Season 2 Episode 44: Heading into the Library with Dave Astor

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” Neil Gaiman

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus

Dave Astor and I are once again  bridging the 3,923 kilometers between New Jersey to Vancouver. Today, we are heading to the library.

So, listeners, put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on TeaToastTrivia. I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Welcome Dave, thank you stopping by for a visit. You once said that “Books are there for us, even in the most difficult of circumstances.” If books are the best companions and a comfort during times of uncertainty, libraries are the places to go to build our resilience and courage.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus

We are entering our fifth month of what I call the Covid19 solitude, which began on March 11, 2020 when the WHO declared a pandemic. During this time, libraries have closed their doors but have continued to be an invaluable resource and guide within the virtual and digital world.  Dave and I are celebrating libraries and librarians who share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus

Thank you for joining Dave and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. And a very special thank you and shout out to Dave. He continues to inspire me.  You can connect with Dave on Dave Astor on Literature. There is always an adventure in reading waiting for your arrival on his blog.

Mary Jo Malo on a Poet’s Calling Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

  1. Mary Jo Malo on a Poet’s Calling
  2. Tides of Change with Joan Dunnett
  3. The Trio on Milestones
  4. Brian on the Fear of Missing Out
  5. Heading into the Library with Dave Astor

62 Comments Add yours

  1. elisabethm says:

    Great conversation with Dave about libraries and their significance in our lives. I do not remember any particular librarians, but I do remember going to the library every Wednesday afternoon when I was little. They always organized something for children and it was great fun!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I don’t remember any particular librarians as a child either, which seems to be a common thread with everyone. What I do remember was adults floating in the back arranging bookshelves and bringing out new books for me to look at. All I could see was the book covers full of colourful images. Librarians have a wonderful way of being with us, but giving all the kudos to books. The other quote that I love by Neil Gaiman is: Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I’m always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.” By the way, I have really enjoyed your introductions to to books that have been translated. I found “Three Apples Fell From the Tree” and “The Girl form the Metropol Hotel” on Audible. This winter, I will be traveling to Russia by book.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Reading your comment, I had the image of little Rebecca sitting on her reader’s throne with librarians at her beck and call to fetch her the choicest of books for her reading pleasure.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        How did you know!!!! Hugs and laughter coming your way.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hugs and laughter coming right back atcha, Rebecca!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Dave Astor says:

      Thank you, Elisabeth! As you know, Rebecca is a terrific interviewer. Great conversations can’t help but follow. 🙂

      Going to a library as a kid does create wonderful memories, even if we can’t recall specific librarians. Sort of a paradise place for children — and librarians are a huge part of making that happen, as you note, Rebecca. (I think I need to read more of Neil Gaiman — I’ve only gotten to two of his novels — to reward him for being so complimentary about librarians!)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. elisabethm says:

        That’s all true!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Wonderful podcast with Dave Astor! The love of libraries and books is often instilled in us at a very young age, usually through parents’ interest. I still have one of my earliest library cards from the 1950’s with my keepsakes. Rebecca, I likewise remember a community library housed in an old white house. Like Dave, my favorite librarians as an adult were like mentors or facilitators able to find anything I needed for researching my latest passion. Sometimes they’d find and order rare books of antique age from libraries out of state. Those were so precious. But my favorite of all library experiences was in a small rural village in Ohio, same one as my favorite little park, where I took part in Book Club and Friends of the Library and helped organize all kinds of community programs for children and adults. My two youngest children were introduced to volunteerism and had so much fun. Those librarians, the children’s librarian and the director, are fondly remembered to this day. You and Dave’s conversation has brought on a lovely nostalgia, so thank you for sharing! P.S. My local city branch is now accepting returns and has curbside pickup. It had previously not participated, and I was dealing with anger management 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Those small rural libraries are wonderful – the heart of the community. I will always remember my first library. What precious memories you have – a testament to the essential place that our libraries and librarians have in our society. They embody literacy, so critical to individual and community well-being. Progress in every field of study, from medicine, architecture, to music and philosophy has been based on literacy. With this gift, we have the ability to learn, to explore, to communicate. Libraries are a place of belonging and a place to heal. Your comments are so very much appreciated, Mary Jo! Sending many hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        I wholeheartedly agree! 🤗🤗🤗

