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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Here's a hand, my trusty friend..."

"And give me a hand of thine. We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne." Holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Easter have a wealth of songs and tales with which to celebrate - New Year's Eve really only has one, the Scottish traditional "Auld Lang Syne." Like most traditions, its roots are too long buried to clearly identify the original seed, and both words and melody are subject to countless variations. Still, when I think of New Year's, it's the song that instantly pops into my head, whether it be the brassy strains of the Guy Lombard Orchestra from those TV specials of my youth, or the warm, acoustic strains of James Taylor's more recent recording.

If you ever have the pleasure of spending New Year's Eve in the British isles, you'll find that people there not only know and love the song, they take pride in singing it together, in the same boisterous way we might chime in on the National Anthem or "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on a summer's afternoon in Wrigleyville (or wherever else you watch your baseball). I discovered this one New Year's Eve while attending a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Show ended, curtain call was taken, and then all the actors joined us in singing "Auld Lang Syne." A lovely memory to carry through the years that no travel guide could have predicted.

This will be a short PlainTalk post today, just to wish you and yours the happiest of New Years.

It's tempting to brush off 2008 as a year of trouble and woe, from the stock exchange to the Governor's office, from flooded basements to foreclosed homes. So PlainTalk will begin 2009 with a month of "Library Resolutions," 31 suggestions for how you can take full advantage of the Library's services in the coming year to get the most out of your investment (tax dollars and donations) in us. Like the song says, we've got a hand for you, trusted friend.

Need help finding a job?
We've got it. Need help finding an affordable home or investment advice? We've got it. Need books, movies and music to help you escape from everyday cares? We've got it. Need training on the computer or for job interviews? We've got it. Need free entertainment or cultural enrichment for yourself or your children? We've got it. In 2009, think of the Des Plaines Public Library as your community center, your office away from the office, your theatre, your concert space, your haven from a chaotic world, your inspiration, your treasure chest, a place to Work, Learn and Play. We look forward to serving you and helping you achieve your dreams in the coming year and for decades to come. Happy New Year!

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