My turn

Would-be librarian gets her kicks by organizing her own bookshelves

2013-09-05T00:00:00Z Would-be librarian gets her kicks by organizing her own bookshelvesBy Gayle Faulkner Kosalko Times Columnist
September 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I always wanted to be a librarian and had library science been a major offered at the college I went to in Dubuque, I would never have set foot in a classroom.

Back in the late 1960's, there didn't seem to be a lot of options for women. Typically, you set your sights on becoming a  teacher, nurse, secretary or, if you were Catholic, a nun.

One of my classmates majored in nutrition. Back then I considered that a truly exotic choice.

But if we can't follow our true vocation, we can pretend. I did that for three weeks as I unloaded 16 bookcases in my house. I came up with 10 categories, including "fun stuff," "crime," "the British," "Whiting," and even a "philosophy" category.

Believe me, the latter took up very little room on one shelf, although I do love Descartes' "I think, therefore I am." That quote and its variations always comes in handy for hilarious punch lines.

If you've ever moved, you know that books and records (real ones) are the heaviest things to cart around. I carted dusty books downstairs, relegating everything to certain sections. I also ended up twice at my massage therapist, who told me to knock it off for awhile.

I got rid of more than 200 books (which left me with 1,200) headed to the Whiting Public Library used book sale Oct. 4 and 5. And despite the fact that things are now neatly organized, I'll be at the sale and buy another 20 or so, I'm sure, ruining my whole backbreaking project.

Under the "Whiting" category are all my books by local authors. In my Excel spreadsheet. . .yes, I actually categorized them according to category, author, placement, and paperback vs. hard cover. I even added if the book was signed by the author.

There was one point as I was imputting all the information and accidentally put a small "h" instead of a capital "H" for hard cover, that I stopped and actually laughed in the realization that nobody in the whole world except me and maybe a librarian out there somewhere would have cared about that clerical error.

In my Whiting books is a great novel, "Out of Stieglitz Park" by Andrew Jefchak, who lived in Stieglitz Park.  I got to read the book before it was published and now have an autographed copy.

Andrew will be at the Whiting High School class of 1953 reunion at Teibel's in Schererville on Sept. 21. He taught literature at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. for the last 40 years and told me he is going to read from his novel at the reunion.

Coincidentally, a lovely lady from that class, Jane Amrai, invited me to the reunion because she said my dad had been one of their favorite teachers. I know my father would have been pleased and I'm Honored (with a capital "H") to have been asked.

I'm sure Andrew will be happy to know his novel (with a capital 'H') has a place of honor in my personal library. For me, finally meeting him is an opportunity long "over-due."

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

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