Tag Archives: library

Celebrate Good Times!

This week is National Library Week! 

Here are some reasons to celebrate. 8 Reasons to Hang Out at a Library. 9 Reasons Why Librarians are Awesome.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is celebrating library books that change lives. Visit our website and tell your story. Here is mine!

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The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

MistsofAvalonI knew the tales of Camelot and King Arthur when I was a kid. They didn’t appeal to me then and they didn’t appeal to me as a young adult. I was a feminist before I knew it and all of the tales were dominated by men, which did not interest me. All the chicks in the traditional tales are either dimwits (Gwenhwyfar) or evil, ball-busting witches (Morgan le Fay). None of them have any personality or power; they are boring one-dimensional stereotypes. The Mists of Avalon tells the tales of Camelot from a woman’s point of view. And what women they were! Morgaine (Morgan le Fay) isn’t an evil sorceress, she’s misunderstood and wants to be loved! But her aunt Morgause sure is a jerk. Gwenhwyfar has a three-way! Igraine was a secret bad-ass who fell in love with a not-so-secret bad-ass and produced Arthur! Lancelet isn’t so gallant. King Arthur is wonderful, but sometimes spoiled and petulant. If you’re a reader like me, you’ll also appreciate the boatload of prequels and sequels.

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

JamesWhen I first considered what books changed me, this is the first book I went to. I don’t necessarily relate to James: I’m not an orphan, no mean aunts abused me and unfortunately, no one has ever given me a sack of magical, glowing-green, crocodile tongues. What James and the Giant Peach did do was make me realize the potential for storytelling and fiction and OMG books are amazing. This is the first “chapter” book I was exposed to, thanks to my third grade teacher (shout out to Mrs. Cypher nee Garrett.) This is also the book I chose to read from for the library’s 24 Hour Read Aloud.

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

CountOh, Edmund Dantes, how could Mercedes give up on you? Thanks to a very good friend (looking at you, DWR) I was more or less forced to read this book. There was some cajoling involved (“C’mon, you’ll love it. Honest!”) All I knew about Dumas was The Three Musketeers movie- which, no.  Again, being contrary means saying sorry because I loved- devoured- this book. It introduced me to a new genre (ADVENTURE!). I moved on from The Count of Monte Cristo to the rest of Dumas and then to books about pirates and prison breaks. The biography about Alexandre Dumas’ father (the son of an African slave and French nobleman) called The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss shows that many of Dumas’ characters were inspired by his own pops.

The Bachman Books, Stephen King

BachmanYou know the movie The Running Man? It came from this book of short stories. And it’s the worst story of the four! The other three stories, Rage, The Long Walk, and Road Work would all be amazing movies. I was probably too young to read this, but whatever. This book inspired me in two ways. First of all, as a budding writer, it introduced me to the idea of short stories. I mean, I was 11 and wanted to write a novel. There’s not much to go on at that age. But a short story? Oh yes, that could be done! Second, it was the first time I was ever emotionally invested in a character. I loved Peter McVries (The Long Walk) and his scar and his sub-conscious death wish (which honestly was just a preview of coming attractions for me).

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

AtlasAny time I mention enjoying Rand books, I immediately get flamed for being an egoist, an elitist, or a Republican. I’m none of those things. Not too many elitists work for the public library (I’m just saying). Like any book, you should take what you want/need from it. I didn’t swallow her philosophy whole, but you know what? She had some smart things to say about the nature of happiness and joy, and valuing yourself. I’m not going to push an old lady into the street and I donate to charity, but there is something to be said for being aware of your worth. Self-confidence is sexy, yo. It’s also simply a good story, especially if you like heavy industry, politics, and trains. And for readers that object to Objectivism (see what I did there?) as a philosophy, read this awesomeness.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

WarDuring my final semester as an undergrad, I took 19th Century Russian Masterpieces (I was there a long time, it was slim pickins’ at that point). The reading list was intense. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky), Chekhov plays, Dead Souls (Gogol), Pushkin, and of course, the granddaddy of Russian novels, War and Peace. I was dreading it. I was intimidated by it. The name alone hurt my stomach. But since I wanted to graduate from college before I was 50, I sucked it up and opened it. Oh. My. Word. Four days later, I finished it, crying. It’s the Russian Gone with the Wind and don’t let anyone tell you different. Go Team Andrei!

