Friday, April 11, 2008

Illimitable Isabella

I've been bracing myself for it all year--Isabella Lubin's high school graduation.

Isabella's been volunteering here since the summer before her freshman year. She was helping her mother, who was involved with the activities of the Friends of the Library, and ended up volunteering a Saturday a month as well. She's been a regular since then, seldom missing her shift, with the exception of a Saturday spent taking her SATs, and we've been impressed by her maturity and reliability and delighted by her wit, intelligence, and charm.

Isabella's our youngest volunteer at the circulation desk. She's made our software do things that it didn't even know it could do in order to serve patrons with special needs or questions. One ghastly Saturday we had a burst pipe and a flood downstairs, and Isabella calmly ran the desk while the rest of us dashed around moving books and vacuuming up water. It was so comforting to have a real pro on the desk while we dealt with all the emergencies that go with water in the wrong place.

Now Isabella is just a couple of months from graduation, and she will follow older sister Emma to MIT. She loves biology and thinks that her major will probably be in that subject, but she knows that there will be programs there that she may well have never heard of to compete for her attention. She's had after school and summer jobs in biology labs here in the Upper Valley and will doubtless bring a great deal of knowledge and experience to her next level of education. She's low key and unassuming, yet she's a candidate in the Presidential Scholars program, one of the highest honors available to high school students.

I'm going to miss Isabella. She's more fun than I can put into words. She sure deserves the honor of the MIT acceptance, and we all wish her well and will send her off with our thanks. Her time has been a true gift, and we're grateful. MIT's a fabulous but also fortunate school.

Now if she'll just offer herself up to the cloning program... everyone should have an Isabella in her life!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Too Much Fun

Here is NPL's entry into this year's Marion Cross PTA Spelling Bee, Buns of Steel.

We didn't win, as usual, but participation is our real agenda. Just going to the Bee is a ball.

This year's squad consisted of NPL Volunteer Susan White, Cataloger Tina Avery, and our stalwart Captain Lisa Milchman. Here they are, pepping up the crowd with the trademark NPL cheer, Shhhhh!

I know that George Allen said Winning is the only thing, which was probably the best way to run the Green Bay Packers, but it's not the philosophy of our noble Captain Milchman, who views rabid competition with bemusement. To Lisa --and the rest of us-- it's all about community.

When our team was eliminated, Lucinda said, Now we can have the real fun. We rejoiced at the successes of the Senioras from the senior housing just
behind the library. The K-Mamas were impressive with their skill and staying power, and team member Lis Flannery is a regular here.

The Historical (Society) Hussies are like family to us at NPL. We'd
be up a creek if Nancy Osgood didn't blast in on a regular basis to wrap our new books in protective coating. Susan Mc Grew is in and out all the time. Mike Wood, our former NPL Board treasurer spelled for the Lions, and volunteer Connie Cadow's family spelled for Vermont Crèpe and No Wafflers. Our Library Board of Trustees fielded a team. It was impossible to do anything but root for everybody.

So we didn't care so much about winning as about seeing all the great costumes and hearing all the hilarious team introductions and scribbling furtively in the
audience, seeing whether or not we could spell froufrou correctly (I couldn't) and having our curiosity satisfied. Since NPL often feels like extended family, there's no real way to go home feeling like a loser. When the people we love win,(and they are many--our patrons and volunteers are amazing) everybody does.

When the Sesquipedalian Episcopalians emerged as victors, we were grateful for the opportunity to learn how to pronounce, never mind spell, their classy moniker.

The Spelling Bee is a delight... a real venue for community.