Sunday, May 15, 2016

Loving the McAuliffe Library -- Freedom's Feast

I was persuaded to take a look at the new Christa McAuliffe Branch Library on Water Street in Framingham. If you have not had the supreme pleasure of seeing it I wholeheartedly suggest you do. It was a tremendously gratifying experience. The library inside and out is gorgeous. A walk inside, where everything is on the first floor, is simply as wonderful as it is beautiful. It has state of the art everything from computers to books and many books on tape to borrow. It is staffed by host of lovely people willing to help answer any questions you may have. Best of all it is, of course, free. One should take advantage of one of the supreme gifts the public can enjoy. It is truly our First Amendment working for all of us at freedom's feast.

I was reminded of a non-fiction book that was the subject of a book discussion group I ran. It was entitled: "The Promised Land" by Mary Antin. The synopsis of the book on Amazon said it best:
"Mary Antin arrived in the United States from Russia in the 1890s at the age of 12. Her memoir vividly recaptures scenes from both Old and New World cultures, chronicling the poverty and oppression of Czarist Russia as well as the excitement and challenges of her assimilation into American life at the turn of the twentieth century.

Although she arrived without knowing a word of English, Antin wholeheartedly embraced her new home. "A kingdom in the slums," her Boston neighborhood afforded freedom and intellectual riches in the forms of a secular education, public library, and cultural activities ..."
Her amazement as a young girl at the sight of a public library where she, a Jewish girl, could actually read books for free was emblematic of her amazement at and love for this nation.

The Christa McAuliffe Branch of the Framingham Public Library is fine testament to one of our town's most notable and beloved women, Christa McAuliffe. I am sure Mary Antin would think so too.

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