11 November 2006

Elizabeth Allen, Good-Deed-Doer

This weekend the Pennsylvania Library Association starts its annual meeting. Part of its business is to award Elizabeth Allen, director of the Schlow Center Region Library in State College, Pennsylvania, a certificate of merit for "making outstanding contributions during the last five years in Pennsylvania."

In those years, Allen oversaw a major physical expansion of the regional library--a huge fundraising, construction, and logistical job. (See a video of the work here.)

Elizabeth Allen is also my Aunt Betsy. Back in the summer of 1976, when I was ten, I discovered that the Schlow Library had an unusually fine collection of Oz books--including several I hadn't seen even at Harvard's Widener Library. (Hey, I was a determined little ten-year-old.)

I took my first trip away from home and my first airplane flights as an "unaccompanied minor" to visit Aunt Betsy and her library. She thus made an "outstanding contribution" to my growing up (such as it is). Central Pennsylvania is very lucky to have her.

5 comments:

David Lee said...

Thank God (or whomever) for determined librarians. All our lives are richer for them.

Brooke said...

Ach! And here I am, stuck in Pittsburgh during PaLA weekend. Your aunt sounds like a fabulous librarian -- we're lucky to have her!

Nancy said...

So how DO you get into Widener when you're 10?

J. L. Bell said...

Getting into Widener? It helps to be small. And to be in the company of a parent who has alumni privileges (I don't know if they exist anymore).

Nancy said...

Ah. I figured you'd say child of faculty or local alum.

Yes, they still have alumni privileges.

It's a cool old library. Lots and lots of dust and dark aisles. Though they've updated it sometime in the last several years, so now it's better lit than it used to be. More's the pity.