When I was a kid growing up on a farm in central Wisconsin and attending a one-room country school, we had few books at home, and the school had but three shelves of books located near the wood stove in the back of the schoolroom.
As a lover of books since I learned to read, by fifth or sixth grade I had read every book in the school’s limited collection. And I wanted more. In those days, the Wild Rose library would not lend books to kids who lived outside the village. So I was stuck.
Mr. Roberts, owner of the Wild Rose Mercantile knew about my love for books. In the basement of his store, where you could buy everything from four-buckle barn boots to groceries, Mr. Roberts offered a small collection of hard cover books; none priced more than .49 cents each.
While my mother was busy grocery shopping, Mr. Roberts would take me down to his book collection and recommend books for me to buy. I saved my money from picking cucumbers, potatoes and green beans—and bought books. I still have several of them in my collection: SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, TREASURE ISLAND, THE BLACK ARROW and several others.
I was reminded of all of this last week when I attended and spoke at the 2012 Wisconsin Library Association Conference held in La Crosse. How fortunate we are in Wisconsin to have such a fine collection of public libraries—that are open to the public, country kids included.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS. Support our libraries. They are community treasures.
October 30, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bramble Books, Viroqua, WI. Book Signing.
October 30, 5:30 p.m. Temple Theater, Viroqua, WI. Showing of “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.” Wis. Public TV. Refreshments. Free to the public. Apps will speak and take questions from the audience following the show.
November 1, 6:30 p.m. Minoqua Public Library. Minoqua, WI. “Rural Wit and Wisdom.”
November 7, Platteville Historical Society, Platteville, WI. “Garden Wisdom.”
November 11, 5:15 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Madison,”Overture Center, “Garden Wisdom.”
November 13, Barnes and Noble Book Store, Madison West. 7:00 p.m. Launch of
“Tamarack River Ghost.”
November 14, Columbus, Wi Public Library. 6:00 p.m. “Tamarack River Ghost”
November 15, 7:00 p.m. Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine Street, Green Bay, WI. Showing of “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.” Wis. Public TV. Free to the public. Reception with cider and cookies. Apps will speak and take questions from the audience following the show.
November 28, 7:00 p.m. “Jerry Apps: A Farm Story.” State-wide broadcast on all Wisconsin Public TV stations.
December 1, 10:30-2:30 Fireside Books, West Bend, WI. Presentation at 11:00