Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Summer Library Series: Long Live Literacy! by D.S. Sense

Mark Twain Library, Detroit, MI
Today, the Summer Library Series moves from Butte, Montana to Detroit, Michigan as D.S. Sense reopens the doors of the Mark Twain Library and brings us into the vivid once-was.

Please enjoy.

Long Live Literacy!
by D.S. Sense

Growing up on the Eastside of Detroit, I was afforded many cultural experiences some children took for granted. Although the inner city was plagued with drugs, violence and dilapidated landscapes . . . we still had remnants of grandeur peaking up from the ashes and history of what once was. One landmark in particular shined like Emerald City (at least in my eyes) and that building was "The Mark Twain Library." I enjoyed long walks and class field trips to this wonderful place located at Gratiot and Iroquois, on the outskirts of the historical Indian Village. Upon arrival I would stand on the lawn just to take it all in. "The Mark Twain Library" resembled a castle with its beautiful architecture influenced by the early French settlement in Detroit.

Once I opened the doors there was the quiet hustle and bustle of bookkeepers, teachers, students, and regulars all in their own microcosm of existence. Some faces buried in books for hours oblivious to the world around them. The smell of xerox ink, floor polish, and books added to the mystic and charm of the building. I would hurry to find the latest Beverly Cleary, R.L. Stine, or National Geographic and hide out in the safest place on earth . . . the coveted window seat in the children's nook! I loved how secluded it was and how the Willow trees brushed against the glass when they swayed to and fro. I was an avid reader who read well beyond my years so I would fly through those reads then reread them so I wouldn't lose my seat!

Once it was time to leave I would get sad almost to the point of tears. It was as though I sensed that "The Mark Twain Library" would not be a part of my city or life for much longer. Unfortunately, it closed its doors due to lack of funding during my last year of middle school. Although Detroit has its "Main Library" located on Woodward Ave, "The Chandler Park Library" located on Harper Ave and even the "Farmington Hills Library" in one the city's suburbs, all of which I frequent and like, none of them can compare to my quaint little castle "The Mark Twain Library."


Deidre Carmen Smith, or D.S. Sense, is a writer, slam poet, and hip-hop artist living and performing in Detroit.  She has been featured in the Michigan Citizen  Her albums include D.S. Sense, Start Up Money, and most recently, Space Audissey.  Listen to her accapella version of “Ya’ll Ain’t Ready for This” here. You can also follow her on twitter.