Libraries are one of my favorite places in the world- as a reader, naturally, and as a saver. They have the reputation of being these ancient stuffy buildings with out of date books and stern librarians waiting around corners ready to "shoosh" you with the slightest noise from your lips. But that's not the case anymore. Not only do libraries have the latest releases in books and a whole array of reference materials but they also have the most recent DVD's and CD's ready for check out. They also provide computers with internet access and rooms to hold meetings and special events.
Central Library is one such library. I have already written about how beautiful and interesting it is architecturally but I have been lucky enough as well to check out a few of their programs and exhibits.
The library held a Portland Opera preview of "Aida". Opera isn't my type of music at all and it was for lack of anything else to do that day and with a bit of curiosity that I decided to check it out. I was glad I did for I had a surprisingly wonderful time learning a little history about operas- Verdi's in particular as he created "Aida"- and listening to wonderful performances. I was surprised how his music was familiar in that its been used many times in movies, TV and other media. It was amazing how powerful the voices were and incredible the effect it had on the audience, including myself.
Central Library also holds monthly exhibits in its Collins Gallery. In April, it was the Tears of Joy Theatre's 35th celebration of its puppets and masks. I particularly liked the Pinocchio, Aladdin, Greek mythology, and Arabian Nights displays. I was amazed by the craftsmanship and detail that was put into each one.
May's exhibit is dedicated to Pierre Lecure, a French poet who made beautiful books with the help of printmakers and other artists to showcase his work. I've always loved books but it was usually the words that captivated me so it was incredible to see the books themselves as part of the art. There were about 40 books in display. Different textures of paper were used ranging from rare Mexican bark and airy China paper. Each book had its own unique style and design and housed in different materials like woodcuts and in an ultra light balsa wood box. Often times the poetry themselves would complement the colorful collage of pastel paper or mirror the etchings made on the opposite page creating a sense of movement with the words. The opening reception on May 6th talked about Lecure and his works and offered refreshments not only of cookies, vegetables, cheese and crackers but also of very filling wraps.
I am looking forward to future events Central Library will be holding. The ones I mentioned were just what I've taken part in but it has also had swing dance lessons, writing workshops, computer and language classes just to name a few- and all for free. I think one of the smartest things anyone can do is to get a library card and take advantage of everything it has to offer.