A couple of months ago, children's librarian Kate Minshal was in the Norwich Public Library's community room, cleaning up after Lego Club. This is a time each week when kids dive into the library's bewitching trove of Legos and build things. By the time they're done, a lot of little pieces of plastic lie strewn about.
So Kate had a couple of helpers: three-year-old Matilda Adams and her older brother, Calvin. That's when Matilda looked up at her.
"Miss Kate?" she said. "I'm always happy to see a librarian."
"Matilda!" Kate responded. "That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me!" Then she ran upstairs to tell her colleagues. Who were just as delighted as she was, because librarians work hard not just at the obvious things -- administration and cataloging and creative programs and community outreach -- but at making the library a second home, a place of comfort and inspiration. "We provide so much more than books. We provide the opportunity to be part of something heartfelt," says Kate Minshal.
To have a three-year-old grasp this and appreciate it came as a boost, says Lucinda Walker, the library's director. "Matilda's comment hit us at just the right time."
Which is how Matilda wound up on this year's library fundraising card. That's her up above, at a "family fort" night held at the library last spring, in pajamas, getting ready to read.
The lettering is a different story. That was done by SARK, the inspirational author, who happened to be visiting the library, saw Matilda's quote on a scrap of paper, asked about it, and was so touched she offered to do the lettering for the appeal. Kathy Parsonnet, an artist and library board member, put it all together to create the card.
"Sometimes," says Lucinda Walker, "you get a whole big wonderful soup of interwoven relationships and good feelings."