Switching Over…

13 Feb

to the dark side! Or just a “real” website instead of the WordPress one. So please check out iheartcharmcity.com  and subscribe to that for more great adventures in Charm City!

Thanks for visiting!

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Loving Libraries

24 Jan

With my grandma in my aunt's home library, one of my favorite places in the world growing up.

I’ve been obsessed with libraries ever since I found out they existed somewhere around the age of 5. I can vaguely recall donating money from a lemonade stand to my first neighborhood library. I can also remember winning a drawing for a new book about a girl named Molly who was part of a series of books called “The American Girls”. My parents probably regretted letting me enter that drawing as years of dolls, books, trading cards, and even traveling to meet author Valerie Tripp ensued.

From the childhood days of being limited by my mom to checking out only the books I could carry in one trip to the check-out desk to seeking out a quiet study corner in college finals week, libraries have been one of my favorite places. Whenever I sketched my dream house growing up, my own private library was always a prominent feature (probably a more realistic aspiration than the adjacent horse stables).

I finally am a card carrying member of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library. The library’s website is full of intriguing bits of history, starting with its founding in 1882 and tracing its expansion to 23 branches with stories of mobile book buses, special events, and technological innovations throughout the years. The website also allows for a catalog search showing if a book is in the library and which location has it. The other nice thing I learned was that you’re able to check out and return books at different locations.  As a sidenote, if you’re getting your library card: Be sure you have proof of your current address. We’ve moved apartments since getting our updated drivers’ licenses which necessitates bringing back a piece of mail next time to get permanent cards issued.

The Central Library is a grandly imposing building with a beautiful grand lobby housing the circulation desks, cafe, and computer stations.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t browse all the books housed in the library. Some are out on display; others you have to ask the librarians to retrieve. Being someone who loves to just browse through rows of books, I found it limiting to not be able to just wander through the entire collection.  While they didn’t have one of the books I was looking for, I did stumble upon a book I had been meaning to read for about a year now: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. I wrote about hearing Mr. Moore speak at last year’s Baltimore Book Festival and am just as enthralled so far by his book as I was with his interview.  The book is well-written and eye opening to the all-too-normal life of many young men in American Cities. I’ll have to post a more in-depth review when I’m finished.

The Central Library of the Enoch Pratt system.

The Enoch Pratt Library System also maintains active social media feeds, promoting a variety of events through Twitter. I’m always seeing interesting discussions, lectures by author, and exhibitions pop up in my newsfeed. If you live in Baltimore, I’d highly recommend at least following @prattlibrary or stopping by in person to get a card.

Dreams and Silence

17 Jan

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about what matters.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I heard this quote on Sunday at The Garden Community and loved it.  Commuting to work down an empty MLK Jr. Boulevard yesterday, I thought of the quote again.  I thought of the issues that stare me in the face driving down MLK. I passed by the vans packing up the makeshift camp of homeless people and was again repulsed by the irony that the only time the city seems to pay them any mind is when they’re having a parade to celebrate the legacy of someone who would not have ignored these people in the first place. (Sidenote: If someone knows whether the city actually helps find these homeless people more long term relief and housing, please let me know. I don’t want to needlessly critique the city.)

In trying to find the source of this quote I stumbled onto a few online debates about whether it was a direct quote or not, including one person who thinks it may be a simplified version of this quote: “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right.  A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice.  A man dies when he refuses to stand for that which is true.” This quote comes from a speech in Selma, AL on March 8, 1965.  In any event, I think both quotes offer food for thought.  The one liner brings to mind the trap of falling silent about things that we’re passionate about while we get bogged down with every day life.  The longer quote brings to mind the things which demand answers that we so easily overlook.

As those quotes resonate with me this week it’s got me thinking: Have I fallen into complacency and silence about things that matter? Are you making time for what you’re passionate about in the midst of everyday struggles? What’s holding you back?