Haunting the Library

Time for another little mostly-poor-images post! On November 23rd, I wandered over to the Steinbach library. Its official name is the Jake Epp Library. Once upon a time, about 18 years ago or something like that, I volunteered at the library, reshelving books one evening a week. I enjoyed spending time puttering around the library; I find its atmosphere quite restful yet invigorating. But since I’ve taken to purchasing books and borrowing from friends, I’ve neglected the library in recent years. And that’s kind of ridiculous.

I went for a walk, but ended up wandering the library. I didn’t sign out any books because I really do have lots at home I need to read, but I did take pictures of books that caught my eye.

First, Mennonite Foods & Folkways from South Russia, volumes one and two. I’ve been hankering to get my hands on Marlene Epp’s new book  Eating Like a Mennonite, but in the meantime I would also like to read these books as a precursor.

Mennonite Tourguide to Western Europe. Andrew and I plan to visit Poland in July and want to visit sites where our ancestors may have lived, so I’d like to read this book.

In the Fullness of Time. This book nearly leapt off the shelf at me, because it is so familiar — this volume sat upon the shelves of the home where I grew up, and I was tasked with dusting around it on a weekly basis. Never once did I open it. So I paged through it a bit in the library. I think it would be well worth signing out!

Dear Cary by Dyan Cannon. Born a Friesen, movie star Dyan Cannon is a distant (possibly not-so-distant) cousin to many in southern Manitoba, and for a time she had been married to Cary Grant. Andrew has found Cary Grant on grandmaonline.com and you can easily find out if you are related to their descendants. I’d be curious to read her book!

This whole section is very interesting to me. Here we find The Mennonite Settlements of Southern Manitoba, Historical Atlas of Manitoba, and Geographical Names of Manitoba, among others. I was quick to leave here because I could’ve easily become engrossed and I could feel time slipping away even as I stood there.

Then I found The Constructed Mennonite by Hans Werner, which I think would be an important, fascinating read for a great many reasons. I often find myself lost in considering how we present ourselves to others and the human tendency to shift identities and why and how we tell stories. Trying to make sense of it all. I need to read this.

Here is something not Mennonite at all, but shocking to me: the library still has a physical World Book Encyclopedia!

I have these books but not in this form — Atlas of Original Mennonite Villages and Homesteaders of the East Reserve, Manitoba, by John Rempel and William Harms, published in 1989. I’d want to page through them to see if there are any differences between these and the editions that I own.

And… this:

Sometimes I see books whose spines are so slim you cannot know what they contain. Because I have niche, hyper-local interests, I am often rewarded with gems by investigating such editions. Anyone recognize the signature? Well, if you have read this book, you just might!

And then, as I decided my energy was flagging and I ought to head home, this shelf caught my eye:

“Book Sale Shelf”

I told myself I just might return for this volume:

Okay, NOW I was leaving. But first, a look at the library’s plaques. Here is a plaque documenting those on Town Council (the library was built in 1997 before Steinbach was a city). This plaque explains why they named the library after Jake Epp.

There is another plaque in the library — one that Andrew and I always make sure to visit and take a moment contemplating:

And here in a somewhat related vein, I highly recommend reading this post by MaryLou Driedger.

It was time for me to leave. Outside the library, I took a moment to photograph another marker to Melvin C. Toews — the Reading Garden. I always find the placement of this marker, under a bench, a little strange:

Thanks for joining me for this jaunt through the local library, exploring books I hope to read!