Of Mice and Men at the Library

by Bill Peak

To steal a phrase from John Steinbeck, who stole it from Robert Burns, the Easton branch's on-again, off-again plans to move into the old Black and Decker plant (while our building at 100 West Dover Street is being renovated) offer yet another proof that “The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry ...” And so (borrowing now from St. Paul), it is only with fear and trembling that I venture out onto what has already proved to be a rather unsteady limb and predict that, as you read this, the Easton branch will have either already moved into, or will be currently moving into, its new, temporary digs in the old Black and Decker building at 28712 Glebe Road.

Not too long ago we asked our patrons to write and tell us how they felt about their library. Among the many messages of support and gratitude we received was the following note from an eight year-old who is just beginning to learn English: “I like library because it's have my favorite book and it's kind close to my house and I'm sorry it's moving. Come back soon!”

For the sake of discussion (and to maintain confidentiality) we'll call this little girl “Mercedes.” Shortly after arriving in America, Mercedes discovered the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library. Soon she fell in love with our collection of “The Magic Bus” books and began helping our children's librarian, Miss Rosemary, keep them in good order. The Easton branch has long since become Mercedes' home away from home. For two years now, she has visited us faithfully every day after school.

Mercedes makes her way to the library on foot. Once the Easton branch has taken up temporary residence on the opposite side of the bypass, I suspect she will find it difficult to get a ride there. Which explains, I'm sure, her sorrow over our move and her fervent wish that we “Come back soon!”

But we may have good news for Mercedes. While the library's administrators have been busy comparing contracts, studying architectural drawings, raising funds, meeting with local government officials, complying with building inspections, and planning the logistics necessary to move a library of 67,274 items to a new location along with all the staff and supplies needed to run same, they've also found time to worry over Mercedes' problem. Thanks to their efforts—and those of local government officials and community organizations—it is now hoped (and I must place emphasis on the word “hoped”) that the means will be found to provide some transportation from downtown Easton to the library's new temporary quarters in the old Black and Decker building.

So let me end this holiday column with a plea. In this season of hope and giving, won't you join with me in wishing that, for once, the best laid schemes of mice and men will not go awry and that we may find a way to give little Mercedes (and other patrons like her) a ride to 28712 Glebe Road?