By Rosalie Tirella
Unlike Worcester, a much wealthier city, Hartford STILL HAS ITS BRANCH LIBRARIES! Open in the poorest of its neighborhoods!
Places where there is crime, violence, abuse, despair. Places that should be, NEED TO BE, home to city branch libraries because this is America and knowledge is for EVERYBODY! I smiled when I saw one huge Hartford branch library in the north end of the city. A five-minute drive down the street and I saw another big, beautiful City of Hartford branch library. Both branches were located in challenged inner-city neighborhoods.
Can you imagine that happening in Worcester? Our city leaders keeping a great branch library open in a politically unconnected city hood? Years ago our branch libraries died a certain death at the hands of then mayor Jordon Levy, a guy who, from the sounds he makes, doesn’t read books – period. How could an ignorant blowhard like Jordon Levy have advocated for the branch libraries and their mission? The moron was clueless.
That is why today Worcester has the fatty phony gentrifiers controlling what’s happening in its hoods. That is why what’s happening in our inner-city neighborhoods has so little to do with the inner-city residents who live there. It’s all about bringing in the new phonies in. Chunky and self-congratulatory, these people live in the suburbs and come into our neighborhoods and usurp these neighborhoods and don’t care one whit about the poor folks yards outside their doors. IT IS NOT ABOUT THEM AT ALL. It’s about people from Shrewsbury and Westboro, it’s about people who live in Somerville and Chatham and spend a sliver of their time in Worcester. It is all THEM and no US. The nerve of some fatheads who live here for a total of three months out of the year and yet try to direct economic development in Worcester. That’s because city councilors bailed on the poorest neighborhoods a long time ago: Closed their libraries, shut down their swimming pools, sold their three deckers to developers … They have no plans. So the big mouths horn in.
The only free-standing Worcester Public Library branch library is located in the Greendale/Burncoat area. That’s where lots of politically connected folks live and that’s where lots of middle-class folks live, people who vote, people who aren’t afraid to get on the horn and demand stuff from their city councilors. The smart kids, kids with potential but with the hard luck that comes of being born to junkies or poor folks overwhelmed by their poverty get zip for their neighborhoods! There are no WPL branch libraries in Green Island or South Worcester or Union Hill or Oak Hill or Vernon Hill or Piedmont. Everyone is too unconnected to get us a pool or a branch library. Yes, we have one in Great Brook Valley … but cities like Hartford have MADE IT THEIR MISSION TO KEEP PUBLIC LIBRARIES OPEN IN POOR NEIGHBORHOODS. Their leaders are actually LEADING.
I know. We have Libby and Lilly, the WPL book mobiles. And some Woo elementary schools now have community libraries. But outside the Goddard School in Main South – home of former Worcester mayor and city councilor Joe O’Brien and his kids – the libraries seem to be in middle-class neighborhoods – not the Woo hoods most desperate for books and technology and knowledge.
It really is all about being “connected” in this town.