By Maria Aquila
Saturday evening the Open Hearth Foundation (OHF) officially launched the OHF Pagan Library. This groundbreaking event marks the opening of one of the first Pagan libraries in the country that houses a physical collection of books, periodicals, and artifacts that is available to the public. The current collection consists of more than 3,000 titles, 250 tarot decks, and 40 different periodical and newsletter series.
A reception was held at the DC Pagan community center where OHF Board Member Anura Rose welcomed attendees and introduced the OHF Library committee members, acknowledged the current and former OHF board members, and formally recognized the volunteers. Guest were then lead into darkened library for an illumination ceremony and unveiling.
The official opening of the OHF Pagan Library is the culmination of over 10 years of effort of fundraising, collecting and organizing books, and safely storing them until a physical space could manifest. Since signing a lease for the space in October 2011, volunteers have logged over 1,500 hours organizing the collection, as well as preparing the physical space--painting, moving furniture, assembling shelves, and installing lighting.
"None of this would have been possible without a dedicated group of volunteers who carried boxes, built shelves, sorted, searched, catalogued, numbered and shelved thousands of books,” OHF Library Trustee and Library Volunteer Coordinator, Aderyn Benvenga.
The library will also be open to every Sunday from 1-5 for who wish to browse the collection with a librarian available for research assistance. Members can check out books for a period of 28 days, and periodicals and tarot decks can be used in house. The library catalog is searchable online at: library.openhearth.org. Users can browse and search for titles, as well as reserve books to check out.
"We have designed the OHF Library according to professional principles and best practices for a community library with full searching capability available online," said OHF Librarian, Eric (Fritter) Riley.
After the illumination ceremony attendees could browse the collection. Individual OHF members in attendance were then given their library cards and allowed to check out books. Members not in attendance and new members who joined at the event will be receiving their cards this week.
"We fully expect the OHF Library will become the 'Heart of the Hearth' for the local Pagan community," said Eric Eldrich, OHF Library Trustee and Former Chair of the OHF Board of Governors.
The library will also be open during public events at the OHF Center, with book discussions and other library events planned. Announcements for book discussions and future library events, and well as membership and volunteering can be found on the the OHF Website www.openhearth.org and Facebook pages.
OHF Library Committee Members Anura Rose, Aderyn Benvenga, Eric Eldritch, and Eric (Fritter) Riley.
The Library Committee recognizes the library volunteers.
Attendees at the unveiling of the OHF Library.
Attendees mingling at the Opening Reception.
Photos Courtesy of Dallas Killian