Cover2Cover is a grassroots organization of about a dozen people “committed to making the library the word on everyone’s lips and the place to be in every community,” according to founders Nadine Aiello and Tom Scott.
Mother Jones, John Muir, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Geronimo, Billie Jean King, Martin Luther King, Jr. Every one of these crusaders spent a lifetime fighting for personal causes that transformed the lives of all Americans. Their efforts earned them fame; however, not all activists are well known legends; in fact, many are just everyday people committed to supporting local causes. Today in Siskiyou County, members of the group Cover2Cover are crusading to support and protect Siskiyou county’s libraries.
Cover2Cover is a grassroots organization of about a dozen people “committed to making the library the word on everyone’s lips and the place to be in every community,” according to founders Nadine Aiello and Tom Scott. The group formed in 2010 after a benefit hosted by Directions in Mt. Shasta to support the Mt. Shasta library.
“We were troubled by the budget crisis’s threat to our libraries. Several of us agreed we needed to actively support all Siskiyou County libraries, to expand beyond the ‘our town’ concept,” Aiello said. “We decided to pool our resources to accomplish that goal.”
“Our name, C2C, is a way of looking at what libraries mean,” Scott said. “Access to information, books, books on tape, videos, music, computers, programs, reference materials. The librarians themselves. The space to hold everything, a community center. A ‘sea to sea’ vision, if you will.”
“We wanted the name to encompass all Siskiyou County libraries,” Scott added. “Friends of the Library and of course the librarians themselves are doing a marvelous job of supporting the libraries and keeping them open during these tough times. Our group provides another layer of support.”
“Tom and I are passionate about helping our libraries in their hour of need, of protecting what they offer,” Aiello added. “Everyone in the group feels the same; we want to preserve our libraries and to help them grow, too. We’re working to make the library essential to everyone’s life, so everyone’s asking about their library and what it’s doing.”
“We’re very committed to community involvement,” Aiello noted. “We’re creating ways to jump-start varied community library interaction. We want the library to respond to and shape community needs.”
Group members meet bi-weekly. “We’re creating a file of ideas of how libraries can provide for the community and raise monies to be truly sustainable,” Aiello said.
“We’re new enough that our minds are spinning with ideas,” Scott laughed. “We’re assessing where we are now and where we want to be and jumping right in. We’ll host several events over the year; our first one is in April.”
Languages of the Heart, an evening of poetry and music, is C2C’s first event. It’s scheduled for Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in Mount Shasta and Saturday, April 9, in Weed. Doug von Koss, internationally known poet and storyteller, will ‘perform’ the poetry of Rumi, Wendell Berry, Robert Bly, Mary Oliver, and others. Von Koss has a reputation of bringing an event to life and of transforming an ordinary evening into a lifetime memory.
Local musicians Leslie Tift and Tom Scott will play songs from their “Up on Cedar Ridge” CD and other popular guitar duets. The public is urged to bring a favorite book of poetry to donate to the library. Donations are welcome.
Aiello and Scott are excited about the event. “We’re exploring the boundaries of what a library can do and be in a community,” Scott smiled. “Our community is really rich with talented people; we have so much to offer that’s unique. We want the library to be the place to provide new and interactive opportunities for the community, for the library to be THE place to be, to be dynamic and alive.”
“We’re shaking the dust off the library idea,” Aiello added. “We don’t want it to be a place where you hear ‘shhh’ all the time. Books are alive; the library is alive. What we’re doing is celebrating that idea in a big way.” Scott and Aiello concede that their vision is new, but believe people and the library are ripe for change.
“Look at what Jim Parker did with the 4th of July Fun Run. The Run started small; now it’s one of the largest events in the United States,” Aiello shared. “That’s what we’re doing here. Libraries all over the country are hurting. We hope what we’re doing will not only benefit our local libraries, but will be an idea that helps libraries everywhere. The possibilities are overwhelming!”
Those interested in joining the group may learn more about it by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 926-5451. “Our love of libraries prompted this crusade,” Scott said. “Our goal is to make our libraries and all they offer like the bread of life, tasty and essential to survival,” Aiello agreed. “It’s exhilarating!”