BONNERS FERRY — On May 11, Bonners Ferry was buzzing with a variety of activities, one of which was J.R. Tolkien day at the Boundary County Library.
As residents and visitors browsed the Farmers Market across the street, the library was brimming with their own event which brought to life some of the aspects of living in the medieval times like J.R. Tolkien wrote about in the Lord of the Rings series.
“We had a double hit that day,” said Craig Anderson, Director of the Boundary County Library. “Not only did we have the Tolkien event, we were also at the Health Fair.”
With a variety of activities for the event, the library had medieval type displays outside, and a variety of events inside from puzzle games to a coloring contest.
After being asked about why he thought it was important that readers are able to receive hands-on experience, Anderson talked about how a group of librarians, including himself, have recently addressed that topic, and have plans to continue to bring to life some aspects of popular reads.
He also talked about how it was important for a reader to not only pick up a book and read it, but realize that some concepts within the story is obtainable. For example, in J.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, there are blacksmiths, cooks, foragers, hunters, and warriors.
“We want them to realize, hey, I can do that too,” said Anderson, talking about how even with modern technology, the old ways have not died.
During the Boundary County Library’s J.R. Tolkien Day, there was a blacksmith on site complete with his forge, anvil, tools, and the knowledge to answer the questions of attendees.
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international group of people that promotes the education of pre-17th Century trade skills. The group teaches that even in the modern day, people can create old style tools, weapons, cooking recipes, clothing, and other methods of survival on limited supply. The group attended the event dressed in the style of clothing for the time and teaching attendees about the former ways of accomplishing daily tasks.
The group had a tent pitched, a display of a fireplace with a cooking apparatus, surrounded by fur lined chairs. Attendees were able to try on chain mail armor, hold baby bunnies, and participate in a wide variety of medieval learning activities.
“The goal is to make a physical interface where people and literature/movies interact,” said Anderson. “Some people come in and sit down and read a book or rent a DVD and watch it, without thinking anything of the background. This J.R. Tolkien event is a kind of bridge. It brings it up to the physical. Hey, people are actually doing this stuff. You can do it too, you can learn this stuff.”
Talking about how it ties directly into the agenda for the library, Anderson said, “The Fab Lab is about making things, and really, the connection is there. People, from the beginning, have always wanted and needed to make things, that has never changed. It is one long continuum of creation.”
With the support of the community, the groups within it, and the Boundary County Library creating a bridge between residents and groups of like minded citizens, the network of knowledge, creation, and ideas continue to blossom.