Ask Eartha: A holiday without the digital daze (column) | SummitDaily.com

Ask Eartha: A holiday without the digital daze (column)

Eartha Steward
Special to the Daily

Dear Eartha,

Christmas is on the horizon and all the new gadgets and gizmos are making their debuts. I’m wondering this holiday season, how I can avoid the digital craziness and get back to my community roots? — Nancy, Dillon

Dear Nancy,

I love hearing about people who want to ‘get back to their roots.’ It’s becoming a popular idea as we’re increasingly faced with the digitalization of our lives, the online nature of our jobs and relationships, and the constant bombardment of advertising telling us to buy the latest and greatest products. As we become more digital, we can lose site of the importance of face-to-face contact and relationship building. Nothing speaks more than a good handshake, for example. But how can we make a conscious effort to maintain the humanness in our lives? It’s called community building, and there are plenty of opportunities this holiday season that will help you get back to your roots.

When was the last time you picked up a good book? Not the last time you read something, but an honest to goodness book — something you could flip your fingers through, smell the scent and share with your friends when you were done? For many of us, the answer could be a while and that’s OK. But books represent something that we have lost over a very short time. Not so long ago, you would go to the local library or bookstore, wander the aisles and flip through books that contained information on any topic you could think of. These spaces provided opportunities for people to come together to learn and share ideas. Today, we do some of that over the Internet, but if you’re serious about getting back to your roots, start by going to your local library.

Libraries provide cultural value to our local communities. They provide inspiration and keep our histories. Libraries revitalize neighborhoods and can lead the way to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world. Communities need libraries to collect information and serve as catalysts for addressing social problems. Maybe best of all, libraries contain the necessary resources for maintaining our sense of community. Do you know what’s going on at your local library this holiday season? If not, look into it. There are plenty of opportunities to gather with others, share ideas, and perhaps even lend a helping hand. Libraries, like most other places, keep a calendar where you can find various gatherings, workshops, book clubs and other events. For example, this weekend in Summit County there is a teen movie night where teens gather to watch and discuss a movie based on a popular book.

Next week is the beginning of the Friends of the Library Annual Book and Bake sale. The Friends of the Library is a non-profit organization that supports our local library through increased public awareness and special sponsorships of programs designed to add to the cultural life of Summit County. They are having their December Book and Bake sale which is a great way to meet your neighbors while shopping for thoughtful holiday gifts and delicious treats. Buying used books not only supports the Friends of the Library, but also promotes reuse, saves money and supports special programs. Libraries are the original open source! Remember, they are not just about books, but rather helping to build and maintain the culture of our community.

The sale is on Friday, Dec. 4 from noon – 6 p.m., and Saturday Dec. 5 from 9 – 5 p.m. Hardbacks and CD audio books are $3. Paperbacks and DVDs are $2. All kids books are $1. Everything is half price on Saturday.

So if you’re looking to get back to your roots this holiday season, start by visiting your local library and learn more about what’s going on. Shop local and consider gently used or homemade gifts before going out and buying the latest and greatest new products. It helps give back to the community, supports local projects and programs, and, if you’re lucky, you might just get a sense of what’s going on in your neighborhood.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable food, waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at eartha@highcountryconservation.org.


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