We're just days away from one of my favorite points on the spring calendar and I've prepared for it, as I always do, by having my eyeglasses steamed clean so that I can practically rival Clark Kent for visual acuity.
I'm prepping, as you may have already guessed for the Friends of Otis Library Book Sale which kicks off this Friday morning and runs through Sunday afternoon at three.
This Friday morning will again feature a sneak preview from nine to ten that collectors from across the Northeast gladly pay $10 for the head start it allows them on all manner of goodies and great deals, but don't worry there's a basement chock full of hard cover and paperback books, compact discs, audio cassettes (remember them? I do. Ouch!), DVDs, of every genre and description.
If you're going to tell me you'd love to go but there's always 'problems with parking,' just stop right there. When we say that about downtown Norwich what we really mean is we cannot take the car into the library with us. There's plenty of municipal parking with hundreds of spaces no more than four minutes' from the Library. Just walk.
And it's okay to take a break from the book browsing to grab a bite at one of the restaurants that seem to be everywhere on every path from the library. What kind of food do you want for lunch-it's right there, steps away from Franklin Square-good deals on great meals.
The book sale is a great way to stock up your home shelves (in my case we might need to buy some more and find space for them), which is already terrific but, in light of the fiscal challenges libraries across the state are facing as budget reductions cut in even deeper than previously feared, the money raised from the three-day sale helps keep the O in Otis. Actually it might be the "T" as well, I'm not always sure.
What I am sure about is that libraries are far more than the sum of the goods and services they offer which too often means it's very difficult to put an accurate price tag on their value to all of us throughout the community who use them.
We're fortunate in Connecticut that there are so many inter-library programs in place across the state. Library patrons in Norwich can avail ourselves of products and services from larger metro areas with more plentiful resources. At least so far.
Without intending to harsh your pre-book sale buzz, many of those patron services could be constrained or curtailed, sacrificed on the altar of so-called fiscal responsibility, which is why the dollars raised by the Friends of Otis are even more important than they already always are.
What is Otis worth to you or your family aside from a trip downtown to rummage through the shelves and bag yourself some bargains? Check out this page on the Otis Library website, "Library Use Value Calculator," and prepare to be surprised.
A cynic, I'm told knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. At this Spring's Friends of Otis Library, show how valuable this regional resource is to you, and buy a bag of books. Borrow my glasses and buy two bags.