Why I support The Library: The Civic Club of Harrisburg President-Elect Contrena Baltimore
Contrena Baltimore vividly remembers her first visit to a library close to her home on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia. She was dazzled by the pictures and colors in the books.
“I didn’t want to leave,” she says. “Ever since then, I’ve had a passion for the library.”
As president-elect of The Civic Club of Harrisburg, Contrena hopes to further the venerable club’s mission as a community resource and hub of learning – with help from The Library.
Contrena has devoted a lifetime to faith, family, entrepreneurship, and education, including founding the Keystone Math & Science Academy. Libraries play a big part.
“Where can you go and be in one place and see the whole world? You can sit in one chair and visit every place you want to go.”
How have you utilized The Library as an educator? The enrichment programs are phenomenal. We used to take our children to Storytime. The Library would send information about the books, and we would study it beforehand with the children so they would raise their hands. The staff was always amazed at that.
How important is The Library for underprivileged children? Sometimes, things you don’t get taught in school are in a book. Getting exposed to libraries at a young age can be life-changing. The Library is a great asset to the community.
What are you reading right now? I’m reading emails and articles throughout the day, but it’s important to set time aside to read for enjoyment. I have favorite books. My son has introduced me to a whole new thought of reading, cultural things, and historical things that I would probably never find. The next book I’m reading is “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi.
It’s nice that you can learn from your own kids and share readings. I just got a gift from my daughter – Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” It’s my favorite book. It’s an easy read, but you can find answers to life.
What’s your favorite thing about The Library? It’s the stillness. It’s welcoming. They will help you find what you need. I have never met a librarian who was not nice. I once went in there for resources for a curriculum, and they said they could deliver a trunk with puppets and things. I come in for a couple of books, and you’re telling me about a trunk? They are so helpful.
Why should the community support The Library? It offers resources and education on anything in the world. Anything. It’s offering a smarter community, which makes a smarter world. Why wouldn’t you support that?