Anya Tikka | Democrat
Celebrating the Crawford Library’s 75th anniversary were, from the left, honoree June Motl, the Trustees President Bob Norris, Essay Award winners Hunter Tallia, Jasmine Axelrod, John Blinston, Victoria Lopez, and Linda Cellini, representing Senator John Bonacic's Office.
In 75th year, Crawford Library remains relevant
By Anya Tikka
MONTICELLO Monticello’s Ethelbert B. Crawford Library opened in 1936 with a book collection of almost 19,000, said the Library Board of Trustees Vice President Lynn Skolnick in her speech at the 75th Anniversary awards ceremony last Saturday.
Skolnick went on to describe how June Motl, who was honored as the longest serving and valuable library volunteer, has read the equivalent of all the books in the whole library. She explained that Motl reads about four books per week, learned to read before age five, and 19,000 is arrived at by multiplying four by 52 weeks in a year, and again by 91.
After the ceremony, Motl was sitting with her daughter Mary Jane Motl in one of the narrow spaces between the book shelves in the library eating the celebratory cake that had been made by one of the friends of the library, and had a picture of the original library building on top with the words “75 years and still going strong.”
“I just love reading. There’s something about them,” Motl mused talking about books and reading.
“She still reads the local newspapers,” added Mary Jane.
Motl sat at the entrance throughout the award ceremony, perhaps drawing on the fitness she gained as a long serving phys ed teacher in the Monticello district.
As part of the celebration, local schools had a competition to write an essay on the subject “What the library means to me.” A winner of each of the schools that participated read out their essays, and received their awards, plus $25. The essays spoke of the young person’s view of knowledge and information that acknowledged that even in this age of cyberspace with its high-speed information, libraries and books still hold a special place.
Fourth grader Hunter Tallia from the Emma Chase Elementary School in Wurtsboro wrote, “Books are the best… You can imagine the picture in your mind. You can also imagine the characters too. You can imagine yourself in the story and your friends too.”
John Blinston, another 4th grader from the George L. Cooke Elementary School in Monticello wrote, “When some people look at the library they see four walls and some books. I see lots of information. You can get any answer you need from a library.”
To Victoria Lopez of the Monticello High School, the library represents a sanctuary. She wrote, “When I enter the library, I feel as if I can relax…”
Jasmine Axelrod, a 5th grader from the Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School in Monticello, finds the library is both a safe place and fun.
Several dignitaries came to the ceremony, including Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Senator Bonacic, and Thompson Supervisor Anthony Cellini.
A highlight of the celebration was the auctioning off of old chairs that had been found in the attic and had been painted by local artists and students.
There were refreshments to the music by the Nesin Summer Music Institute. Ethelbert B. Crawford was an artist, and the library was originally intended to show his paintings.