Cayuga Community Connectors Unveils Four Little Free Libraries
You may have passed a little free library in your neighborhood on your way to the bus stop: a small house-shaped box atop a post in someone’s front yard. A sign, “Take a Book; Leave a Book,” invites passers-by to pause and unlatch the clear front door to more closely inspect the books inside.
On Friday, April 20, Cayuga Community Connectors unveiled four new little libraries, bringing the number of free libraries to more than 10. I’m uncertain about the exact number, since not all “stewards” as the people who own and maintain the libraries are called, choose to register on the website, www.littlefreelibrary.org, and thus become part of the official count.
One library owner said that everyone who walks by smiles when they see the sign. Some take a book; one asked if she could leave a book. The Rev. Glenda Hope talked about the little boy next door who always checks her free library for new children’s books and has taken to replacing the books he takes with one of his own.
A good-sized crowd joined Friday’s ribbon-cutting walk. Each stop occasioned readings – favorite poems, selections from a larger work, an original poem by Dolores Fierro. Four of the Eng children shared pages from their favorite books, with GG, one of the 10 siblings, and Mel Noguera reading a section from one of their favorite books.
By the time we reached the fourth house, two more Cayuga Connectors volunteered to install little libraries in their front yards. After the last red ribbon had been cut, selections read, photos taken, and books exchanged, the crowd gathered in Hope’s house for pizza and laughter.
More libraries are on the way.
The District 7 Youth Council is preparing to establish four more libraries, including at least one in the Ingleside. They’re looking for locations that are well-travelled and far from a public library. “The box kits are in the city waiting to be assembled and the library has promised some start-up books,” said Council member Paige Quaintance, who even plans to donate some of the books from her childhood library. “We’re looking for stewards,” she said. “Some of the council members are juniors and seniors and won’t be around to care for the libraries. We’re hoping to recruit stewards who will be here long term.”
For information on how the San Francisco Public Library can help you install a little free library, contact Naomi Jelks at Naomi.email@example.com or 415-557-4411. Contact Patti Spaniak, Cayuga Community Connectors, for information on Cayuga libraries: firstname.lastname@example.org; 649-409-7775. If you can help the D7 Youth Council with their little free libraries, contact Jarlene Choy: email@example.com, 415-554-6519.
Book recommendation: Happiness is a Choice You Make
If you’re a senior or the child of a senior, do yourself a favor and read “Happiness is a Choice You Make” by John Leland. A new book, it’s available at the San Francisco Public Library. Although when I looked the other day, the waiting list for the library’s 50 copies held 58 names.
Leland, an award-winning New York Times journalist, followed a group of six diverse New York City elders, 85 and over for one year. At the same time, he was going through a divorce and had been thrust into the caregiver role for his 89 year-old mother, both of which play strongly into the book.
At the start of the assignment, Leland “hoped to show the pains and hardships of old age. … What else, I reasoned, was old age made of.”
What he learned was very different.
“A lesson of old age is that it’s not what you think and the debilities you thought defined people are often just more things you live with. We’d do ourselves a big favor not to be scared of growing old, but to embrace the mixed bag that the years have to offer, however severe the losses.”
Leland relied on his mother and the six seniors to teach him about aging. “They’re the real experts in the field.”
However, because the elders’ lives so closely support “the positivity effect,” identified by Stanford longevity researcher Laura Carstensen, he devotes several pages to this concept of selective attention and memory – ‘vividly recalling the good times and forgetting about the bad.”
For more on the positivity effect, check Carstensen’s TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_carstensen_older_people_are_happier.
Happiness is a Choice You Make is a well-written and inspiring book, I highly recommend it. Read my review.
Health Resource Fair for All Ages
Free Health Resource Fair, Saturday May 19 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the YMCA, 4080 Mission Street. Free health screenings, engaging speakers, group exercise demonstrations, healthy snacks, produce giveaway and more! For more information, contact Genny Pinzon at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 415-452-7581.