Libraries, books and why I, an adult, hid behind a plant at House of Blues

  • Melynda Findlay-Shamie

    Melynda Findlay-Shamie

Updated 7/2/2020 11:22 AM

Full disclosure: The Fourth of July-themed column I originally wrote had a pretty ... let's call it impassioned and also way-too-long-and-boring missive all about the First Amendment, freedom of speech doesn't equal freedom from consequences, we have to defend unpopular speech in certain circumstances to preserve our rights, etc.

Then I hit delete. YOU'RE WELCOME.


Not that any of that isn't important; it is. I just don't think you need to hear it from me. I'm not a lawyer, and if you pop-quizzed me on the Constitution I'd be all about "Schoolhouse Rock" and desperately trying to remember media law class from J-school. And the eighth-grade test. Can I just phone a friend?

Instead, much like last week, I'll ask you to follow me across the bridge here to a tangentially related theme: Books. Freedom, writing, books. I'll find any excuse to talk about books, because you will never find me without one. My mom always told me I started reading when I was 2 and never stopped. (I also started talking pretty early, which also mostly never stopped, except for every. single. time. I've met a celebrity -- literally the only times I've found myself speechless. So now I just avoid it if the issue arises. I may have even once tried to hide behind a plant to keep my husband from introducing me to a local musician I love he'd interviewed. Who is to say. I threw up when Santa showed up at my door when I was 5. Sometime I'll have to tell you guys about all my weird celebrity encounters, like sort of almost kinda eating breakfast with Trent Reznor. Good thing I was past throwing up then.)

TOPICS, MEL, TOPICS. Back to books.

Much to my bookish delight, this week's edition is accidentally full of book-related content, which warms my celebrity-phobic, bookworm heart.

The Glenview Public Library is celebrating its 90th anniversary and, as it enters its centennial decade, oh boy, there is change. While the coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans for any big anniversary celebrations, officials told our reporter Elena Ferrarin it'll just make the 100th anniversary that much more special.

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As the library marks the anniversary milestone, it also is getting a major makeover -- a $1.5 million renovation expected to be complete this month that will give it more technology and what officials describe as a "modern look."

The library staff members said goodbye to longtime director Vickie Novak, who retired after 18 years, and said hello to a new director, Lindsey Dorfman, who comes to Glenview by way of Michigan.

We've got all the details on the Glenview library on pages 6-8, including historic pictures, snaps of the renovation and even shots from Vickie Novak's send-off earlier this week (which were actually kind of a happy accident -- reporter/photographer Joe Lewnard was in Glenview on another assignment and stumbled on the celebration).

Over at the Northbrook Public Library, they have partnered with the Northbrook Park District for a really creative, fun event: A Book Stroll. Visitors can read pages of a classic children's story as they walk along a trail at Techny Prairie Park and Fields' Trail Through Time. It moves to the Village Green on Monday.


Librarian Anna Fillmore proposed the idea as a way to get outside, get some exercise and let visitors use their imagination.

Listen, you guys: Add Twizzlers, by which of course I mean celery sticks, and SPF 100 (I'm very pale) and it's pretty close to an ideal day.

And speaking of books in general, I'm actually between them at the moment. What have you read lately that you loved? Let's share them with each other! Email me at, or visit our Facebook groups: and And please keep in mind that I read the thesaurus in grade school, so I'll read just about anything.

• Melynda has worked at the Daily Herald for more than 20 years. She's grateful for e-books, because it means so much less dusting of her giant book collection.

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