Archive for April, 2009


Main Library – “Main Street”

April 29, 2009

The Main Library is ready for its close up.

As you may know, the Main Library will be closed this Friday, May 1, so that the Main Street Film Company can shoot a scene from the movie here.

Of course, I never make a decision to close a library facility lightly. If budget and staff levels allowed, I would have the library open more hours on more days of the week. But every once in awhile, an opportunity comes up that warrants a second look and a change in plans. A number of County sites and facilities were pressed into service for the making of this movie, and when the request came through to use the Main Library, I had a choice to make.

After carefully weighing the benefits of having the library featured in a major motion picture against the inconvenience of closing a facility for a day, I decided that the long-term benefits were worth it. Movies help to put communities on the map, and Durham has certainly made this work to its advantage. This is the 19th movie to be shot in Durham. The state of North Carolina even has an incentive program to encourage movie production here. We’re proud that our community and your library will be seen on screens across the country.

The short-term inconvenience has a long-term payoff for Durham in another way as well: The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact of filming a movie with Durham as the primary location at more than $4.5 million. We are happy to do our part to encourage that kind of financial boost for our community during these tough economic times.

For the use of the library, Main Street Film Company will cover all expenses incurred with the closure, and they are making a generous donation of $1,000 to the Durham Library Foundation.

I hope you will take this opportunity to visit our Stanford L. Warren Library. If you have never been before, you are missing a historic jewel and a beautiful library. And look for the Durham County Main Library coming soon to a theatre near you . . .


Poetry for Everyone

April 21, 2009

Every single Poetry for Everyone program of the past two years has been special.  It’s just so special for people to pick out a poem and share a little about why they like it and why it has special meaning.  The program is a chance for people to connect across all boundaries.  Al Roberts, who is the Chair of the Library Board of Trustees, talked about his love of history and then read us “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” at the Main Library.

At Stanford L. Warren Library, Nathan and Wanda Garrett, who are, respectively, the chairman emeritus of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance and a retired attorney & community activist, “performed” a joint reading of “Strong Men” by Sterling Brown.  This was a powerful reading, which begins:

They dragged you from homeland,
They chained you In coffles,
They huddled you spoon-fashion in filthy hatches,
They sold you to give a few gentlemen ease.

This past Sunday afternoon, as at each program, I had the opportunity to read a couple of poems.  Like last year, I picked a Billy Collins poem, this one called “The Trouble with Poetry.”  He refers to a poetry book by Lawrence Ferlinghetti that he carried with him “up and down the treacherous halls of high school,” so I also picked out and read Ferlinghetti’s “Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes.”  It’s also about connecting people across boundaries.

At Parkwood Library, Chief Jose Lopez started with “Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?” (the COPS theme).  But he was just joking and switched over to “Casey at the Bat,” which he read with relish.  He said he’s not that much into poetry, but his reading was good, like all the readers.  Tra Farrington is in high school & is ready to go to college in the fall.  He truly wowed the audience by not just reading but performing two of his own poems, including “I’m Not a Poet.” That title is really a bit of irony, given what the two poems demonstrated to us all.

The library’s Humanities Coordinator, Marian Fragola, dreamed up Poetry for Everyone last April for National Poetry Month.  Durham is blessed with great people, and Marian contacts many of them to pick a favorite poem or two and tell about them and read them at these events.  Maybe next year we can hear her read one of her favorites.  Or maybe even this coming Sunday afternoon at East Regional Library, the final event before Pat Mora comes to town for the “finale” poetry reading on April 30.  And in case you didn’t know, Pat Mora is the founder of the nationwide program Children’s Book Day, El día de los libros.

See you there!