Meadowmom

Meadowmom

Posted on 09/15/2017


Photo taken on September 15, 2017



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The Dynamite Box Librarian

The Dynamite Box Librarian
My neighbor has proudly acquired a dynamite box, and informs me that they sell for $50.00 to $1000.00 on etsy.

Dynamite boxes! Distinctively made of good pine with finger- joint corners and no nails. There were thousands of them around, whole or in pieces, in the California mountains when I was a little kid. How can they be worth that much today?

Let me tell you the story of the Dynamite Box Librarian.

Miss Thelma Brackett emerged from the UC Berkeley Graduate Library School in 1919. She won the position of first Siskiyou County Librarian. Arrived eagerly in Yreka, California, only to find herself sitting all alone in her little storefront library. Much of the population of that mountain county were miners or loggers, who rarely came to town, and when they came, were not thinking about books.

She learned in Library School that adults who had been perfectly adequate readers in elementary school could lose the skill if they didn’t read as they grew older. She decided that this would not happen to her constituents.

Borrowing a horse and a pack mule, she struck off up the mountain trails. At important trail junctions, she nailed an old dynamite box to a tree, covered it with a canvas flap, filled it with books and a note suggesting that the reader return one before taking another. Every month that the trails were open, she rode back and changed the books.

Her most active book box was at Finley Camp in the Marble Mountains. An old newspaper article called it “Siskiyou’s most beloved branch library.” And Miss Brackett may have been Siskiyou’s most beloved librarian.

Roadscum, Steve Bucknell, Alass, Pam J and 5 other people have particularly liked this photo


7 comments - The latest ones
Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet
A wonderful story, Laurie !!!!!!
5 weeks ago.
LutzP
LutzP
...another great story, Laurie!
5 weeks ago.
Andy Rodker
Andy Rodker
A super tale, Laurie!
5 weeks ago.
W9JIM - Jim Doss
W9JIM - Jim Doss
I've been in, literally, a hundred or more old mines in California and Nevada. You rarely see even a piece of a dynamite box any longer, especially an end that has the label on it. And on the VERY rare occasion that you see a complete box, it's only there because it has leftover dynamite in it - and no one in their right mind would ever touch that old stuff.

Never saw one with books in it, though. :-)
5 weeks ago. Edited 5 weeks ago.
Pam J
Pam J
Another amazing character !
5 weeks ago.
Steve Bucknell
Steve Bucknell
Brilliant story, literally a branch library. I'd love to know what books she put in the boxes. There must be a film script in this.
4 weeks ago.
Roadscum
Roadscum
Fascinating story, and the impromptu library idea still goes on today, I've heard of a similar arrangement in an old telephone box in a village here.
3 weeks ago.