I could write about a ton more books that have made a difference in my life. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything taught me how to make a perfect hamburger and boil an egg. I have a line from a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem tattooed on me, so I’ll include him, too.

What books made a difference in your life?

happy reading!

suzy

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April 18, 2014 · 5:00 am

Things Librarians Look At.

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When I started as a clerk at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- East Liberty, I had no idea that being a librarian was a thing. I just needed a job. I didn’t even care about libraries!

It is totally a thing. We do things like this. And there are lists like this. Even Legos!

Here are some funny yet  informative things librarians look at (during lunch breaks of course.)

Awful Library Books

Sometimes books need to be thrown away. Sometimes a librarian can’t do it. These are the (often unintentional) hilarious results.

Pretty awful, yes?

Pretty awful, yes?

Book Porn

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Sexy pictures of all things book-related. Unlike regular porn, this will lead to DIY projects.

Book Riot

Book review websites can be so pretentious. As a voracious reader who will read anything, I love that Book Riot covers everyone from J.K. Rowling to Dave Eggers to James Patterson. Plus, they have a pretty awesome “mission” statement:

We create. We always prefer the book to the movie. We riot as a team. We geek out on books, embarrassingly so. We’re leaders. We practice charity. We miss our subway stop cause the book is that good. We are non-traditional. We believe in family (bookshelves and cats count).

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Books That Changed Me

I love these lists. I love the reasons people give for loving their top ten or twenty or thirty. I’m amazed at how many books show up over and over again. Good is good.

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I Work At A Public Library

Working with the public can be…challenging. It’s also inspiring, funny and fascinating. 

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Librarian Problems

Problems. We got ’em. Books are for nerds!? You cut our funding?!?!

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Librarian Shaming

Like dog shaming but for bad librarians. Billed as a “place for those of us in libraryland to come clean” Librarian Shaming has confessions ranging from the awful to the sublime. My own confession? I dropped a Bestseller in the tub. My very first week of work.

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Your Librarian Hates You

Your librarian really doesn’t hate you. She hates someone else. Like the guy cutting his toenails at the computer desk.

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suzy, who has never cut her toenails in public and tries to be good.

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Gadget Labs: Try Before You Buy

Lately I’ve been having a good time exploring all the features on my new cell phone. Although I’m not exactly cutting-edge when it comes to adopting new technologies (this behavior is also known as “being cheap”), the devices I’m interested in eventually reach a price point where it’s worth my while to make the purchase and start fiddling around with them.

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If you’re interested in e-readers, smartphones, tablets and the like, but don’t have much experience with them, you’ll be happy to know you can explore new technologies risk-free at one of the Library’s December Gadget Labs. These programs are designed to let you explore the range of available devices out there, and try them on for size before making a commitment.  You’ll also have the chance to talk to library workers who are really familiar with the various products, and can explain how you can use them to connect to the wide range of digital services the Library offers (including books, music, and magazines).

Here’s a list of upcoming Gadget Lab events:

Saturday December 14th

Gadget Lab: Try Before You Buy

1-3 p.m., CLP – Hill District

Tuesday December 17th

Gadget Lab: Try Before You Buy

6-7:30 p.m., CLP – Lawrenceville

Thursday December 19th

Gadget Lab by Appointment

2-3 p.m., CLP – Main, Job & Career Education Center

To make an appointment for this session, call 412-622-3133 or e-mail jcec at carnegielibrary dot org

And if Santa happens to surprise you with an unexpected technology gift, you should definitely take advantage of the Open Gadget Lab on Friday December 27th. No appointment necessary – just bring yourself and your gadget to the Job and Career Education Center between 2 and 4 p.m.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Library’s Events Calendar for more opportunities to get some one-on-one technology training from your friendly neighborhood library workers. If you can’t make it, but still have questions, be sure to check out our many other help options, which include e-mail assistance as well as a variety of handouts and tutorials you can peruse if you’re the DIY type.

‘Tis the season to be tech-savvy, so don’t be a stranger!

Leigh Anne

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These Are Days: Support Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on October 3

There’s so much to see and do at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that no two days here are ever alike. A child’s day at the library could be a day of story time, a day of origami, or maybe just a day with that special grown-up, picking out books and movies to share later at home. Teens can choose to have a day of gaming, a day of homework help, or maybe just a day to curl up in a beanbag chair and think for a little while.

