Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why libraries?

I attended a conference recently where the presenters said we shouldn’t talk about what libraries do, but about why we do it.  A few years ago the theme had been that talking about why we do things was too lofty and idealistic and that we needed cold hard facts. Because here’s the truth – we can’t talk about why libraries exist and why we do what we do, without talking about democracy. Libraries are a foundational institution of a democratic society.   

The ideal of a library is that is provides knowledge and information to everyone – no matter their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation; everyone is welcome here. Libraries are about putting knowledge and information into everyone’s hands – whether it’s literary knowledge or digital literacy, whether it’s science knowledge or political knowledge, whether it’s information for a two year old or a ninety-two year old. Knowledge and information are available here for everyone, at any time of life.

Libraries are meant to be the great equalizers, the equal opportunity educators. Everyone is welcome here. We believe that knowledge put in anyone’s hands helps promote democracy. And that’s why we exist – to promote democracy, justice, equality, and learning.

So, open our doors. Everyone is welcome here. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Last Day of Sightseeing

Well, today was our last day of sightseeing in Sweden. Tomorrow we fly down to Stockholm and Friday we fly home. But, today we are in Umeå, a city north of Stockholm on the east coast of Sweden. Umeå is called the City of Birches,

Umeå sits on the Ume river. 

We spent the day visiting the ubiquitous cathedrals and churches and another open air museum and the local city museum.

Here's the cathedral.

Then to the Open Air Museum - for more farm pictures! 

Baking Tunnbröd - the local flatbread. 

Couldn't resist taking pictures of the goats and sheep. 

Bruce, of course, likes to collect rocks on vacations. But, I refused to let him carry them home. So, he had to settle for taking pictures of his favorites. 

The museum also had a few Sami dwellings. Here's a gaohte, the dwelling of a southern Sami family. 

Looking up the hole for the smoke to escape from the open fire. 

And reindeer hides to sleep on. 

This is a back pack made from birch bark. 

The museum also had a ski exhibit, with skis from the 1800's and up. They were beautifully carved. 

And it included the oldest ski in the world. It's been carbon dated to 3400 BCE - making it over 5400 years old. 

That's Sweden for us. We head home Friday. 
Thanks for following along on our adventure. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Another Town, Another Church, Another Churchtown

Well, we are in Luleå, Sweden now on the Bothnian Coast (east coast of Sweden, near the border with Finland.). We're back down below the Arctic Circle. So, rather than the sun never setting, it goes down at 11;30 pm and comes up at 1:30 am. But first some photos of midnight in Jokkmokk, above the Arctic Circle.

Today, we visited Gammelstad - another church town, where hundreds of cottages were built around the cathedral to accommodate church goers traveling long distances to church. 

The pipe organ was incredible. 

The cottages are basically one room, built helter skelter around the church. They can't be permanent dwellings, but are used only for special church festivals. 

Then we went to another open air museum to see farmsteads typical of this northern area from the 1700 and 1800's. Here's the farmhouse. 

And the barn. 

Here's the inside of the  house. 

The museums all seem to have great programs for kids. Here's the "jump into a pile of hay" exhibit!

And, of course, there were animals. 

We saw some Moomintrolls -

And Bruce soaked up some flowers and sunshine. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Midnight Sun Rained Out

So, we are here in Jokkmokk, on the last day of the Midnight Sun - when the sun doesn't actually set. Unfortunately, it's been raining and cloudy all day - so the sun hasn't been seen much at all.

We did go to the Sami museum and learn a lot about reindeer herding and the Sami lifestyle. The museum had beautiful Sami clothing -

some lifelike dioramas

and carvings of scenes - here's homestead life

and a reindeer scene

There was information about Sami religious life. Here's a drum of a Sami shaman, called a naodi, a very important part of their culture and religion. 

and Sami knives - an important craft. 

There was also, much to Bruce's delight, samples of all types of scat. Here's reindeer droppings. 

We then went to the Alpine Gardens. 

Bruce took his picture with a bear and I took his picture with a reindeer. 

And I discovered some more Berggrens. 

Tomorrow we head to the coast.