The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Review of: North Point Library and the Little Free Library Phenomenon. From: Select Guide to Libraries of the St. Croix Valley

Review of: North Point Library and the Little Free Library Phenomenon.
From: Select Guide to Libraries of the St. Croix Valley
By Tim Krenz

A friend of mine, a native of the St. Croix Valley, moved to Washington state several years ago. He shared a project this year, with time-phased pictures on social media, called a “little free library,” that he constructed in his garage. I asked about its origins and inspiration. Little did I realize that a world-wide phenomenon of these curbside, box-sized book lending shelves have their origin in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009. More than a coffee-shop book shelf, with a book-for-book transaction, the little free libraries carry in themselves gems of a revival for print books that transcend the great gap of modern times, the gap between where we find our civilization and how far we may go.

I arrived in Washington state, on a regular vacation, fascinated by my friend's North Point Library at the end of his driveway. Simple in design, made of mostly recycled and reused materials, the North Point Library sits on a pole, with top at eye level, box-like and made from an old, discarded cabinet. With a framed glass door, the wood painted red, and a slant shingled roof protecting it from the wet environment near the Salish Sea, the little free library itself rests perched in a large flower pot with geraniums sprouting life the way words in books can sprout ideas for “mind nourishment.”

Education determines destiny, for individuals and entire societies. We have adapted formalized education as a mark of passage in our distinctive, American civilization. Where standard education ends, the self-learning reaches out to us like an ancient poet-philosopher guiding us through the many levels of our experience. We hope, we yearn, that we can attain our higher goals, even our unspoken dreams, to self-fulfilling prophecies toward meaning, purpose, working what we love to do, and becoming examples of complete and good people. How can we get from where we start as people, overcome the habits of tribalism we acquire, and arrive back at learning humanity again?

We must start first with inspiration, to end at the place we want to discover, in order to recreate in ourselves some semblance of those legends of inspiration—Galileo, Copernicus, Einstein, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Orwell, Salk, Armstrong—or, Schweitzer. As these icons did, we all must start with learning. Learning means study, and in most cases that means words. If greatness in our own lives begins with passion, the adventurers in us must exposes ourselves to words, for words describe consciousness, and that gives us “grasp.” There, after inspiration, we find our second root of achievement, of progress for good. For consciousness creates true literacy of meanings.

In our world, as it pursues a false prophecy of internet “connectivity” to solve problems, people become more expressive with the means and apps delivered to our hands. In any test of knowledge, however, that of the “intensive-nets” will succeed or fail on the absorption, the “grasp,” we hold on our discipline to find truth and to reject the wrong. The internet exists merely as a tool. Our ability for expansive genius as a species, including how we make, use, and share the tools, will bridge the gap between what we have now and what we later can have for the better.

Like electrons, e-thoughts and all e-#@% whiz past us. To survive, they must travel at light's speed, so far as we understand even that. The electronic age does not create permanence; therefore, can it create grasp, consciousness, or a true literacy of meaning? Pull the plug, what remains? Books decay slower, and increase the opportunity for grasp. Any civilization that rejects books will find its books burnt and itself self-incinerated in due course. Holding on to things, old ideas, antique books even, may sound trite. But sharing the books to continue them into the future may prove the only worthy endeavor of a civilization rambling, twittering, and pinning itself to a downfall, the destiny of the living unconscious.

My friend, Craig M., finds books of some popular appeal, or personal favorites, some from his own extensive collections, some from the free shelf in the city library where he lives. I even found some books I read and liked. One title I noticed, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, I reviewed years ago for this column. As I would sit outside during my vacation, reading, I noticed dozens of people during the course of my stay, walking their dogs or walking with their human family, stop and browse at the novelty of the neighborhood. If nothing else, it serves as a potent reminder to people that books still exist. And hence, the love of reading and the “grasp” and permanence that books offer may remain just a little past the danger point where good ideas, true ideas survive, where we can finally unplug OUR humanity from the ignorant tribalism that captivates our greed for transient fad and connected e-speed.

The little free library movement began in the St. Croix Valley, when a Hudson, Wisconsin, man, named Todd Bol,built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS,” according to the website, . We have a worthy movement in our world, a humble and powerful one, to preserve the “grasp” we need on ideas of lasting value. Find out more by visiting their site. Find out your own conscious literacy, and discover how you fit in the scheme—either as builder, lender or borrower.

When I left Washington state, I left a book in North Point Library—Dream Story, by Arthur Schnitzler—for someone to find later. What will you read today? More importantly, why?