Monday, October 26, 2009

Rotary Reviews Harry

On Thursday, October 22nd I was invited to serve as guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Brockton, on the subject of libraries in general and the Brockton Public Library in particular. I later commented to a fellow Rotarian, "This is a tough audience, sometimes so rowdy that I'm embarrassed on behalf of our speakers." Imagine my pleasure as I wrapped up, after 25 minutes of speaking about the value and the future of the Public Library, to realize that there had not been a peep throughout the room and everyone's eyes were still open! A number of listeners complimented me on my presentation. This was a treat. Today my "performance" was reviewed in our weekly bulletin.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Love Note to the Brockton Symphony

I just wrote the following Letter to the Editor to our local newspaper:
To the Enterprise Editor:
There were many ways to enjoy this beautiful Sunday afternoon. I joined 300 music lovers for the Brockton Symphony Orchestra’s Fall Concert, “Ice,” at the West Junior High School. Music Director James Orent conducted a Scandinavian celebration of fiery music inspired by cool climates, starting with Sibelius’ Finlandia. It’s powerful opening, melodic strings and robust energy kept the audience enchanted and attentive. Then Venezuelan pianist Kristhyan Benitez came to the grand piano, soloist for Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. Sometimes you compliment a musician by saying, “He made it look easy.” The first movement, with its loud, powerful opening could only be described as hard work, covering the keyboard with strength and exuberance. The second was a shocking departure, smooth velvet strings and melancholy horns, the piano a music box. The third returned to the power and energy of the first, the horns now gutsy, the strings nearly growling. The melody evolves, sweet as a love song, then melancholy, then a driving march, a momentary minuet, then a dervishly whirling transition to the explosive finale. That was just the first half! The piano disappeared during intermission and we were treated to Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, a work of dignity and power. After the other works, this seemed more like the general conception of classical music, almost a tone poem, until it became vigorous enough to require Concertmistress Sonja Larson to lead a re-tuning between movements. The abrupt, almost disjointed transitions from melodic to dramatic marked the modernity of the piece. Just as I thought the complexity might challenge listeners my cheeks flushed with the passion and erotic lushness of a fiery melody leading to a powerful climax. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. This was a great day for music lovers in Brockton.
Harry R. Williams III

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My first embedded audio

I've just set up a new "Podbean" account to allow me to post audio. Here is an advertisement for the Brockton Symphony Orchestra's concert last spring.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Off and running - a bumpy kickoff

Today I was as close as ever to a coronary or a stroke. Yesterday I met with the Assistant to the State College Department Head in charge of the new tutoring program, and a bunch of the tutors. We toured the library and discussed the project. By the end of the meeting we agreed that the Homework Assistance would begin at both Branches today. I and a colleague would unlock the doors to the lower level at 3pm and come lock up again at 7 - no library staff on hand in between. That was OK with the Assistant. Today at a meeting at our OCLN Network Headquarters, the Department Head called my cell and said "No library staff - no tutors. I'll tell the Mayor we are putting it off." I drove directly to City Hall and told the Mayor and his staff that we would have to postpone the tutoring. The Mayor explained to me why I was mistaken and how I would resolve this roadblock - "Just get it done - pay overtime if you have to - it begins today!" I called the College from the Mayor's office and told the Department Head to send the tutors, and she agreed. I staffed our East Branch from 3-7 and sent a custodian to West. We had tutors and students (with parents and grandparents) at both Branches. We are off and running after a bumpy kickoff!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Backpeddling from premature promises

After a radio announcement Thursday morning that "the Branch Libraries open today," and news stories that they would open Monday, October 5th, I felt compelled to post the following text on our home page. I also made it into a flyer, putting copies at the Circulation, Reference and Childrens desks. I put the same information in our voice mail messages, and posted it on all three doors at each Branch:

Patience, Please!
Although there have been announcements that the After-School Homework Assistance Program would begin on Monday, October 5, 2009, the Bridgewater State College students, who will be tutoring Brockton students from Grades K – 8, are finishing up special training to prepare them to help our pupils. They will begin meeting our young people on WEDNESDAY, October 7th. The program will take place in the basement of the East Branch Library, 54 Kingman Street, and the West Branch Library, 540 Forest Avenue, on Mondays (beginning October 19th, because October 12th is Columbus Day) Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
There have also been announcements that limited library services would begin at the Branch Libraries October 5th. This was premature, and we regret any inconvenience or confusion caused by such announcements. The City of Brockton and the Library Union have been Impact Bargaining to put in place funding for library staff to re-open the Branch Libraries. If an agreement is ratified, we will need a little time to recruit and/or assign personnel. It is anticipated that service at the Branches would take place at the same time as the Homework Assistance. We will announce updates as soon as possible.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lieutenant Governor at the Library

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, a former Trustee of the Worcester, Mass., Public Library, spoke at the Brockton Public Library, along with members of the State Administration who explained services available to City officials to help with efficiency and cost savings. I believe you can click on the image to see a larger, hopefully legible version of the article.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Positive but Premature

This article was very positive, but premature...

The rest of the story

I didn't want to leave out the part of page two with a quote from our Trustee Chair.