Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

and they’re always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see,

our troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows

Your name.

Those are lyrics written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo for the theme song to the television sitcom, “Cheers,” which ran from 1982-1993.

Fort Wayne architect Zachary Benedict sang those words at the beginning of his Indiana Library Federation conference talk on “Libraries as Third Places.” The purpose of the presentation was to discuss the evolving roles of public libraries in the 21st century. Aside from home, work, and school, everyone wants to have a place in their town, “where everyone knows their name.” Unlike home, work and school, the third place is a destination where you aren’t required to be. Benedict stated that Facebook isn’t a third place.

Criteria for third places are that they be a neutral/mutual ground, where no one plays host, that they be a “leveler” with no hierarchy, and that they be accessible and there when the demons of “loneliness and boredom strike.”

“Go to a third place and stay as long as the magic lets you,” Benedict said.

Does this sound familiar? I hope that the descriptions above remind you of the Knox County Public Library.

Part of the magic of the library is providing a showcase for local talents, interests and community projects. On the first of each month, in the display cases located inside the library’s front entrance, new displays are installed.

For the month of August, the items created by the Froggers Crochet group are in one cabinet and the wood carvings of Ron Vieck are in the other. The cabinets have been reserved by local citizens throughout 2019 and for the months of January, April and May in 2020.

Featured displays in 2019 include the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous; Hope’s Voice; CASA; the Knox County Solid Waste Management District; Cypress Santa Carvings by Robert Flory; Women’s History Month; DAR Constitution Week; paintings from library sponsored painting Classes; Helping His Hands, Salute to Veterans; Natural Gardeners Club; Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation and Nutrition Guide to Sugar Content in Food.

Visit the library’s McGrady-Brockman House, 614 N. Seventh St., to experience meticulously curated exhibits about local and regional history.

Displays of books, DVDs, and other items available for borrowing by patrons are located throughout the main library. These displays are also rotated on a monthly basis. Across from the front desk is a big, orange pup up tent and on display are hot summer reads. Items include beach books, romances and mysteries. This display is so popular that we’re constantly restocking it. That’s a librarian’s dream come true.

One of the most fascinating and timely displays of 2019, was a commemoration of the moon landing on July 20, 1969. A photo of the exhibit was featured on the front page of an issue of the Vincennes Sun-Commercial last month.

For inspiration in designing relevant and intriguing displays, we depend greatly on a library reference book, “Chase’s Calendar of Events.” Published annually, this huge tome is called “the world’s date book.” It’s known as the definitive resource for what the U.S.A. and the rest of the world are celebrating/commemorating each day of the year.

Capture the magic at the Knox County Public Library by enjoying our displays and/or creating one to showcase your collections, passions and talents. Phone the library at 812-886-4380 or visit us at 502 N. Seventh St. and talk to Peg Dawson about reserving a display case in 2020.

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