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This Book is Not for Everyone March 26, 2010

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Clubs, Books, Fiction, Literature, Mysteries, Public libraries, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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It’s a great joy when you recommend a book to someone, and they just adore it.  Recently I recommended the wonderful British mystery writer, Peter Robinson, to a long time patron.  When she stopped by yesterday, she thanked me and was looking forward to reading more of his books.

However, it can be deflating when you love a book and the person you recommend it to does not share your enthusiasm.  I have had book clubs disappointed with two of my all time favorites, Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.  My friend Peggie was lukewarm about another favorite, Raney by Clyde Edgerton, though she truly loved my recommendation of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz.  And my supervisor, a former children’s librarian and outstanding human being, inexplicably does not like Winnie-the-Pooh.

It happens with me, too.  I finally gave up on the immensely popular and critically acclaimed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, mostly because I found parts of it too brutal for my taste.  And both the aforementioned Peggie and another friend, Joanne, highly recommended The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille.  I just bogged down and stopped listening to the audiobook.  I’m not really sure why.

Please keep on recommending books, because when it goes right, you make a truly fabulous connection.  Just remember that we may not love the same books.  But in the library, the good part is that the price is right and we have no problem when you bring the item in for a return or exchange!

Happy Reading,

The Book Goddess

Farewell to 100 Clematis Street March 5, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Librarians, Public libraries, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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Two weeks from today, the West Palm Beach Public Library building at 100 Clematis Street will close for the last time.  Sometime in April, a wonderful new West Palm Beach Public Library building will open at 411 Clematis Street.  

We are looking forward to having more space, more computers, and more resources with which to serve our citizens.  We are working long hours to ensure that the new library will be the best ever.  I cannot say enough good things about the inspired leadership of our Director, Chris Murray, and our Assistant Director, Lisa Webb, and I am sure you will be wonderfully impressed when we open. 

But before we turn off the lights and lock the door, let’s say a few kind words about the library building where I have spent most of my working life (and my entire professional career). 

Cast your mind back to 1962.  When the new building at 100 Clematis Street opened, it was a wonderful modern facility with an abstract frieze in luscious colors surrounding the top of the building.  Fountains flanked the entrance.  It was featured in several library publications and was a proud accomplishment for architect Norman Robson. 

At 100 Clematis Street, books were checked out by the thousands and eventually the hundreds of thousands.  Generations of children attended countless story times.  The reference librarians answered more questions than you can imagine on every conceivable topic. 

Sometime in the 1980’s, we began to use computers.  In the 1990’s, along came the Internet and it was not just a fad.  The library building was changing, too.  The frieze was removed as it was thought to be a safety issue during hurricanes.  The fountains were removed and a new façade was placed on the building.  

Ten years ago, under the visionary leadership of then Library Director Pam Sandlian Smith, we had a brilliant interior makeover by designer Peter Robinson.  It was one of those transitions that change everything.  We approached our work with a new energy.  Customers were delighted.  The library bloomed! 

We bloomed so much that the walls of this building could hardly contain us, and that ultimately led to the wonderful new facility at 411 Clematis.    

It will be a great day when we open, but I will certainly not leave the old building without a backward glance.  I know that the City of West Palm Beach is a finer community because of our Library.   I am a better human being for the years I have spent there, for the work I have done, for the staff and public I have encountered.  Many, many thanks to all of you! 

Fondly,

The Book Goddess