Thank you so much for the article about my plans to leave my job as the children’s librarian at the Connolly library. (“Connolly children’s library to retire,” June 6.) My immense gratitude also goes to everyone who attended the celebration on June 9. The Friends of the Connolly Branch Library, the staff and a wonderful group of volunteers worked hard to make it an unforgettable evening. Thanks to everyone for the cards, flowers, gifts, kind words and official recognitions from the City Council, the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives, and the JP Neighborhood Council. (A special thanks to Nobel Garcia of El Oriental de Cuba for his generous donation of delicious food).
In my 18 years at the Connolly, I have seen the vital role the public library plays in the community. It provides books, movies, museum passes, computer access, English conversation classes, meeting spaces, homework help, story times, summer reading programs and so much more. These services are available for free and to everyone—no matter what age, race, sexual orientation, immigration status or level of education. Everyone is welcome. In the public library, we learn that resources can be shared communally; we borrow something and return it so someone else can use it.
But our public institutions (libraries, schools, parks) need to be nurtured if they are to survive. They are increasingly threatened by defunding, anti-democratic business models, standardization and privatization. If we want to preserve them and see them thrive, we need to use them and advocate for them.
I will miss my colleagues at the library. And I will miss seeing all of you. But I’m not going very far. I will continue to live in the neighborhood (where I’ve lived since 1975). I will stay involved with the Connolly through the Friends group. I will also continue my activism with City Life/Vida Urbana and other community struggles. See you around J.P.!