Yesterday, the Cherrydale Library in Arlington was packed with more than 100 people (standing room only), celebrating its 50th birthday. I was there mainly because my jazz singer wife, Kelly Brown, was part of the program, singing songs which were popular around 1961. However, I ended up enjoying the entire program, which really was a celebration of books, knowledge, learning and public libraries.
As Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) – who, by the way, is superb when it comes to attending community events like this, staying a long time, and really “getting” what it’s all about – articulately explained, many unstable/third world countries around the world don’t even have public libraries, “because they see libraries as a source of instability and threat to the control of the people, because where the people are able to read and think and decide on their own, government then has to be responsive.” Moran added and important point, that “you can’t speak for yourself unless you have a voice that you gained through [the knowledge that comes from reading books].”
In addition to Rep. Moran, speakers included Greg Embree of Citizens for Cherrydale Library, which successfully fought to save the library from the budget axe; the library’s architect, Judson M. Gardner, who was there with his family to celebrate his accomplishment; Elenor Hodges of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, who recognized the library for its energy efficiency; historian Kathyrn Holt Springston, who talked about the building of the library, and what Arlington was like 50 years ago; and Cherrydale Acting Manager Carolyn Barton. The program was put together by GMU Adjunct Professor Lisa Sockett, Michael Gessel and Suzanne Embree, and – last but not least – the birthday cake was donated by the superb Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, which I highly recommend for great breads, cakes, etc.
P.S. Please see the “flip” for more video and photos from the event!
P.P.S. I almost forgot to mention that Del. Bob Brink attended this event.