I recently went to the Conway Public Library to get an Instant Pot cookbook. During our recent Yankee Swap, I was unlucky to receive a brand new Instant Pot that I had given away on a swap two years ago. It is still brand new. What is that old saying? What goes around comes around?
Instant Pots were all the rage before COVID. My Californian sister sent it, thinking it would finally make me a cook. I say, what’s wrong with a good old fashioned recipe of throwing everything in a slow cooker and enjoying the amazing flavors that fill the room for hours before dinner? The boomerang of this contraption in my life made me think, “Why do we have to do so many things instantly?
OK, I’ll admit I don’t regret the days when you waited impatiently for Bob Duncan to let you know your film was developed and ready to be picked up. Trying to capture the essence of your children in gold for greeting cards was costly. You probably threw away half the pictures and spent a pretty penny on reprints of the one that captured the essence of the moment, because so many people on your list hadn’t seen your little angels in a while.
Today, thanks to social media, photos of all aspects of your friends and family’s lives are ubiquitous and instantaneous. We’ve seen your kids grow through monthly, even daily updates. From engagements to graduations, we know about your special moments seconds after they happen. At once. We may even know what you ate last night because it appears to be a Facebook, or should I say Meta, favorite.
Well, I have good news. Your local library can get you the book or DVD you’ve been looking forward to about as quickly as the Postal Service or Jeff Bezos can these days. Did you know that a Conway Public Library cardholder can enter Jackson Public, Madison Public, or Cook Memorial libraries and use your Conway card? We also invite users of the aforementioned libraries to borrow from us on site.
The region’s libraries are not in competition; we are actually cooperative. Literally. We’re part of a consortium that enables sharing across four libraries, and you don’t have to travel to those cities to take advantage of this opportunity. The pooling of our resources takes on its full meaning.
To do this, simply request an item, and local staff will travel from library to library, dropping off the bags of books, magazines or movies you have requested, to make sure you are able to. get the items as soon as possible. . This is our own “main” delivery system.
Another advantage of the library amazed me during my employment. Prior to working at the library, I was unaware of the interlibrary loan system used throughout our state. If the item you need is not available in our library or through the Northern New Hampshire Library Consortium, our very own Annie Wehrli will do her best to find that item for you somewhere in New Hampshire. Hampshire. If that fails, she will search the libraries at Dartmouth, Bates, or the University of New Hampshire, or perhaps even request that book or microfilm from the Library of Congress. Beware, Mr. Bezos. We don’t need you anymore.
The ILL process may require a bit more patience, and the system is a bit reminiscent of the days of the pony express. Once an eligible library receives a request from Annie, they place that item in a bucket with your name on it. A van driver cruises the state, like Santa Claus in his sleigh, picking up and delivering requests to library staff eagerly awaiting home libraries. Neither the snow, nor the rain, nor the heat, nor the darkness of the night prevent these couriers from completing their rounds quickly.
Receiving library staff process items by entering essential information into our computer system, tracking the item and notifying the lender that it has been received and when it will be returned. A reverse system follows its return, managed, once again, by your trusty local ILL staff member.
Does the above seem bulky? Are you still impatient? Do you need a book, audiobook or magazine right now? At once? Try the Libby app. Yes Libby, like “library”. Another free “instant gratification” tool we offer is the Libby or Overdrive app. It is an award-winning and highly rated application for libraries; another tool in your library card basket. All you need is your library card number, a smart phone, a Kindle, or a computer.
From the luxury of your own home, you can have a book to read, or an audio version, instantly. Read the latest issue of Oprah or HGTV magazine in one click and send it back 30 minutes later.
Unfortunately, those who like this option don’t come to the library in person as often, and we miss you, so stay in touch. If the step-by-step instructions are confusing, head to our library to see Jeff, our assistant manager, or any available staff member, to walk you through the Libby process. Once you try the app, you will never go back.
But, let’s say you’re old-fashioned and, well, patient. Try an old-fashioned book. It might be time to try suggested books outside the realm of your usual genre. We now have two book clubs at the Conway Public Library. Our longstanding Monday morning group meets at 10 a.m. once a month; we try to meet on the third Monday of the month. The exception occurs during Monday holiday months, so check the calendar, via our website, or call us to make sure you don’t miss that month’s engaging reading conversation.
The Jan. 24 pick is “Tell the Wolves I’m Home,” by Carol Rifka Brunt. We meet via Zoom and in person (hidden) and the breadth and depth of the conversation will have you re-reading the book to capture the moments you missed while reading solo. We will always have plenty of copies, thanks to Annie and our ILL system, including large print and audio versions. Let us know your needs and we will accommodate you.
Starting in January, a new group will meet every third Tuesday evening of the month, also via Zoom and in person (hidden). This is our first foray into an evening reading group. The trial begins at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18, hoping you can settle in after a long day of work and dinner, and will last just over an hour.
Our top evening book pick is “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” by Daniel James Brown. This is a five-star book by 83% of some 29,000 readers on a popular website. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you’ve read it, you’ll be glad to read it again, and probably appreciate finally being able to discuss it with others.
Again, we welcome you in person, but a Zoom link can be sent to you a few days before the meeting if you are willing to share your email with us. Relax and observe, even if you haven’t read the book, or jump in with engaging commentary. Everyone is welcome.
So, I now have the Instant Pot book in my hand and wonder what magic it will wield. The title is “Multicooker Perfection: Cook it fast or cook it slow-you decide”, written by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen. I think it’s a great transition towards the end of this article.
Whether you demand things be instant or prefer to let your rest simmer, Conway Public Library staff are here to help at your pace; you decide. If you also received an Instant Pot, the gift that keeps on giving, email me and we can swap recipes.