Before I began attending school, my mother would take me with her to coffee mornings, gatherings held in the homes of her fellow church circle members (or so I assume). I remember watching the nicely dressed women balancing small glass trays with matching cups on their laps as they ate homemade treats and sipped coffee. I was never given one of those plates—for good reason—but remember sitting at my mother’s feet, playing with a small toy, while their voices hummed around me. It seemed like a female ritual that I could visit but not actually take part in.

Do such gatherings still exist today? Oh, I know groups meet at McDonald’s or one of the donut shops but suspect the days of home coffee mornings are a thing of the past. I get it—lifestyles are different, people are busy, and fewer people want to host such things. But coming together to chat—nicely and in a civilized manner—is something that’s needed, but not always easy to find.

Which is where the library comes in. Beginning next Thursday, the library will offer “A Cup of Conversation,” an opportunity for folks to gather for a cup of coffee—or hot tea—and the chance to chat with a local personality, learning more about him or herself, not just the persona you see on news clips or in newspaper stories.

I’m excited about this for two reasons—we want the library to be seen as a community gathering place for all ages and our first guest is someone I’ve wanted to have speak here for many years. You know Paula Baker as the CEO of Freeman Hospital but I still think of her as Paula Carter, a classmate from Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Pittsburg High schools. Back in those days, neither of us thought she’d be leading a major hospital—no girl would have thought that was possible, unless you were a nun—nor did I see her (or any of our classmates) shattering that glass ceiling. Paula’s story is inspiring and in talking with her, you will discover a gracious woman who remembers her roots. I suspect she may touch on future plans for her hometown as well.

I invite you to join us at 10:00 a.m. next Thursday the 21st for a hot beverage, some conversation and meet the young girl I remember. See you then!
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian