Pod Post is the joint project of Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler, two ladies working diligently to raise the USPS to an entirely new level. This is the second in a series of “12 Months of Missives;” if you missed the first, check it out.
Pod Post Endorsed Holiday: National Library Lovers Month
February is here and we’re all-a-flutter at the Pod Post mailbox. Not only is it Valentine’s Day (the perfect reason to buy red construction paper and silver glitter!), but it is also National Library Lovers Month — a month that Carolee-Pod is especially fond of, as she is a librarian herself! For the next twenty-one days, we can remember and remind ourselves (as well as others!) why we love libraries — and by extension — books, paper, and the printed word.
Lending libraries for public use claim their start somewhere around 1636; the exact dates and locations are often disputed. The author William James Siddis (The Tribes and the States) writes that America can claim the first lending library, in Boston MA. Subscription libraries throughout the United Kingdom were in use by the 1850s, different than a public library because members would pay dues in order to borrow books. In 1850 the ‘Public Libraries Act of 1850’ was passed, which provided that libraries should be free and open to the public. At the time, this was a radical idea, but it provided the groundwork for the modern public library system that we have today.
One of the things we Pods enjoy the most about the local libraries we haunt is the sense of sanctuary they offer. Who hasn’t browsed aisles and rows of books, going ever deeper into the stacks and falling into a trance of sorts? Where else can you completely escape the busy scratching of your everyday life? Some folks go to the spa to relax; myself, I like to highstail it to the warm comfort of my neighborhood library, find a quiet corner to call my own, and spend some time getting lost in a good book.
When I’m cruising the stacks at my local, one of the things I like to do is “treasure hunt.” This consists of pulling random books off the shelf (the older, the better!) and flipping through them to see if there are any ephemeral traces of the individual who borrowed the book before me. Bookmarks are, of course, the usual sorts of things this Pod often finds, but better excavations have produced vintage dry cleaner slips, bits of hotel stationery, receipts of purchases long past (usually in a different city of origin). I like to think of this as an urban scavenger hunt.
To this end, your paper-obsessed friends at Pod Post have brought you, our lovely “Twelve Months of Missives” readers, a variation on this theme for February. Find below a PDF attachment, specially designed by Pod Post to help you celebrate National Library Lovers Month! Consider this a valentine to your local library; you are welcome to print out as many cards as you want–all the better for warming up the stacks! Perhaps the guy working the circulation desk looks a little grumpy…wouldn’t a postcard brighten his day? What about the reference desk librarian who brought all those books out of the basement for your highly specific research project? And then there are the books themselves. Who’s your favorite author? Marcel Proust? David Sedaris? Why not leave a postcard tucked tenderly within the pages of your favorite book — a gift of literary love — for the next person to find? True crime readers can always appreciate a little surprise, and we’re sure that the geography and travel sections of the library would be rendered more adventurous by a thank you card. All in all — be creative, have fun, and let us know how it goes!
Jennie Pod and Carolee Pod
Visit the Pod Post website, for their signature book- and postal-related goodies, including the book arts merit badges (featured in the Curio section of CRAFT volume 02) and Mail Art Bentos.