Thursday, January 31, 2019

"Man is condemned to be free." - Sartre

The holidays are over, we are already sliding on our new years’ resolutions, and then we get hit with this polar vortex thing. We live in Chicago, so we don’t expect tropical temperatures in the winter, but still.

In January, things can look pretty bleak, even when the temperatures remain on the positive side of zero. The holiday cheer has evaporated like the moisture in the air and the snow cover obscures any sign of dormant life that may lie underneath. It is also the biggest month for people to change jobs, according to HR Magazine. This is partly because people wait until the beginning of the year (believing the fallacy that nobody hires between Thanksgiving and Christmas) – it is also because people re-evaluate their lives at the end/beginning of each year.

But there’s another explanation for your antsy, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it unease at this time of year:

You have cabin fever!

If you don’t want to dump a good job or relationship just because you’re bored, consider volunteering.

Psychology Today outlines five benefits to volunteering:

•    Improves health and longevity
•    Combats loneliness
•    Promotes career advancement
•    Builds strong communities
•    Contributes to an overall sense of purpose

These are all great logical, left-side-of-the-brain reasons to volunteer. But in some ways they make volunteering sound too clinical, too calculated. Too what’s-in-it-for-me. Volunteering should be an enjoyable activity, something beyond the fulfillment of our basic needs (like paying rent and putting food on the table). Something that causes us to forget about our own wants and needs for a moment – to focus on someone else’s.

And, no offense to Psychology Today, there is a much simpler reason to volunteer:

It makes you feel good!

Tangential benefits include the feel-good kind that come from giving back, supporting a good cause, being part of the community, doing something useful, and making this world a better place.  But best of all? You get to work with like-minded people!

So if you think your life lacks meaning, or your current job leaves you less than fulfilled, make a list of the things you are passionate about:

•    Caring for (or just playing with) puppies
•    Caring for (or just playing with) kitties
•    Defending animal rights (perhaps becoming a vegetarian)
•    Protecting our natural resources (or simply communing with nature)
•    Promoting literacy
•    Helping the needy
•    Supporting research to cure an illness
•    The list goes on and on

After building your list, find a non-profit with a mission that promises to address one of your passions. It doesn’t have to be a big thing and you don’t have to make a second job out of it – a couple of hours per week are enough.

Take a look at one of the many websites that promote volunteerism, you are sure to find something of interest:

•    Points of Light
•    Volunteer Center of Northeast Metropolitan Chicago
•    HandsOn Suburban Chicago
•    Lake County Cares

Phew! Did you go down a rabbit hole? There are so many options and opportunities that even the curmudgeonliest among us will find something that sparks an interest. Which begs the question:

Why do so many organizations rely on volunteers?

Non-profits are founded to fill various needs in our society that are not addressed by the private sector or the government. I know, I know, everybody should care about the puppies and kitties – but that’s for a future post. The reality is:

The private sector won’t do it because there is no potential profit in it.

The government won’t do it because they don’t have the money to do it.

Fortunately, there are people out there who care about these issues and are willing to establish organizations to address them. It’s easy to create a new non-profit – all you need is an attorney to help with the paperwork. The hard parts are funding and human resources (you know – us – the volunteers).

The Friends of the Glenview Public Library knows the value of volunteers. The Irene Overman Kreer Used Book Store has an all-volunteer staff. We take in new donations, price the inventory, help customers find books, and maintain our shelves. And you know what we get out of it?

We get to play with books!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t give up your day job --- it pays the bills. Consider volunteering for something with a cause you can get behind. 

And don’t forget to drop in to say “hi” to the volunteers at the Irene Overman Kreer Used Book Store.

Monday, January 21, 2019

… it should be obligatory that all living spaces come with built-in bookshelves.– Anakana Schofield, The Guardian (1/7/2019)

Anakana wrote these words in defense of books, authors, and art. She launched her defense after Marie Kondo’s irresponsible suggestion to eliminate any and all books in our homes that do not “spark joy.” Anakana provides a convincing argument for leaving books out of the de-cluttering equation – you can read it here.

We’d like to offer some additional support for Anakana’s argument…

A book does not stand alone in our lives. It is not like the random tchotchke you picked up at your last seminar nor does it fall into the same category as that apple peeler-corer thingee that you are convinced you would use regularly if you learned how to bake pies. The books on our shelves, nightstands, and coffee tables are part of a collection of books we’ve accumulated over days, weeks, months, and years.

