, Salem, MA

February 19, 2013

Our view: Library series connects a community

The Salem News

---- — Those looking for evidence that libraries are more than a simple collection of dusty books on rickety old shelves need look no further than the Monday Mornings lecture series at the Beverly Public Library.

The free adult lecture series covers topics ranging from travel and history to science and gardening. Musicians and authors are frequent guests at the event, which generally runs Mondays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the library at 32 Essex Street.

A recent, well-attended talk by Beverly historian Terri McFadden on the lives of African-American families in Beverly during the 19th and 20th centuries was especially engaging.

McFadden shared the story of Juno Larcom, who was sold in the 1730s to Henry Herrick of Beverly, who in turn gave the girl to his daughter’s family; 46 years later, she was still working for the family, but as a free woman.

Juno’s story has inspired poet and Beverly resident January O’Neil to consider a series of poems on the girl.

“These unique stories should come alive through art,” O’Neil, the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, told the Gordon College News Service. “They are a terrific source of information and a link to our not-so-distant past. I don’t think people are ready to confront certain parts of the past.”

Still, she said, “it’s wonderful to learn about the town my children and I call home.”

Credit that connection to the Beverly Library and its Monday Morning series in particular, and libraries everywhere in general.