I am honored as incredible library stories are coming in, primarily through the story submission form on this site, as well as via the Ruby Carrel in the Main Branch.
Through these personal library story submissions, I’ve been privy to deep library crushes, revelations, embarrassments, secret drawings, and sonic explorations.
I’ve learned of a beautiful chance meeting in the library long before Google was conceived that revealed a shared fascination with the stories of Flannery O’Connor and led to a lifelong partnership. This story has sparked a plan to make a sculptural intervention in the fiction stacks in the near future as part of Library Study.
A few anonymous excerpted gems:
“When I was pregnant I would go to the comic section, find a female author, and read until I fell asleep on the couch. I baked a baby on a library couch at MIT, while reading Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Julie Doucette, Linda Barry…”
“I love libraries. I feel like all those books, and all those people tending the books, adds up to a creature… a very humane creature.”
“I have vivid memories of books about vikings and cathedrals and feeling small and completely absorbed.”
And with her permission, I’m thrilled to share a full submission from Madeline Fine, life-long resident of Brookline and enthusiastic library patron:
“While a student at Runkle School, in the late 50’s, our music teacher, Ursula Feychek, inspired us with the love of music. One of the ways she had us really pay attention to a piece was to introduce the sound of an instrument and then have us listen to it within a composition. We also were challenged to identify these instrument sounds in other compositions. She would also encourage us to ‘feel’ the music and to create an internal ‘painting’ in our mind. Grand Canyon Suite was one she suggested for Ferde Grofe’s brilliant orchestration. I would sit, literally for hours, in the then music room at the Main Branch on Washington St. The turntables were situated with comfortable seats near them. Here was where I would listen for flute, piccolo, violin, celesta, cymbals, drum, piano, woodwinds & brass, and inventively coconut shells, etc. With my eyes closed I would be transported to a wonderful place vividly described by instrumentation. I feel blessed to have studied music with such a passionate teacher as Ms. Feychek and to be so privileged as to enjoy our wonderful library, then and now!!!”
I’m thinking through ways I might be able to revive this listening station in the Main Branch, ideally with an actual turntable, to bring Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite to patrons today. Learn more about the orchestration here in a nice piece from All Things Considered on NPR, and see a sweet photo of a vintage Ann Arbor Library listening station here.
Share your stories if you will, and let me know if I may use your name or if you would prefer to remain anonymous. Thank you!