Thursday, May 13, 2010

Library Musings: A Composer, A Pilot, and a Little Backyard History

I might have titled this post: "The Library: All You Would Ever Need To Get An Education." The irony of the title, however, is that the books in the library are only a fraction of what would contribute to your "education." For starters, most libraries these days have access to the Internet,programs for people of all ages, puppets, CDs to check out(And how about those new play aways?....stories that you just plug earphones in to-our library even supplies the batteries!)

Despite all these wonderful avenues to learning provided by the library,there is a unique dimension to the library learning experience.The library is a place where people are coming together, of their own accord, to seek and use knowledge for a variety of purposes.Such an environment naturally leads to connections made, thoughts discussed, ideas explored.

Last week I read with the children the inspiring and true tale of Oliver Messiaen. Messiaen was a composer in a Concentration camp during the Holocaust. I won't spoil the story, but it is worth finding and reading the book (check your library, first!!) While at the library, I decided to ask the librarian if the library has a copy of the "Quartet For The End Of Time," The piece that Messiaen composed while a prisoner.

I was telling the story of Messiaen's life to the librarian, when another patron inquired, "Exactly what is this music and composer you are talking about?" I told him about the story, as well, and he was very intrigued. He queried, "Are you a grammar music teacher? I know when I was little we sang "ring-around-the rosie" and "Mother Goose"; that was about it! We didn't have anything like you are teaching!"
I told him, "I am a grammar music teacher of sorts, but not in the way you are thinking! I home school my children." He went on to say how great that was, etc...

The conversation then took a turn. Talking about music somehow led to discussing aviation. Turns out that the librarian(Jack), the other patron, and Travis(Smithdeal Dad) are all pilots. Jack said he read that only one percent of the population has its pilot's license. We remarked how coincidental it is that so many aviators were in one spot. We discussed aviation for about ten minutes, touching on topics from home built planes to Orville and Wilbur Wright. Turns out that the patron who is a pilot had an instructor that flew with Wilbur Wright!

Another patron joined the conversation: "Did you know that Lindbergh made an Emergency landing in a field on 250? " (A spot about six miles from our house) I told him I had read that interesting fact a while back in a fascinating book that tells the history behind all the local historical sites. Across the street from us stands an old home that used to serve as an inn. In Griffin's book I learned that Santa Anna and Napoleon's relatives were some of the people to grace its halls! The other patron was very interested in reading the book, so we found a copy right in the library. He went home very pleased and thanked me profusely for passing on the title.

Well, we all went our separate ways, each of us the more enlightened and inspired- and all for free! Of course, libraries aren't the only place where this type of "organic" learning occurs. Every time we interact and engage in conversation, we learn. Let's just say that the library is "fertile" ground for ideas to take root. Happy learning!