Why do people collect things?

Some people collect things for the investment. They hope their collection will be worth something one day (think stamp or coin collections). Other people begin their collections innocently, by picking up a random object or buying a cute new toy (beanie babies or broken glass). But it doesn’t really matter WHY we collect; it’s enough to recognize that many of us do.

Book lovers are collectors, too, even if they do not spend thousands of dollars scouring used bookstores for the overlooked 1963 signed, first edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Not all book collectors are in it for the money. Book lovers, like many other collectors, find joy and satisfaction in the collection process:
  • The infinite selection of possibilities
  • The near-infinite variety of topics/subjects
  • The discovery of something new (new author, new book by a known author, old book by a known author)
  • The hunt for something specific (the elusive first book published by the now-famous bestselling author)
  • The perfect title for a latent interest
Most book lovers’ collections contain a mix of well-loved titles, classic titles (some still waiting to be enjoyed), and new acquisitions. Well-read titles remain in the collection because we never tire of the stories within them. Classic titles remain because, well, they’re classics. And the new acquisitions provide the promise of new adventures. An individual title may not “spark joy” but the collection sure does.

Kondo also misses the interior design element of a book collection. Books add color to any and every room (unless you happen to be one of those horrible people who remove the dust jackets), they fit beautifully on your shelves, and they invite casual perusal as well as careful study.

But perhaps most importantly, the books on our shelves hold the memories of the time spent acquiring them. Where were you when you found your last great read?

So for all of you book lovers out there - ignore Marie Kondo’s advice – and visit us at the Used Book Store to add a few new titles to your own personal collection.

Monday, April 23, 2018

North Shore Senior Center’s Annual Super Senior Day, Thursday, May 24, 2018
Friends of the Glenview Library: Super Senior 2018, Lauren Szwiec

Late on a Tuesday November afternoon in 2013, an attractive woman appeared before my desk in the Friends of the Glenview Library Used Book Store in the Glenview Public Library and asked if she could be one of our volunteers. Luckily for me, the opening we had available at that time was with me on Tuesday evenings from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. Her calendar was open for her to be scheduled for that time, and so she began.

The reason I say “luckily for me” is because if she had been scheduled for some other time period other than working directly with me, it could have taken some time for me to be aware of and to understand first-hand how multi-talented she is. She is computer literate; she can write; she is flexible and willing to do tasks large or small; she is a “reader” and therefore knowledgeable about books and authors past and present, and ... fun fact, she always “has wanted to have a book store”.  Now she does!

She is friendly and likeable, and good with people. As an instructor for the Used Book Store, she updated and totally rewrote our UBS “Bible” – how to do whatever in the daily life in the Store. She handles our computer classes for new volunteers who want to learn to research and list our (eligible) books on Amazon. On duty in the UBS, she is helpful to each customer as needed, including those who are searching for the “right” book as a gift for a friend or for themselves. She is always on time (and is actually always early for appointments) and is creative in thought and deed. You can understand why two years ago I asked her if she would accept the Friends’ Board position as Co-Chair of the Friends of the Glenview Library Used Book Store.

She did and she is.

Submitted by: Irene Overman Kreer

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Eat less. Move more.

Perhaps you’re like millions of other Americans who have made the New Year’s resolution to “lose some weight.” Maybe you got one of these new fitness-tracking devices over the holidays to help you stay on goal:

Moov Now

So many choices - did you choose your own wearable device or let your gift-giver decide? All of them track your steps, some monitor your heart rate, others are water-proof, and still others measure the intensity of your workouts. Phew – it’s tiring just thinking about it.  These gadgets are awesome – they fulfill our insatiable desire for instant and constant feedback. 

Eat less. Move more. That’s the best advice we have heard for losing weight. Simple, right? Well, if you’re like most of those other millions you need more than your new Fitbit to help achieve your goals.

We can help. Our generous donors have given us:

Cookbooks filled with recipes for cooking light/healthy
Exercise books to put a little variety in your routine.
Inspirational books to keep you motivated
Entertaining books to use as rewards for keeping up with your resolutions

Come on in and take a look around – we’re sure you’ll find something. And the added bonus? You’ll get in some of your recommended steps for the day – your Fitbit will be pleased. 

