Then, now and looking forward

3 09 2013

On Tuesday, September 10, we’re holding a Civil Rights commemoration at North Sarasota Library starting at 6 PM (with singing of Freedom Songs starting at 5:40 PM while people are arriving).

The impetus to gather people was mainly the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, in which Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carol Robertson lost their lives. But with the current attacks on voting rights since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (like the Voter Purges here in Florida), Civil Rights are as immediate and pressing now as they have ever been.

Here’s the flyer –
Sept 10 event poster corrected draft

We’re fortunate that County Commissioner Carolyn Mason will join us to read some of her original poetry, and we have young people from the neighborhood involved, and we’re fortunate that all the available seats have already been reserved (and we’ll be maintaining a waiting list, to fill in spaces for those who can’t make it that night). If you can’t be there, WSLR (96.5 FM Community Radio in Sarasota) is slated to record audio of the event and broadcast it on the actual September 15th Anniversary of the tragedy.

We’re working to join the threads, the generations, and the purpose all together.


19 07 2013

This is a human disaster in the making. Pray, write, protest, holler, jump up and down, boycott and do whatever you can, please.

Miami-Dade County Public Library – “County may shutter 42 libraries, lay off 260 employees”

15 07 2013

In solidarity with the working families and citizens in need, as well as with library staff, in Miami-Dade County, I offer this link to a newspaper article that “mysteriously disappeared” from the paper’s web site before too many people saw it…

Praying the leaders of Miami-Dade County come to their senses, practice some human compassion for those who need the services of the library on a daily basis, and find a way to avoid this potential tragedy and horrible nightmare.

Telling the library story – afterthoughts from Denver

20 06 2013

It was a great honor to be a part of the team representing Sarasota County at the All-America City competition in Denver this past weekend.

The 3 stories we highlighted in our application included: the new Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery; the Institute for the Ages (Sarasota County has the highest proportion of people over 85 years old of any large county in the United States; and the resurgence of the library where I work – the North Sarasota Library.

We had a highly committed, enthusiastic team of people representing a cross section of the County’s population. We were extremely well-prepared. And we were NOT 1 of the 10 All-America cities this year.

I’m betting every member of our team will continue to replay choices we might’ve made and things we wish we’d done better. For example, if we’d known the Talent portion of the Cultural Fair would take place in a street fair atmosphere with a thousand people loudly milling about we’d have chosen different offerings.

Sarasota County's talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

Sarasota County’s talent performers at the AAC Cultural & Entertainment Fair

But for library advocates (if you’re not interested, you can tune out here… :-)),
there are important lessons regarding “telling the library story.” In a break-out session on Community and Early Childhood Education, if our delegation hadn’t been in attendance, it’s possible no one would’ve mentioned libraries’ active involvement in this area during the whole session! It turned out to be important for us to be there and tell the library story; to remind people the library is a resource and is working on this issue.

At the same time, it was a pleasure to have an opportunity to tell our library’s story in a situation where we weren’t angling for funding, or a grant, or a donation, or political support. We were there because we love our library and that authenticity contributed to the honor of participating. Sure, I could’ve suggested different ways to tell it, along with different data, that might’ve helped push us over the top for the award jurors. But that wasn’t up to me, and nobody asked… 🙂

Overall, the message for me (and from me) is related to the question, “Where & When is it appropriate to tell your library’s story?” And I think the answer is: “Everywhere – all the time.” At least that’s what the lesson of Denver feels like to me.

Synthesizing – personal, family, business, oy…

19 02 2013

My son introduced me to the pleasure of playing Pub Trivia here in town. He sometimes leads it. He was a college Brain Bowl team captain.

So, I asked him to lead S.T.E.A.M. (a variant of STEM that includes Arts) trivia for school students at North Sarasota Library. A colleague pointed out that high school students would be the most appropriate age group.


Upcoming teen programming at the library

Upcoming teen programming at the library

North Sarasota Library High School S.T.E.A.M. Trivia Competition. Pub trivia format with pizza for all (or what passes for pizza in Florida, anyway…)

Tune back in here in late March for some observations or to follow up with
“what were you thinking?” 🙂

%d bloggers like this: