'A History Going Back More Than 200 Years': Writer Pays Lyrical Tribute to Library’s North-East Branch

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

All Kansas City Public Library locations see patrons of every interest, need, and want in search of not only materials like books and magazines but also valuable social, community, and career services. The Library’s resources are free and for all with nothing expected in return, though many patrons find ways of giving back through gifts of time and their own resources.

Other regular patrons, like North-East Branch regular Lewis Diuguid, soak in the Library and give back in their own special ways.

Diuguid is a former Kansas City Star journalist. For nearly four decades, he worked at the newspaper in various capacities: as a columnist, editorial board member, and op-ed page and letters editor. He’s also the author of three books: Our Fathers: Making Black Men, Discovering the Real America, and A Teacher’s Cry.

Recently, he wrote this poem to his favorite Kansas City Public Library branch.

The North-East Gift

Blue industrial carpet greets
All who enter; light gray tables with plastic seats
Welcome a multitude of bodies and souls thirsting
For help, knowledge, fellowship or warmth within, bursting
To serve all comers but never with the stereotype library “Hush!”
All day long, miles and miles of many freight trains rush.
The roar of tonnage just beyond the walls
Shouts of great travels and locomotives’ haul.
It’s a history going back more than 200 years
Filled with great adventures with little fear.
And like the library itself
With periodicals, films and books on shelves
Telling of great places and travels
To those readers who unravel
The gems of adventures within
To be read and enjoyed again and again.
Teachers and tutors also park outside
And hold classes for people inside
With inquisitive hungry minds seeking
To fulfill dreams always peeking
Toward brighter days
Of citizenship and better grades.
Meanwhile, this library’s teens’ and adults’ giggles and chatter seed
Every square inch while the photocopiers’ high hum
And changing crowd are the branch’s main plum
Near a cluster of computers — also a big draw
For digital desert dwellers marooned in Google Fiber’s and other services’ flaws
Untouched in too many homes by the Internet’s discriminating reach
Thank goodness for libraries’ free WiFi and promotion of free speech
With a helpful and cheerful staff doing their best to please
It’s sincere and not at all a tease
But like a beautiful bouquet of roses
Until the final hour approaches, and then this branch closes.
Tomorrow opens the door
To more life, trains’ roar and giggles on the floor.

exterior photo of North-East Branch
A digital wall and staff member
staff members wearing matching shirts smiling

Explore your North-East Branch