Fundraisers, new books, extended library hours |  community

Fundraisers, new books, extended library hours | community | Pro Club Bd

Readers of this column will notice that another person named “Bernt” appears in the photo and byline above. After writing this column for more than four years, Joe Bernt has decided to step down due to challenging, if hopefully temporary, health concerns.

Joe has done a great job highlighting library events, writing thought provoking book reviews and sharing his sometimes grumpy comments about books, the 1960s and life in general; and his volunteers at the library are grateful. Joe will continue to serve on the library’s acquisitions committee and coordinate the Cannon Beach Reads book club.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that Joe and I have shared a last name for fifty years. During that time we’ve also shared a love of books, history, dogs, seafood, the Pacific Northwest and nearly ten years of volunteering at Cannon Beach Library.

We have Cannon Beach Library thanks to volunteers like Joe who are willing to donate their time and talent. From the beginning, the library has been a community venture, with volunteers tending to the finer details of library operations and participating in fundraisers that have become Cannon Beach traditions—like the Fourth of July used book sale.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, book sales returned in full force this summer. A lot of effort is put into the organization of the sale on July 4th. Every week throughout the year, a committee of eight meets to assess, sort and bag thousands of donated books for storage. Before being sold, these thousands of books are transported from storage to the library, where they are unpacked and sorted by category. During the sale, cashiers, baggers, and storekeepers help hundreds of residents and visitors with their purchases. This summer, 56 volunteers, including volunteers from the Cannon Beach Fire Department, made this year’s book sale a success. The results of their efforts will pay for the library’s utility bills and monthly website fees. A big thank you to the Pricing Committee and to all the volunteers for their hard work. And a special thanks to Janet Bates, who ran the event so competently.

On September 24th, the library is bringing back another benefit and library tradition: the Fall Festival. Over the years, this fundraiser has taken a number of forms, from junk sales to cake sales to silent auctions. This year’s Fall Festival includes a silent auction for hotel stays donated by local hotel owners, drawings for gift certificates donated by local vendors, a book sale featuring holiday and DIY books, and a craft sale featuring handmade items made by The library was donated to supporters.

Tickets for the gift certificate raffle are available and bids for the silent auction will be accepted from September 1st until the day of the festival. If you would like to support the library by donating arts and crafts or to help with fall festival planning and logistics, call the library office (503-436-1391) or email

Thanks to book sales and festivals, the library has the means to buy an average of twenty new books a month. In June, the Acquisitions Committee added 25 titles to the collection. I particularly like one author on the list: Geraldine Brooks.

Geraldine Brooks is an Australian-American author and journalist with a knack for selecting fascinating subjects for the thought-provoking, multi-layered historical novels she researches and writes so thoroughly. Her talent was showcased last year when members of the Cannon Beach Reads book club discussed her novel, People of the Book.

While writing human-interest stories for The New Yorker about the aftermath of the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, Brooks learned about the Sarajevo Haggadah, an illuminated manuscript created in Barcelona in 1350. A Haggadah is a book read during the Passover Seder; it outlines the various parts of the Seder and retells the story of the flight from Egypt. (Haggadah is the Hebrew word for “tell.”) The Sarajevo Haggadah is unique because it also contains 34 pages of beautifully illuminated scenes from the Old Testament, from Genesis to the death of Moses. It is also unique because the Haggadah has escaped destruction several times throughout its long history.

The story of the Sarajevo Haggadah inspired Brooks to create People of the Book, in which Hannah Heath, a book restorer, is hired by the Bosnian government to restore the Haggadah. Upon examining the book, Heath finds a white hair, salt, wine stains, and an insect’s wing. Brooks weaves stories explaining how each of these articles on the Haggadah came about, taking the reader back through the book’s history to its actual genesis in Spain, creating compelling narratives about Bosnia during World War II and Vienna in the 1890s years , the Inquisition in Venice in the 16th century and in Spain in the 14th century. While researching the history of the Haggadah, Heath examines her own family history as well as the political situations in contemporary Bosnia and Australia.

Brooks’ most recent novel, Horse, promises to offer the same rich storytelling, spanning several centuries. The horse in the title of the book is Lexington, a true bay stallion who was a champion thoroughbred and stallion in the 19th century South. Brooks learned about Lexington from a Smithsonian Institution official she happened to meet at a social event. The official told her that Lexington’s skeleton was kept in the attic of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and forgotten. The result is horse.

In Horse, a Nigerian-American art history student finds a discarded painting by Lexington; At the same time, an Australian scientist working at the Smithsonian finds the horse’s bones. The scientist examines the bones to determine the source of the horse’s unusual strength and endurance. The art historian is inspired by the painting to rediscover the history of the Black Riders who were central to the Southern racing industry, particularly the slave Jarret, a best man who had a special bond with Lexington. Telling the stories of Jarret in the 1850s and of the art history student and scholar in 2019, Brooks examines racial issues in the 19th-century American South and in the United States today.

In addition to Horse and People of the Book, the library also has March (for which Brooks won a Pulitzer Prize), Caleb’s Crossing, Nine Parts of Desire, The Secret Chord, and Years of Wonder. Come and see them.

In addition to Horse, nine other fiction books were added to the library in June: The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays; Countdown to Midnight, by Dale Brown; In the Blood, by Jack Carr; The Twilight World, by Werner Herzog; Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz; Invisible Things, by Mat Johnson; Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley; The Honest Life of Meena Dave, by Namrata Patel; and The Lunar Housewife by Caroline Woods.

Seven mysteries were purchased from Fiona Barton including Local Gone Missing; Carolina Moonset, by Matt Goldman; The Locked Room, by Elly Griffiths; More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez; Blood Sugar, by Sascha Rothchild; The It Girl by Ruth Ware; and The Key to Deceit: An Electra McDonnell Novel by Ashley Weaver.

Finally, eight non-fiction books were added: Portland in Three Centuries: The Place and the People (2nd Edition) by Carl Abbott; Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods, by Lyndsie Bourgon; Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy, by Kit Chelle and Matthew Campbell; A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton; How to Raise an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi; Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, by Sasha LaPointe; Cheese War: Conflict and Courage in Tillamook County, Oregon by Marilyn Milne and Linda Kirk; and Under the Skin: The Hidden Trill of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, by Linda Villarosa.

Patrons now have an extra day to try out these new books. In addition to the opening times on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the library is now also open on Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m

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