Above is the is the Eureka Carnegie Library that I wrote about in my book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life”. This was my sanctuary and the one place I could go and make the most amazing discoveries. Walking up those stairs back in the 60’s seem ominous to me but as I entered the sweet librarians welcomed me with open arms and gave me a treasure trove of reading. I would never be who I am or such a reader if not for this small rural library in Eureka, Kansas and so I must share with you a book that will further inspire you to support your local libraries and the women who keep them up and running.
So today’s guest blog feature is on a fellow Kansan, Romalyn Tilghman who has written and an extraordinary book. Read all about the author, this book, and the importance of the role of women in keeping these wonderful libraries continuing to feed our minds and educate the world.
Truly, Tiara Wearing and Romalyn Tilghman Book Sharing,
Kathy L. Murphy
Founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club Reading Nation
www.thepulpwoodqueens.com for Membership and More!
I’m delighted by two recent Pulpwood Queen announcements. One is that my book, TO THE STARS THROUGH DIFFICULTIES, is the June selection for book clubs. The second is that next year’s theme for Girlfriends’ Weekend is How the West Was Won, Through Books.
I’ve always been intrigued by the importance of literature to pioneer women, having heard my grandmother talk of dividing her Ladies’ Home Companion into 30 sections when it arrived every month, to make sure she had something more than the Bible to read every night. A simple woman who had arrived in Oklahoma in a covered wagon, she treasured reading and the world it gave her. The love of books runs in my blood.
I grew up in a Carnegie library in Manhattan, KS, and attended an elementary school named after the first librarian there. After graduate school, I realized how many Carnegie libraries there were in Kansas. (Fifty-nine!) And I started exploring their roots.
What fun to sink into the primary resources created a century ago! I sat in libraries, often in the original oak chairs at old oak tables, surrounded by card catalogues, where I studied first-hand accounts in the form of hand-written minutes. Reading perfect penmanship, I got caught up with individual personalities and community spats. I was overwhelmingly impressed by the dedication of (mostly women) volunteers who conducted bake sales, minstrel shows, and women’s softball games to raise money for books. I learned the politics of the women’s suffrage movement, since the library bond measure was often the first vote women cast, often because town leaders expected them to vote for Prohibition as well. I studied the history of the Dust Bowl, orphan trains, and epidemics (when libraries were closed for extermination). I was immersed in arguments over censorship, discussions over fundraisers, and planning for opening celebrations.
I’m so looking forward to discussions with PQ book clubs — in person, online, and via Skype — about how books transformed the West. Do drop me a note at Romalyn@aol.com, if you’d like to arrange some time together. In any case, may you enjoy the reading, and may a few memories and more stories emerge!
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