Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Library

Combatting anti-gay bullying and celebrating diversity and acceptance — Will a drag queen story hour at Tredyffrin Library help?

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month and Friday, June 28th marks the fiftieth anniversary of what many believe was the major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement.

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, which led to spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community that lasted for days. The Stonewall riots sparked an entire civil rights movement, and the reason to celebrate Pride Month in June.

Fifty years later, anti-gay bullying is still prevalent in schools and workplaces, and anti-LGBT sentiment continues to be combated across the world. With the celebration of Pride Month, many organizations continue to search for ways to teach tolerance, including our public libraries. Libraries strive to promote openness, acceptance and the opportunity to educate children about people who are different from them.

In celebration of Pride Month, and as a way to encourage diversity and inclusion, a new twist on the traditional story hour is coming to Tredyffrin Library on Friday at 10:30 AM when it hosts a ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ (DQSH).

Libraries are not only about books. They are continually transforming to meet community needs and provide new platforms, programs, and services. A drag queen story time event at a public library might not be for everyone however the program is staunchly supported by the American Library Association.

The nonprofit group DQSH is described online as “drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores” with a stated mission to “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queen role models.” The nonprofit has 35 chapters in the United States and five overseas. The Washington Post reports that Drag Queen Story Hour “aims to teach children gender diversity and acceptance.”

The guest drag queen storyteller at Tredyffrin Library on Friday is Matthew Maisano (aka Balena Canto, right) whose Facebook page describes as an “operatic/classical baritone, singing-actor, entertainer, & drag queen!” Further research indicates Maisano has a BA in Music from Temple and a Masters degree in Musical, Vocal Performance from Cleveland Institute of Music. With many musical and acting performances to his credit, Maisano performed over the weekend as part of the Rose Tree Park Summer Concert series. (Click here for an excerpt).

Whether or not you support a drag queen reading to toddlers at our local library is a personal choice. However, I think we can all agree that the world needs to be more accepting and open to new and different ideas – and that diversity, self-expression and inclusion is to be applauded.

14th Annual Historic House Tour – Saturday Sept. 29, 12 Noon – 5 PM

To those who have sent me emails, text or phone messages that may have gone unanswered, it has been a very busy several months. Between a family reunion, an out-of-town wedding, a first birthday party for granddaughter Audrey in Seattle and a trip to our Port Royal Island, SC house (for those that have asked, Hurricane Florence did miss our 100 yr old ‘little pink house’ in SC) in addition to the management of the Jones Log Barn rebuilding project in Chesterbrook, it’s been crazy!

Squeezed in between all of the activities has been the ‘care and feeding’ of my annual historic house tour. Hard to believe but the 14th Annual Historic House Tour is almost upon us — it’s next Saturday, Sept. 29, noon – 5 PM (tickets available at The preview party was held last Sunday at Duportail House and was a wonderful turnout of the historic homeowners, sponsors and community members. The countdown to the house tour is on — fingers-crossed, we will have perfect weather for the fourteenth year in a row! Weather gods, are you listening!?

There’s much going on in the township and the school district and I have a list of issues and topics to discuss as soon as the house tour is over.

Without a historic preservation ordinance in Tredyffrin Township to protect our beautiful historic properties, the annual historic house tour is all the more important! Local history and its preservation does matter! Please purchase a house tour and join us as we celebrate historic preservation — another important reason that makes this community special. In addition to Trust Board members and other adult volunteer docents, there will be nearly 20 Conestoga High School volunteers assisting at the house tour. In addition, there will be CHS students playing the piano at Tredyffrin Library for ticket pick-up!

Below is the 14th Annual Historic House Tour poster and the final list of our wonderful house tour sponsors — individuals and companies who make historic preservation a priority! As president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and chair of the 14th Annual Historic Preservation Trust, we thank them and the generous homeowners who make the annual historic house tour possible. All proceeds from the house tour go toward the completion of the Jones Log Barn as the Living History Center.

Thank you 14th Annual Historic House Tour sponsors!






Tredyffrin Library Closed until December 4: Flooding & Budget Deficit of $100K+

Library closedThe Tredyffrin Library sent out an email to their contact list stating that the library was closed and all activities cancelled until next Thursday, December 4 due to flooding.

But it appears that the problem is actually worse than just flooding — a visit to to the library’s website offers an ominous message from their Board of Trustees, stating that the Tredyffrin Library is over $100K in the red and in danger of service and staffing cuts. Indicating “increased utilities and operating costs” and “decreased funding”, there is a plea for contributions to save the library. Also noted on the website, the Tredyffrin Library Board of Trustees has called an emergency public meeting for Thursday, December 4, 7:30 PM at Tredyffrin Library for a 2015 budget review.

I am not certain exactly what is going on — at the Board of Supervisors Meeting a few weeks ago, the Tredyffrin Libraries director Mike Packard presented an update and financial review of the township libraries as part of the township’s 2015 budget discussion. The picture presented was one of continuing library usage, increased selection of programming, higher level of volunteer hours, etc. but no mention of this $100K+ deficit. It appears that the library is in trouble and this new ‘flooding’ issue is only going to make the financial situation worse. When I called the library for an update, the recording said to contact the Paoli Library as they were still operating.

Tredyffrin Public Library will be closed
until Thursday, December 4
due to flooding at the library
If you have materials on hold at Tredyffrin, you may pick them up when the library reopens on December 4. When placing a new hold, please choose another pick up library other than Tredyffrin. No fines will accrue for days that the library is closed.

A Message from the Board of Trustees:


Increased utilities and operating costs combined with decreased funding have resulted in a budget deficit of over $100,000. We are in immediate risk of having to cut valuable services, staff and days of operation in order to balance the budget.

Lights, Camera, Action . . . Tredyffrin’s 4th Annual Student Film Festival

Mark your calendars for the 4th Annual Tredyffrin Student Film Festival on July 27, 7 PM at Tredyffrin Public Library. Student filmmakers between the ages of 13 – 19 were invited to submit their short films by July 6 to Tredyffrin Library. The films submitted were not permitted to exceed 15 min. and needed to have a rating of ‘G’ or ‘PG’.

For a short YouTube trailer advertising the event, click here. If the trailer is any indicator, we’re in for a real treat with this event!

Festival & Awards:
Tuesday, July 27 at 7 pm
Tredyffrin Public Library
582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford

Big-Screen Premier:
Monday, August 2 at 9 pm
Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI)
824 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr

At the festival, awards will be presented for Best Achievement in Overall Production and a People’s Choice Award. The film jury consists of Andrew Douglas, director of Bryn Mawr Film Institute; filmmakers Ben Hickernell and Valerie Temple. The two winning films will have the advantage of the big screen viewing on August 2nd at Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

One of the interesting rule changes for this year’s submission is that the short films are not specific to a pre-chosen theme; the student filmmakers have the freedom to use their imagination and creativity.

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