To the Editors:
In October, 1966 I came to Harlem to build a place of peace, wonder, variety, joy and intellectual possibility. I waited until the community told me what to do and over the past year and a half we have created in the midst of strained joy and historical lamentation and chaos a center of life and happiness. The community is the life of the place.
In the morning, we have twenty-three children, pre-school, who come for singing, reading, drawing, talking, and those rituals of childhood that tend to bring their life into a lucid shape and rhythm. In the afternoon and during the day about forty others, children and adults, come to study, take music lessons, etc., and discover the possibilities of the world. We have built a fine library over the past year of about 2000 books, from Plato to Mary Poppins.
We are utterly self supporting, but for my salary, $61.00 a week, and the rent, which are paid for by OEO. I have hired ten people to help me manage our very complex day. (We are never closed but for Sundays.) I must beg for their salary, in all about $350 to $400 a week. All the workers but for myself and one other man, are from the community. I must beg too for money to pay food bills, medical bills, and crisis bills. I do not want city or federal money. It is best we manage as we do. It frees us.
I need money to keep it flourishing. Contributions (tax deductible) should be sent to: Ned O’Gorman, Director, Addie Mae Collins Library, 2067 Fifth Avenue, New York City (checks should be made payable to Addie Mae Collins Library Fund). The library is located at 2029 Madison Avenue, between 128th and 129th Streets.
New York City
May 9, 1968