Infinite possibilities abound for adults, too: maybe today is the day you’ll start taking steps toward your new career, learn a new language, enjoy a film or concert, brush up on your computer skills. Today could be a day of unwinding after work with a refreshing beverage and a magazine, or the day you start researching your family history. The choices are abundant, and they are yours.

Of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can have a day with the library, even if you’re not physically at the library. A day with the library can mean a day of downloading e-books/movies/music/magazines, getting homework help, working on your research paper, learning new technology skills, or reading library blogs, either on your desktop/laptop, or via the library app on your mobile device/tablet.

Tomorrow, Thursday October 3rd, is Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, hosted by the Pittsburgh Foundation. If you and yours have enjoyed days of literacy and learning at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support our continued activities in these areas.

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Click the image above to learn more, or continue reading below!

This year’s Day of Giving runs from 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013. During that time period, any donation of $25 or more to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh via the PittsburghGives website will be partially matched by the Pittsburgh Foundation (to learn the ins and outs of exactly how that works, click here). Your contribution helps us continue to provide:

  • More than 10,000 free programs, classes, and other learning/training opportunities.
  • A collection of more than 5 million items, including books, CDs, movies, digital downloads, and more.
  • Computer-based and wireless internet access in all library locations.
  • Professional librarians and other trained library workers, to help meet your information needs.
  • Meeting spaces for community groups.
  • Homework help for children, teens and adults.
  • An extensive suite of electronic resources that takes you behind the paywall of many academic / professional journals.
  • Resources for job-seekers.
  • Much, much more!

If you have questions about supporting the library on the Day of Giving, contact Charla Irwin-Buncher at 412-622-1873, or by e-mail at buncherc at carnegielibrary dot org (humans only, no spambots please!). Thank you in advance for making our day by making days at (and with) the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last longer, and go further.

Leigh Anne

with a tip of the hat to 10,000 Maniacs

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Getting to Know Allentown All Over Again

Today we welcome another new blogger to the Eleventh Stack team, Maria J. You’ll be getting her take on the Carnegie Library, and librarianship in general, monthly from now on.

As a staff member of the CLP LYNCS (Library in Your Neighborhood, Community and School) department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, I have had the pleasure of working in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh since October 2012.  Carnegie Library has established a temporary pop-up library at the corner of Arlington and Warrington Avenues in the southern Hilltop neighborhood, with the goals of bringing library service and creating community connections through February of 2014.

You can like the pop-up library on Facebook here

You can like the pop-up library on Facebook here

Allentown is one of those little surprises in the city of Pittsburgh which may only be recognizable to many for the reputation it has garnered through some unfortunate stories in the news. I have known this neighborhood since my childhood, when my siblings and I would come from Ohio to visit relatives who lived on the South Side slopes. It was a sense of homecoming for me to be able to come back to the community after decades of change–change for both me, and for this neighborhood.

While there are more empty lots and empty storefronts in Allentown these days, what hasn’t changed is the fact that these hills are filled with friends, families, and children. You may not realize this, as you travel along Warrington or Arlington on your way to the South Side or the other Hilltop communities, but if you were to stop in at the Pop-up, you’d soon realize the vibrancy of the neighborhood.

The little storefront which houses this temporary library quickly fills up with a variety of people and sounds. The clicking of keyboards and the laughter of children are often mixed with music from YouTube videos watched by patrons, the sound of ukuleles occasionally used in our programming, or the echo of traffic rushing by on Arlington Avenue on those days when we prop open the front door. The day I’m writing this happens to be a school holiday, and there are folks ranging from preschool to retirement in this little storefront-cum-library. While the adult patrons may be searching for jobs or reconnecting with old friends online, the younger kids are playing games on our iPads or XBOX, or creating works of art at the craft table we’ve set up to keep them busy during the day. This is definitely not your grandmother’s library, but nevertheless, the neighborhood grandmothers are no strangers to it!

