November 5th, 2013

Library Trustee

To me, “the library” now means the Whatcom County Library System . Last week, the WCLS put out a press release announcing that I have become a trustee and a picture of me stares out from the front page of the library newsletter, Read On. I admit it—I am proud of that little article and I am happy to have become a trustee. I hope I do a good job and keep up my enthusiasm.

For the past few weeks, the director, Christine Perkins, has taken me on tours of the library system. This has been fun. Although I have lived in Whatcom County my entire life, for the last two decades, I have been distracted by a job that seemed to be everywhere but Whatcom County. According to my count, I’ve gone through 4 roll-aboards in my job and I’d prefer an impacted wisdom tooth to another redeye to Kennedy. Truthfully, in the last ten years I have visited the small towns of eastern Long Island that surround my former company’s headquarters more often than I have visited Blaine or Sumas in Whatcom County, so the tours were a revelation to me. The county has grown in many ways.

The road signs of Suffolk County, the eastern end of Long Island and most distant from New York City, have Indian names like Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma, and Amagansett, just as we have Nooksack, Sumas, and Lummi, but the small towns of Long Island are influenced more by New York City than Whatcom County is affected by either Seattle or Vancouver, even though Manhattan (referred to as “The City”) is about the same distance from Sag Harbor on the eastern end of the island as Bellingham is from Seattle. The Long Island Rail Road has a lot to do with the relationship between Manhattan and Suffolk County.

I like Long Island. It is not as rural as Whatcom County, but the towns are not that different. They have libraries like the towns of Whatcom County and people are friendly with a small town feel. Suffolk County is affluent, but my one venture into a Suffolk County library has proven to me that Whatcom County has nothing to be ashamed of in our library system.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the popular book list from Suffolk County Library this morning. Near the top is Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a book about the Japanese internment in Seattle. It is a good book by a northwest author and well worth reading, although a tad on the sweet side in my hard-boiled opinion. It doesn’t appear on the WCLS most popular list, which amused me. Ford’s book disappeared from the New York Times list several months ago and disappeared from the WCLS page about the same time. It appears that Whatcom County is more in tune with the NYT best-seller list than Suffolk County.

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