I geek historical library mustache teacups.

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In 1886, a group of twelve women established the public library in Cherokee, Iowa. Fast forward to 1903 when the library received word of a $10,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation and then to April of 1905 when the brand new Cherokee Public Library opened it’s doors. The library is still located in the same (remodeled) building. 

Great. Thanks for the history lesson. Why is this blog fodder in 2014? 

Because of THIS! I found the world’s perfect Christmas present for my mom this year and I finally get to write more about it since we finally had our family Christmas last weekend. 

I should brag to you a little bit about my mom. My mom is the library director in Cherokee. I’m so proud of all she’s done in that role. She guided the library through the big building project when they added on to the original library. She regularly delivers books to shut-ins. She leads a weekly book group that I suspect is regularly the highlight of the week for many who attend. She started a program back in 2000 that involves local community adults reading books to kids while their moms attend meetings for WIC. Kids then get to pick a book and take it home. My mom was google before google was a thing. She can track down almost anything and in terms of book recommendations, she’s brilliant.

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This is my mom reading to my niece I don’t have a picture of my mom at the library unless I post one of her from the 80s where she had blue eye shadow. I’ll save that for facebook sometime. (Also, since this is about Mom and not me, I won’t point out that my niece’s shirt says “My Aunt is my BFF.”)

 

I’m guessing Mom will retire in the next year or two and I debated giving her this present as a retirement present but frankly, I hate waiting. I also hate the idea of the Cherokee Public Library without my mom. She’s my favorite librarian.

I went to ebay, looking for a silly librarian present. She already had the action figure complete with shushing action. She even has the deluxe version with the library cart accessory. On a whim, I searched ebay for “Cherokee Iowa library.” Along with the usual historical postcards/pictures, I stumbled on an auction for the PERFECT present.  

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You’re thinking… whatever. A teacup? I think that’s what she thought at first as she was unwrapping. 

It’s a teacup with a picture of the LIBRARY on it. It’s a teacup with the library on it made to show pride in the town’s new Carnegie library. See why we started with history? From perusing the archives on the library site, I am going to guess that this teacup was one of several souvenir teacups ordered sometime around 1910. It was made in Austria by a company that quit manufacturing souvenir china by the time World War I started. 

I guess mustache cups were a thing?  With the trendiness of mustaches, I’m surprised no coffee cup company has brought them back. I mean, I don’t have a mustache (yet!?) but I imagine coffee or tea in a mustache is not ideal. 

I won’t tell you exactly how much I paid to win– because I’m too lazy to look. I will tell you this: my maximum bid was set about 5 times higher than what it actually took to buy this perfectly awesome present. I would love to know who originally bought this, how it ended up in Ohio, who else bid on the ebay auction, and if it has twins out there in the world. 

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I grew up in the library. I miss card catalogs. I miss vertical files. I miss having time for leisure reading. I miss sitting on the front steps pictured here.

Libraries are so rich with books, knowledge, and history. How great that one place could own books and lend them to people who couldn’t afford them? I love the idea that a building was a hub of information for a small, growing town. I love the evolution from the original Carnegie building to the modern building. I love that the library website is an online hub of information. I love libraries almost as much as I love my mom. 

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