        Liked by 2 people

      2. To your point about literacy, Rebecca, we’ve been living in the digital age long enough now that it’s easy to forget that years ago, many people only had access to books through libraries and bookmobiles.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        I have just finished reading “Wuthering Heights” even though I did a full paper on the subject of love between Catherine and Heathcliff in my first year university literature class. Looking back, I realize now that I watched the 1970 Wuthering Heights movie with Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall. No wonder there were many question marks on my returned paper. YIKES! But I digress. You may recall that the ending of the narrative had the vision of Catherine (the daughter) teaching Hareton how to read. I especially appreciated how Emily Bronte created the tension of someone who was desperate to read. We must not forget all those who worked tirelessly, over the years, to foster literacy. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I got a kick out of your “Wuthering Heights” digression! I can just see your professor’s face while grading your paper: What, what what?!?! I can’t imagine how much of the world some who can’t read is missing.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Clanmother says:

        I had Heathcliff and Catherine as one and the same. And then went on to say that they were really just one person. And then I wrote something about this being a a reflection on ideal love. YIKES!!

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I would like to have seen the textual evidence you used to support your (ahem) “interpretation.” 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Clanmother says:

        He’s more myself than I am. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
        Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

        Isn’t it wonderful to take thoughts out of context.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Politicians seem to think so. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Dave Astor says:

      Thank you, Mary Jo!

      What wonderful library memories you have — including that library card from when you were very young. Nice! I wish I had kept mine; I can’t even remember what it looked like. 😦

      I grew up using a mid-sized library in a suburb, but have visited some rural ones over the years during vacations and love them — as you and Rebecca do.

      And your mention of your children becoming library lovers reminds me that many of us have two sets of fond kids-at-library memories: Our own from when we were young, and seeing our children there.

      Glad your local library has started to open things up a bit in the late summer of 2020.

      Rebecca, I enjoyed reading your eloquent reply to Mary Jo!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        The love of books, libraries and lifelong learning are some of our best legacies to future generations. Thank you for helping promote that love!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Dave Astor says:

        So true, Mary Jo (your eloquent first line). And I appreciate the compliment (your kind second line).

        Your poetry helps promote a love of words — and of looking closely at/appreciating/coping with life.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        Thank you Dave! Very much appreciated. The library is full of treasures. Don and I were just reading how stories/legends such as Robin Hood, King Arthur, etc come through centuries and still remain, to a. great extent, with the same character names and plots.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ms Frances says:

    Thank you for these positive words about libraries, your conversation sparks the desire to visit the libraries after this troublesome virus gives us more freedom. Libraries have always been a favorite place for me. The library where I went to high school was filled with books I loved, and also I was able to do my first times of research there with a very helpful librarian. When I worked in an office, I remember having to do research, I do not remember the subject, but it helped me resolve a problem. Later, I enjoyed a college library, but I think my favorite time spent was with you, Rebecca, in a little library in Champlin, Minnesota, when you were very young. I remember that we found some interesting books. Very good memories!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      That small time library will always be embedded in my memory. There was always a welcoming presence of books, books and more books. They had so many that they were stacked on the floors. I think that they eventually moved to a new location because no one could get in the door. When I went to college near Winnipeg many years later, everyone had an assigned task. My task was to vacuum the library. My friend, Martha, was given the job of assistant to the assistant librarian. I learned how to vacuum a library while she went on to learn how to be a librarian. We have kept in touch ever since that time. Libraries bring life-long friends together.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        Those are lovely podcasts too! 🤗

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Dave Astor says:

      Thank you, Ms. Frances and Rebecca! So nice to hear those fond recollections of library experiences. There’s something about libraries — among them, school ones — that stay in our memories when some other things might not.

      I wish I had remembered this when you interviewed me for this podcast, Rebecca, but I wrote a blog post several years ago about libraries and librarians in novels. 🙂

      https://daveastoronliterature.com/2015/06/14/libraries-and-librarians-in-literature/

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Clanmother says:

        Dave – this an excellent post and I enjoyed following the links to your writings on Huffington Post! I have started to read these posts. The brothers and sisters was especially memorable, given that we have, through histories and our mythologies, experienced the the tension of sibling rivalry and love. I think we have many other podcast conversations in the future.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Dave Astor says:

    Thanks so much, Rebecca! I agree — sibling relationships, good or bad or in-between, are a rich source of material and drama in literature.

