It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen fans had a delightful afternoon at the Central Seattle Public Library today. The couture was divine, the Austen-themed merchandise plentiful, and those first editions quite swoon-worthy! Below you can see some of the day’s images, including the Washington Regency Society and Jane Austen Society members, selfie props, and, of course, those books.
You may have seen or heard about the special event coming to the FriendShop this Sunday. As a way to honor the life of Jane Austen, we will be commemorating the 200th anniversary of her death. A long time Friend of The Seattle Public Library has a set of first edition novels of Jane Austen that will be on display! In addition to being able to purchase all manner of things Austen at the FriendShop, there will be bonnets and other period items to try on for your Austen-ified selfie. Many members of the Washington Regency Society make their own period costumes or have them commissioned. Rumor has it that tea and biscuits will also be served.
How were you first introduced to Jane Austen and her work?
“I first read Pride and Prejudice in 1984. I was a classically trained singer and happened to specialize in composers who lived at roughly the same time as Jane Austen. Perhaps 1989 or so I became involved with the Bay Area English Regency Society after being asked to sing for them; one thing led to another and I became involved with the Jane Austen Society in San Francisco.”
“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!” – Persuasion
What is the book you wish Austen had written/would be found somewhere perfectly preserved?
“Actually, we know that Jane Austen’s sister Cassandra destroyed many pages of correspondence stating that it was too personal and that it should not be read by others. I just wish that those letters could be read today.”
“We would like to honor Jane Austen on the 200th Anniversary of her death by gathering and sharing our love of her work with the people in the library on that date.”
I caught up with Dayna Roberson at the West Seattle Pop Up FriendShop a few weeks ago. She has been volunteering for The Friends since 2009. The Central location of The Seattle Public Library is her favorite, although her usual branch is Montlake.
She started volunteering because she likes helping. Alex, who was sitting next to her at the makeshift register, said, “She’s kindhearted.” Dayna believes it’s important to volunteer and give back. She may not have money, but she has time. “If more people volunteered the world would be less broken.”
Here’s another treat from our box of things that are found in the donations to The Friends of the Seattle Public Library. This photo actually reminds me of one of my little brother’s friends from growing up, but that was another time and another place. Did someone put it in a book to keep it flat? Was it used as a favorite bookmark? I just love his little smile, and the complete Pacific-Northwest-ness of the photo.
Nathalie Gelms, Children’s Services Librarian at The Seattle Public Library High Point Branch, had a great week. She got to spend time with first graders from West Seattle Elementary School. For the last 3 years, the first grade classes all visit The Library. They send applications for library cards home in advance so parents can approve.
This year four classes (about 75 children) participated. Students who returned their library card applications or showed they already had a card got Friends of The Seattle Public Library tote bags! But that’s not what really excited the students.
“The coolest part of any of these visits is the kid’s wonder at the book drop and the book bins. We have a staff member “return” books from outside the book drop while the kids are inside watching and they always think it is so cool to see the books come shooting out of the slot,” said Nathalie. The students also learn that you can return library books to any branch.
It seems like there are some thoughtful students (and teachers) at West Seattle Elementary. Nathalie mentioned, “This is the first year I have received a thank you poster from any class. For me, that was very special.”
Rebecca is reading “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann. This is a true story about the Osage Indian Tribe, who owned land in Oklahoma no one thought was worth anything. Then they found oil.
The book covers the exploitation of the tribe and a large number of murders and people who died under mysterious circumstances referred to as a “Reign of Terror.” She recommends this as a “really powerful book.”
Someone politically-minded (or dragged along by someone else politically minded) left this gem in a donation. The 98th United States Congress lasted from 1983 to 1985. Do you remember who was President during those years? Check out these items at your Seattle Public Library!
We talked a bit about her favorite Seattle Public Libraries. First she mentioned Central, because it’s beautiful and she loves the Red Hall. The University branch also has a special place in her heart because it’s the first library she ever went into in Seattle.
In reality, she is fond of all Carnegie libraries because she is also into architecture. “Not all cities saved their Carnegie libraries…ours are renovated and beautiful!”
Here’s a letter our volunteers found in donated books. Personally, I think this note is just sweet. First of all, Gene bothered to type it. And for those of us who remember typewriters, he didn’t have too many mistakes! Good job, Gene! Secondly, he does a wonderful job of inviting the reader in (once upon a time it was Julie, now it’s us). Lastly, that ending! Don’t you want to know more about Grandma’s grandfather? What a fascinating window into other lives.
At our Friendshop Pop Up Store yesterday at West Seattle, we talked with a faithful visitor from YMCA Powerful Schools. Beverly DeCook has been working with them over a decade, and utilizes The Friends of the Seattle Public Library to pick up goodies for the young participants.
Powerful Schools are located in South Seattle at Graham Hill, John Muir, Wing Luke, and Hawthorne. They offer reading programs, after school programs, and artist-in-residence programs. Beverly is part of the reading program which uses phonics to work with first and second graders. Every 10 lessons, students get a free book to take home with them!
Beverly has visited Pop Ups at Northeast, Magnolia, and Columbia City, in addition to West Seattle, and has been coming to the Big Book Sale for 3 or 4 years. Check out The Friends’ webpage to see when our upcoming Pop Up Shops may be near you!