Library Day

The Utica Public Library is my best stop.


2/8/20241 min read

Libraries are the most innocent of institutions, and the libraries of Central New York have been anchors of my experiences through time.

Today I was incidentally talking to two men on the street in Oneida Square. They are older than me, perhaps representing the two generations preceding my own. The historic places they'd lived and worked in have prompted their later-life research goals. I left them to step into Utica Public Library, located in the neighborhood, to attempt to make an inch of progress on my own developing midlife crisis.

Ever since I was a young child brought by my mother to show-and-tell events at the Frank J. Basloe Library in Herkimer, these spaces have been places of focus and clarity for me. Every other stop on the street has too many expectations regarding the use of the time. Meanwhile, being home is to be surrounded by the formless sea of problems, plans, and dirty details.

Some drum up Utica's night life when discussing Central New York culture, while showcasing farmer's markets alongside art galleries with faux-Modernist aesthetics. The ice cream flavor of the week at the local gas station or the colors of off-brand snack packages at a corner store are more representative of Central New York culture, while historical societies and churches have the best preserves. But the public libraries are quietly keeping the beat of the streets synched with the symphonies of the past. We couldn't do without them.

Today at this library, Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern was featured as a staff pick. I have incidentally just finished reading this low fantasy story, which has a strong sense of place and street culture interwoven with its myths. I should review it.

Image source: original