Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky / The flying cloud, the frosty light:

The year is dying in the night …

Ring out the old, ring in the new / Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go …

Ring out false pride in place and blood, /the civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right / Ring in the common love of good.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

As the flame of this year gutters and dwindles, and the griefs of the past months, our forced solitude, make us all a bit more fragile, what a solace to walk or drive through town and see the lights. The menorahs, the wreaths, the myriad displays of festive window décor, the trees decked out with twinkles and light-catching spangles, or resplendent in natural garb of frost-green needles and scarlet berry clusters — it’s all wonderful.

Folks in the same pod huddle together, scampering down sidewalks and across parking lots, eyes animated above their masks, nodding to one another, waving and calling from afar, seeking the bright and hopeful as we all persevere in making the best of this.

We are not the only communal creatures drinking in any sign of goodwill from our landscape. The crabapple trees on the library grounds, their red fruits more than ornamental, have drawn flocks of birds. Yesterday as I sought books near a back window, I was fortunate enough to catch the rush of flight, the alighting of dozens of speckled brown bodies, wings jauntily barred with white, all bobbling on branches as they dipped their heads, snatching up fruit, chattering to one another, fluffing their underbellies against the cold.

They lingered a while, savoring the rest, the food, the shelter of the tree, but knowing it was a stop on a longer journey to find their home and their kind. When I returned to the window a while later, they were gone.

The sight was especially poignant because after six years of proudly serving as your town librarian, I am migrating as well, making a move to the southern part of the state, a new position and a new adventure.

It has been an honor and a pleasure, an education and a blessing to work and reside here in Morrisville.

Know that the privilege of working with and for the benefit of such a creative, vibrant and resilient group of people, the stewardship of this beautiful building and collection, and the general awesomeness of the library and this community made the decision a truly difficult one. Thank you to all of you who have been welcoming, supportive and steadfast library advocates and loyal friends to us on staff. I am grateful, and I will miss you.

Warm thanks as well to all of you who have sent us such lovely notes, pictures and holiday cards. We do display them inside the library, by the way. It cheers us up to see them while we are missing our patrons’ daily visits. To the artists who leave the colorful inspiration rocks around the grounds, we have noticed and admired those too. We so appreciate that you are thinking of us.

Then, there is the pecuniary generosity. In a year wherein we have had to keep the building closed for most of it, and most of the events and opportunities which usually characterize our presence were not possible, you have demonstrated your incredible benevolence and acknowledged our creative ways of serving our public no matter what by donating over $9,700 to the trustee fundraiser so far.

To those of us who work at the library every day, it has been a moving indication of your commitment to our collective mission and vision. Thank you.

As we ring in a new year, the library’s offerings continue to invite folks to join the virtual fun. Thus far, no new entrants in our last The Plot Thickens one-sentence summary prize drawing (see our website, centenniallibrary.org, for details), but there’s still a bit of December left. Send your entries by the end of the year, and we’ll announce the final, fortunate winner.

For youth, the remaining Tuesday Story Time theme of the year, held on Facebook Live at 10:30 a.m., Dec. 29, will be birthdays, and we will celebrate all of our birthdays on the same day.

Coming in January, weekly themes will be penguins, polar bears, soup — it’s National Soup Month, after all — and Rosemary Wells, in honor of the author and illustrator’s birthday.

For teens, the Anime and Manga Club will meet Thursday, Jan. 14, and the second Thursday of each month at 3 p.m.

The Teen Advisory Board, which is open to teens ages 12-18 who want to play an active role in the library, will meet on Thursday, Jan. 7 and 21 at 3 p.m. on Zoom.

Email Rachel at youthservices@centenniallibrary.org for the link.


For everyone: before we bid farewell, may I ask one last favor of you? Would you be willing to share the answer to this question, “What is your favorite book of all time, and why?” either via email at info@centenniallibrary.org, or by writing it on paper and popping it into the mail or our drop box, for a New Year’s post on our website? It seems like a good start to the fledgling year, and a way to hold some form of one last, good around-the-table book discussion with all of you.

May 2021 be kinder to us all, holding health and plenty, peace and hope, friendship and the endless, new-world possibility of the next something wonderful to read.

Gizelle Guyette is director of Morristown Centennial Library.

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