This is the second in a series of interviews with a few of Vermillion Public Library’s dedicated patrons. Here’s what Judith Sebesta has to say:
Q: Can you share a time when you found something in the collection of the Vermillion Public Library that brought a fresh new insight and expanded your world view?
A: The most moving and inspiring book I have read in the past year, in fact in several years, is Molly Peacock’s, The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life at Seventy-Two. The artist is Mary Delany who had an unhappy first marriage when at age 17 her financially destitute family married her to the 60-year old Alexander Pendarves. He did not leave her anything in his will when he died two years later, forcing her to live with various relatives. When she was 43, she married Dr. Delaney, an Irish clergyman, with whom she lived very happily until widowed again at age 72. An artist is several media, including the garden, Mary assuaged her grief by creating paper portraits of flowers and plants out of tissue paper and coloring them realistically. Before her death at 81, despite failing eyesight and health, she created nearly 1000 of these portraits, which are treasured objects now belonging to the British Museum. Molly Peacock reports Mary’s life vividly in prose as graceful as Mary’s flowers. Clearly Mary was a person I would want to know as she was intellectually curious, warmly affectionate to and beloved by her friends and their children, courageous in her dealing with the vicissitudes of her life, and an artist of great ability. Her tissue paper floral portraits are reproduced in this book in close-up so that the reader can wonder at Mary’s skill in manipulating the paper. The book is a delight to the eye, mind, and heart. Upon finishing it, I recommended it to many of my friends in Vermillion and elsewhere.
Q: What aspect or aspects of the Vermillion Public Library do you find the most valuable?
A: The variety of materials it offers us. It is a small library in number of its holdings, but offers videos/dvd’s, newspapers and magazines, books on all subjects for all ages. The dvd’s/videos are most welcome as I particularly enjoy vintage movies, especially the black and white classics. No less valuable are the staff, who truly wish to serve us and help us find what we want. I particularly appreciate their kindness to my parents when they came to visit and borrow books. Friendly, knowledgeable, and willing to drop what they are doing to help, they should receive more public notice for their contributions to life in Vermillion.
Q: If you were helping a new citizen to become familiar with Vermillion, what would you tell them about the Vermillion Public Library?
A: The VPL is one place not to be missed. It has excellent programs for children, outreach for those who cannot come to it, and accomplishes very well its mission to support all interests of its clientele. It is deserving of greater community support (monetary as well as personal).
Q: What can the staff at the Vermillion Public Library do to make your day?
A: I can’t think of anything, except perhaps to have tea as well as coffee available? I would be glad to make donations for my drinks.