Last week, we received a large package from the U. S. Census Bureau. In it was a copy of Census Atlas of the United States and a letter that read (in part):
I am pleased to be able to present the Chelmsford Public Library with a copy of the recently-published Census Atlas of the United States, a volume which I cooauthered with several colleagues at the Census Bureau here in Washington, DC.
...I wanted to personally send a copy to the Chelmsford Public Library as a way of expressing my profound gratitude to the library for the role it played in helping me discover my career as a demographer.
I grew up in Chelmsford...and as a kid spent many rainy Sunday afternoons at the Adams Library. When an elementary school research project required me to incorporate census data, I found myself in the top floor of the old library, poring through Census volumes with the assistance of the reference librarian. I didn't know it at the time, but those afternoons looking through old census volumes were my introduction to population statistics and to the Census Bureau, and a preview of what is now a rewarding and enjoyable career as a demographer and statistician for the federal government.
...Who knows - maybe [this donated volume] will inspire a future career path for some youngster spending quality in the library on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Not only is this a wonderful story, and a nice sentiment, but the atlas itself is pretty incredible. It is large, 12-1/4" x 15-1/4" - and almost every page is a glossy, full-color map of a particular population breakdown. Definitely a nice addition to our reference collection, and probably one that I wouldn't have purchased.
So, the moral of the story is, once again, a patron's library experience is critical to the health and longevity of a library.