05 July 2011

Save Troy Public Library Tuesday: What is a Millage?

This week we begin Save Troy Library Tuesday with another letter which --although written 40 years ago-- speaks clearly to citizens of today.

Dear Young People of Troy (Michigan, that is):

Troy fell well over 2,000 years ago. It did not fall because the Greeks used a hollow wooden horse to get into the city. Troy fell because people were over-confident. They were sure they had the answer; they knew they were on top.
Who was Herbert Zim?

Now Troy, Michigan has a library. Be proud of it. But don't take it as the answer. The answer won't come from teachers, either, or even from parents or your best friends. You must always ask, what was left out? What more do I need to know? Only in this way --by constant questioning-- will Troy, Michigan avoid the fate of ancient Troy.

Once again, no invader will come to your shores but there will be danger within --danger from too many people, danger from a run-down environment, danger from smog, pollution, garbage --and just not caring. There is the danger of thinking that going to school means getting educated. There is also the danger of thinking that getting more means getting better.

And while the library is not the answer -- it can certainly help. It is a tool to use and there is one way that you can help too. Bring a friend to the library. Get him to bring a friend, also. A good library is one that is over-worked and over-used.

All good wished to you and to Troy.

Your friend,
Herbert S. Zim

Thankfully people ARE talking and bringing friends to libraries and asking lots of question, including The Sisters who were wondering exactly what a "millage" is?
According to Wikipedia, a millage is "an ad valorem tax levy on the value of property that the owner of the property is required to pay to a government in which the property is situated."
Note: The latin words ad valorem mean "to the value"; an ad valorem tax is based on the value of a property. And levy means "to impose or collect tax". 
The August 2nd Troy Public Library millage election requests .7 mills for 5 years.  If you are a Troy resident you can find your estimated cost, click here

The Sisters aren't the only ones with questions about the millage election on August 2nd, thankfully Troy Public Library is ready to help:
In order to answer any questions you have about this millage, the Library staff will hold a a series of Community Meetings throughout July. These meetings are open to the public. Please attend and bring a friend! The meeting dates are:
Wednesday, July 6, 10 am, Troy Community Center Room 303
Thursday, July 7, 1:30 pm, Troy Community Center Room 301
Monday, July 11, 11 am, Troy Community Center Room 301
Tuesday, July 12, 7 pm, Troy Community Center, Room 302
Wednesday, July 13, 10 am, Troy Community Center Room 302
Thursday, July 14, 2 pm, Troy Community Center Room 301
Monday, July 18, 10 am, Troy Community Center Room 301
Monday, July 18, 7 pm, Community of Christ Church
Tuesday, July 19, 1 pm, Troy Community Center Room 305
Tuesday, July 19, 7 pm, Big Beaver United Methodist
Wednesday, July 20, 1:30 pm, Troy Community Center Room 303
for more information: visit the TPL website.

These stories in the press might help answer questions:

The Growing List of Millage Supporters:
-The League of Women Voters, read more
-The Troy School Board
-The Troy Chamber of Commerce, read more
-Former City Manager Frank Gerstenecker
-Former City Councilman Dave Lambert
-Former Mayor Jeanne Stine
-And five of the seven current sitting council members: Mayor Louise Schilling, Mayor Pro Tem Mary Kerwin, Councilwoman Robin Beltramini, Councilwoman Maureen McGinnis, and Councilman Dane Slater
-The Troy Democratic Club
-The International Academy of Design and Technology

Now, keep up to date with what's happening and please, help if you can!

Enjoy this week's selection of 1971 letters written to the Children of Troy:

Who was John Berryman?
My dear Mrs. Hart:

You are kind enough to ask me to say something to the children of Troy about their new library. If I were there to talk with them, I might say something like this:

"Young Friends,-- You are lucky to have now a free library. Until comparatively recent times there were no books for children at all; their mothers told them stories; instead of that unfortunately, you have probably been watching television, and that is mostly a waste of time. In a book called The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, you will find a descriptive line, "Turfy mountains where live nibbling sheep", and it will be years before you will understand how powerful this line is, but even now you may see that it enriches your mind more than a half an hour of TV.

