My husband and I spent today at Susquehanna University with our younger daughter, who is in her second year there. She was being inducted into two honor societies–French and English (I have smart kids). Aside from enjoying time spent with my daughter, I was struck by a thought that seemed important at the time-

Our oldest is about to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. What struck me today is the difference in our experiences, as parents, with the two institutions. With Pitt, our only involvement in any school-sponsored activities has been with the freshman orientation and the very first parents’ weekend (including a Panthers’ game at Heinz Field–a highlight!). Our involvement will conclude with graduation at the end of the month. Of course, we’ve visited our daughter there numerous times over the years; however, those visits haven’t been generated by any school-sponsored activities even though our daughter has been involved and honored in many. But the school is big and those sorts of recognitions are often big, too, and more anonymous as a result.

Our younger daughter attends a smaller school closer to home. We’ve had the ability, on several occasions, to attend honors inductions, etc., and to meet and talk to professors, department heads, other parents, and other students. These events are more intimate and have afforded us, as parents, the opportunity to get a more up-close and personal view of the Susquehanna University community.

And there it is–the word that struck me–community. These two schools have completely different communities, at least from a parent’s perspective. While the campus at Pitt is exciting because it’s part of the city landscape and there’s lots to see and do, it is also less cohesive and less connected than the one at SU, although there’s much less to do there outside of the university community.

As a result, we have experienced two very different communities that suit each of our daughters perfectly for different reasons. Of course, that’s when I made the library connection.

There are libraries all across the country and all around the world that serve very different and distinct communities. That is really where a library lives and thrives–within its home base. And yet, much of the discussion in the library blogosphere and on professional organization Web sites, etc., is generalized–a one-size-fits-all approach.

And then there is this community: When it comes right down to it, Libraryland (ugh, I still loathe that term) is  a community made up of librarians. And I get the sense that most of the chatter and noise in Libraryland, which is mostly about ebooks, ebooks, and more ebooks, is self-serving and not particularly useful to our patrons. While we fret about DRM and publishers and platforms and not getting “screwed”, how many other issues on the table are being ignored? Maybe none. I don’t know. I’m just saying that even though there is a segment of our collective patron base clamoring for ebooks, ebooks are not necessarily what will serve our individual communities best, at least not now. In some cases, yes. In some cases, no. And that is something that each library/library system must decide for itself.

And now for that recipe-

We came home late last night from my son’s tennis clinic (he has a killer serve!), and it was either take-out (again) or a home-cooked meal. I was feeling suddenly inspired, and since I had some good quality, refrigerated ravioli on hand (mushroom filled and cheese filled), I threw together a quick sauce that was ready in 15 minutes. If I do say so myself (well, it wasn’t just me–my husband and son agreed), it was a restaurant quality mix. And here is the recipe. Serve this sauce (which is an explosion of flavors) over any good quality, prepared ravioli and top with your choice of cheese–we used Manchego and/or Feta. Enjoy! (My apologies: I didn’t measure anything, which is my favorite way to cook, so any measurements given are approximate)-

4-5 garlic cloves, minced

Pitted, Kalamata olives

Pepperoni rings, cut in half

Olive oil

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 chipotle chili, seeded and chopped (from canned chipotle chiles with adobo sauce) with 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce with garlic

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1/2 c (?) organic chicken broth



Pinch Oregano

Freshly ground sea salt and pepper

Quickly sauté the garlic, olives, and pepperoni in olive oil. Add the crushed tomatoes, chipotle chili and adobo sauce, tomato sauce, paste, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add spices and simmer for 10 minutes. A splash of a good wine in there-red or white–may be good, too. A good wine enhances almost anything.