Many of our visitors are familiar faces to us now after our having been here for nearly a year. They’ve become our friends, and sometimes we spend more time with them during the day than we do with our own families. We have made friends with young and old alike: staff and visitors have come to know and interact with each other on a first name basis, and we have come to know their personal stories, too. These are stories you couldn’t imagine by driving quickly along the cross streets, full of presumptions about the Hilltop neighborhood, but they are stories to which many of us can relate: stories of happiness and heartbreak, of homework troubles and homelessness, and also stories of hope. And every day, with each new visitor, we are introduced to another story, another friend, and, hopefully, soon, a familiar face and name.

–Maria J.

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Scenes From Lucky Thirteen: Summer Reading Is Here!

Today at Eleventh Stack we’re happy to bring you a special report from the Communication and Creative Services team. Many thanks to Trina, Renée, Suzanne and Stephen,  as well as photographers Marc Soracco and Bridgett Kay.

After a long winter of anticipation…Summer Reading is finally here! This past Sunday, June 9, a few thousand of our closest friends joined us to “Dig Into Reading” at our 13th annual Summer Reading Extravaganza. Just like baseball games, picnics and visits to the local amusement park, Extravaganza (and summer reading) are part of the summer tradition for thousands of area kids, teens and adults.

Thirteen must be our lucky number–the weather was simply perfect for an outdoor festival, especially one that celebrates the importance of reading and learning.

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The Library Card mascot may have confused this little guy…

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…but the mascot also welcomed more than 4,000 people gathered on the grounds of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Main in Oakland to enjoy live music and hands-on activities, learn something new and enthusiastically jump into a summer of reading.

Summer Reading Extravaganza

More than 75 of Pittsburgh’s coolest organizations came to the event to share enriching activities including arts & craft projects.

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Meanwhile, mentors from The Labs @ CLP showed off cool technologies–burping plant leaves anyone?

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Experimenting with musical instruments–like maracas–is a great way to learn rhythm and coordination.

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And even more fun is creating your own instrument. Did you know you can make a harmonica from Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and straws?

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The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium brought a very friendly snake–and children learned to touch with just one finger or two.

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Did you know the Pirate Parrot is a summer reader? He rode all the way from PNC Park on his motorcycle to visit the library!

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You can’t “dig into reading” without a few earthworms!

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Building imaginations is all part of the fun!

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This dog sure seemed to enjoy his day at the library!

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This budding musician played the ukulele at the CLP-Music Department’s Hum and Strum Tent.

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While others made music on stage with professional percussionists!

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Even with so much noise and activity, a dedicated reader can always find a quiet spot…

Summer Reading Extravaganza

…or a unique perch to read–for hours!

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The Library is a cool spot to check out eResources. And for those preferring to stay outside, librarians demonstrated how to download their next read on portable devices. Today’s Library has books and so much more!

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This dapper-looking gentleman may have come inside to check his e-mail (or maybe he was creating a story with My Storymaker!).

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 13th Annual Extravaganza was a great day for the Library and the Pittsburgh community. We are so grateful to our sponsors and partner organizations, and we can’t wait to see you again at Extravaganza next year!

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Are you a summer reader? It’s not too late. Stop by your neighborhood library to sign up and keep learning and reading over the summer!

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The used key is always bright.

When you’ve been in the same place for a few years, you start to build odd collections – for example, after six years at the same desk I’ve assembled an assortment of seven different kinds of tape, three types of glue, and a bewildering array of library stickers (these things make me very happy).

This library has been in the same place for about 118 years, so it has some pretty impressive odd collections. Last time around I showed you some stamps; this time let’s contemplate some keys.

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– Amy

(Post title from Poor Richard’s Almanac, July 1744.)

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My Love Letter to the South Side

Did you know that the South Side has a beautiful, newly renovated library? And that it’s open for business? And that I get to work there? It’s the best!

Photo from the South Pittsburgh Reporter

I love my neighborhood. I love the energy of East Carson Street and the (relative) tranquility of the Slopes. I love that I have so many bars, restaurants, galleries, theaters, bike trails and parks in my backyard. We even have a new dog park, so my girl Ozzy is happy on the South Side, too!

You know who else loves the South Side? Rick Sebak. Check out his DVD South Side. Learn about Veronica’s Veil and what the heck a StepTrek is. Or check out Greetings from Pittsburgh: Neighborhood Narratives, an “omnibus film created by Pittsburgh filmmakers features nine short fictional films set in diverse Pittsburgh neighborhoods, linked together via short sequences of a bus traveling throughout city streets.”