Some books your will want to own. My daughter (who is named Martha, aged eight) has read The Wizard of Oz nine times. She has several hundred books and uses some of my thousands. But she also uses every week both her school library and our city library. She is wrapped up at the moment in a "life" of the wonderful woman Helen Keller who was born blind and deaf but was taught, by another wonderful woman, both to read and write and speak.  Good biographies will tell you much about human life, and how to live it, that you cannot learn from your parents and teachers and friends. You might begin now with one of the Gospel narratives of the life of Christ, say Matthew's; and when you are older, one of professor Erickson's great biographies, Young Man Luther or Gandhi's Truth, may explode into your own life, altering its purpose. The chief thing is to read as hard as you play, withe the same seriousness and a mind wide open--for any book you pick up may make you slowly or suddenly as happy as if you had a new little sister.

You have a pretty building for your books. Go in, and change your life."

Yours faithfully,
John Berryman


Who was Harry Golden?
I received my education between the lions, the two lions guarding the New York Public Library.

Whenever a young person writes me about becoming a writer I say to him, "In order to be a writer you must become a reader first." A child speaks because he hears, the writer writes because he reads.

The uses of the past are an invaluable aid to everyone. Our great lawyers were able to address a jury with quotations from Shakespeare and Omar Khayyam. The civilized person is a cultured person and the way to achieve this is by reading.

Sincerely yours,
Harry Golden


Who was Isaac Azimov
Dear Boys and Girls,

Congratulations on the new library, because it isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you --and most of all a gateway, to a better and happier more useful life.

Isaac Asimov


Dear Children:

Did you ever think of all the people you can be meeting in your new library? Why --acrobats, singers, baseball players, knights in armour, kings, queens, elephants, dolls, jacks-in-the-boxes, angels, fairy godmothers, actors, astronauts, tuba-players - in fact, anyone you wish, through books!

You'll never forget these friends of fantasy-land once you know what warm companions they are. Happy Exploring!

All my best wishes,
Helen Gurley Brown


How can you help? Simple: just tell two friends and ask them to tell their friends to pass this message to the people of Troy "VOTE YES August 2nd and Save Troy Public Library!" We're watching how many hits we get in Troy, and guess what? The message is getting out, the numbers are growing each week! So please, pass it on!

Thank you for helping Save Troy Public Library. See you next week!
*Letters shared with permission from Troy Public Library.


  1. A Mom too, who used to work in Troy!9:45 PM

    Three things to say:

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you.

    Your guys do such a great job of getting information together. We'll tell more than two friends. The letters from the 70's are amazing, why don't you guys have a million hits? This stuff is worth a million!

  2. VOTE TO CLOSE TROY LIBRARY AUG 2nd! BOOK BURNING PARTY AUG 5th! facebook.com/bookburningparty

  3. Well, that is interesting John. We are having a meeting trying to decide whether this is a serious comment/FB Page or a joke? Thanks for the opportunity to talk and learn about the history of Book Burning. We sure hope it is satire as we noticed Head of Public Services Phillip Kwik commented on the page,

    "Phillip Kwik
    are you folks real and crazy? or is this a bad attempt at satire? in either case, not very funny -- especially for those who still work at the library, and those in the community and trying to save it."

    Please remember that this is a family run site with good intentions to SUPPORT Libraries, our intentions are clear. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  4. All I can think about is the innocent writers who wrote books that have been and might be burned. I love writing and I am a writer.

    Burning a book is like burning a work of art --something a person worked months, years, even their whole life to write. It just doesn't seem humane to burn someone's work of art on purpose.

    And, John, you made my little sister cry. Now that is definitely inhumane!

    Besides who would want a library to close, there are thousands --millions of people who wouldn't thrive without a library-- including ME!

    (typed by the Mom while the Big Sister dictated --she couldn't type as fast as her thought were coming!)

