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Day 4: Staying up until 2 am blogging, flickr-ing (here is Day 4 photos), and imovie-ing 🙂 and waking up early morning to set up the bookmobile requires a little will power. However, once in a while for morale, bookmobilistas need a day when they can sleep in and start the day a little late. Today was one of those days.
We got into Orland yesterday and scoped out the town. When the railroad was built around the 1870s (we talked with the town historian!) Orland was a lively little crossroads town. However, today you can only faintly see the traces of Orland’s past in its downtown buildings and marquees. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from our day in Orland.
When we arrived at the library around 12:30pm, and met Margarita, one of 6 staff (they have 2 librarians) at the Orland Free Library — and an artist whose beautiful self-portrait hangs on near the front door of the library. We asked Margarita where we should set up the boookmobile. With no hesitation, she said, "just drive the car on the lawn and park in front of the library;" shortly we confirmed this with Marilyn, the head of library. Being able to park the bookmobile right in front of the library is always a good sign for bookmobilistas 🙂 .
As soon as we set up shop, Estelle, Margarita, and Marilyn showed up and they were so eager to see the bookmobile. Of course we pulled out our best — and only! — repertoire Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and made a book for them. We heard oohs & ahs which meant that we had perfected our act.
Since today was the first friday that the library was scheduled to be open, there weren’t many visitors to the library; but this turned out to be better for us. The Library staff was able to come out and hang out at the bookmobile with us, ask lots of questions and receive the full power of the public domain.
While we were talking about random stuff, I asked Magarita if she knew what a blog was. She said that she had heard about them but didn’t know much more than that. We explained to her and asked her if she liked to have one for her. She said "sure" with a big simile in her face. Sitting next to the bookmobile with JRJ’s laptop we helped Margarita create a worldpress blog account. While Magarita was thinking of her user name for her blog, Jody, the children’s librarian, came and suggested that she create a library blog. Perfect timing! We changed course from a personal to collective blog and Orland Free Library blog was born. Jody and Magarita were so thrilled and started to talk about what they can do with it. And when Marilyn came out we told her that Orland Free library now had a blog. Oh my!! was her response. Jody posted her first blog post and Estelle posted her first comment. We could feel the pure excitement in the library with their new blog and meeting with the bookmobilistas. All of the staff are like a family and they were all very kind and beautiful.
Our next stop is Anderson which is not until monday. So we drove to the Trinity Mountains to explore the area. On the way to Weaverville, we passed Whiskeytown lake at sunset and the beauty was stunning and unfathomable. I was thinking of capturing nature with my digital camera but I decided against it because I knew it wouldn’t do it justice. It was simply a beautiful and prefect day.
Day 3: If you’re ever thinking of being a bookmobilista, I advise you to learn how to endure over 90 degree summer heat in Northern California. James and I were sitting outside of the Madelyn Helling County Library in Nevada City for 5 hours with very little shade. It was obviously too hot to be out because there were very few visitors to the library.
There were a couple of tricks that I used to alleviate heat. First, I tried to trick myself saying it’s not that hot — even though I wasn’t able to think much because of the heat. Second, I tried to be tough and stay focused. Neither of them worked. Eventually James got sunburn on his ankles and I stopped thinking. A librarian came out later and was surprised by our endurance.
Despite of unbearable heat, good bookmobilistas cann’t ignore their duties – talking to library users about the importance of the public domain, questioning copyright, access to knowledge and supporting public libraries.
Many library staff came out throughout the day and asked about the bookmobile, but overall it was a slow day. While we were talking up the public domain, a couple of librarians asked about how to verify whether or not a book was in the public domain. We were so proud that we bookmobilistas made library staff think about public domain issues and why librarians have to advocate for the public domain.
Later on, a few elderly people asked if we had large format books to print out and also asked how they could get acces to the digital books if they have little or no access to the internet. For people who live "out in the boondocks" (as a couple of people put it!) the public library IS the place to connect to the net and the library is the closest thing to ubiquity for many of us. The digital divide is still alive and well even in the United States.
We are in Orland, CA tonight and will visit Orland Free Library tomorrow. As of the 2000 census, Orland had a total population of 6,281. Interestingly, while we are coming into the town from the south, we noticed a big sign saying "Want a laugh? See the Orland City Council on YouTube!" and shortly afterwards a sign for "Orland City Council recall petitions available here." While we haven’t been able to verify what’s happening on the City Council, we DID find their videos on youtube. This is a great example of how a small town city council can use internet technologies to get the word out and inform their community.