the things we keep

Community Conversations

Do you remember Show & Tell days from elementary school? I remember going home from school the night before, looking around my room, and thinking about what I could take that would seem super cool. My second grade year, I took a picture of me and my dad in the backyard with our dog, Ben, and cat, Molly. I loved my pets — and my dad, of coarse. And I couldn’t wait to show my classmates.

As adults, we often don’t have the opportunity to showcase the things we cherish — until now. Lexington Main Library is bringing back Show & Tell for adults, and we’re calling this new series of programs Community Conversations: The Things We Keep. We based our program on the book What We Keep by Bill Shapiro and Naomi Wax.

Everyone has that one object that holds deep meaning — some relic that speaks to their past, that carries a remarkable story. What We Keep is a collection of interviews with people about the single object in their life that has the most emotional significance — those objects we often don’t talk about, but that make us who we are. The objects and stories revealed in this collection belong to people from all walks of life — from business leaders like Mark Cuban and Melinda Gates to celebrated authors like Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Patterson, from astronauts to autoworkers, from former counterfeiters to cloistered nuns.

What is it that you keep? Is it a collection that you’ve been working on for years? A picture of the first car you ever bought? A trinket from a faraway place given to you by your favorite uncle? Or are you simply interested in what others in your community have to share? Whatever it is, we want you to come and share it with us. Whether you bring the item, a photo or a brief slideshow presentation, you’re invited to share your story.

Oh, the What We Keep project is ongoing. Shapiro and Wax are still talking to people, still collecting unique stories. You can read them for inspiration or submit your own.


If you’re looking for inspiration or want to get into a new hobby, check out the Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center for ideas and instructions. For example, you can find information about …
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