In the small community in Western Pennsylvania where I grew up, I can remember how “adult” I felt when I was permitted to ride the bus or walk downtown to the public library. For me, the library outing soon became a regular event. Every Saturday, I would find a project that needed me to check out the card catalog on the first floor of the library. Hours were spent pouring through the catalog and various books to ensure that I would create a good research paper. I would sit in one of the reference rooms and work on term papers, read books and giggle with friends who had also gone to the library to hang out! For me, that was heaven!
Today, much has changed. The card catalog has been replaced by a computer program. The internet has replaced many of our book resources. But, much hasn’t changed. I am still drawn to peruse new books. I love to check the shelves for books on subjects of interest—from planting a summer garden to organizing my house and on genealogy. Sitting in the magazine room and flipping through the current issues is an enjoyable afternoon or evening pastime. And, the library staff is still friendly and helpful. If I can’t find a particular book, the library has the resources of more than 40 other libraries in its system and countless other libraries, world-wide.
The Canastota Public Library is a great community center for our area. Monthly, the public is invited to art exhibits showcasing artisans from the area. On Sundays, we’ve been showing “Oscar’s Best Picture” films, alternating between early and more recent winners. This spring, we’ve held two free concerts for the public on Sunday afternoons. Every Friday morning, the area’s knitters descend on the Lawson Community Room to knit, sew and talk technique with others. Mothers and their babies and tots arrive every Wednesday and Thursday mornings for our Children’s programs on the second floor of the building. As well, seniors have been able to obtain help in completing their taxes with a volunteer since January. We’ve also featured programs on breast cancer awareness, surviving a money crunch and hiking the Appalachian Trail. Over 100 local community groups meet at the library on a regular basis including girl scout troops, tutors, public service groups such as the Rotary and Lions Clubs, a Bridge playing group, The Canastota Community Chest and more.
Change is inevitable in life. And, while change has happened in the library, I’m so glad that the library hasn’t changed too much! It is still a haven for me and so many other readers, researchers and members of the community. The Canastota Public Library touches many lives in our area!