest
Askren Branch Book Club
Family Movie Night
Pinterest Craft Series
Monday Book Discussion
Board of Trustees Meeting
Coloring for Teens
"Birds of Prey" Family Program
Works in Oil by Lynn Buckland
The Computer Center is currently featuring the art of Lynn Buckland.
Lynn lives in Wooster and has been painting with oils for twenty years. She started painting in 1985 and has taken classes with Nancy Helmuth, Sherry Dennis, and most recently at the Wayne Center for the Arts. Buckland enjoys painting portraits, landscapes, flowers, and animals. She most often paints in oil but she also enjoys working with ceramics, and writing poetry. Buckland states, "Art adds to each life it touches."
Lynn's work will be on display through September 3rd.
Are you interested in displaying your 2-D art? We are seeking art for our Computer Center. Exhibits will be on display for two months. All art must be able to be hung on the wall. Space is limited, so no more than eight (8) small pieces can be accepted.
For more information, contact Jessica Shoemaker at 330-832-9831 ext. 311.
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