18 June 2009

What's round at both ends but literate throughout?

The Mt. Washington Library, a branch of the Cincinnati Public Library, sits at the corner of Campus Lane and Beechmont Avenue, and at the foot of the Mt. Washington water tower. (The library is just to the right of the car in the picture at left.)

It was on my way home from Guardian Angels Elementary School, and on a hot or cold day, always a good place to get, either cool or warm, and, of course, where one went to research topics for school projects, etc, since, while the nice Collier's encyclopedia set at home was fine, nothing beats the stuff you'd find at the library. (There was also an "adult" section from which kids could not read or check out books, but, if my memory serves, it wasn't anything like the adult sections of any number of places now that just seem creepy.)

The one book that I remember enjoying immensely, and of which I would love to get a copy again, was Sir MacHinery by Tom McGowen -- the kind of book, ironically, that I roll my eyes at kids' readin' today, with wizards, etc... (Of course my reading it in the early 1970s was not heralded as the salvation of reading among American youth, as so many books seem to be considered today. And it wasn't a bloody series either; Mr McGowen clearly had more than a single set of characters that he wished to develop.)

All of this comes to mind because I was perusing the annual ranking of America's "Most Literate" Cities by the CCSU President Jack Miller and saw that, in the library category, Ohio had three cities in the top 10: Cleveland #1 (overall 13th), Cincinnati #3 (tied with Portland, OR overall for 10th), and Toledo tied at #5 with Seattle (overall 48th).

To quote Chrissie Hynde utterly out of context: "A-O, way to go, Ohio!"

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