I clearly remember the exact moment when the letters h-e-a-r, written on a chalkboard by my kindergarten teacher, formed the word "hear" in my mind. Suddenly I could read! It was an experience of pure joy, and I have been reading ever since. I love the feel of books, the smell of books, the way they look, all lined up in a row, on a bookshelf. I most especially love the thrilling adventures books have made possible for me.
Imagine my delight as Mary Baird and I cooked up a plan whereby she, with the help of several other Calvary book lovers, would catalog all the books in my office. The titles could then be added to the existing library catalog and made available to anyone in the parish who wished to borrow a book from my office.
The first step was to obtain a hand-held scanner, which Hilary Chipley's daughter, Ella, used to scan the ISBN numbers of every book in my office. It took most of a day. Then Mary, with Betty Anderson's help, searched the publication information associated with that ISBN, including the Dewey Decimal numbers, the identification system our library uses.
Next, using funds remaining from the sale of CD's and tapes of Lenten Preaching Series sermons and memorials received honoring Beverly Bressler, Mary purchased new software to upgrade Calvary's entire cataloging system and buy a computer dedicated to that system. Ultimately these upgrades, along with hundreds of hours of work, made it possible to create an online catalog, including all the books in my office. It was tedious, sometimes frustrating, work involving attention to minute details and endless decision making.
One day during my sabbatical last fall, I needed a book from my office. So I headed downtown intending to make a quick trip of it. But as I opened my office door I was surprised by the gaggle of volunteers working away, attaching "spine" labels to all my books and cross-checking each one for accuracy. They were focused on their tasks. But they were also laughing and talking. They were having a fine ole time and deepening their already solid friendships. It made me wish I had been able to be a part of their yearlong library project party.
Books in my library have an EFO (Eyleen Farmer's Office) designation in the online catalog. I'm delighted to share them, and when I retire in December, many of them will find their way to Calvary's "main" library.
A thousand thank yous to Mary, Betty, Dana Sue Percer, Brenda Woemmel, and Pat Robison for their beautiful gift to Calvary! You are indeed a gift to me.
Visit Calvary's online card catalog at calvarymemphis.org/library.