Sunday, June 16, 2013

My favorite "socialist" institution.

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." ~original source debated

"Socialism - noun - System of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; also, the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice. Because “social control” may be interpreted in widely diverging ways, socialism ranges from statist to libertarian, from Marxist to liberal. The term was first used to describe the doctrines of Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Robert Owen, who emphasized noncoercive communities of people working noncompetitively for the spiritual and physical well-being of all (see utopian socialism).Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, seeing socialism as a transition state between capitalism and communism, appropriated what they found useful in socialist movements to develop their “scientific socialism.” In the 20th century, the Soviet Union was the principal model of strictly centralized socialism, while Sweden and Denmark were well-known for their noncommunist socialism. See also collectivism, communitarianism, social democracy." ~Concise Encyclopedia 

"The Boston Public Library opened in 1854, and is usually considered the "real" first public library--that is, intentionally founded, not a happy accident. Its statement of purpose basically says:
  • There's a close linkage between knowledge and right thinking;
  • The future of democracy is contingent on an educated citizenry;
  • There's a strong correlation between the public library movement and public education; and
  • Every citizen has the right of free access to community-owned resources."  ~

I am deeply, joyfully, nearly giddily grateful for libraries!  

This week I have checked out music to do yoga by, music to dance to, music to get the creative juices flowing, and music I have not yet heard, so I suppose that would be music as adventure.  I have checked out a book about two guys who turned a foliage bereft vacant lot into a permaculture paradise and how they did it.  I have checked out two DVDs that promise to expand or enhance my knowledge of yoga, one which promised to teach me to sign, one about a girl who is an amazing musician even though she is deaf, and one documentary based on Jared Diamond's book of the same name, Guns, Germs, & Steel, which I have read and enjoyed.  

I've also checked out seeds.  Yes, seeds.  Basalt Library now has the coolest seed sharing program.  Each adult who has a library card may borrow 5 packets of seeds.  You check out the seeds, plant them, harvest the plants, save the seeds from the healthiest plants, and then return them in the same envelope for someone else to plant in years to come.  I've borrowed Swiss Chard, Oriental Mustard Greens, Cucumbers, Mesclun Zesty Salad Mix, and a very cool "Kids Starter Pack" that includes Bean, Watermelon, Zucchini, Radish, & Pumpkin. 

Libraries, in my humble opinion, are the most civilized thing about civilization.  They really are the great democratizers.  Where else can you get so much knowledge for FREE?  Where else can you check out a bunch of seeds and then a bunch of books or magazines or DVDs to teach you how best to grow those seeds?  

This morning, with just $2 to my name, I read about a book I really want to read (The Transition Handbook:  from oil dependency to local resilience by Bob Hopkins).  I went to the website of the book and found that it had been sold out.  So, even if I did have some money to buy it, I couldn't.  So I went to the library webpage, did a search, found out that my local library does not have a copy, but that 10 other libraries in Colorado do have copies and within minutes I had requested a copy.  Now all I have to do is wait for the email from my local library saying that it is there and go pick it up.  

I can't wait to plant these seeds and then sit down to do some reading and then do some yoga. 

Thank you library.  And thank you people who originally thought of libraries.  And thank you taxpayers around this valley, around the country, and world, who have miraculously kept public libraries going.  

What are you reading / listening to / watching / planting today?  What are you grateful for?  What is making you smile or dance or think?  What brings you peace and joy?  What are you passionate about?

Here's the article that prompted me to go find The Transition Handbook which is what prompted me to write this blog:  from - How the Transition Movement Is Spreading to Towns Across America


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  2. I soo agree, free libraries are a blessing! -I don't even mind having to pay fees when I forget to return books on time, which seems to happen quite a bit. I used to buy most books I read and a part of me still find it hard to grasp that library books can't live forever on my bookshelves :)

    I'm currently looking into the finer aspects of astrology and today, will be picking up a book on the Chiron return that I ordered a copy of a while ago. And I might have to stash up on nuts. chocolate and fruit. I sense a full day of reading ahead, yay!

  3. My friend Tammy is an avid astrologer. I have heard her mention the Chiron return before, but I don't remember what the significance is. Please do tell once you've attained an understanding.

    1. The Chiron return is when the planet has come a full circle and is conjuct with Chiron in one's natal chart. It takes about 50 yrs to come full circle and symbolises a time for healing old wounds, a time of transformation, spiritual discovery, rebirth and regeneration. Chiron is a ruling planet of Virgo and has a strong position in my natal chart, the floodgates are opening so to speak, and I have my work cut out for me; Exciting times indeed!

      Major transits of slow moving,(outer), planets symbolises rites of passage in various ways and if the planet is strongly aspected in one's natal chart, its influence will be felt. Learning about depth astrology has made me backtrack previous major transits and, to my surprise, giving me much insight into significant times in my life. I dare say, I'm about to become a believer ;)

    2. fascinating. you're like me, too, a skeptical believer?

    3. Well, I don't see myself becoming a devotee, but I'll study anything I find interesting with an open mind and take with me what I find useful. Stories shape our world and with the greek mythology and archetypal tales being a part of our collective conscioussness, I view astrology as one more piece to the big puzzle called 'what is life?' <3

  4. and tara, I feel the same way as you do about the fines. I'm often late returning things, but I don't mind paying. if I collect a large fine on a particular book, that's how I know it might be worth getting my own copy. haha.

  5. I'm with you on that one. I once paid a fine larger than the actual price of the book. That taught me a lesson tsk.