After a very busy spring I’m on vacation with a similarly exhausted friend and we decided to take a cruise on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. I asked a couple of times if there was a library nearby with not much success. Finally we got to Bol on the island of Brac (pronounced Brash) when, immediately upon exit our small cruise boat, we see signs directly us to city sites and there is an arrow pointing to the library (in English). My friend Cher Czyzewski is also a librarian so we set off to look for it. Our tour guide was actually ahead of us and said he had already met the librarian who was off to get coffee and we should come back in an hour, which we did.
The library was a little hard to find, around a corner and up some stairs, decorated with art work, we later found out, from children’s summer craft programs. The library is one room, bright and airy, with a full length mirror looking out on the Adriatic. Librarian Jadranka Nejasmic said the library is open to tourists who come during the summer months and she does regular programming for children, bringing in local artists and authors. It has about 60,000 books, some of them stored on an upper floor. She wants to expand the library from the one room, and has her eye on a school nearby that will be abandoned when a new school is built. Ms Nejasmic is active in her national library association and participants in continuing education, last year visiting some of the national libraries across Europe.
What I found the most fun is the BookCrossing program. During summer months, Ms Nejasmic put a big table of books outside on the dock. All of the books have this notice on the back: “Howdy! Hola! Bonjour! Guten Tag! I’m a very special book. You see, I’m traveling around the world making new friends. I hope I’ve met another friend in you. Please go towww.BookCrossing.org and enter my BCID number(shown below). You’ll discover where I’ve been and who has read me. The READ and RELEASE me!”
So I took The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle (much fun, particularly if you like French food) and will pass it on to someone else to read. Here are some photos of the library, of Ms Nejasmic with me, of the crafts on the stairs, and the Book Crossing information.