Thank you, Kelly Linehan, for writing in Perspective about one of the best kept secrets in the United States: Libraries (“Libraries Can Save the Summer. And Maybe Even Democracy, Too,” July 17)! You never have to look for a parking spot at most public libraries, and memberships are free. There are more than 117,000 in the United States and 40 in and around Essex County alone. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Andrew Carnegie, cofounder of what is today US Steel, who donated much of his fortune to the construction and management of public libraries. What a place to meditate, create, and goal set. See you at the library!
I received my first library card at age 5 and at 79 am still an avid library participant. Sturgis Library is my neighborhood branch, which I frequent at least once a week. It provides many of the services mentioned in the article and more. The staff is personable but at the same time professional. Sturgis is an important resource and pleasure in my life.
A hushed cheer for Waltham Public Library director Kelly Linehan’s lovely ode to the countless pleasures contained in libraries. In these inflationary times, libraries serve as a great economic leveler. The Minuteman Library Network, to which both Waltham and my own Somerville Public Library belong, discounts museum tickets and offers free passes for The New York Times. Libraries importantly ensure more equitable access to cultural and educational treasures from around the globe.
Mark S. Sternman
According to family lore, I learned to read at 4, and have been on a tear ever since. My mother, who instilled in us a deep appreciation of the written word, worked at our library in Lancaster. Gorgeous building, circa 1868. Now, I live next to the Charlestown branch of the Boston Public Library. Despite all our increased access to information, libraries, and librarians especially, are an amazing resource. When I head over to grab a book, I see children enjoying reading sessions, adults without Internet access being able to use the facilities, and all sorts of programming, and it reminds me of my mother and makes me so happy.
A Bone to Pick
As a longtime dog owner, I’m dismayed how many people have little knowledge of their dog’s needs (“Are you a Helicopter Dog Parent? Then You Should Read This,” July 24). In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had owners complain to me that their dogs are driving them nuts. They haven’t considered that dogs (especially puppies) need to run, to play, to have mental stimulation, etc. Steve Calechman’s Perspective should be mandatory reading and left on the doorstep of every dog owner.
This article may send the wrong message. As a veterinarian, I understand that many new dog owners feel pressure to enlist their dogs in socialization. But, this is often very stressful for dogs. Most are “dog selective” — just like people, dogs prefer the company of some dogs over others. Instead of blindly encouraging free play, perhaps encourage owners to enlist the help of a trainer who specializes in positive reinforcement techniques, or suggest a well researched dog socialization class before letting a dog loose with a group of local dogs. A dog can live a wonderfully enriched life without dog parks or dog/dog interactions.
I faithfully read Miss Conduct. “Adjustment Period” (July 24) has to be my favorite of all. Robin Abrahams echoes the thoughts and feelings of so many [struggling after the pandemic], and brings light to our present state of mind.
Bernadette A. Sanders
Windham, New Hampshire
I once heard someone say if you are helping someone, then you are not thinking about yourself. Made me pay more attention to even simple acts of kindness. Paying it forward . . . can impact your mind-set.
posted on bostonglobe.com
Words of Wisdom
In reference to “When Our Own Words Are Not Enough” (July 24):
Does poetry matter?
Gee, let me guess.
It’s hardly surprising
A poet says yes.
Felicia Nimue Ackerman
I first encountered Tracy K. Smith’s poems on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac podcast — as I did many other contemporary poets. The broadcast was a mix of classics and new work, and introduced me to important feminist, gay, Latino, and Black poets. He also included people such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Audre Lorde in his definition of “classics.” Multiple curators coming at sharing the work from multiple angles is important — we can hear from one person what we might not hear from another. I’m happy to hear more from Smith.
posted on bostonglobe.com
Thanks to Juliet Haines Mofford for writing a clear-minded, honest Perspective about aging (“To Fight Ageism, Start By Looking in the Mirror,” July 31). Aging begins at birth, a phenomenon that most find exciting until a certain age when denial or secrecy sets in. Yes, older adults express dismay at their own aging, which perpetuates ageism. Let’s continue to send the message of healthy aging, not the myth of anti-aging. If one is not aging, one is dead.
Terry E. Ruby
I am 74. To keep myself cheered up, I stand naked in front of the mirror almost every day, raise my arms up in a power pose, and say out loud “I am strong, I am happy, I am fairly good-looking!” What is surprising is if I mention this method of boosting self-esteem to other women of ALL ages, they are horrified and say they could never do that. Try it!
Peterborough, New Hampshire
I rather like getting older. It’s the idea that time is limited and death is real that makes me poke fun at my age....I think much of ageism as a defense mechanism against our own mortality.
posted on bostonglobe.com
As a board member of the Marshfield Council on Aging, I recoil at the pejorative sense of self-worth regarding aging. The Town of Marshfield supported funding for a state-of-the-art senior center that addresses not only the basic, but the social and intellectual needs of the community. There is a weight room, dance room, gym, card room, billiards room, salon, art center, and more. What is the problem? Surveys show that people are ashamed to go into a building named “senior center.” Some have bowed to this unhealthy trend by renaming their centers. Why?
I was surprised that no mention was made about how ageism reared its ugly head during the early stages of the pandemic. At that time a large majority of the people who succumbed to deadly infections were 65 and older. In much of the contemporaneous public discourse, many younger people implied that these seniors were, if not expendable, at least a price we should be willing to pay to get our society back to normal. Some even argued that since many of the COVID victims were elderly, they were near death anyway and the virus only hastened the process. Although our society’s bias against age is prevalent in many sectors, none was more disturbing than what was widely voiced during the worst throes of the pandemic.
A delightful meditation on aging in a youth-obsessed society. I am also in the author’s generation. I do not mind getting older but I do mind being made to feel I am dispensable and doddering. Fortunately I am able-bodied and energetic. However, that seems to make little difference in how I am so often perceived. Whether I am in a store or buying a car or in a social situation, I am made to feel self-conscious about my age. And superfluous! Thanks to the author for her insight and humor and candor.
Laurie Carter Noble
I suffered this at work where I had given my life for over 40 years! My boss asked me every day when I would retire! Succession planning, he said. Wanting younger blood, he told others.
I’m young, yet a senior, climbing the years. It’s fun being this age. I tell everyone I’m 28. And I believe it. My mind is very active, reading nonfiction, studying, and writing. My energy is far higher than when I was in my 20s. Yesterday, I cleaned out two freezers. There’s more to do today, continuing as long as I can. No rocking chair for me!
Carol Rae Bradford
It is easy to become cranky and cynical about younger people (no matter how old you are), but Ms. Mofford is right: The attitude is key. Stay open and receptive, learn new things, challenge yourself — these are the characteristics of a successful adult life, again, no matter how old you are.
posted on bostonglobe.com
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