Thursday, April 5, 2018

Reading Rocks

This month we will celebrate National Library Week, New Hampshire Poetry Month and New Hampshire Archaeology Month. In this and future blogs I will try to connect these disparate themes and tie them to the unique collection of the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room. Like many classical buildings, the ancient library in Ephesus Turkey was made of finely carved stone and covered with inscriptions. It was both a rock reading place and a place to read rocks.

An epigraph written on the Library of Pantaenus informed patrons of the hours of operation and warned them not to steal scrolls (for more info see this link). We have similar signs and procedures at our library.

In a previous blog we examined the carved stone facade of our own Conway Public Library and what you can read on those rocks.  

The architectural vocabulary of both libraries are based on the aesthetic and intellectual language of strength, balance and stability. You can actually "read" this in the design.

This summer we will kick off our 2018 summer reading program theme of “Libraries Rock” or in this case “Reading Rocks!” As part of this we are developing curio cabinet displays and public programs that will cover these themes in poetry, archaeology and history. As part of that we will be exploring our collection of historic geology books and archives. In another previous blog we examined our copy of New Hampshire’s first statewide geology study.

We are going to borrow items from the Conway Historical Society that show early Native American uses of rocks to make tools and tools used many, many years later at Conway's Redstone Quarry to shape rocks. We will also look at many other ways that rocks were used to make mortar for brick laying, putty for windows and how rocks were used to make the glass for windows.

 These are just a few of the ways we will be "reading" rocks this month. 

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