Spring by Kathryn White

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Visit to the Library

One of the pleasures of a library is that it is accessible and free to the general public.
We loved the library in the Joure, just 10 minutes by bicycle from home. When we arrived at the library the first time to check our emails, we were approached by lovely staff who were so welcoming and hospitable as they gave us a quick tour of their facility. We came in several more times during our trip and were greeted with a friendly hello each time. It was truly a joy to visit the library here, part of the Skarsterlân library system.

Feel free to visit with me:

"They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world."
~William Shakespeare

"It is impossible to enter a large library...
without feeling an inward sensation of reverence,
and without catching some sparks of noble emulation,
from the mass of mind which is scattered around you.
~James Crossley

"Make thy books thy companions.
Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds
and gardens."
~Judah ibn-Tibbon (12th century)

"You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be.
I had a Mother who read to me."
~Strickland Gillilan

You can read the poem in its entirety here
And more great library quotes here

If you came to visit us at our local library here, you would find the following books, based on dutch stories and having a dutch setting. The illustrations in these next two books are so beautiful with such a Rembrandt style:

When we were biking in the countryside, I spotted this stork and got so excited to see my first stork ever. This area of Friesland has many storks as well as stork nests which you can see in the following photos.

And yes, it reminded me of this children's book that we have read:

Of course, the Netherlands (known as Holland to some) is also renowned for its many frozen canals for long-distance skating in the winter, including the now famous Elfstedentocht which you can read more about here.
This is another well-known children's novel set in the Netherlands and made into a movie. Both the book and the movie are worth reading and watching for all the details of life in the Netherlands and on the canals.

And when we spotted many of these mushrooms with red and white dots or rood met witte stippen,( a dutch children's song)
it reminded me of another children's book I just love!

Before leaving for the Netherlands, I discovered a book in our library system that I was very curious to read. It was because of this book, that we visited a small hamlet in the northern part of Friesland. While there, we met a wonderful older lady who happened to be walking toward us as we read the signage in front of the church.
She was heading to the church to toll the noon bells. It was such a delight to have met her and to have her share the inside stories for the following book written by Geert Mak who at one time resided here at
T' Skriuwershuske or the house where the author lives and writes. You can read more about his book here.

When my girls went into the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, they were very moved by the images and stories they took in yet were so thankful to have had this glimpse into the life of an ordinary girl with an extraordinary story. They were also saddened to see that her dreams were never fulfilled:

We also visited this monument to remember my husband's Grandfather who died a hero in the war for his involvement in the dutch resistance movement.

Just seeing this and listening to the stories shared by my husband as well as his mother, I was reminded of this book:
"Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis by hiding them in their home in Haarlem."
(taken from review at Amazon)

Another book came to mind, written by Canadian sisters, Kristen Den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski:
"This book is written by two sisters whose father and his siblings were born to Dutch parents just before, and during WWII in the Netherlands. It offers a deeply touching account of the family's life during this period of time, from the courtship of the author's grandparents, to their marriage, young family life, invasion of German forces and German occupation of the country, and their struggle to survive these horrifying years, to their eventual emigration to Canada a few years after the war.
The reader is given a glimpse into the Dutch way of life during this period of time, their customs, family life, etc., as well as the history of Holland's WWII war experience, which was shocking to me ...who knew little about the reality of living through this period of time in a country occupied by enemy forces."

(taken from Amazon review)

And this book written by Canadian author Jan de Groot, who recounts his experiences during war-torn Holland:

"If minds are truly alive they will seek out books, for books are the human race recounting its memorable experiences, confronting its problems, searching for solutions, drawing the blueprints of it futures.
~Harry A. Overstreet