Basin Jamet The Crystal Tearoom Tuning into Josephine River of Beauty and Youth River of Beauty and Youth
Ima Read

Ima Read

posted on Friday May 18, 2012 | in The Crystal Tearoom | 5 Comments

Last year I received a call from Catie Marron former chairman of the New York Public Library inviting me to co-chair the library’s Spring Luncheon.  I immediately accepted as libraries are dear to my heart.  I spent many summers at programmes for children at the library in St.Lucia.  The smell of old books are very intoxicating to me.  I have fond memories of making crafts with other children I’d met at summer camps, of sneaking out and climbing through the floral patterns of the wrought iron fence of the Derek Walcott Square, which we the people of St.Lucia renamed from Columbus Square, Derek Walcott being dearer to our hearts, someone we are very proud of.   I also remember being about age nine and reading a children’s book, something I never would have discovered had I not been a memember of the library;  at random, probably because of the title I picked up a novel titled, The Underground Railroad”.  That sounded exotic to me.  A railroad underground.  There was nothing underground where I came from.  In there I discovered a world not so far away from my own, with a history not so different from my own, but here were heros, doing courageous things to help individuals escape to freedom.  It is there beneath a ficus tree on a hot summer afternoon, in the Derek Walcott Square formally the Columbus Square that I learned of Harriet Tubman.


I believe in Libraries.  I believe in exploration, I believe in literacy, I believe in education for all.  The library is the cheapest way to travel.  There I was sitting beneath a tree in Castries but I was transported to another place and time, living with courageous people.  When I first moved to New York one of the very first things I did was join the library.  I had a list of musicians that a friend had given me that I needed to check out, they included: Betty Carter, Miles Davis and Theonilus Monk.  My friend was Jamaican and a musician.  I had no job at the time being new in America but I could walk a few blocks down the street in Rosedale, Queens and take out some CD’s books and movies.  NO MONEY NECESSARY!

SO, when 11 years later I am offered a chance to give back to that institution, one that allowed me a free education of sorts, I was more than delighted to give back my time and money.

Now, I’m open to any ideas you may have that will make the New York Public Library a more fun place than it already is, and feel free to ask any questions you may have about how you can donate your time and resources to that very special place.  I’m pleased to announce that I will be co-chairing again next year so let me know if you’d like to join me at next year’s lunch!





with co-chairs and guest speakers at this year's luncheon

photo in title: Rick Owens

« | »


  1. Lauren (Reply) on Friday 18, 2012

    I would definitely like to join you at next year’s lunch. Email me and let me know how I can help out. I do really well with social media. :)

  2. ANITRA MICHELLE (Reply) on Friday 18, 2012

    I would definitely love to join at next year’s luncheon and get involved with this NYPL project in anyway that I could be helpful…I am a designer, but I am great at decorating and PR…so feel free to tug on me for any way I can be of service and contribution…

  3. Marian (Reply) on Friday 18, 2012

    Shala you have such an incredible way with words. Thank you for reminding me on the power of reading and more specifically why libraries are incredibly special. Coming to your page is always a joy.
    Glam kisses,

  4. Debra (Reply) on Friday 18, 2012

    Shala you can count me in. There is no job too big or too small for me when it comes to dealing with a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

  5. Erica Jo (Reply) on Friday 18, 2012

    I am a painter and a lover of philosophy, poetry and fiction.
    Most enjoyably, I spent 7 months of my post-collegial time
    roaming the different lands of the Mid-Manhattan Library
    in an attempt to gain a self-education in art history. I agree with you, the library is treasure amongst gold and
    if the invitation is still open,
    I would love to join you in next year’s lunch.
    Erica Jo

Leave a Response



The Meaning of Shala
The Looking Glass

Subscribe to Blog

For general questions please contact: 

For collaborations please contact: 




Share with love but don't
forget to credit.
Site design by Thupamodel.