In Not In Our Town: Light In the Darkness, the Patchogue-Medford Library plays a pivotal role as a safe haven for the local immigrant community. In Fall 2008, librarian Jean Kaleda and librarian assistant Gilda Ramos learned that people were afraid to attend evening ESL classes at the library for fear of being attacked while walking the streets at night. The librarians were in the process of organizing a public meeting with local officials to address their concerns.
A week later, Marcelo Lucero was murdered and the library became a place for healing and community participation. Spanish-speaking police officers, Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, and other local leaders met with community members to address the concerns of the Latino population in Patchogue. A group of quilters worked in the basement of the library as they stitched “Healing Hands, Mending Hearts,” a quilt they later presented to Joselo Lucero, Marcelo’s brother.
Librarian assistant Gilda Ramos became a translator for the Lucero family who came to Patchogue from Gualaceo, Ecuador as the community gathered to honor Marcelo Lucero. Ramos also translated for Latino residents at community events and meetings that were held at the library, the Patchogue Theatre, vigils and rallies. Like libraries across the country, the Patchogue-Medford Library is a place where people come together and feel supported and safe.
Patchogue-Medford Library: A Place for Dialogue and Healing
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Patchogue Library's Gilda Ramos: A Voice for Her Community
National Medal of Library Service
In 2010, the Patchogue-Medford Library was one of five libraries across the country to receive a National Medal of Library Service from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. The library was recognized for its work on behalf of the immigrant community
Support for this program is provided by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust; the Reva and David Logan Foundation; and the Public Welfare Foundation.