The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2007.02.14 Relaxing at the library

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I recently ran across an article by a California writer named Will Sherman. His piece is called “Are Librarians Totally Obsolete?” Sherman provides 33 reasons why libraries and their staff members aren’t even close to being obsolete, despite predictions of their demise in the digital age.

It sounds similar to dire warnings about newspapers. Some people had predicted they would already be dead by 2007, but we’re still alive and hobbling.

For libraries, there’s a “who needs them?” train of thought. Everything is on the internet, anyway, so who needs a paper book? Sherman derails that train in 33 ways.

Reasons number 16 and 17 discuss how a library adapts to cultural changes. Sherman says libraries are not obsolete; they’re just changing.

There’s a reference that leads to an article mentioning the “social library” where people can visit and relax.

Ginny Steel, director of libraries at Washington State University, suggests comfortable furniture in a stylish atmosphere, with comforts such as food and drink. Steel believes a library can and should fulfill a social and cultural role. Bring in art exhibits and other attractions. Allow some talking.

At her campus, people come to the library to see other people. It’s the main gathering place. Greater technological sophistication doesn’t doom libraries, she says, it allows them to keep changing to meet the needs and expectations of users.

So how about a rocker-recliner for Stair Public Library? Is that too strange of a concept for you? Worried that it might invite people to come in and fall asleep?

I suppose the staff would have to establish time limits as they do with computer usage. I can see Library Director Liz Stella walking over to a sleeping patron, grabbing him by the shoulder, trying to rouse him from sleep.

“Your 30-minute nap is over, sir. Time to get up.”

What if the sleeper were deep into the dream state with his eyeballs flying around inside the sockets and legs twitching away? Would this require an etiquette of its own?

You certainly don’t want to awaken a person during REM (rapid eye movement). I’ve been chewed out many a time (generally false accusations) for awakening the Assistant Library Director (my wife) during a dream. You just don’t want to mess with some people. Let sleeping librarians lie.

I can see the entertainment value of bringing a recliner into the library. It’s sort of fun to watch people nod off, twitch and drool.

“And if you bring in a recliner,” I said to her recently, “why not add a television with earphones?”

I was trying to be preposterous with that suggestion, but Colleen mentioned that when we visited her brother in Alaska in 1994, the library she visited in Anchorage did have a TV with headphones. Nothing farfetched about that idea.

That brought to mind 1968 as a freshman at Michigan State. The library in my dorm included turntables. Remember those antique machines that spun around and played music? I brought in Steve Miller’s “Children of the Future,” checked out a set of headphones and sat down to “study.”

It was an amazing experience for a small-town boy who lacked large sums of disposable income. I didn’t even own a good record player. I think I might have been using a hand-me-down from my sister. With the poor speaker built into the box and the scratchy sound, I never knew what I was missing. I guess I should say that I never knew what the music really sounded like. It was beautiful, almost a mystical experience to hear this stuff over headphones.

And it happened in my library, where things are always changing to better serve the public.

So first comes the recliner, then an iPod recharging station in the left arm of the chair. And I want wireless and a laptop to use when I’m leaning back to relax.

I’m thinking about a sauna in the basement of Stair Public Library. I think an exercise bike with a laptop holder would work well, too.

Perhaps I’m asking for too much. Maybe they could just get a decent turntable with a good set of headphones.

    – Feb. 14, 2007 

 

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