MLAC tidbits: How to Hold Up a Bank

Image of "How to Hold Up a Bank", a book by Giorgina Reid.

Don't worry - it's not what you think!  

(But, of course, that's what makes it funny.)

One of the perks (or perhaps side effects) of spending your days 85 feet underground amidst 17-foot-high shelves that run more than the length of a football field . . . is the strange amusement to be found in unexpected places (and titles).

Contrary to how it may sound, Giorgina Reid's How to Hold Up a Bank is not - in fact - a DIY guide to burgling a financial institution.  (Although such an idea making an MLAC staffer laugh is what lead to this writing.)  The book's subtitle resolves the humorous ambiguity, reading in full - How to Hold Up a Bank: A New Way to Control Shore Erosion.  

At a glance, the joke is completed and that would be enough for a Tidbit.  However, even a quick look cast to the history of the author reveals a life rich with story and passion.  Textile designer, photographer, writer . . . all these things and surely more.  Ms. Reid is reverently remembered as the "Savior of the Montauk Lighthouse", having employed the techniques in this very book - after much convincing of the U.S. Coast Guard, and with her own two hands for fifteen years - to keep "George Washington's Lighthouse" from tumbling into the sea.  With sweat and reeds rather than mask or getaway car, Ms. Reid and her accomplices pulled off a heist of epic proportion - plundering this great treasure to save for all before the wind and waves could claim it.

How to Hold Up a Bank (property of Hennepin County Library) is just one of 1.5+ million items held in the shared collection of the Minnesota Library Access Center, each with their own - sometimes surprisingly-singular - story to tell.

Bonus tidbit (not available in MLAC): 2006 documentary First Light: Montauk Point Lighthouse addresses the building of this monument, the dangers surrounding it, and also touches on Ms. Reid's crusade to save it.