2001-07-14 / Letters

Community Activist

Community Activist

Dear Editor,

Talking of Lew Simon – I first met Lew Simon when I was assigned to work at the Arverne Branch of the Queens Borough Public Library. Lew at the time was a youngster who lived in the area. He was an active library borrower and visibly participated in children’s programs. Watching and listening to Lew gave me the impression that here was an up-and-coming community activist. At that time, New York City was experiencing a budget crunch, which would adversely affect the public libraries. It was reported that the Arverne branch was scheduled to close. Lew, as young as he was, went to work. He created protest signs, which I didn’t forget – they read, "Keep the library open, we need the library, the library needs us." Lew Simon and others persistently pounded the pavement in front of the library protesting loud and clear.

Fortunately financial aid came to the rescue. The library remained open. Years later when I worked at the Seaside library on Beach 116 Street, we encountered another library budget crunch threatening to curtail library service hours.

Lew Simon, years older got into the act to help. This time he acquired a bullhorn. Using this apparatus, Lew rounded up community members who joined together protesting in front of the Seaside library. Once and again, money was restored and regular library service hours continued. When I visualize Lew Simon, I see him with a bullhorn in his hand doing his thing his way, voicing his protests to right what he thinks is wrong.

Whether you approve or disapprove the manner, attitude, political motivation and behavior pertaining to Lew Simon, you have the prerogative, the right, and the privilege to do so.

MILDRED SCHULMAN


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