Our Little Bibliothèque

December 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

I have been thinking about libraries lately.

One of the things I have been thinking about is how for as long as  libraries have existed, and wherever they have existed, how important they have been, and how important librarians have been to writers when they were children, when most of them were probably more readers than writers. Especially (but not only) writers who grew up in small towns or rural areas.

I’ve also been thinking about how important libraries and librarians are not only for writers, but for EVERYONE!!

And finally, I have been thinking about how dedicated librarians tend to be. What other profession do you know where the practitioners are kind of constantly proselytizing, saying things like I remember my friend Ginnie (and other librarians I have known) often saying. “You could ask your librarian to help you with that…” or “You can get help with that at the library, you know…”

Who else goes around looking for extra work, with no extra reward, that way? And so cheerfully, too?!

Through these urgings I learned that the work of librarians is helpful in a far wider range of human problem-solving than most people realize. It is not just finding where a certain book is!

To me it is one sign of a healthy community, whether that community is an urban neighborhood, or a small town, to have a library. It is a sign that the people of that community know how important having a library is, and that their government has made it a priority to do what it takes to maintain one.

So today I want to tell you about our little library in Essoyes, and about our librarian, who just retired after 24 years of service to this community.

I had hoped to interview her but she respectfully declined to be profiled. (I think this is probably because she, like many librarians, is rather modest.) But she said it would be okay with her if I wrote about the celebration at which the village of Essoyes honored her, and wished her well in her retirement.

I was at the celebration but I was too shy to take pictures of it (and also I was standing in entirely the wrong place to be able to do that without ruining the moment).

I can tell you that the expression on the face of the little girl who presented her with a book in which the children of the village had written their thanks, beautifully illustrated with their drawings, was pricelessly sweet. I am glad I did not try to capture her face at that moment, but I wish I had thought to take a few pictures of the drawings in the book. They too were precious, and sweet, and clear evidence that our librarian has touched the hearts of these children. I suspect that they will probably remember her for a very long time, as someone who was important to them in their early years as readers.

The other thing I wish I had taken a picture of is the beautiful hors d’oeuvres that were served at the party. Oh my gosh! They were lovely indeed, as well as delicious, and I could have taken their picture without being too intrusive.

So, okay. Here is my New Year’s resolution. I promise myself (and my readers) to pay more attention to food in the New Year. This is something that will make me a better writer, and it will probably be good for my general health as well. 🙂

That is all for today. Wishing you all a safe and pleasant holiday season ahead!

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She leads book groups at the American Library in Paris, writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” each summer, in Paris, for Queens College, CUNY.






Entry filed under: About Essoyes, Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

November in Essoyes (2017 Version) Bonne Nouvelle Année from Essoyes

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