Roy Miltner: 2019 Friend of the Year Award, Acceptance Speech

April 19, 2019

Thank you to the Friends of the Library Board for this much appreciated honor. I share it with all my fellow volunteers. Some days at Books Again I have so much fun that I feel like no added honor is due. But I accept this award with much pride and prejudice. My prejudice being that we have the best book store, of the best Friends organization, of the best library district, with the best director in Colorado and beyond.

When I retired from the pastorate in Iowa some 20 odd years ago, an older friend gave me this advice: When you move into your Little House on the Prairie, find something satisfying to do. Get involved in your community

So, when my Beloved and I came West With the Night and completed our Odessey, here in Pueblo we began our search for useful activity. Freda began working with special needs children, and I answered a newspaper ad calling for help with the annual Friends books sale at the university--a Titanic job. The rest is 20 years of history at PCCLD and the Friends.

Why? Because I love books. From my very first book--Ferdinand the Bull--to All the Light We Cannot See--I am entranced with books, for they take me to the Far Pavilions of world and thought.

Every true civilization has employed the written word in one form or another to tell its story. Cicero wrote that “if you have a garden and a library”, you have everything you need. From Homer to Shakespeare, Dante to Dickens, then Charlotte Bronte, Robert Louis Stevenson; Jane Austin; Earnest Hemingway--and Nora Roberts --all their words have inspired, educated, entertained and thrilled from one age to another.

And that’s why I am here--because I love books, and I enjoy being among people who love books. I enjoy working with the “Dirty Dozen” on Tuesdays and Thursdays, those friends who don’t mind getting their hand grimy from opening boxes filled with books that have been like dried Flowers in the Attic for half a century, and to from them from their Hiding Place for all to enjoy.

And I know that many of you have shared the pleasantry of opening a newly arrived box of donated books to look with Great Expectations at what someone has been kind enough to share with us. To find a 1784 math book with lovely script on each cover; to read the often gentle and poignant inscriptions on the first pages of a book given as a gift; to find love notes between a books pages; to see the infinite variety of books that Puebloans are reding; and then later help a customer seek out a particular book and share the joy of discovery with him or her.

All these--and more--are the reasons why I’m here--and, I think, why you are here. And I know you join me in being grateful for the opportunity of serving as a volunteer friend of the library, a joy that will surely Last From Here to Eternity.

Thank you.