The Friends of Uphams Corner Branch Library do! This year’s annual Pool Party was held Friday, February 10th at the Uphams Corner branch. Notable guests and honorees included Dennis Lehane, Maureen Feeney, and Mayor Menino.
The Pool Party is named for the library’s distinctive Children’s Room, which is housed – you guessed it – in a former swimming pool. The library was decked out in summer decor, from cut-outs of fish that the children of Uphams Corner had colored themselves, to swimsuits that the staff had brought in and hung, to the colorful leis that were provided to all the guests. There was live music by the band Conscious Reggae, and a silent auction that included such items as gift certificates to Tavolo Restaurant (the most bid-on item), and a painting by Liz Carney (the highest dollar item).
This year, Councilwoman Maureen Feeney was honored for her public service, in particular her work around the library. “She worked so hard for this library,” said branch librarian Georgia Titonis, “and it wasn’t even in her district. You kind have to say thank you.” Dennis Lehane also spoke about the importance of the public library in his own life. Lehane grew up several blocks away from the Uphams Corner branch, and gave credit to the library for his ultimate success as a writer. “You heroes who teach,” he addressed the audience, which included many library staff, “without you, I’m not saying I would necessarily be in jail or any of those other clichés, but I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now.” Dennis Lehane recently donated copies of his works in Portuguese to the Uphams Corner library.
This is the first Pool Party in seven years, and it was a rousing success, raising upwards of $5,000 for the branch. The money will go chiefly towards the funding of materials and programs for the Cape Verdean community, which makes up about 40% of the Uphams Corner community. The library has encountered barriers in serving this population because of the lack of funding for Creole or Portuguese resources. Ms. Titonis said that they hope to institute a monthly story time in Creole or Portuguese, and to obtain more materials in these languages. In addition, the library is hoping to fund more ESL classes in the future.
Hopefully this is the first of many such events. Clearly the community is invested in the success of its library, and determined to help it continue to grow. When asked what her favorite part of being a librarian was, Ms. Titonis said, “I don’t get bored. The people in Uphams Corner are lovely, and they care about this library and they love it.” As do we.