Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keith Richards: Please save our libraries!

Keith Richards may seem like an unlikely hero for Pennsylvania’s library system. But, according to one librarian, the legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones could be its hero, should he choose to champion the cause.

Richards will soon release an autobiography, "Life," in which he reveals his love for books and libraries, according to Pennsylvania public librarian Sheila Redcay. "Life" is to be released in late September by Little, Brown.

Redcay, a librarian at the Matthews Public Library in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County, said that in this autobiography, Richards apparently reveals that he once "seriously considered becoming a librarian."

The librarian wrote to let me know she has started a grassroots campaign to persuade Richards to visit Matthews Public Library. Her goal is to create awareness of the financial struggles that many public libraries — including ours here in Pottstown and likely all those in the state and beyond — are experiencing.

"Public libraries are closing their doors," Redcay wrote. "Our motto is ‘Let no library be exiled from Main Street.’" (For those sad individuals who are not fans of the groundbreaking Stones, this is a play on words on the Stones’ album "Exile on Main Street.")

Redcay started a Facebook group that currently has more than 642 followers. She contacted Richards’ manager about the project who said, "that sounds like a very good idea." Redcay said she hopes to garner national media attention by pitching the idea to NBC’s "Today Show. "

The Facebook group, Keith Richards, Please Have Sympathy for America’s Public Libraries is open to all people who love their local public library. There is also a YouTube video contest to encourage members to join.

The Facebook page states that "I believe that, as a group, we can convince Keith, his wife Patti, and his manager, Jane Rose, to attend our reception to honor his lifetime achievements. Keith is now an author who proudly affirms his love for books and libraries."

A report issued by the Associated Press Wednesday says Richards is scheduled to speak Oct. 29 at the Celeste Bartos auditorium at the New York Public Library's main branch on 5th Avenue as part of the promotion for his memoir.

Incidentally, for relating his life story, Richards allegedly received $7.1 million from is publisher. Just a fraction of that money could do a lot of good at any public library. Just sayin'.

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