For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
August 13, 2009 - The Intersection of Two Worlds Benefits Library
by Sheila Kerber, Manager, Philip S. Miller Library
This is a tale of two people with a passion for art and education who were once strangers from opposite ends of the world.
We will begin with Carolyn H. Korutz who was born in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Carolyn was a true lifelong learner. She sang in the church choir with her four siblings. She loved to read and had a wonderful collection of books. Her Webster’s Dictionary was her daily companion. Her copy of the complete works of Shakespeare is well-worn, with notes penciled in the margin. Her daughters, Suzanne Kruger and Gretchen Cleveland remember fondly the hours their mother spent introducing them to the magic of words, illustrations and characters. Reading was a shared family pleasure and they made a game of quoting from favorite stories and poems. Carolyn spent happy hours at the public library.
So how does Carolyn H. Korutz’s life intertwine with the life of Tirivanhu Medziso? Tirivanhu is the fourth child in family of seven from rural Zimbabwe. He was raised in a rondavel, a house constructed from stones and a mortar made of sand, soil and cow dung. Mr. Medziso walked barefoot several miles to attend a rural school which had no books, pencils or paper. He learned to do his work in the sand with a stick as a pencil. In primary school a craft teacher recognized his natural sculpting ability and encouraged him to continue. Mr. Medziso paid his secondary school fees through the sale of some of his early sculptures. When he completed secondary school, he traveled to South Africa. There he studied under a Zimbabwean Stone Carver for six months.
Tirivanhu uses basic tools to carve a living out of the stone from the hills some distance from his home. He hires an ox cart to transport the stone from the mine to his open air work area. He heats old tablespoons, knives, etc. in the fire and then pounds them into a shape he needs.There is no electricity in his town. His sculptures convey an intimacy and understanding of everyday life. Tirivanhu has been able to support his family through the sale of his sculptures.
We are about to celebrate the 20th Artfest on September 12 and 13 and it was at an Artfest a few years ago that these two stories come together. Carolyn Korutz was strolling from booth to booth admiring paintings, photography and glass work when she felt compelled to visit a booth where she saw an abstract sculpture which depicted a mother reading to her child. She learned that the sculptor was visiting from Zimbabwe. She moved on so that she could catch up with her daughter, Suzanne. She related her experience to her daughter and she said that she also had been drawn to the same sculpture. They returned to the booth and Carolyn could not leave without purchasing the sculpture.
When Carolyn’s health began to fail she told her daughter that in the event of her death she would like to give the sculpture to her local library in Castle Rock. She had spent so many happy and fulfilling hours at the Philip S. Miller Library that she wanted to the sculpture to find a permanent home there.
A reception was held on Monday, July 27, where the artist, Tirivanhu Medziso and Carolyn’s daughters, Suzanne Kruger and Gretchen Cleveland met with Library Director, Jamie LaRue. Kruger said, “Libraries were a source of great pleasure and nourishment to my mother over her lifetime.”
Korutz like, Tirivanhu Medziso, was someone who loved to learn. She spent every one of her 91 years increasing her knowledge and appreciation of the world. There is a Zimbabwe Proverb which says “If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.” Carolyn H. Korutz and Tirivanhu Medziso are people who we know never walked when they could dance and never talked when they could sing.
If you would like to see the work of the sculptor, Tirivanhu Medziso, visit Douglas County Libraries, Philip S. Miller Library or stop at his booth at Artfest 2009. The Castle Rock Artfest is located in downtown Castle Rock at the Castle Rock Town Hall and Philip S. Miller Library Parking lots.