Sunday, November 24, 2013

A trip west, with libraries and fabric (and some fraternity history)

The RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System -- board met at the Galesburg Public Library  on Friday afternoon.  Galesburg is 243 miles west-southwest of where I live. RAILS offered to pay for a hotel stay as well as mileage, so I left Thursday morning. I took my time and visited two quilt shops en route:  Quilter's Garden in Princeton and Quilt Box in Kewanee. 

I was on Route 34, getting close to Galesburg, when I saw the familiar blue and white library symbol . I pulled off the highway. 

"Library Hall" is above the doorway. The lights were on and the "open" flag was out, so I went in.  It's the Altona Public Library, housed in the 1886 building for which Mr. Ransom donated $6000. Only the lower floor is used because upstairs is not accessible.  It reminded me very much of New England libraries.

These two quilts hung in the center hall.

Librarians of a certain age know exactly what this is: a Gaylord Model C charger.  It uses inked metal plates for the date due and for the borrowers' cards. This is how Mrs. N, APL's librarian (and sole employee) checks out materials. (Her daughter has an MLS and is the head of circulation at Galesburg PL. I met her on Friday afternoon.)  

After that pleasant interlude, I got to Galesburg without incident.  Six of us on the RAILS board and staff enjoyed dinner and conversation.  The meeting began at 1 p.m. Friday, and I had two errands Friday morning. First stop:  Quilting Bee, Galesburg's quilt shop. (No photos, but:  they use old baby cribs for their fabric displays! Very clever.  And wonderful, wonderful batiks.)   First detour:  an old brick church had a "half price downstairs" sign out. A thrift shop! I stopped and went in.  The basement was full of stuff. I got some (see below). I asked the ladies at the checkout what denomination -- United Church of Christ.  I explained that my husband is a retired UCC pastor and asked if I could see the sanctuary. Certainly! And I had a tour. The woman explained that the congregation is now very small. The thrift shop pays for the church's utilities.  Bless them for their faithfulness.

Next: to Monmouth, the next city west of Galesburg. I stopped there in 2011 (see this post).  This time I called ahead to be sure that Stewart House would be open, and it was.  This is where   Kappa Kappa Gamma women's fraternity was founded in 1870.  (I realize that if you're not interested in the history of women's organizations this will not be a big deal to you, but I was thrilled. And it's not even my fraternity!)   The picture on the right shows the founders and one of the original badges.   The resident manager, Jane, is a P.E.O. (and a member of Pi Beta Phi, which was also founded at Monmouth College).

I was back at GPL for the meeting, which went smoothly and adjourned at 4 p.m. I headed home (confession: I stopped at thrift shop in downtown Galesburg and bought stuff) and pulled into the driveway just before 8 p.m.

Here's what I got: 

Not-new fabric, from the thrift shops. On the left are, yes, three shirts: size XL and XXL, .75 each, destined for a scrappy quilt.  (All of this cost about $10.)  

New fabric. Each of the three shops packages fat quarters differently.  (All of this cost much more than $10!!)

In summary:  a productive trip on many levels.  Lovely late-autumn scenery.  "Just outside of Chicago there's a place called Illinois," and I need to make time to explore more of it.   

1 comment:

Vic in NH said...

What a fun trip for you! Nice restraint on the fabrics with enough to warm your creative cockles. I remember using the old Gaylord ker-THUMP machine during my circa 1970 work-study days at the Quinsigamond Community College library in Worcester, Massachusetts. I wasn't a very good worker; I goofed off a lot, but I did come away with a lifelong respect for all librarians.