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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Postcards from the Edge (of The Reference Desk)

As the final NYC budget decision draws near, Councilman Van Bramer's postcard campaign is wrapping up and today at 2pm on the steps of City Hall, there will be a postcard presentation ceremony (try to attend if you can!) Librarians and library supporters all across the city worked very hard to promote and collect these postcards. We did our part at my branch too...with some amusing results.  

The postcards below are the handiwork of a precocious, sarcastic, quirky 10-ish-year-old girl who comes into my branch almost daily. (I'll call her Tara, although that is not her real name.)


I explained to Tara the basics of the campaign. She loves the library and doesn't want it to close, so she filled out this postcard:




I told Tara that I liked her enthusiasm, but maybe she should focus on what she liked about libraries rather than issuing vague threats to Mayor Bloomberg. Since she and I have a good relationship (she realized I was not criticizing her and she has a sense of humor beyond her years), she was agreeable to my suggestion, although she did tell me "I don't take any BS." Okay then! 

Tara filled out another postcard:



Well, I thought the idea of a school protest was wonderful, so I was completely in Tara's corner until the "six feet under" comment. (Which was followed by maniacal laughter on Tara's part, by the way.) Since she had escalated her message from a vague threat to more of a thinly-veiled threat, Tara scrapped that postcard and filled out yet another one.

As she wrote, she said: "I'm spelling a lot of stuff wrong. But it will look messy if I cross it out. If he's a good mayor, he'll be able to read it."

Ha.

It's certainly true that librarians will not be able to purchase new books if the budget is cut. And we will probably want to scream. However, I paused when I got to the "bloody head on a platter" line and gave Tara the old crooked eyebrow. She laughed again and grabbed a final postcard and said: "FINE, I'll write a persuasive letter." 



Well. How can you argue with that? The Mayor would HAVE to feel sympathy for a child crying about a lack of library books. (Not to mention for all of the librarians who would be crying as well.)

C'mon, Mayor Bloomberg. Do the right thing and fully restore library funding so that kids like Tara will always have a place to be quirky and creative and funny. (I'll do my best to keep the vague threats to a minimum.)

20 comments:

  1. Wow! With all this enthusiasm, you can forgive a few spelling errors.

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  2. What a creative and amazing kid!! I'd suggest sending all four of the cards.

    Best wishes on your postcard campaign! Let's hope the message gets through to those knuckle-headed politicos.

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  3. Too funny! She certainly is passionate about her cause. I think her postcard(s) will draw some attention to this issue.

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  4. These are hilarious! And definitely persuasive. I would be afraid if I were the mayor... :-D

    Best of luck on the postcard campaign, and I hope NYC libraries get the funding they deserve.

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  5. I don't know, I'm partial to her second postcard. After having a swarm of kids through here yesterday, I agree that the mayor might feel like he's six feet under!

    I suppose the last is more persuasive though, so you'd better send that one on.

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  6. This made my day. What a funny kid! I am totally going to share this with all the other staff at my library.

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  7. I don't see a problem with Tara's first couple of post cards, Rita.

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  8. This post rocks. I love her enthusiasm and her "don't take BS" attitude! :)

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  9. Can't say we do not have our strong supporters. Even if they are some our youngest.Way to go guys!How could anyone argue!

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  10. Can you lend her to us for our library campaign here in Gloucestershire (England) as we looking to have several bloody heads on platters, but in a pleasant, humorous way, of course!

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  11. I'd say submit the 'set' of postcards...and show the effect a LIBRARIAN is having on a young woman...it's not just books, you know!!!

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  12. In Gloucestershire, UK, where huge cuts are being implemented to the library service and paid staff are being sacked and replaced with volunteers, library staff have been gagged. They would not be allowed to be involved in this kind of campaign activity. If they did they would risk losing their redundancy pay. It is heart-breaking and most unfair.

    We library campaigners, in protest of the cuts, took part in a celebration day for our libraries by holding story-telling and poetry events at every library in the county - the council banned all press and stopped staff from being involved.
    It is so good to see librarians getting active and facilitating the opportunity for children to speak up for their services - even if they do have to ask them to tone down on the threats!! :) I so wish that the wonderful librarians here could do the same without fear.

    Thanks for bringing a smile to a few weary campaigners faces. I have shown this to our members and they love it.

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  13. Just to add a practical recollection: some years ago in Gloucestershire UK we asked a wide range of celebrities to return some blank postcards we sent them with a message about the value of public libraries. We got so many back that during National Library Week that year we werea ble to mount a splendid display which toured our libraries. We had actors, musicians and singers and writers and artists and the whole thing was a revelation

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  14. I think the mayor needs the whole set of postcards. :)

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  15. This is amazingly awesome!

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  16. Thanks for all your positive comments, everyone! Let's hope the campaign works!

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  17. Good for you Rita. I work for Maintenance at the Iowa city Public Library, and Budget cuts are always on Peoples Minds anymore. and I Imagine all The Kids who come Here to our Childrens area, and The adults would feel The same as Tara. I like Her spunk and love of the Library. as I love the One here were I work! Good Luck.

    Mike Brenneman

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  18. I love that kid and I don't even know her! Reminds me of me. I wrote a 10 page letter of protest calling the government out for BS when I was her age. Ha! :)

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  19. I love this! This is so adorable! I wish I could meet this little girl!

    http://rosesandvellum.blogspot.com/

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