Discovered Letters Inspire Readers at Troy Library

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Forty years ago, E.B. White – the author of "Charlotte’s Web," "Stuart Little", and many other beloved children’s books – wrote a letter to the children of Troy, Michigan, at the request of a librarian in Troy’s new public library. "A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered." White was just one of the famous authors and public figures who responded to librarian Marguerite Hart’s request for letters to urge the children of Troy to read.

That was back in 1971. The letters Marguerite Hart requested were just rediscovered by Phillip Kwik, the current head of public services at the Troy Public Library. But because of budget cuts, the library is now likely to close its doors in August – a problem facing many public libraries throughout the nation. Phillip Kwik talks about the discovery.


Phillip Kwik

Produced by:

Mary Harris and Jillian Weinberger

Comments [8]

As a new member of the elderly poor, my love of the Denver Public Library has become even more intense!

Jun. 15 2011 09:58 AM
eva graalman

A city is only a good as their library. This particular library is lovely.

Jun. 14 2011 04:26 PM
The Mom from Northern Michigan

The timing of this interview is perfect. We've become big fans/supporters of Troy Public Library --The Sisters (7 and 10) got to visit with Phillip and the letters and now have committed to helping support TPL through the millage election. We posted our story today at our Book Love, Literacy and Library Supporting Project (The Books for Walls Project)

We are giddy that Troy Public Library is in the news and that the wonderful letters are getting their stories told!

We live for books and libraries around here!

Jun. 14 2011 02:04 PM
Joe Hanlon

When I was in first grade my grandmother enrolled me in the "Best in Childrens Books" Club, I read many abridged classics and developed a life long love of learning and reading. It was a wonderful opportunity for a child of ten to feel special at least once a month. Too many titles to mention, but the first full adult book that moved me was Great Expectations, read it for class and then read it on my own, I've re-read this book many times and it never fails me!

Jun. 14 2011 11:20 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

I am dyslexic, so reading has always been a challenge for me. When I was a child, my mother would read to us before bed. She stopped reading Black Beauty to us one night when she was very tired - with only 2 chapters to go. I needed to hear the end - so I picked up the book and spent my first "all nighter" to finish those chapters. After that, while I knew that I'd always be a SLOW reader, I was hooked and have continued to be an avid reader since.

Jun. 14 2011 09:00 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Joyce's Ulysses was a critical book for me because I had to find out why Joyce had turned away from Christ and His Church. I had to read lots to be able to then read Ulysses, and when I was able to, I found out that he didn't turn away because of a reason, he turned away out of free choice, he simply chose to make himself an enemy of God. And Ulysses is one long mockery and flagellation of Christ.

Jun. 14 2011 07:52 AM
Astrid afKlinteberg from Massachusetts

I can't remember the title of the book that was most influential in my life, but I do remember the book. It was a Scholastic publication about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. I had (and still have) several language based learning disabilities (i.e., I'm a SpEd Kid) and this was the first book that was compelling enough to hold my attention whilst I slogged through the secret code of words.

I am now an attorney doing court appointed criminal defense work (the old and new front line of civil rights litigation). Some would say that I talk for a living, but really, I read.

Jun. 14 2011 07:09 AM

John McPhee is the author I've enjoyed most over the years. His geologic writings about the formation of the United States is a constant companion. His varied interests have informed me on lots of fascinating topics. Just an excellent writer on any subject.

Jun. 14 2011 05:54 AM

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