The joy of books, and book toys, at Bigtown library | TheUnion.com
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The joy of books, and book toys, at Bigtown library

Just recently I spent a most pleasant hour browsing through the shelves at the Madelyn Helling Library – it’s one of my favorite places to go. I had collected a sweet little pile of books and then ambled off to find more. When I returned a few minutes later, my books were gone! Disappeared! Vanished! Oh no!

Library Tech Lindsey Cleveland came to my rescue. “One of our staff may have picked them up to return to the shelves, so let’s look around.” Sure enough, they had been moved to the “when you’re done with ’em, put ’em here” area. I was so relieved.

“You should get a book toy so that doesn’t happen again,” Lindsey said. Hmm? A what?



“A book toy.” She reached under the checkout counter and pulled out a tiny toy UPS truck, a rubber Noah’s ark, a piggy and something resembling a platypus.

“In the future, ask for a book toy, which you place on top of the books you select; that’s a sign for us that they belong to someone and not to reshelve them.”




Maybe I’ve been living in Washington for too long and my brain has shrunk (well, there’s no maybe about it), but the brilliance of that idea reduced me to an admiring puddle of goo. I would not have thought that up in a hundred years; it’s such a simple little thing, yet so brilliant.

Incidentally, Lindsey has been working at the library for two years now. “And I just love it; I can’t think of a better job or nicer people than right here.”

Mr. Pete wanted me to put in a few words about the school kids’ newest Bigtown activity. For the last few years, they’ve been involved with learning and practicing Tae Kwan Do and he felt they needed a change.

“I talked to Wally Kronland, owner of Stellar Gymnastics in Grass Valley, a wonderful guy, and we were able to agree on a very reasonable fee for our kids to attend his classes,” Pete told me.

“The younger children are being introduced to somersaulting, tumbling, running, jumping and general exercise, just a good overall introductory physical program. The older students are learning more advanced gymnastic skills like tumbling, trampoline, the balance beam, rope climbing and parallel bars, with the more adventurous taking on some rock climbing. Stellar even has a rock-climbing wall!

“There are two coaches, one for the older kids and one for the younger ones, so none of them feel ignored. My experience with Stellar has been so impressive that we’ll continue the program at least through April. We all just love it, and Wally has been absolutely great to us – thanks, Wally. Please tell your readers that our students have a stellar time at Stellar Gymnastics!”

Please don’t roll your eyes at that last sentence, dear ones; I didn’t want to put it in, but I also didn’t want to hurt Mr. Pete’s feelings.

The Valentine’s Day Dinner was a hit, said Su DeCorte. “We were filled to capacity: every room, every table. We had to turn diners away; there was simply no more room. The response was wonderful, and it was a real joy to welcome so many romantic couples, who arrived with flowers and holding hands … the hotel and cafe were full of people in love!

“The dinner was a complete success, thanks to Chef Wil’s talents and all our friends both old and new, several of whom made reservations on the spot for next year. Thank-you so much for letting us serve you on Valentine’s Day.”

Vivian Herron’s column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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