The snow has been flying past the windows at the Newberry, so time marches on. None of the snow has STUCK to anything so far, but we know it’s only a matter of time before we are all humming “Let It Snow, Let It Snow” as we trot gleefully to work, energized by the brisk breezes which bring the wind chill to thirty below. Ah, there’s nothing like winter.
I didn’t say there was nothing BETTER. I just said there’s nothing like it. (That joke had its hundred and fifty-third birthday this year. Have some respect.)
It is that period when readers everywhere turn their thoughts to the upcoming holidays, and one joyful thought fills their supercooled brains. “I gotta get rid of these books before the family comes over!”
‘Tis then, gooseberry goulash, that they think of their Uncle Blogsy. (Never when they’re sending out those cards with the pockets in them for currency.) We were hit with a forty-box, seventy-bag donation already this month, and I expect there will be more to come. I would like to keep you posted on where you can drop off donations as the Grand Renovation moves through its final stages—you will be asked to leave books on the dock once more, rather than in the missile inside the glass doors—but I don’t know quite what the schedule is for that, and the holidays may slip by before everything can be finished to make that ready.
Instead, then, I will tell you WHEN to donate. Yes, yes, gingerbread hydrant, this is another one of those “Don’t drop books off when we’re closed” columns. Just think of it as another sign of the season, like when the egg nog appears in the dairy case.
We will be CLOSED, SHUT, LOCKED UP TIGHT on Thanksgiving (Gravy Thursday, or Black Friday Eve). There will be very limited staff on Black Friday and Local Business Saturday. The chances are that no one will be around to haul your books in, wherever you leave them; they’ll all be busy guiding the hordes of people taking in the Columbian Exposition exhibit (hey, it’s a great thing to show the kids over a long weekend.) And we’re seldom open on Sunday, Thanksgiving or not.
I hope I hear you murmuring “That’s okay. I need the books out BEFORE the parades show up on television.” We are open, as usual, on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. This does not mean we will greet your books with open arms at 5 P.M. on Wednesday. Some of us also have to run out and buy that can of cranberry gel before the stores close.
If you were thinking of doing your unloading this coming Saturday, however, it would be best to time your arrival properly. For Saturday, this Saturday, the seventeenth, is the day of the annual Festival of Lights Parade. This grows in the streets around the Newberry: vehicles turn into magic castles, Santa’s sleigh is prepped, and the marimba band gets together on their double-decker float and starts to practice.
Chicago’s Finest will be all over the place, closing streets, setting up barricades, and slapping their hands together to keep them warm. They WILL, for a limited time, allow you access to the Newberry parking lot if you say you have tons of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books to drop off, but the sincerity of their welcome will drop off as time goes by. Some time before noon is probably your best bet. Those of us who want to get home before the busloads of sightseers start lining the streets to watch will be headed out well before closing time. One year, Uncle Blogsy paused to buy groceries on the way and was the last person allowed to cross Michigan Avenue before the parade.
Another day entirely might be right for donating books. Or, better yet, entertain all your relatives on Thanksgiving by handing them a book to read. (Maybe Aunt Booney hasn’t gotten around to the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood yet.)