Saturday’s unveiling of the John Barth historic marker was a huge success, with hundreds of friends, family, and well-wishers in attendance. During a ceremony hosted by Library Director Jean Del Sordo and prefaced by saxophonist Carl Grubbs’s music, Barth received an honorary proclamation from the Dorchester County Council and a key to the city from Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley. The statue was unveiled by FOL President John Lewis, who noted that it reflects the community’s pride in Barth, a native son who’s won the National Book Award and various other literary prizes.
In his remarks, Barth cited the influence of “the library, the library, the library,” where he “feasted on Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, and Tarzan novels.”
He concluded by noting that “Cambridge, the rivershore, and the great down county salt marshes were my life’s coordinates from birth through high school through college and my first efforts as a writer of fiction, and they remain as touchstones of my imagination.”
On Tuesday, Friends of the Library volunteers installed the interpretive sign/historic marker honoring John Barth on the front lawn of the Cambridge library. The sign will be unveiled during a ceremony on Saturday at 4 pm. Barth and local dignitaries will attend the program, which is free and open to the public.
On Saturday June 12th, the Friends of the Dorchester County Public Library will unveil a newly installed historic marker/interpretive sign honoring writer John Barth. Winner of the National Book Award and F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Fiction, Barth was born and raised in Cambridge. His debut novel, The Floating Opera, was set in Cambridge and much of his writing since then has been inspired by the Eastern Shore. The Barth sign is the first in Dorchester to honor a literary figure.
The unveiling ceremony begins at 4 pm on the lawn of the library at 303 Gay Street. The program will feature live music by jazz saxophonist Carl Grubbs, comments by local dignitaries, and remarks from Barth, who will be in attendance. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony, which will be held rain or shine.
The Barth celebration will then continue along Race Street, as part of Main Street’s “Second Saturday” festivities. Bags of candy will be distributed at the former site of Whitey’s Candyland, which was operated by Barth’s father, near Craig’s Drug Store. Copies of Carl Grubbs’s new CD (Maryland Traditions in Jazz) and books autographed by Barth will be raffled off, as well.
The historic marker and unveiling ceremony festivities were made possible by the Friends, with help from the Maryland Heritage Area, the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, the Nannie Waddell Foundation, and Cambridge Main Street.
For additional information, call the Dorchester County Public Library at 410-228-7331.
[photo: David Colwell]
January’s FOL book sale was another rousing success, generating more than $800 for the group. The Book Cellar shelves are still full of great bargains, donations have been coming in regularly, and we anticipate another fantastic sale on February 13th. Don’t miss it!
The Friends’ “Second Saturday” sales will be held on Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Cambridge Branch Library, in their Book Cellar.
The Friends are looking for gifts of books, video and audio tapes, CDs, special interest magazines, and paper ephemera to add to their inventory. Donations may be dropped off at the Cambridge and Hurlock Branch Libraries. Book sale staff can pick up larger donations of books. Call the Cambridge Branch Library at 410-228-7331 to arrange for a pick up. Thank you!
The Friends of the Library have won a grant from The Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area Historic Resources Enrichment Fund to be used to create and install a historic marker at the Cambridge Library honoring Dorchester native and literary giant, John Barth. A walking tour brochure will also be developed as part of the grant highlighting local sites associated with Barth’s work. A dedication of the marker is planned for May 2010 to coincide with Barth’s 80th birthday!