With its budget shrinking and shrinking over the past several years, the Dallas library system has an acute need for a Daddy Warbucks. Several, actually. More specifically, branches need deep-pocketed donors who can pick up the public book-houses by the boot straps, smack them in the behind and propel them into the future.
That's why events like today's announcement that Comerica Bank is donating 900 e-book titles to the public library system and 30 e-book readers to two Southern Dallas library branches was worthy of a visit by Mayor Mike Rawlings and council members Ann Margolin and Monica Alonzo. Comerica's donation totals $15,000, and it's not a one-off deal. The bank's been at this for a while, having adopted the North Oak Cliff and Polk-Wisdom library branches in 2010 with a donation of $50,000 for financial literacy materials.
Mayor Rawlings hopes to play matchmaker in more similarly perfect couplings. "If we can partner a business with one of those institutions, it makes it stronger," Rawlings tells Unfair Park. "We've got some broad strategies and policies that we've got to implement." He said he'll discuss some of these very strategies further on Monday, when he rolls out his South Dallas initiative at one of three scheduled events at Jack Matthews's South Side Studios.
"At Comerica, we believe that libraries are a special part of our community," said Pat Faubion, Texas Market President at Comerica. He said that during a visit with Corinne Hill, the outgoing interim director of the Dallas Public Library system, she told him Dallas libraries lacked books written by and about African-Americans. Comerica responded with this donation, tied to Black History Month in that the 900 e-books are either written by African-Americans or give insight into black history.
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"Businesses have an obligation to give back," Rawlings said. "Comerica is a great example of that."
"Education is so important to this city, so important to me," Rawlings said. "It takes place everywhere you can read and learn -- and our libraries are that."
Rawlings then noted that Toni Morrison is his favorite African-American author, and invited people to check out her work. "If you haven't read Toni Morrison, go get an e-book, go get a Kindle and read it."
Oh, but first, "go get your library card," Rawlings said.