Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Free Library of Philadelphia would like you to know something

On Friday I received a call from my contact at the Free Library of Philadelphia about the One Film, One Philadelphia program about which I recently blogged. This was not a happy call. My contact wished to express concern that I was giving the program and the library a bad name through a failure to be accurate about the funding of the program.

You'll note that I made a single, half-serious sardonic remark about library funding in that post, in which I provided a half dozen links to One Film and One Book programs and encouragement to attend. For the record, One Film, One Philadelphia (link to the Free Library's portal for the program) is its own 503(c) corporation. Now you know.

After getting off of the phone, my girlfriend, who was sitting next to me during the call, asked if there were any way that I could blog about this in such a way that the library not look worse as a result. I have to say I still can't think of one. Regular readers of the blog will note that Your Quizmaster sometimes makes sardonic remarks on the state of Philadelphia in the course of conducting his official duties. This is largely the result of living here. I would suggest that hopefully English-language Humor & Satire is still available at your local branch of the Free Library under 817 in the Dewey Decimal system and in the
PN6157-6222 range in the LOC system.

I've been pushing our two One Film quizzes on this site and in person on the mic for the past two months. As a reminder, the first all-movie questions quiz will be at Dirty Frank's the last Wednesday in February and the Ray's quiz is the first Tuesday in March. I have obtained some movie-related prizes myself, and hopefully these will still be augmented by Empire of the Sun DVDs from One Film.

I've been a Philadelphia library patron for a relatively long time. I got my first Free Library card at the age of two, at the Northeast Regional branch. That was in 1973. It's one of my earliest memories. It is especially ingrained because the children's librarian in the basement of the building was a little person (we said "midget" at the time, which still sounds less insulting to me than "little person," but hey I'm easy that way... pick your poison...) who didn't want to give me a card.

She expressed doubt that I could print my name/read, the requirement for a card. She seemed to take a perverse delight in thinking that this would get us out of her hair as I couldn't possibly print my name. Needless to say I did. (Earlier I'd printed my name on my Social Security card, so I was an old hand at this sort of thing.) With a great deal of bitterness she harumphed her way through accepting my application. This was my first taste of Philadelphia gubmint, and far from the last. I was well into my teens before the thought occurred that she was probably in that department because she could reach the shelves, and might well have hated children...

Every day I passed that library on my way to and from high school, and frequently stopped in to research papers in the pre-internet era. Not one time have I passed there and not thought of the miserable littlewoman.
Not sure what the point of this tale is, but here we all are. This is the most interesting Free Library story I can impart, and it's all true. You're probably just reading this at work anyway, aren't you? Back to work!

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2 comments:

myfawnwy said...

Last I heard (a few years ago), Ms. Bucci is the childrens' librarian at Northeast Regional. She formerly held that position at the Fox Chase branch, where I was a card-carrying member of the Vacation Reading Club for many summers. My parents weren't big readers and with money being tight, there weren't many books around the house. Ms. Bucci was pretty much responsible for getting books into my hands and instilling a love of reading from a young age--for that, I am forever grateful!

Anonymous said...

"Dwarf" is also acceptable, I believe.