1997 marked Appleton Public Library's Centennial. Library staff and community came together to compile a history of the library through research and remembrances. As part of the Centennial Celebration, the library made a special scrapbook for patrons to record their favorite memories of the library. The scrapbook has been cataloged as a reference book and placed permanently in the Library's Wisconsin Collection. Contents are also represented online in the "I Remember" Scrapbook.
Pete Gilbert's Centennial Comments
"I'm very pleased to be here tonight to help celebrate the Centennial of a great American institution, one that has stood the test of time and has brought joy and enrichment into the lives of so many. I refer, of course, to Jell-O brand gelatin. Yes, as we all know, it was in 1897 that a New York cough medicine manufacturer came up with a fruit-flavored gelatin, that his wife christened Jell-O. It was available in strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon flavors...
"Or is that a different reception?
"No, we're here to talk about something even more important than Jell-O -- The Library.
"Several years ago, when I was interviewing for a job here in town, my wife and
"And Fines there inevitably are, because there are voracious readers in our house. We lived for years near Charlottesville, Virginia (Emily was born there) so maybe it's not surprising that we subscribe to Jefferson's famous statement, "I cannot live without books." We're also believers in Henry Ward Beecher's remark that "a library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life." We wouldn't dare make a major purchase without researching Consumer Reports. Our vacations have been enhanced by books we've read about San Diego or the Black Hills. When our parents call with some new medical condition they've developed, our first stop is to find out more at the library.
As homeschoolers, the library is the mainstay of our curriculum, and every evening before bed, we read aloud from one book or another, most of them picked out from the excellent children's collection. Susannah says the library "has good stories and is good for looking things up." Emily claims "the library is good exercise"--for those who have to carry home the library bag bulging with books.
"And of course it's not just books anymore either. Appleton Public has been a leader in providing opportunities for members of the community to get on the Internet--and in providing content for them to read and use once they get there. CD-ROMs are a big favorite at our house now. We've explored coral reefs with Jean Michel Cousteau and learned about musical notes from some animated creature--I never did figure out what it was. The Information world is changing rapidly; there always seems to be something new--and thanks to excellent training, the staff can be counted on to know something about it.
"A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing the new book shelves and came across the gem: Library: The Drama Within. No one believes that's actually the title. Anyway, it's this book of beautiful black and white photos of libraries--and people using libraries. Commentary describes each photo, but there are also quotations. One of my favorites is by Pete Hamill:
"In the old days we had to sign cards to check books out and those cards each had a pocket. I don't know if you've ever looked at those card pockets, but you should. They say, "Service for the Whole Family." I like the sounds of that. As Pete Hamill would say, those are some of the things I've come to value most: service and the family--and it's obviously a phrase that reflects the philosophy here at Appleton Public. Service is clearly important to the staff at APL. And they're good at it. I know lots of librarians and let me tell you, there's quality here.
"And finally, the library is most definitely a place for the whole family. It's a place in which all four of us, our "whole family," with different needs and interests and reading levels, can spend an hour --or the afternoon--together. And that's important."
- Pete Gilbert
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