The Library Society is now about 260 years old. That makes us the oldest cultural institution in the South; it impresses the heck out of visitors from out West who seem to think anything predating the Carter administration is ancient; and it secures us a spot near the front of the Carolina Day Parade line. Being 260 years old is kinda cool.
But our collections include a few manuscripts from as far back as the 15th century, and some Indic statuary from as far back as the 10th. Absorbing that level of historicity is always amazing- to pick up a document and think, "This book was written the year Lorenzo de' Medici died", or "That little statue was around before the Normans conquered England". Everyday, you're gobsmacked by the elastic nature of time on a grand scale: how can I call George Washington's letters as "old" when something created eight centuries prior sits a few yards away?
But then, then!, there are the twinned doyen of our collections: the ginkgos that flank our Main Entrance. While ours were planted Garden Club in 1922 - practically yesterday, right? - the ginkgo is a survivor from the Permian Era - 270 million years ago. Our Society might predate the United States; but ginkgos were around before flowering plants. Before birds. Before mammals.
That is old. That is awesome.
And now, best of all? That awesomeness has been formally recognized! Our ginkgos are not just living fossils, they are the Charleston Horticultural Society's 2010 Outstanding Trees Award in the "Nonprofit" category. We've even got a nifty trophy to boot. There are a lot of great trees in the Lowcountry, and we're in really good company with our sister organizations that have won this award before: we really couldn't be prouder that the great organic members of our collections have been recognized in this manner.
Other reasons to stop by soon: "Dixie", Denim, and Drinks is this Monday night, it's going to be terrific, and tickets are going fast. Call us and buy yours today. Circa 1748 is just over a fortnight away (May 29). The Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival is the weekend after that (June 3-5). Tickets for 1748 and the Festival are all available through Piccolo Spoleto. Also, Toddler Tuesday is going on summer break, as of June 1. It'll be back this fall, having failed to do its summer reading but sporting a wicked tan.