    Always happy to have more podcast conversations!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jean-Jacques says:

    Interesting give and take between you and Dave, Rebecca… Makes one want to take a long overdue visit to a library, for an afternoon of browsing, in the kind of peaceful setting and atmosphere only libraries can offer.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dave Astor says:

      Thank you very much, Jean-Jacques!

      Yes, it will be wonderful when libraries reopen for the type of afternoon you described so evocatively. Missed by many. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Clanmother says:

      Each library has a unique personality. These past couple of weeks, I have been giving much thought to the idea of letter writing. Remember when we would wait to receive a letter and then enjoy reading the pages of handwriting. Words, writing, reading all come from libraries. I have almost forgot how to write in cursive form. Maybe this winter I will look for a fountain pen.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I used to love going into the stacks, pursuing the titles, tipping out a book, reading a bit inside, trying another one, and on down the row.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Liz, your tipping out a book, etc., is a great memory that conjures up a great mind’s-eye image!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 🙂 How about sitting cross-legged on the floor of the library reading an obscure little biography of Calvin Coolidge written while he was president. Did you know that he had sandy hair, reeked of cheap cigars, and shoveled his food at formal dinners? Good times, good times . . .

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Dave Astor says:

        Ha, Liz! 🙂 Not exactly the caliber of “Angela’s Ashes.”

        “Calvin’s Cheap Cigar Ashes”?

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Ha ha! Good one, Dave! :D:D

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Jean-Jacques says:

    I applaud you’re reminder, of a sadly now past personal and respectfully beautiful way of life, that of hand writing letters… There are beautiful customs from the past that should never be abandoned and I thank you for reminding me, dear friend, Rebecca!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      This coming winter, I shall begin letter-writing. One of my favourite quotes about letters is by Blaise Pascal: I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Letter 16, 1657) The Provincial Letters

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely to hear you both on here and listen to the voice behind the amazing blog, Dave. Libraries. How they are enduring places in our life we love and how we pass that love on to our children. They are so often oases in the sands of our lives. Wherever we are, there is nothing like a visit to one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for listening in, Shehanne. Don is trying to figure out how to bring more than one person, from a distance, on the podcast. We know that it can be done, but it is the quality of audio that needs to be worked through. We continue to learn and the best place to learn is a library – the heart and soul of humanity. Dave was one of the first to come on TTT and his encouragement and support has been extraordinary. Sending many hugs your way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Thank you very much for the kind words, Shehanne and Rebecca!

        It was also great to hear you on a previous Rebecca podcast, Shehanne, after first reading your impressive writing in “blogland.”

        And I appreciate the eloquence of both of you when you discuss libraries — beloved institutions indeed.

        A shout-out to Don, too, for his amazing production work on the podcasts!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Big shout out to Don. Dave, you’re too kind. An absolute pleasure to read your blog and the many aspects of books you write of there. Nice now to have heard the voice behind the blog. Rebecca, as ever, a wonderful podcast. So nice to know Dave was one of the first to come on here too. You and Don will get the audio link to have more than one on here sorted. Life is indeed all about learning xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Liz says:

    Can there be anything better than a conversation about books and libraries! I have on my desk a key fob with the following quote: “Books mean all possibilities. They mean everything.” ~ Ali Smith Thanks again to you both for a great podcast (and bravo to the tech team too as always!) 📚👏🏻💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      My dining room table has been taken over by my dear techie. So instead of conversations over dinner, the conversations are now over WIFI. These past months have confirmed how innovative we are in learning how to connect in new ways. In your post on Sarah Moss, your link to the Edinburgh Book Festival was amazing. The discussion, held virtually, created an intimate feeling as if I was part of the discussion. Truly amazing. Love that quote – have placed it on my computer “sticky note”!! Almost through with Wuthering Heights. I am now convinced that I did not read this book in university even though it was part of the curriculum. I watched the 1970 Wuthering Heights movie with Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall. It was a great movie, but the book is stunning.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Thank you, Liz! I agree that it’s hard to find a better conversation topic than books and libraries. A sentiment reflected in that tremendous quote (which I’ve never seen before) you cited from Ali Smith. Well worth having on a key fob!