Did you know there is a work of fiction specifically based on the South Side? Scotch and Holy Water : A Pittsburgh Story by Gini Sunner. It tells the story of three immigrant families (Irish, Jewish, and Polish) who all lived and had businesses on Carson Street during World War II.

For more serious fare, check out Pittsburgh’s South Side by Stuart Boehmig. It’s part of the excellent Images of America Series and includes information about the historic buildings, people and events in the early days of Carson Street. Or visit the amazing Pittsburgh Iron and Steel Heritage Collection online and check out old South Side photographs.

Here are some of my personal favorite South Side things. (Besides the library, of course.)

I eat here. And hereHere, too. Oh, and here. I eat and drink here. I met my husband here. Look at art. Here, too. Watch art. Watch movies. Buy a bike. Get your bike fixed. I buy shirts here. I buy jewelry here and clothes here. I get my hair cut here. I get beautified and massaged here. Get coffee. Get more coffee. Get even more coffee, because there’s never enough!

And always, always, ice cream and candy.

So come visit the new South Side library! I’m always happy to give the nickel tour. Ask me questions about the geo-thermal heating and cooling system and LEED certification; because I can answer them!

–suzy

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Spring cleaning on a grand scale.

 The cleaning of the building’s exterior brought a dramatic change, as one hundred years of soot and smoke from the steel industry gave way to the clean sandstone. No longer a daunting black edifice, the cleaned library now invites people inside, where they can enjoy the newly renovated first floor.

– The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Annual Report 1989

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I found these striking images of the Main Library while flipping idly through our slide collection, and of course had to share them. Please excuse the questionable image quality; these are cell phone photographs of magnified slides. It’s hard to find a slide projector these days!

If you have some cleaning of your own to do, we (of course) have all sorts of books to help you, whether you’re spiffing up your building, bus, house, fish (yes, I know that’s different), quilt, or even space suit. No, really.

– Amy, who didn’t know that we had manuals for cleaning buses, but who somehow isn’t surprised

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get up, stand up

This week I attended the ne plus ultra of librarianship on the local level: the Pennsylvania Library Association Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I got to:

a) Meet, hug and fawn over my favorite author Jennifer Weiner (I asked her to inscribe my book, “To Bonnie, my best friend”)
b) Win an iPod, even though I told the vendors repeatedly that I don’t know how to use the one I have (don’t judge me)
c) Be surrounded by the greatest collection of sensible shoes the world has seen since the 1876 American Library Association Conference in Philadelphia
d) Fuss over the Encore vendors and declare my undying affection for Encore
e) Take photos of important colleagues posing à la America’s Next Top Model on the front steps of the Capitol building

At the conference, I attended sessions on effective organizational communication within libraries, marketing library programs, awesome/useful web tools, creating effective partnerships with other organizations, and so on. One experience especially made an impression, and that was visiting the capitol building. We met with Representative Steve Samuelson, who is a great advocate for libraries in our state. He gave us advice for meeting with elected officials that I would like to pass on to you:

• Get lawmakers on your side. Invite them to the library and share with them the important services your library provides to the community.
• Tell your lawmaker what they are doing right–and wrong.
• Probe them—find out where they stand on the issue of libraries—don’t let them off the hook. This can sometimes be surmised with a handshake: “So we have your support for libraries?” Then send a thank you note thanking them for their support.
• It’s not inappropriate to convey our disappointment about how they have voted. They need to know how their constituents feel and how their actions affect libraries and communities.
• The Pennsylvania Senate voted THREE TIMES to pass a budget that cut library funding by 51%. Because of your letters, in the last three weeks before the budget passed, the cut decreased from 51% to 34% to 21%! Because of your letters, the senators compromised. They listened to YOU.
• Pennsylvania makes $79 million annually in taxes from the sale of books and magazines. If that money were earmarked for public library funding, our beloved libraries wouldn’t be on the chopping block year in and year out when the officials convene annually to pass the state’s budget.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is slated to close several communities’ cherished libraries and lay off many treasured librarians and library staff that change lives every day. Don’t let this happen. Put pressure on our mayor, the mayoral and gubernatorial candidates, as well as our city and state’s elected officials. They decide how your tax dollars are spent.

Don’t let them off the hook. Our libraries are in their hands.

–Bonnie

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