Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wrightsville Elementary students who read about Libya in early 1970s

Paul W. Copeland's The Land and People of Libya, part of the Portraits of Nations series, received a fair bit of circulation in the Wrightsville Elementary School1 library during the early 1970s, especially considering that most 8-year-olds had no sense of the region in which Libya is located. The J.B. Lippincott Company book, which was published in 1967, entered circulation at Wrightsville in November 1968.

The card pocket and circulation card, shown below in all their ephemeral glory, indicate that the book was first checked out by Connie W. of Room 206. The due date was December 10, 1968. The book then received occasional attention in the first half of the 1970s, with readers including J. Ierley, Rodney F., Lee DeRemer, Lori Kurtz, Rebecca Wallick and George Newcomer. Those of us in a certain generation can certainly picture their school librarians using hand stamps to place the due date on the circulation cards and pockets. Nowadays it's all bar codes and scanners.

The April 1967 Kirkus review of The Land and People of Libya was not very positive, so that might have dampened enthusiasm for this volume. Or perhaps there just wasn't much interest in Libya. Here's the Kirkus review:
"Welcome to Libya — and be prepared for a disorganized tour of her history and geography. In desert-dry style the author explores the various foreign invasions and occupations which formed the Libyan heritage, then rambles along caravan and slave routes to glance at each important town, its history and significance. A stack of useful information (except about current foreign policy) presented with a poverty of descriptive power."
At least Copeland tried, though. According to his biography on the dust jacket flap: "In the spring of 1965 he and Mrs. Copeland researched in Libya, during the 'coldest spring in fifty years. We nearly froze to death much of the time.'"

If you want to gain a little insight about life in Libya in the 1960s, right before Gaddafi took over in 1969, you can check out this 2011 Time article, with photos, by Phil Bicker.

1. Wrightsville Elementary, in the Eastern York School District along the Susquehanna River, is today lauded for being the "second school in the state and ninth in the nation to gain Leadership in Energy and Environmental design registration." Efforts that earned that accolade include " passive solar strategies with building orientation along an east-west corridor that provides natural light throughout classrooms, reduction in electricity use, roofing materials that reduce heat transferrence during hot days, exterior lighting design that reduces light pollution on site, water consumption reduction of 34 percent, highly efficient heating and air-conditioning, carbon dioxide sensors, high performance triple-glazed windows, an annual energy consumption cost reduction of over 30 percent, recycled building materials, air quality monitoring, and an overall efficient spacial design."

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