The Nakusp Library is not average. Most small towns have little in the way of consumer luxuries; good luck finding something as esoteric as a videogame unless your hardware store happens to carry them (thanks Home Hardware!). Their libraries are pretty much the same. Do you have fond memories of your high school’s avant-garde, stylish taupe, sickly mint-green and grey motif? Better hope you do, because the walls are gonna take you back to the summer of ‘85, when wearing overalls was totally a cool thing, and did you hear about Duran Duran’s newest single? As an extra bonus, they may have some faux-wood paneling left over from your brother’s cousin’s ‘77 Dodge van.
Here in Nakusp, though, we’re lucky. We may not have the shopping malls or terrifying, 90-degree hills of Nelson, but we have the heart. No, not like the kid from Captain Planet. The ability to make cats listen to you is a completely useless superpower next to the ability to summon typhoons. It is useful when trying to make a lynchpin of the community as good as it can be.
That’s why on Sunday, Dec. 8, the friends, board members and employees of the library gathered to celebrate their contributions to making our local words-on-paper repository what it is today; i.e. not made of particle board and drabness.
The best thing about it was the food table. Holy carp, the food table. It was awesome. There were cheesy things, and fishy things, and meaty things, and lots of baked pastry things. Most people there weren’t quite as focused on fixin’s as your dear author, and they had some things to say. Mostly about library stuff, if you can believe it.
“I really like the atmosphere,” said… well, pretty much everyone. Other favourites included “the people” and “the books.” That’s not a lack of creativity, that’s an honest compliment. Marie Bezuidenhout agrees with me on the small town, big library angle
“It’s great for a small town,” she said (as I crammed a salmon thing into my mouth). “Other places don’t get to have one like this.”
Going back to the “books” part (I hear people used to read those, is that true?), I took inventory of everybody’s favourites. It turns out not many people had one. Besides Linda, of course; everyone knows she likes Harry Potter the same way a Texan likes guns. Rick Sharpe picked sci-fi in general, George Pringle picked Bleak House by George Dickens, or possibly The Hobbit. No word as of yet on whether he would’ve preferred it to be stretched into three parts like the Enterprise nearing a black hole.
Oh, and everyone agreed those books you’re made to read in school are rubbish. It’s time to take Old Yeller out back, guys.
We have much to be thankful for here in Nakusp. The lack of spiders, poisonous snakes and other such deadly things, as seen in Australia. The cold, cold winters to get lost and freeze to death in, or perhaps go snowmobiling. Those quiet, serene moments we take to reflect on how exactly we ended up window-deep in a snowdrift trying to climb a slight grade. Our relative isolation from the mostly terrifying outside world. Those things called mountains that Saskatchewan’s never heard of.
And, most importantly in this context, our library. Without it, we’d be bereft of computers to waste our time on while our cars are being excavated from the Siberian-esque snowy wastes. Also, books. Those too.