  5. Anonymous10:15 PM

    "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."--Joseph Brodsky

  6. Hooray for the treasured letters, BFW!

    I first read Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Saint-Exupéry in French class during high school. The different worlds, taming the fox, loving the rose, and the magic & philosophy of it all captured me. Later learning that Saint-Exupéry was in fact a pilot who had crashed in the Libyan Sahara desert brought the book more to life.

    Isaac Asimov’s (and ALL of the writers) quote for reading is so true; it brings the universe and the stars close to us! Thank God for the goodness of the Troy Library (and all libraries) whose mission is to bring these worlds within the reach of all peoples!

  7. First we must thank my friend Michelle, we hesitated to open comments on the Troy Library posts, concerned that the discussion could get difficult (like it has in Troy) she urged, "you can always delete them." The only comments we delete on BFWP are ones that are obvious ads or inappropriate for the eyes of our youngest readers (we've never had to do this second one, our readers have always been so respectful of our audience..) So when the Book Burning comment appeared on June 6, 2011 and Sonja cried and Nadia got "pissed" well, it was hard to know what to do, so we asked our audience via Twitter and Facebook --and people were talking, most of them already library advocates and most of them apalled (search Twitter comments). The only people NOT talking were the organizers of the group: we called them and wasting an entire morning looking for their contact # (which was so easy on the internet!), calling, then emailing them as they requested, getting no response.

    For ten days we divided our effort:s The Mom didn't have as much time to research and type Letters to the Children of Troy, work on "Reading Books and Writing Stories", or read The Penderwicks aloud to The Sisters; The Sisters didn't feel as good about the world, wondering why people could want to burn books outside of such a precious library; and The Dad worked long hours so that we can stay home Thank you, dear Dad --we really love being able to stay home (getting a little emotional and distracted --we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary on the 20th.)

    Last night when we got the email from the Book Burners group, The Mom already had a terrible headache and realized she was really sad and had to process the news for a while to figure out how to explain it to The Sisters. The press (save the few we listed) didn't swarm, pick up and spread the story of the wonderful letters to the Children of Troy; the efforts of the Yashinsky children (who we interviewed and will share in the last week leading up to the election); the story of all the folks putting up "vote YES' signs: heck, they they didn't pick up our story ;); and if they did they sure didn't use the amazing message to illustrate the POWER of words and stories and the library--instead the press picked up and spread quickly the book burning party (yes, we did too).

    When we shared the Boor Burners explanation with The Sisters, we asked the Big Sister if we should share the letter as a post. Her response was at first yes, then after a quick moment of thought, "no, not a post, let's wait"; she sure didn't trust this new information and was certainly confused. So we posted the communication in the above comment. It is time to leave this Book Burning Party story in the past.

    Thank you Phillip Kwik, you were on the Book Burners from day one, and took the threat as serious as we hoped it would be taken. While we are grateful that the fire has been put out, we are kind of sad that this happened, because all we had to do was walk through the doors of TPL, visit with you, Cathy Russ, the Letters to the Children of Troy, spend an afternoon seeing that TPL is precious for everyone. We have a good feeling about the election --we are planning a visit in Spetember because we trust that TPL WILL BE OPEN!!! VOTE YES August 2nd and PASS IT ON!!!!

    Stay tuned, we have all sorts of GOOD news to share leading up to the election, good news and positive stories, because they exist and are simple to find, if you know where to look (oh, and a library is a great place to start looking.)

    Now get back to reading your books! Please share what you are reading! Did you make a Book Journal yet??

  8. Anonymous8:39 AM

    The Book Burning Party went about things the wrong way, and if the millage passes it will be no thanks to them, although I'm sure they'll pat themselves on the back.

    They hurt people elsewhere, too, and they are unrepentant.

  9. Anonymous7:22 AM

    Sorry to revisit this ridiculousness, but I noticed a book I wanted was a Troy and was reminding of the 'burning' campaign. Sure enough they won some awards for a campaign that surely had little influence on the millage passing. And several articles appeared in the past year crediting the burning campaign for saving the library. I just have to shake my head at the writers that obviously did no research.