The Friends of the Library invited me to be part of their programme called "It's a Small World" at the Whangarei Public Library. I should have been alerted first off that the organiser referred to my work consistently as 'miniature books', even when I corrected her. I didn't want to be too much of a pedant about it as lots of my books are much smaller than ordinary books. But... it was the first real dodgy clue some months ago when I first said I would do it. At that point I thought that they wanted to put some of my books in a display cabinet for a week, which sounded like a fine plan. Then it turned out that the cabinet display was for small scale 'international' crafts and in fact I was agreeing to bring along my books and talk about them for two hours on a Thursday morning.
Then when she called to confirm last week, she mentioned in passing that I would be sharing my scheduled time with a woman who spins and makes lace. OK. But I still had no real information about where in the library we'd be or who would be the audience. By this time my expectations of this event had sunk below zero. But it didn't seem worth worrying about, let alone making much effort to prepare for, so I went on holiday and had a great time until almost the last minute before the library gig. When I arrived this morning, the spinner was already up and spinning at the round table we were sharing in front of the Large Print Reader's Digest stand and under a very noisy air conditioner.
Turns out that on a Thursday morning much of the library traffic who choose to linger at a table of artist's books and shawls are (unsurprisingly) people whose age/dress/visible disability/ etc indicates that they are not in paid employment. Mostly they were much more interested in the spinning and knitting action. The spinner was spinning alpaca wool into gossamer thread and knitting it into cobwebs which was quite entrancing. I had an excellent conversation about the inadequacies of the mental health system with a woman who knows it much better than I. She liked my books and would have liked to try making some but felt she wouldn't be able to. I thought that was because she had no index fingers, but she said it was her inability to concentrate, which is fair enough.
The rest of the Thursday morning library punters seemed to be mothers with children on school holidays. Happily, this category included my friend who makes wonderful artist's books and other objects using her abstract photography, and her penguin-obsessed five year old. They cheered me up and afterwards we went out for lunch together. Then I came home and took a walk through these familiar hills, found a nest of possum bones, scared a dozen peacocks from their roost in a totora tree and got a message that I have won the Kamo Branch Library's poetry competition... which more than makes up for my blah morning at the Central Library's very small world.