The old days of stuffy librarians shushing noisy users, throwing you the evil eye if you coughed, and issuing stern reprimands for over-due books are distant memories.
At least they are at the Cannon Falls Library. Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of catching part of the concertina concert put on by the Czech Area Concertina Club.
The great design flexibility of the library was displayed, with the 20-plus members of the band set up in a room with folding walls. The audience had plenty of space with the children's book section moved out of the way and chairs installed. There was even room up front to dance a polka or two if you felt so inclined, although during the time I was there, most folks just danced in their chairs. Lots of heads bouncing and feet tapping.
The concertina is an interesting piece of equipment. Not as big, certainly, as a full-blown accordion, but a lot of sound, melody and harmony comes out of that instrument.
The Czech Area Concertina Club is the largest concertina club in the world. Not Minnesota, or the U.S., the whole world! Not to mention their frequent appearances on the Mollie B Polka Show on RFD TV. And they played at our library!
Another world-class event is coming to the library this week. An expert appraiser will be there on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 4-7 p.m. for an Antique and Collectible Appraisal. Mark Moran has appeared on the PBS show, Antiques Roadshow. Moran was senior editor of Antiques and Collectibles books, co-writing over 25 books on the subject.
All spots for appraisals have been filled, according to Heidi Helgren at the library, but there is a waiting list. Heidi hopes lots of folks show up to watch the show.
It's always exciting to see just what those items that you wonder about are really worth. Is great-great grandma's locket valuable? Does my old 78 rpm recording of the Ballad of Davy Crocket deserve a better spot to rest than the junk drawer in the computer desk? I'm a fan of Antiques Roadshow on TV, but haven't run across too many comparable items in my own collection. My old paintings are not old enough and my aunt's silverware turned out to be plated, which doesn't hold up well at all in the dishwasher.
There are movies to watch, books to check out, magazines to read - without having to recycle, computers to use, musical events to get toes tapping, and so much more. These services are just there for all us to enjoy. The library is a very people-friendly place. It's a little noisy at times. Just ask those who were looking for quiet corner for reading last Friday when the concertinas were pumping out the polkas. I know my old high school librarian, Thelma Rottenbery, would not have approved, but then Thelma didn't approve of much!