I’m not a crafty person—my craft is my writing. While some may view my lack of handiwork skills as a negative, I see it as a positive: when I’m given something handmade, I have that much more love for it, because I know I don’t have the skill to create that lovely item I’m holding. And when I see beautiful art on display, I am filled with joy. The library in Lake City, Florida, gives visitors a feast for the eyes in the form of a quilt exhibit.
Lake City, Florida
One of my favourite things about working from the road is that I get to visit all these nice libraries, from the mammoth-sized to the cozy. While I often work from the RV, there are times when a real desk and a bit more leg room are nice things to have (I’m even more appreciative of the home office Dan built for me now).
So sometimes, Dan will drop me off at a library while he takes the kids to a park, and that way I can get some extra hours of focused work done. One of the libraries I visited on my own was the Columbia County West branch in Lake City, Florida.
This library is small, but has some nice tables with electrical outlets available, which make the perfect spot for me to work. And when I need a break from my writing and editing, I can walk around and take in the gorgeous quilt displays.
On the wall right next to the table where I’m working hangs a colourful quilt that announces, “There’s no place like home.” The quilt is impressive not just for its many colours, but for the irregular shapes that create the intriguing pictures upon it.
Houses of all types have been meticulously created from scraps of fabric, many of which, upon closer inspection, seem to be “left-overs” from industrial rolls (the name of the design is printed on them). I stare at the quilt for several minutes, and still feel like I haven’t noticed every detail. But work calls, and I return to my desk.
I take another break later to look at the other quilts on display, and all of them are impressive. But the “There’s no place like home” quilt is the one that made the biggest imprint on my memory. I can’t take the amount of time needed to take in every detail of these gorgeous quilts, so I made sure to take a picture of each of them. I’ll be looking at them for years to come.
Paper quilts from local school groups also hang on the wall, and a celebration of the art takes shape in the form of a table full of books about quilting—the art, the craft, and the history.
The next day, we need to get some repairs done on the RV, so Dan drops me and the kids off at the main branch of the Columbia County library. There’s a cute kids’ area, and we read lots of books, and even get to participate in the children’s story hour.
A smile crosses my face as the librarian starts the session with the exact same song that the librarian in Kingston used, “The more we get together.” We read all kinds of books about cookies, and then the kids colour and fold paper gingerbread dolls. K-girl loses count of how many book she’s read, and G-boy and M-girl read several books with me.
Some more quilts are on display in this library also, but a permanent installation of a different kind catches my attention. Rather than throwing old technology in the trash, this library had a creative use for their cassettes: a tribute to a video game from the same era as the obsolete tapes.
Before we leave, one of the librarians asks M-girl to help decorate the felt Christmas tree and the snowman. We leave the library with a renewed love for these spaces that are always so full of knowledge, friendly faces, and opportunities for discovery.
What is your favourite library?