Since I’ve been working on the College Park Community Library, I’ve met and heard from a lot of nice folks who say they’re happy the library exists and that it’s a nice addition to the community. Naturally, my fellow volunteers and I are happy to receive such comments and, as we continue with this little project, we invite you to join us as we work to make the CPCL bigger and more useful to the community.
If you haven’t been to the College Park Community Library in a while, you should make it a point to come back every once in a while to see what new books have been added to our collection since you’re last visit. This week alone, hundreds of new titles in a variety of subject areas—fiction, young adult, philosophy, religion, sports, and so on—have come in the door.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a few taking place at the CPCL over the next month or so, with more on the way. Join us! Or, if you have an idea for something you’d like to do at the library—a reading, book group, community meeting, etc.—let us know! Contact us via our website.
We’d like to expand our hours (particularly on Mondays and Fridays), but to do that we need more volunteers. If you can spare some time, we’d appreciate it. You can sign up for a weekly shift or, if you don’t have that kind of time, you also can serve as a “sub.” Moreover, our procedures for signing out and shelving books are pretty simple, so previous library experience is not necessary.
And while I’m on the subject of supporting the community, I’d like to offer the following vote of support for College Park’s local businesses.
Some time ago, I heard a story on NPR’s All Things Considered about the closing of a noteworthy bookstore in California. As I recall, the journalist narrating the event spoke of the store’s closing as the “end of an era” and the people she spoke to—the store’s customers—agreed.
“I’ll miss coming here,” said one.*
“This place is a local institution. It’s sad to see it close its doors,” said another. *
The store’s owner was less wistful. “The people who don’t want to see us close should have visited us more often. Where were they six months ago?”*
It’s a familiar story—one our community experienced first hand not too long ago when the closed its doors. Now, I don’t know what led to the café’s closing, but it makes me wonder whether we sometimes like the idea of something more than the thing itself.
For example, every year the city does a resident survey and every year people say they want to see more local businesses and fewer chain stores. Yet, in the dozen or so years I’ve lived in town, I’ve seen scores of small independent retailers close and more chain stores open their doors. Something seems awry….
As the city’s new Economic Development Coordinator, Michael Stiefvater, put it in a recent , “I … know that a lot of residents want local businesses, so I think a challenge will be how to foster an environment so small independently owned businesses will locate here.”
How do you foster that kind of environment? I confess I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that merely liking the idea of something is not enough. College Park is lucky in that, despite its problems, there are a lot of people willing to put in the time and effort to make our town a better, more interesting and engaging place to live. Thus, if there is a local store, restaurant, or cultural venue that you like, let the people who brought them to life know you appreciate their effort by spending some of your time and money at their establishment.
* I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.