Joseph Bernt

Joseph Bernt

During the summer months library volunteers greet the return of an increasing number of patrons borrowing the latest mysteries by favorite authors, consuming seductive beach reads and combing the library collections of movies and children’s books to occupy evenings with family and friends.

The summer months also modify library programming.  With parking scarce, book readings and author lectures popular during winter afternoons become impractical. Instead the library encourages walk-in traffic: borrowing books and movies, browsing an always stocked book-sale room, shopping two major holiday book sales and joining meetings of the Cannon Beach Reads group every third Wednesday of the month.

The first summer book sale—the Memorial Day Old and Rare Book Sale—offered bibliophiles nearly 800 carefully selected books at bargain prices as May slipped into June. Janet Bates, who chairs the Library Book Pricing Committee and supervises book sales, says this year’s event raised $2,029.86.

This sale typically raises less than a fourth of what the library’s massive Annual Fourth of July Weekend Book Sale generates. This four-day sale includes more than 7,500 clean, gently read novels, mysteries, biographies, histories and other nonfiction books at deeply discounted prices. During the past three decades, this annual sale has attracted residents and visitors to one of the largest used book exchanges on the Oregon Coast.

This year’s Independence Day sale opens Thursday, July 4, and continues through Sunday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the library, 131 N. Hemlock St. Arrive early for the best selection, and then enjoy a traditional small-town Independence Day Parade from a library bench as local celebrities, neighborhood groups and other participants parade on Hemlock St.

The Cannon Beach Library is staffed by more than 90 volunteers and one part-time paid employee. The library receives a small subsidy from the city but depends on donations and fundraising events to purchase new books and cover other expenses.

All proceeds from book sales support the Cannon Beach Library—a member-owned, nonprofit organization providing library and information services to residents and visitors in Cannon Beach and Arch Cape.

If books and videos jiggle precariously on tables or overflow shelves at your residence or vacation home, remember that time remains before the July Fourth weekend for a tax-deductible donation to the Cannon Beach Library. Donated books are included in the sale. Also, the book-sale room will be open and tickets for a quilt drawing will be available during the sale.

On Wednesday, June 19, participants in the Cannon Beach Reads group will discuss “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” Betty Smith’s classic 1943 coming-of-age novel. These meetings, open to the public, mix cookies, tea and coffee along with lively conversation. Lynne Murray will lead Wednesday’s discussion.

The delicate tree of heaven that grows in the hard, poor soil around Betty Smith’s Brooklyn neighborhood serves as a metaphor for the determination it takes for young Francie Nolan, Smith’s central character in her novel, to thrive during the first decade of the twentieth century in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

The life Francie and her Irish-German Catholic family experience parallel that Betty Smith and her family experienced in Brooklyn—a city of nearly two million mostly Italian, German, Irish, Polish, Albanian, Russian immigrants and their descendants.

Francie, as was the case for Betty Smith, overcomes this environment of hunger and poverty through the influence of a strong mother, the cultural offerings of a local library and the support of a neighborhood school. Both become writers and playwrights.

Both the author and her heroine learn the importance of always distinguishing speaking truthfully about life in person and lying about that same life in fictional writings. Francie attributes her success to this lesson learned from Katie, her mother. This critic has heard no better definition of the creative process.

In the following six months Cannon Beach Reads participants will discuss Madeleine Albright’s “Fascism: A Warning,” July 17,  James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” August 21, Stephen Greenblatt’s “Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics,” September 18, Jahren Hope’s “Lab Girl,” October 16, Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” November 20, and Zora Neale Hurston, “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’” December 18.

Copies of these books can be obtained at the Cannon Beach Library or purchased at the Cannon Beach Book Company.

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