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Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age

The traditional town bulletin board — real paper notices on a physical object in a public space — braves the 21st century on Arlington Avenue.

Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age Kensington Kiosk Counters the Digital Age

I learned recently, via the New York Times, that business cards are now going the way of the buggy whip and the printed daily newspaper.

We live in a digital world, and that’s the way we consume information, news and advertising.

Well, I hate the break the news to the digital generation, but there are some ways that have not gone out of fashion here in Kensington.

The town bulletin board is alive and well.

At the corner on The Arlington and Amherst Avenue, just outside the , you can get a pretty good look at what’s going on in town.

Organized by the Kensington Improvement Club (KIC), the kiosk is a combination help wanted, meeting notice and event calendar. You can find most anything on the kiosk.

Of course there’s a section for official meeting notices. Most weeks there’s at least one meeting.  Maybe the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (KPPCSD) is holding a hearing, or some sub-committee is meeting. Or the Fire District is convening a session, or the Municipal Advisory Council is considering your neighbor’s building plans: it’s all there.

The full agenda packets are mostly online, but in Kensington the kiosk serves as the de facto "legal notice" for everyone. The kiosk was designed by local architect Bart Jones and is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and according to Melissa Holmes Snyder, who heads the KIC, “has become part of who we are” in Kensington.

She notes that posting meeting notices on the kiosk does not qualify as a legal notification that’s done at the bulletin boards at the library and public safety buildings.

On a recent weekday, if you were musically inclined, you could learn to operate electronic keyboards, or discover a Koto, Sangen and Shakuachi concert In San Francisco to benefit the Japan Earthquake victims.

If you need help around the house, there’s always "Painter Dave," "Girl with a Truck" or a "Handyman — Plus," although I’m not sure what the plus might be.

Maybe you need assistance with that Ph.D. dissertation you’ve been putting off. There’s a professional editor waiting to help out.

The school year just ended at Hilltop School, and maybe you’re searching for a local summer camp — the answer is could be right downtown.

This being Kensington, there are rules. Make sure you leave the blue painted area for the official meeting notices, and don’t even try to post something larger than 8.5-inches by 11-inches. Push pins are provided and should be used (no staples please), and make sure there’s a date in the upper righthand corner since notices can stay up only for two weeks.

And by all means, don’t get greedy: one notice per person or event. Ms. Snyder says the notices cannot be political. “The only problem we have is folks who want to keep a notice up too long. We don’t police it, per se, but we will take down notices that have been up too long,” she adds. “It’s largely intended to be self-regulating.”

It seems there is no end to the services offered. Perhaps you need a "Reliable Caregiver," one hand-lettered sign asks. Just pull off one of those handy little tabs with a phone number and your prayers may be answers.

Recently there was an in-law apartment for rent about six inches from someone looking for a small studio unit. Clearly, whoever posted their item last hadn’t looked over the other posts. Or maybe they had, and tacked up their notice in case things didn’t work out.

Looking for adventure? You could join the Sea Scouts on the high seas. Or maybe you just need a little help around the house from a personal assistant. Someone to pick up the dry cleaning, or watch the kids while you’re otherwise engaged.

You could find someone to help you write a personal memoir, or even help you with your video biography. Maybe you need a spiritual teacher or Reiki Healing Circle — look no further.

That’s just a small sampling of the items advertised. There’s no way to judge the effectiveness of kiosk advertising, but it’s what makes Kensington, Kensington. Next time you’re downtown, have a look, maybe you’ll find just what you need — and you don’t even have to turn on your computer, tablet or smart phone.

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