AUGUST 29, 1962
HYDE PARK—No one who writes about Reform Democrats should make the mistake that I made in giving the impression that the Reform group has only one candidate for Congress, William F. Ryan, in the September 6 primary.
This year the Reform group is running for Congress Bentley Kassal in Manhattan, and David Levy, Jim Scheur and Frank Montero in the Bronx. It is important for every voter to realize that if these men are chosen in the primary and elected to Congress, the New York state delegation for the first time would have a group of really active Congressmen who are free to think for themselves and take their own stands.
David Levy is running against Congressman Charles Buckley who, because of long years of election to Congress, has an important committee post. He has always been amenable to the organization and is being backed by it but also he is backed by the President who, because he can be sure of his vote when he wants it, is thinking primarily of the needs of today.
Those of us who believe we must attract to the Democratic party young people who can think for themselves are considering the future. The Reform movement is not trying to establish a new party; rather, it is trying to strengthen the Democratic party.
It is easy to understand why the President, beset by the need of votes immediately, backs an inferior candidate because of his immediate needs, but we who are trying to think of the future of the party must, I think, try to bring in young people who will make good Congressmen. This I believe, even though a great many practical politicians do not agree with me.
Once the Reform movement has enough strength to be a real power, then we can begin to work on those in the regular organization who are good and acceptable in the Democratic party.
I hope that the people of Manhattan and the Bronx will come out and vote in the primaries in great numbers and vote not only for their local leaders, but at the same time for their Congressional nominees.
I wonder if my readers know that there is before Congress legislation which would help remedy some of the inadequacies of our library services. I find that many people do not realize the importance of our libraries, both in the cities and in the rural areas.
Our schools can never hope to have all the books that our young people need. Colleges and universities can, of course, build better libraries, but the public libraries are the ones that serve the people as a whole and particularly the young people of our public schools.
Here in New York State we also have some state library legislation which, if passed, will be of particular help to college students.
I would urge the Congressmen and the state legislators to give their support to these bills. They are HR 11823 and HR 11296. At present, the Library Service Act is limited to providing funds for public library service for populations of 10,000 or less, which is chiefly rural.
HR 11823 would set up a coordinated national program of library development involving public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries and libraries of institutions of higher education. One of its most important provisions would provide for training of librarians to meet the increased educational, informational, and research requirements of the people of our country.
HR 11296, introduced by Brooklyn Congressman Eugene J. Keogh, would increase tax deductions by 20 to 30 percent on donations to libraries and nonprofit museums. This would encourage contributions to such institutions.
In the State of New York, the Brooklyn Library Council has brought out one thing which most of us do not realize. Francis R. St. John, chief librarian of the Brooklyn Public Library, has recently formed the Security Investigation Unit, which is designed to stop book stealing from the library system. It is called the "Lost Book Campaign".
It is a waste of tax funds when people lose or keep the books they take out. These books belong to the community and are bought with community money. If children are not taught to respect them and return them on time, the community is the loser.