Our “German daughter” came to visit us this past weekend along with our daughter, and a tour of Patrick Lynch Public Library was at the top of our activity list.
Dorli is native German, not actually blood or legal kin, and has a wonderful family of her own. Her parents live in their homeland where her mother is an author and homemaker. Her father evaluates, plans, helps implement and document compassionate responses to crises in Europe and Asia, whether natural, such as tsunamis and droughts or political, such as settling refugees from war-torn regions or providing shelter, education and training to children orphaned by AIDS or widows and other women expelled or taken from their cultural base. Dorli has also served in those capacities alongside and separate from her father. As a linguist, she is currently teaching language classes at a higher education institution near her as well as teaching persons in ministry on line classes that reach distant countries. Her sister lives in Boston and her brother has settled in Oklahoma City.
She lived in Oklahoma City while attending Southern Nazarene University, there meeting our daughter Ashley, a “kindred spirit” and they became best friends and sisters-in-spirit, thus, Dorli and the Gill family mutually adopted each other. Dorli lived in Scotland while earning an advanced degree at the University of Edinburgh as well as working on the Oxford English Dictionary. She has been in countries beyond the Eurasia Region and North America. To summarize, she has witnessed a lot of community models and educational systems worldwide.
Back to our library tour. My daughter and I gave Dorli a tour, with 1-year-old Claire demonstrating the joys of the children’s area. Dorli was pelting us with questions: What is the population of Poteau? What funding was used? How much do patrons have to pay to participate? Who can use the public rooms? ... and so on. Dorli told us the public library in her community required a $20 annual fee from patrons or users, and selections were very limited. She was amazed to find such a modern, versatile facility in a town of our size. I informed her that we had no large grant or government source outside of the community and area ... funding was local government, businesses and individuals. I explained that Poteau was one of the 21st Century communities re-visioning their library space for individual or corporate learning; as a community meeting place and forum; as a communication center and more. Her response was she had never seen a library this beautiful but still welcoming and useful to the community. Dorli was eager to take the story of Patrick Lynch Public Library back to Europe and her friends beyond.
Thanks again, Poteau and area, for a building, service and concept whose ripples are traveling around the world.
Turning the page, it’s great to be out visiting the schools taking information on our summer programs. Already we are having folks come by the library for more details on individual programs and activities. We’re glad to visit, but want you to know we will provide more details on the overall Summer Reading Program as well as individual presentations through this newspaper as well as other media and our web site as events approach.
Next weekend will be Mother’s Day. Come by the library for craft or homemade gift ideas, and don’t forget our extensive periodical sections in all three collection rooms. We have lots of magazines for all ages, and all but the most current issue check out for two weeks just as our books do.
Carole Gill is the children’s and young adult librarian at Patrick Lynch Public Library in Poteau. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .