Harvey Pekar: A Literary, Library Life
Sunday, October 14, 2012, 2 p.m.
Comments from Adaora Nzelibe Schmiedl, past president of FRIENDS of Heights Libraries, and current member of FRIENDS.
I am proud to be here to share a little bit about the Literary Landmark Plaque. Started in 1986 by the president of then FOLUSA, it is administered by ALTAFF which has recently become United for Libraries. The important point is that these have all been an association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations – people who believe in the power of libraries.
These Literary Landmark Plaques marks the home, workplace or inspiration of a literary figure important to that place. 25 years later, there are now 124 landmarks - 2 of them in Ohio. The Harvey Pekar Literary Landmark Plaque will be on the first floor commemorating the role that Harvey and the Library played in each other’s lives.
When Nancy approached the FRIENDS, it was in the spirit of collaboration. Unlike many FRIENDS groups, the Heights FRIENDS do not designate specifically where funds are spent. FRIENDS give a lump sum to the library director every year to support programming where ever it is needed. Nancy Levin, library director, asked Sharon Richardson (current FRIENDS president) and the FRIENDS board to fund the application for the plaque. And they approached this request as FRIENDS do – this was important to the library so it was done; funds were pulled from the Rachel Nelson Art Fund. As a special note: The Harvey Pekar Literary Landmark Plaque is one of the only landmarks that lists a library and their FRIENDS group together as partners in the application and sponsoring process.
I’d like us to acknowledge all FRIENDS here – please stand. The FRIENDS are ordinary citizens of Cleveland Heights who believe in this library and believe in doing more that standing by. When Harvey Pekar died, it was a no brainer to call the book shop that was just getting started Harvey and FRIENDS. Harvey, who frequented every book sale, was a lover of books and a super man from Cleveland who let his very personal medium make a statement about the extraordinary nature of ordinary.
We are honored to have played a part in celebrating a member of our community, our nation and our library.