Subject: Christmahaunnakwanzaawalpurgistide Cool Kid Checking In

Hey Pam —

First let me say that you are the coolest of all the cool kids for being a library activist. It’s something everyone can get behind. Here in Sumner County, Tennessee, they tried to shut down ALL the libraries less than a year ago. Public outcry followed and the idea was nixed, but they’re still operating on a very frayed shoelace.[/readermail]

Christmas is always hard for me and my family; sadly, the “gift” part becomes horribly stressful because we are such very different people. However, you’ve inspired me to do something better this year. My mom was a schoolteacher for thirty years before an accident forced her to take early retirement. She’s one of those moms who insists to high heaven that she doesn’t really need anything for Christmas, to just get her anything. Plus, we have an eighteen-month-old celebrating his second Christmas.

So the Gallatin public library is getting books in almost everybody’s name this year:

From Mom:

The Princess Present (one of the Princess Diaries books);

Great Alta by Jane Yolen, which is a two-book anthology containing a book Mom gave me an autographed copy of about ten or twelve years ago;

and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which I read for a Young Adult Lit class last year and wished so much had been available to me when I was of that age.

From The Baby:

The baby is getting his own copies of The Poky Little Puppy and The Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas, but duplicate copies are going to the library — he’s a BIT young to understand presents that go to other people, but it’ll be great to tell him about when he’s old enough for the library, and to take him to see “his” book. And because he reminds me of the protagonist, I’m donating The Little Prince.

In my dad’s name, I wanted to give the library this children’s book about adoption that was read to me when I was tiny, but it’s out of print. Instead, they’re getting The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler and Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz. is definitely getting a mention in the donation letter. I can’t find a wishlist on Amazon, but if they set one up I’ll send it along.

In the world of your book drive, I know at one point you said you wished you’d had access to Wiccan sourcebooks in libraries so you didn’t spend money on them before deciding it wasn’t for you. The Cesar Chavez branch is asking for mostly books on alternative spirituality, so my alternative spirituality group is going to pick books from their list to donate as a late Yule gift, and we’ve gotten permission from one of the local “new age” bookstores to post information about your drive and the list of related requests. They’ve even agreed to “hold” anything on the list which they get as a return which is not visibly used — likely, since even pagany types like to give presents — and let us have it at the used price. Titles would be here, but we don’t meet again until after the New Year, so you’ll get an update from us as soon as we have another meeting. After that, we’ve talked about trying to do what you’ve done for San Diego for Nashville this next year as our community service — for books on and off topic, as we are all vociferous readers — so keep your fingers crossed that we can get the ball rolling down here in the Land of Next To Last In Education.

So, do me and my family get to be Cool Kids this Christmas, or what?

Michael Moore was right about you, Pam — you are a good person. Keep inspiring other good people to do good things. I’d insert some “God-in-small-things” St.-Therese-the-Little-Flower crap here, but not.

Happy holiday!

Elizabeth M.
Nashville, Tennessee

[Feel free to use the comments thread to tell Elizabeth how much she rocks the holiday spirit. – p.]

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