Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April is Library Month (copy)

The month of April provides ample reasons to visit your local library. Thanks to American lawmakers, we may celebrate National Library Week, Reading is Fun Week, and TV Turn-Off Week all within National Poetry Month.

Although, the month is almost finished, it isn’t too late to participate in reading. How? Well, stop by any library and choose books from their overflowing shelves. One might get lucky and catch a colorful display promoting these national events.

Our library is currently featuring Billy Collins’ poetry books. He is a treat to read. Listen to his voice in the poem, “Dear Reader.” “Baudelaire considers you his brother, and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs as if to make sure you have not closed the book, and now I am summoning you up again, attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing in the doorway of these words.”

Collins can induce anyone to giggle, even us serious librarians. In his poem, “Marginalia,” the reader enjoys others’ notes placed alongside the book’s text. Officially, I discourage marginalia in library books; otherwise, please enjoy this poem.

“Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.”

So, “don’t be a ninny,” visit your local library and celebrate reading.