Friday, November 2, 2012

Case Study No. 0630: Miss Turner

Tags: Librarians
Added: 3 years ago
From: deanxavier
Views: 13,250

[Sam walks up to the front desk and speaks with the female librarian]
SAM: Hello.
MISS TURNER: Why hello.
SAM: Do you have any books on falcons?
SAM: Especially the peregrine falcon.
[she gets up and heads for the stacks]
MISS TURNER: Peregrine falcons ... Peregrine falcons were famous in England, I do believe. As a matter of fact, they were known as hunters for kings.
[she climbs a ladder and opens a cupboard on the top shelf]
MISS TURNER: If my memory serves me right, and it usually does ...
[she hands him a book]
SAM: Thank you.
MISS TURNER: Oh, and here's another one that might be of help.
[she hands him another book]
MISS TURNER: The only trouble is, you can't take these books out. They're just for reference.
SAM: Oh, that's okay. I can sit here and use 'em.
MISS TURNER: Well, have fun.
SAM: Say, do you think I could borrow a pencil?
MISS TURNER: Oh, of course.
[they head back to her desk, as the librarian takes off her glasses]
MISS TURNER: My name's Miss Turner. You want anything, just call out.




Clark, James B. (Director). My Side of the Mountain. United States: Paramount Pictures, 1969.

Starring: Tudi Wiggins (Miss Turner, Librarian); Teddy Eccles (Sam)

Based on the Novel: George, John Craighead. My Side of the Mountain. NY: Dutton, 1959.

Young Sam runs away to survive on his own in the wild for one year, playing hermit until he needs information on how to catch and raise a falcon. Miss Turner, forty-ish librarian for the Knowlton (Quebec) Public Library (think rural and creaky), wears her long hair secured by a headband. Her large and heavy glasses are worn indoors only. She provides the books, and warns Sam to wear gloves. She is warm and caring, and the two become friends. Later they spend Christmas together. The librarian in the book has a smaller role. (The film seemed to combine several characters into Miss Turner.) And the book takes place in Delhi, New York in the Catskills, with the librarian described as "sort of young" with brown hair and eyes. The librarian in the book even cuts the boy's hair. How's that for personal service? (The book won a Newbery but I detested the film. Watching it through a parent's eyes, and -- oh, I dunno -- LOGIC kept getting in the way.)



"My Side of the Mountain" (1969), adapted from Jean Craighead George's juvenile novel of the same title, follows the solo adventures of 12-year-old Samuel Gribley (Ted Eccles) in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. When Sam's father breaks a promise to take him camping, Sam leaves home, informing his parents in a note that he has to "go out and live by myself, all alone off the land, like Thoreau."

Sam's mountain home - a trunk of an old large tree which he hollows and burns out - is near the village of Knowlton. When Sam becomes interested in capturing a young peregrine falcon, he visits the Knowlton Public Library. He goes directly to the librarian's deskand asks for a book on falcons.

The librarian, Miss Turner (Tudi Wiggins), "an old bird watcher from away back" as she later identifies herself, goes to the shelves with Sam and offers some interesting historical tidbits as they walk: "Peregrine falcons were famous in England, I do believe. As a matter of fact, they were known as hunters for kings, if my memory serves me right, and it usually does."

Turner climbs a small ladder, takes two books from a top shelf, and hands them to Sam, remarking that they cannot be taken from the library. Returning to her desk, she gives Sam a pencil that he needs for notes; Turner then removes her glasses, introduces herself, and asks Sam for his name. They chat briefly and Sam goes into a nearby reading room to study the two books.

After locating the information he needs, he returns to Turner's desk, stating, "Those birds sure are interesting. If I could only catch me one." Turner again removes her glasses while listening to Sam and demonstrates a wide range of knowledge about birds by quoting Proverbs 1:17 (KJV), "Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird." As he starts to leave, Turner offers some very useful advice, "Sam, you'll need a leather glove."

Turner also appears in two nonlibrary scenes. In the first scene, she meets Sam in the mountains on one of her bird-watching excursions. They immediately recognize one another, and she asks if he has been observing peregrine falcons, as she has "found another very good book on them." Sam has caught a young falcon and asks if she would like to see it. She responds affirmatively, and Sam grabs her by the wrist and the two run for his falcon.

The two watch the falcon soar through the mountain sky, and when the falcon returns, Turner suggests, "C'mon down and take a look at the new book I found." Sam seldom visits Knowlton, commenting that he likes to be alone. Turner extends an invitation to Sam, "If you ever want to, come and see me. Please."

This time she quotes Cicero, "We are never less alone than when completely alone." They part, but without a firm commitment from Sam to accept her invitation to visit the Knowlton Library. Turner reveals a sincere interest in Sam's welfare during this chance meeting.

In her second nonlibrary scene, Turner accompanies Bando (Theodore Bikel), a vagabond mountaineer, to Sam's tree home. When Bando appears in Knowlton, he visits "the library lady" whom Sam had mentioned to him. After a big winter storm passes through the Laurentian mountains, Turner and Bando are concerned about Sam's welfare and decide that they must visit him. They find his tree home covered in several feet of snow, and Bando digs him out. Turner had the foresight to pack a large picnic basket, and as the three eat and sing around some burning logs, she remarks, "This is the best Christmas dinner I ever had!" Sam decides to end his sojourn with nature, and with Bando shouting, "Let's go, Thoreau!" Sam joins his two friends for the walk back to Knowlton.

Turner appears in only three scenes, but presents a very worthy, meritorious image of librarians. An attractive brunette (front and sides pulled back with headband; shoulder length flip), she wears colorful fashionable attire and is a friendly, soft-spoken, competent librarian. She quotes from the Bible and Cicero, demonstrating that she is a widely read and intelligent individual. More importantly, she displays a very humane concern for a younger teenager who wants to live alone with nature in the Laurentian mountains. Turner is so concerned about Sam's personal safety that she accompanies Bando to find the youngster.

Turner's enthusiasm is unique, even to the point of proclaiming that picnicking with Sam and Bando in the open mountain air by a campfire is her "best Christmas dinner."

"My Side of the Mountain" presents a commendable image of a public librarian in a small village.

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