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One Saturday morning I decided to check out this get-together on Meetup.com for art professionals and I found parking just a few blocks away from where the meetup was going to take place. I also arrived a bit early so I was able to walk around and take a few pictures before this particular meetup began.

The first few pictures show the Glut Food Co-op, which was originally founded in the late 1960’s by a couple of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Glut, with its carrot-shaped sign has become a Mount Rainier institution that frequently attracts those who are looking for organic food but want a locally-owned alternative to chain stores like Whole Foods.

The next photos show the various sights around Mount Rainier.

A line of solar-powered toys line the windowsill of a beauty parlor.

This next sign outside a barber shop had this to say about being a barber.

So what exactly is a barber?

A barber is a person who practices primarily in the art of men’s grooming needs. Some barbers nowadays will also cut a lady’s haircut but a barber’s forte is generally men’s haircuts, beard trims, shaves, and mustaches. Barbers usually only do haircuts and don’t usually do perms, coloring, blow-drying or curling and straightening irons. Barbers used to be only men and cosmetologists were women. There have been a lot of changes in recent years because of the unisex salons and these days many people don’t know the difference between what is a barber and what is a cosmetologist.

Barbering is becoming a lost art. In the old days, everyone knew what a barber was. Many people are unaware that barbers were once surgeons and dentists and clergymen. The traditional barber pole is a symbol that comes from the bloody bandages blowing in the wind. The technical term for barbers is a “tonsorial artist.”

Wow! One can really learn something new while taking a walk around a certain area.

The next photo shows a row of colorfully-painted buildings including the public library, the local office of Progressive insurance, and a Masonic lodge.

The Masonic lodge has a trio of really colorful murals featuring birds flying against an orange background with blue flowers, and red-orange diamonds.

You can see the colorful bricks outside the Progressive insurance office.

The colorful bricks continue to the local public library that’s located next door.

The Mount Rainier library is one of the smallest libraries I have ever visited in recent years. It’s basically one small room. Despite its small size, I saw a few patrons browsing the books and using the computers and other resources.

The meetup took place at the Bird Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.

The meetup took place outside in the restaurant’s courtyard, which had this vintage pachinko machine on display. (I didn’t attempt to try playing it so I don’t know if it’s there purely for decoration or if it is really a working machine.)

After the meetup ended I decided to do something that I had always wanted to do but I kept on putting it off. I figured that since I was in Mount Rainier anyway, I should check out that local legend about how there was a family whose exorcism of their teenage son provided the basis for both the bestselling novel and subsequent movie The Exorcist. I’m going to write a separate blog post devoted to this so stay tuned.

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I have a friend named Phil Shapiro who works in the computer lab at the Takoma Park Library. In his spare time he writes for OpenSource.com mainly about how libraries can do everything from teaching people how to be computer literate to saving the world. (Okay, I’ll admit that I made that last part up. But if you read the articles he’s written for that site, such as this one, you’d could be forgiven for being left with a similar impression.) In his spare time he rehabilitates old computers by installing Linux Mint on them along with other open source software applications then giving the computers to underprivileged families in the DC area and he tutors people in how to use computers and open source software.

Well, anyway, he wanted to check out the Howard County library system because he heard that this system has even better computer resources than the library he works at. So he hired me to just go to any library located in Howard County, take pictures and notes, and let him know what I’ve seen. I ended up choosing the one in Savage because it’s relatively close to my home and I was feeling too lazy to go on a longer trip to places like Columbia or Ellicott City.

So I showed up at the Savage Library and I was amazed by this modern state of the art building with a sign saying that it’s not only a library but it’s also a STEM center as well.

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That library has some really cool looking furniture, brightly painted walls, and nice carpeting.

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The next two photos show a children’s classroom.

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This glass display case shows the various hi-tech capabilities of this library, including a few sample 3D printed items.

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I was raised with the idea that you must never eat or drink anything int the library (except for making a visit to a water fountain). This library has a cafe. Granted this cafe consisted of vending machines but it’s still impressive compared to my childhood memories of going to the Harundale Library in Glen Burnie or my trips to the libraries in Greenbelt and Hyattsville as an adult.

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The STEM wing of the library has skylights.

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They have conference rooms named after famous people in technology, such as Carl Sagan.

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The main room in the STEM wing has state-of-the-art computers as well as other things I’ve never seen in a public library before.

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This room has an actual recording booth that’s available to library patrons.

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Library patrons can borrow musical instruments like electric guitars and keyboards.

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There’s even a professional microphone that one can borrow for use in some multimedia projects.

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I also spent some time with my laptop surfing the Internet using the library’s free wifi while eating some chips I purchased from the vending machine in the cafe. This library felt so homey and cozy.

After the library I went on to Savage Mill because it’s located just a mile or two away and I like going there. I took a few pictures doing my time there.

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