Christmas night in the library: a fable
Imagine what Yuletide is like in the Lincoln Public Library, I say to my niece’s two little girls, Iris and Robyn. At ages four and seven, they love both stories and libraries. The girls snuggle closer as I describe a (mostly) imaginary winter evening at the Twelve Bridges Library.
The library is chilly inside now, I explain, because the building is closed during the holidays. All is quiet and not a creature is stirring. Except — in my story — a small, gray whiskered creature has scampered in through a door left slightly ajar. It’s Library Mouse!
On Christmas night, the rain is drumming softly on the modern structure’s metal roof as the tiny mouse skitters over to the Christmas tree that librarians decorated with care. Beneath the boughs, the mouse makes a pine-needle pillow and beds down. Twinkling bulbs on the tree are his
As Library Mouse —or L.M. —sighs contentedly, he gazes up at the stylish structure he calls home (he sneaks in regularly). Spacious and beautiful, it’s stuffed with colorful books and cozy nooks.
A soulful creature, L.M. spends Christmas night mentally writing a gratitude list. He’s grateful he sees Teddy the Dog, a certified therapy dog who visits the library to help kids who are shy readers. He’s grateful to know the library’s many computer “mice,” who help folks go online, do homework or search for job listings. And our gray-coated fellow is very glad that most youngsters are quiet as, well, mice when they settle down to read in the well-stocked children’s section.
Library Mouse counts the Mother Goose on the Loose program as a blessing because he enjoys watching all the pre-schoolers dancing and clapping.
And our long-tailed friend thanks his lucky stars for the songs and stories told by John and Carol Noon during the monthly Bedtime Story hour.
The tasty bits of popcorn left over from the monthly free Family Movie Nights are something L.M is quite appreciative of at suppertime.
But most of all, Library Mouse gives thanks for the good company of all the cheerful volunteers and library patrons he meets.
His list complete, the mouse dozes peacefully under the tree. All night long, our friend dreams of his happy, book-filled home as it should be — open every day.
But when L.M. awakens the next morning, he’s sad to find himself all alone. He tries to push free the doors and let people in, but he can’t — one mouse isn’t enough to get this institution unlocked. The library remains closed, dark and empty all during the holidays and for too many days of the week year-round, in this mouse’s opinion.
Library Mouse knows he’ll be happier after Jan. 2, when all the patrons and volunteers return and programs such as Mother Goose, Teddy the Dog and the storytellers come back again.
Yes, I tell Iris and Robyn, everyone will be relieved because a library without adequate open hours, without staffers and volunteers, and without Lincolnites there to check out books and movies, just isn’t right.
A closed library helps no one, not even a mouse.
At the Twelve Bridges Library
All city offices, including the Library, close for the holidays Dec. 21 to Jan. 1. Library reopens Jan. 2
Jan. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.: Quarterly book sale.
This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404, or friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org. Lora Finnegan is a Friends of the Lincoln Library member.