White staffers of the Free Library of Philadelphia, in support of their Black colleagues, staged a protest outside the Chestnut Hill home of the Library Board Chair, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Pam Dembe, as part of a campaign to oust her for insensitivity and alleged racist comments and actions. In this video, a handful of Black employees watch from a corner across the street as the protesters hold signs and shouted chants such as, "When libraries are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!" Librarian Sunita Balija was one of the first to address the gathering of about 25 of her colleagues, who presumably had authorized time off from library work to attend the morning action. She excoriated the board chair, making a case for "The People vs. Pam Dembe" and running down a bullet list of factors to support the demand for her resignation. "Fact: Black staff are largely relegated to non-professional jobs including custodians, guards, and library assistants and therefore they earn seven-thousand, five-hundred, thirty-three dollars less than the median salary while White staff earn twelve-thousand more than the median salary." Watch video here.
AFSCME Labor Union (District Council 47) shop steward and Free Libary of Philadelhia staffer Perry Genovese explains the protest outside the Chestnut Hill home of the Chairperson of the Library Board.
"I'm here today for the Campaign for a Just Philly Budget calling on Judge Pam Dembe to step down..this is a call being made in solidarity with the Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library who successfully ousted" now former Executive Director Siobhan Reardon. Genovese refers to disparaging remarks made by Dembe and widely reported in the mainstream media. "She doesn't get anti-racism." Genovese says the Concerned Black Workers wanted the protest action taken to Dembe's residence because they hadn't been listened to. Genovese says the black workers were given a slap in the face when the Chair only responded to a letter from white staffers to the Board on behalf of their black colleagues, whose original letter to the Board she had ignored.
Your correspondent accompanied his spouse for the Public Library Association Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, February 25-29, 2020 and had a blast. Here are some photos and videos captured from that time.
For two consecutive days, some attendees of the Public Library Association Annual Conference stood outside and nearby the convention center soliciting signatures on petitions in support of IMLS funding. According to one of the signature gatherers, the President has been trying to shut down the Institutes for Library and Museum Services (IMLS) for four years. IMLS is the major federal source of funding 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums according to everylibrary.org, a political action committee for libraries.
Our guide, Texas born, North Carolina raised Caitlin, belted out facts while walking backwards to groups of prospective students and their parents at the college she attended. This prepared her well when she moved to Nashville with her partner recently to pursue a career in tourism. We heard her loud and clear as she informed and entertained us with fun facts aboard the tour bus which looped us around the city. After the tour, she obliged your correspondent for an interview touching on the serious flooding several years ago and current concern about the high level of the Cumberland River, the Woolworth's restaurant, site of sit-ins during the civil rights era and still open for business, her enthusiasm and hopes about Amazon's upcoming opening of its eastern U.S. headquarters in Nashville, line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon and paying to get insulted when served at Dick's Last Resort.
This is a collage of little videos from the Public Library Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, February 25 -29, 2020. In order they are - the steps with PLA 2020 on the risers at the Music City Center (MCC) -dressing up for the "Wonderosity" green screen at Demco's booth at the exhibit area, MCC -Michelle Bloom singing along with her album "Big Backyard" in the exhibit area -Changing color light entrance to the children's area at the Nashville Public Library (NPL) -Petitioning the government to fund public libraries through the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) outside the MCC -"String City" History of Country Music puppet show at the NPL -Country band at the Ingram party at the NPL -Salt Lake City librarians partying at the Ingram Party, NPL -Country line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon along with Matt McAtee -Time lapse view of street outside MCC -Country singer in MCC lobby -Revelers partying and pedaling on a Nashville Pedal Tavern -Crossing music bar packed Broadway -Music pouring out of Legends Bar on the corner of Broadway
On her album of children’s songs "Big Backyard" , Michelle Bloom motivates kids to go outside, explore to find bugs and such, and just to experience nature! She encourages families to visit the national parks - "It'a big back yard” she exclaims. Bloom was promoting her CD at the Public Library Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee and obliged your correspondent by singing along to some of her songs, producing a wonderful stereo effect.
Every day at 4:30 there's free line dance lessons at the Wild Horse Saloon on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Country line dancing continues for hours with a live performer. We were entertained by Matt McAtee, who says he always get asked to play his song, "I can't stand Tome Brady" and when he did, there didn't seem to be any Bostonians or Patriots football fans in the bar.
Librarians pass the time in a lobby at the Music City Conference Center in Nashville waiting for the doors to open to the ballroom to hear an interview with comedian -personality-commentator Samantha Bee at the close of the Public Library Association conference.The soundtrack is singer KC Johns and fellow musicians singing at the Legends Bar on Broadway.
Some dogs know that if they bark when their owners pull up in the car they're riding in at the drive-through window of the Worthington Northwest Library in Columbus Ohio, a person inside will open up the window and hand them a doggie treat. The window, introduced with construction of a new addition serves busy patrons who coast through to pick up materials they've placed on reserve. Library Manager Jeff Regensburger says about 50-60 people use the drive through each day and more so when the weather is bad/cold. Watch video here.
Frank Simms of North Philadelphia graduated from Overbrook High School many years ago yet now, at age 77, is still learning how to read.
He hasn’t spent a day in jail, he says, and has been working since he was six years old, doing everything from welding and bricklaying to electrical work in Philly and for periods of time in Erie and Cleveland.
At the Lovett Branch of the Free Library in Mount Airy, where he has just completed a literacy session with another woman and his tutor, Simms proudly pulls out wallet photos of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He partly blames an early speech impediment and a school with misbehaved classmates for keeping him from learning to read properly.
Asked to read aloud from an elementary grade story handed out by his teacher, he stumbles on words but perseveres. Later in the week, he meets with another tutor in the basement of an apartment building at 12th and Fairmount pursuing his quest for literacy.
John Rauch and other library patrons arrived at the Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia early Monday afternoon and unexpectedly found it closed. A sign posted in the front door window read, "The library will open at 3:00 today due to a staff shortage." (two hours late) The library has been closed before due to staff shortages but this was the first time Rauch had encountered an unexpected closure. He reacted with equanimity, expressing his support for the Mayor, and sympathized with the City's budgetary woes. And he extolled the Free Library system. Watch video here.
Carol Isard talks about a library stool created by the renowned wood sculptor and furniture maker Wharton Esherick. Esherick made the stool for Isard's mother, a friend and patron, who used it to retrieve things from a tall closet in her home. Watch video interview here.
That was 1946. I was about 16 then. AND WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? I loved the movie and I haven’t thought about it since until I looked and saw that it was playing here tonight. It’s interesting – about two-thirds of the way through the movie, I remembered what the ending was. It is a great movie. WHAT MOVED YOU MOST ABOUT THE MOVIE? As I look back, how great the music was at the time. Not just John Garfield, Joan Crawford but Oscar Levant. By the way, that was him in real life the way he was. He complained all the time he couldn’t sleep. Those were his lines that were really him. Ross Reese at the screening of Humoresque, at the Chestnut Hill Library Tuesday night film series. Watch video here.
Tim Wood and Kate Stover picked up their daughter Lydia during school to come and see a talk by author Sherman Alexie, whose works Lydia has been reading in school.Lydia likes how Alexie makes the narrator sound like a teenage boy in the "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian." Mom likes how Alexie gives a window onto the experience of Indians on a reservation. Dad was entertained by hearing Alexie on the radio and thought it would be fun to see him.Chestnut Hill Library, Philadelphia, PA.