This week, we’re going to start with an appetizer before the main course..a pair of cucumbers that grew together and a potato that resembles a mouse... Cheri Beegle of Cobden grew the unusual cucumber/s. Her niece, Bekkah Schemonia of Pomona, grew the potato...with ears...and a tail...in her garden.In closing for this week... four turtles on a log, basking in the summer sunshine...just long enough for a photo...now you see them......now you don’t...with hardly a sound...all four turtles slipped into the water of a pond in Union County...and that’s all for this week.

This week...an appetizer...then the main course...

Please read this...

At the time I started writing this Sunday night, the weather forecast was suggesting that we might get to experience the tail end of a hurricane this week...

...well, now, I suppose that figures. After all, we haven’t had a hurricane yet. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens...

...not only do we have the possibility of a hurricane, but there might be an asteroid coming close to earth in early November...the day before the election, I think. You might want to make plans to go ahead and vote early...not that it will matter...think about what happened to the dinosaurs when something from outer space landed on our planet right before election day 60-some-odd million years ago...

...and speaking of odd things...ice hockey is being played in August, which has nothing to do with an asteroid...ice hockey in August is just not right...which is why I have not paid much attention to the games. I believe the defending Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues, my favorite team, are out of whatever is being called the playoffs...oh, well...

...thinking about such things convinces me even more that 2020 is, well, just a really strange year...and it also convinces me that the Angel Gabriel is tuning up his trumpet to some apocalyptic tunes around December 31...

...meanwhile...

...wanted to share an item with you folks which arrived by way of email a few weeks ago...

The item was a guest opinion titled “Libraries live on with community support,” which was written by Erin Schoenberg, project associate with the Center for Rural Affairs.

The Center for Rural Affairs, which is located in Lyons, Neb., was established in 1973 and is “a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.”

In the guest opinion piece, Schoenberg wrote: “Recently, rural Americans have missed out on many services usually offered in their communities.

“However, library employees have worked even harder to provide for their patrons. For example, in Wayne, Nebraska, library staff have stepped up to show their community how resilient small-town libraries can be.

“A week after closing to the public, the library initiated curbside book pickup. They are also offering virtual assistance to patrons through online resources like Ebooks and audiobooks, online databases, learning games, language learning apps, and more.

“Libraries across rural America, large and small, are facing similar challenges and are responding in like ways. Though obstacles have been thrown at them, libraries continue to be a refuge. Libraries are solid, neutral spaces where all people can feel welcome. They’re a place where age, income, religion, and other socioeconomic factors don’t present barriers that might be found elsewhere.

“That sense of belonging and welcome, combined with the staff’s adaptability and willingness to work to meet the needs of their community are what make these institutions so revered.

“Rural libraries across the U.S. have faced adversity before, but they face it head on, ready for whatever is thrown at them.

“Libraries are part of the core of rural communities. They’re always evolving to provide the best services to everyone in town, and those who make the trek from more remote farms and ranches. In addition, libraries have embraced technology and, in doing so, have helped students and seniors access the most current information, tools, and services. 

“We’re encouraged to see rural public libraries get creative as they expand their virtual outreach, explore new services and technology, all the while not letting go of their traditional paper bound books.”

I’m sharing this item with the understanding that you  folks know that I am a big fan of books...and a big fan of one of the gems of our community...Stinson Memorial Library in Anna.

During these very challenging times, the folks at Stinson also have stepped up to serve the Union County community. Patrons, for the most part, are not allowed in the library, which is located along South Main Street in Anna. Stinson is offering curbside delivery, home delivery and computer use by appointment, with a mask required, and other services.

The library even presented a “virtual” Summer Reading program for the young people in our community. In recent years, the program has been extremely popular...and came to an end with a big celebration.

Stinson Library director Lisa Livesay shared in an email that “the board, staff and I are trying so hard to provide service safely and figure our road forward.” However, as she noted, “this has truly been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with as a librarian.”

“I hate the library being ‘closed’ to the public,” she wrote. “I want new books to be displayed and touched and patrons to find that one perfect book. I never thought I would say this, but I missed all of the yelling and running during Summer Reading and grilling what felt like a million burgers and hot dogs for all those smiling faces. I miss knowing we are a truly safe place for kids after school, or on their way home from the pool, I miss everything this library (or any library) is.”

Work continues on varied plans for phased reopenings that reduce the risk of everyone who is involved. In the meantime, Stinson’s director has the support of “the most amazing library staff ever, they have been with me through this from day one (our board too).”

Sorry I’m being a little bit “windy” this week. Just wanted to share a few thoughts about some of the many folks who are working to somehow try to keep life a little bit “normal” here in rural America. If you want to know more about what’s happening at the library, give ‘em a call at 833-2521 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can check out the library’s Facebook page, too.

Stay safe. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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