But wait - maybe you are one of the lucky few who have been able to resist junk food and maintain a healthy diet even DURING the holidays. Maybe you hate chocolate and maybe you still fit into your high school jeans. Perhaps one of your resolutions is to read more. 

If you’re a Goodreads or LibraryThing fan you have probably already established a new goal for 2018. We assume that you made your goal for 2017 – exceeded it, in fact. Woohoo! Congratulations! Maybe your 2017 goal was too easy or maybe it was a stretch goal but you did it.  Either way, you’ve been basking in the glow of your achievement and suddenly realize that you had better get going on your 2018 goal. We’ve got books for you, too.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a fantastic 2018 from Friends of the Glenview Library.  Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Volunteering at the Used Book Store

One summer day, several years ago, I was really early for an appointment with my dentist (Eric Lim at Glenlake Dental, in the interest of Hugging the Bear).  So I went into the old library and saw that there was a Used Book Store.
Used book stores are about my favorite thing on Planet Earth. Up there with puppies, chocolate and the Internet.  I went in and spent money, then saw they were looking for volunteers.  I could have a three hour shift, once a week.  I could sit and read books and talk to people about books and sell books and call it volunteering
How fast do you think I signed up?
In the beginning, my favorite thing was opening a box of new donations.  It was like Christmas morning, the surprise and delight of what I might find.  First dibs on buying them was pretty fun, too.  Reviewing and pricing donations meant that I was also listing books for sale on the storefront.  So my next favorite thing was when a book I listed on Amazon had sold.
Then, we moved to the new building.  If you haven’t been there, the Irene Overman Kreer Used Book Store has a dedicated room off the main hallway and it is fabulous. Donations are up, sales are up, and interest in our cause is higher than it has been in as long as I can remember.  All proceeds go to Friends of the Glenview Library.  From the website:
“The Friends of the Glenview Library is organized exclusively for the charitable, educational, and continuing development of the Glenview Public Library. Proceeds generated by the Friends ongoing fund raising efforts are used to purchase important items not possible in the Library's regular operating budget, as well as to support special projects.”
The great thing about volunteering here is that there is something for everyone that loves books. Some volunteers like researching the rare finds among the donations. (I don’t have the patience.)  Some like to organize the titles.  Or argue in which section a book should really be shelved. (I might sometimes do that.)  My new favorite thing?  When someone buys a book that I have already read and I know that it is great and can tell them so.
The Used Book Store is open during regular library hours.  I certainly hope you will visit.  If you are interested in volunteering, you can find the application and contact information here
Contributed by:  Anne Bradley


Sunday, December 4, 2016

2016 is coming to a close!

Seems like only yesterday we were in our shirtsleeves tossing burgers and brats on the grill.  Oh, that’s right, we WERE grilling in November.  But now it’s December, and the holidays are rapidly approaching…

On the first day of Christmas (or Hanukkah) -- buy yourself a book!  It will get you into the holiday spirit.

On the second day of Christmas – buy your sister (or brother) a book.

On the third day of Christmas – come back to the bookstore – you’ll find something, for someone.

We love books.  And we believe there is a book for everyone.  Actually, we believe there are many books for every person we know.

When we think of the holidays, or birthdays, or Ground Hog’s day, or the Equinox – we think of books.

Books for every occasion!

At the Irene Overman Kreer Used Book Store, we have:
Coffee table books
History and politics

And this month, all holiday books are ½ off!

Last year we placed our holiday books on a cart near the checkout desk.  Not this year.  This year we needed more space – so we placed them in aisle 4B.

Many of the books we receive from our generous donors appear to be new.  They make great gifts. Others (gently used or deeply loved) are perfect for stocking stuffers or gifts-for-no-reason.

For the serious readers on your list - biographies, history, politics, and essays – to name a few.

For left-brained artistic types – art, architecture, photography, and more.

Entrepreneurial spirits will love the business books.

DIY’ers are always looking for new projects, and we’ve got shelves of home improvement and craft books.

And who can resist a good mystery?

One more thing…  We are selling a number of toys, games, and puzzles from Youth Services.  We’ve placed them on the carts outside our front door – many of them are $1.00!  But you better hurry --- they’re selling fast.

We have it all.