Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Initial Success

According to survey I just made up children who are raised with books in their homes have 75% fewer misspellings on their visible tattoos (no results yet, on other kinds of tats). If you had difficulty reading that sentence, perhaps the problem isn't confined to tattoos, Mr. Roark. Of course, if you could read it, thank a teacher and a librarian.

I, my brothers and sisters were fortunate growing up to have a houseful of books and my wife and I did very much the same in the household in which we raised our two children. Literacy is not a lost art, but in the not too distant future when Carmen San Diego finds Waldo, he'll probably be reading a book, about striped shirts but holding it upside down (oh! the humanity!).

In the world today it's not just television, video games, computers or smart phones that are changing our relationship to the written word, it's the tendency to regard books as a rationed resource or a luxury we feel we can't afford.

Neither of those is the case, especially this weekend in Norwich. Starting this Friday, at 9 in the morning with an Early Bird preview hour (ten dollars gets you first crack at some delectables and collectibles), the Friends of Otis Library unlock the basement doors for their Annual Spring Sale.

Aside from that Early Bird business, the entire three days is free (even rhymes!) and whatever your heart, mind and eyes desire can be found. All winter long, the Friends have been sorting and organizing for this Bookanalia. Sports, history, biography, gardening (since Spring seems to finally be here), mystery, classics of traditional and modern literature and categories invented since I started writing this sentence are all sorted, stacked and shelved throughout the subterranean recesses at bargain basement prices.

And it's not just books. There are CD's, DVD's BVD's (I could be making this up, tread lightly) and prices are so low you'll buy twice as much as you planned at a fraction of the cost. On any of the days you stop by the library, and free admission is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and from noon to 3 on Sunday, you'll learn there's all kinds of free parking in downtown, despite what people who never go there keep saying.

And after your book-buying binge, follow your nose and sate your ravenous hungere (they are selling dictionaries you know) and check out one of the restaurants as close to Otis Library as Dewey is to Decimal. You can work up quite an appetite book shopping, a lot of people don't know that; don't be one of them. Because you haven't been in downtown in awhile you may not have noticed, but we have terrific places for a quick bite or to savor a full meal.

And isn't it strange how many people you'll see on the sidewalks and crosswalks in a downtown that those no-parking experts insist aren't even there. And if the weather is even close to the spring we feel we are entitled to, it'll be a perfect time to break out one of those purchases and enjoy a sidewalk scene and a coffee. Perhaps you'll be inspired to write the next Great American Novel. I think I know a library where people will really enjoy it.
-bill kenny

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