        Rebecca, your dining room table has indeed morphed into a different entity. 🙂 I hear you about that table having multiple uses — in my apartment, it’s my work space when not used for meals. I’ve yet to eat my laptop computer by mistake, but there’s still time…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        You have the best humour, Dave. It comes through brilliant in you MontClairVoyant articles.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Liz says:

        You are so right about the intimacy of these online sessions – it feels like having a 1:1 conversation, never mind all the hundreds of other viewers around the world!! I’m totally the same about WH – I think our conversation will need to be ‘why did we both think we had read it when we definitely had not’!! I recently ordered the paperback because although I am enjoying the audio version, I felt the need to be able to flick back and forth between the pages. Fabulous.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        I agree – I’ve had to go back a forth a couple of times so have downloaded the book via KOBO.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Dave Astor says:

        Thanks so much, Rebecca! Kind of you to say that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This was so much fun! I’m sitting here with a big, goofy, library-inspired grin on my face. So many thoughts and happy memories prompted by your conversation with Dave. In 1919, my maternal grandmother moved from tiny Economy, Nova Scotia to Toronto to become a librarian. I was able to find primary sources on Internet Archive of the training she had and the work of the librarians she trained under. It was fascinating! My great-great uncle Williard Brown designed the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 2019, the Lexington Historical Society created a display in that library featuring my grandfather’s WWI military service to honor the WWI centennial. What a thrill it was to see Granddad’s display in the library his uncle designed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh Liz, I do love when you go back in time and take me with you. I had to find out more about Cary Memorial Library so, I found the link to this amazing history and the woman who started it all: Maria Hastings Cary (1801-1881), with $1,000! I was excited to come across your great-great uncle: “Local architect Willard Dalrymple Brown (1871-1944) graduated from the MIT School of Architecture in 1894 and set up his own practice in Boston in 1902. Brown’s highly original early works reflect the various influences that were prevalent during the eclectic times, including Colonial Revival, Shingle, and Craftsman. The use of fieldstone, stucco, and shingles is common to many of his designs. (https://www.lexingtonma.gov/historical-commission/comprehensive-cultural-resources-survey/pages/suburbanization-1870-1915) The library building echoes the massive fieldstone base of the Minuteman statue just across the street. (Grady, The Architecture of Willard D. Brown, pp. 22-23)”. https://www.carylibrary.org/history-cary-memorial-library. I can only imagine how exciting it was for you to see your grandfather’s WWI military service displayed in the library his uncle designed. Libraries hold our memories, stories, and hopes for future generations.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Wow, Liz — that’s a highly impressive library-related family history! And Rebecca, you once again proved that you’re a terrific researcher!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I had goosebumps going back and finding the history, Dave. These are the moments when I feel the strength of those who came before – they did what was needed to build their communities. Their legacy is a call to action. It is our watch, now. We have big shoes to fill and I’m trying to figure out how to grow big feet.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for taking a look at Uncle Willard’s work! He also designed my grandparents’ house at 27 Edgewood Road in Lexington, which I featured in one of my tanka posts a while back.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. That’s the one! 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Resa says:

    That was a great conversation! Your (both of you) love of libraries came through 100%, and I am with you 100%.
    I’ve got a print book here, written by a WP blogger. It’s on deck to read, after I finish a book by Shehanne Moore.
    I’ll be cleaning the fridge out later, and make sure I save a slice of cheese. One can never have enough boho bookmarks.
    Thank you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      So glad that you listened in, Resa. I am so grateful for our writers, poets, librarians, and libraries. I just found a new quote today about books by Mark Twain, which I know will resonate with you: “In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” Sending hugs and cheese your way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave Astor says:

        Thanks so much, Resa! Glad you enjoyed the conversation. Rebecca is a fantastic podcast host! And I’m thinking that using a piece of cheese as a bookmark encourages speed-reading (unless one is reading in a refrigerator).

        Rebecca, I love that great/wise quote from Mark Twain! Curbside pickup just doesn’t have the same absorption potential… 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I agree wholeheartedly, Dave. I miss my library visits and am finding solace in looking at photos that show bookshelves filled with books.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Resa says:

        Love the quote!
        Got the cheese! xo

        Liked by 2 people

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