Let’s start a community book store

This past week I read articles in the New York Times, Aug. 27, by author Ann Patchett saying that bookstores are not dead and by Karen Heller in the Inquirer, Sept. 7, decrying the end of our Borders store. I urge you to read them yourselves.

I propose that a great bookstore, with new and used books, could live again in the Borders on Germantown Avenue and that it could be a new model – one based on the understanding that bookstores are community assets which hold, on their shelves, the history of our culture and our species and should be treated as treasures, not unlike museums and should be community owned and operated.

We need a place where knowledge, in the form of books, is available readily and inexpensively for many hours a day. We need a place where our children can find required books for school and books for leisure. We need a place where people can bump into acquaintances and have a cup of coffee while they catch up.

We need a place where meetings can be held, where authors can be met, where music can be heard, where community can be nurtured.  Philadelphia needs a great bookstore, and we could make one here.

I have been talking with Glenn Bergman, general manager of Weavers Way Co-op about doing just that. The primary challenge is funding. What if the community somehow pooled its assets and bought the location and individual investments were “bonded” by the value of the property itself.

What if it was a co-op. Perhaps there are other models. If you are interested in dreaming with us, drop me an email at  wacmbook@aol.com. We have preliminary research to do before having a public meeting. Stay tuned.

Greg Williams
Walk a Crooked Mile Books

See our poll about a new book store here.

Tips for the next time it floods

As we prepare to recover from the flooding of the Philadelphia area, many points of interest need to be noted in the water-borne and emergency power risks that exist to protect the public and especially those who suffer from lung disease.

The greatest health risk in this emergency may come from water-borne microorganisms and toxins. Even after the water recedes, contaminants, bacteria, viruses and mold left behind pose a risk to those with lung disease.

Exposure to these microorganisms and toxins may increase the risk of developing lung illness. In addition, time spent in large group housing may increase the risk of the spread of infectious diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Damp buildings and furnishings promote the growth of microorganisms, dust mites, cockroaches and mold, which can aggravate asthma and allergies and may cause the development of asthma, wheeze, cough and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible persons.

During clean up efforts, contaminants and microorganisms may be inhaled, which also add to lung disease complications. Clean up efforts will need to protect the workers and occupants from exposure to airborne particles and gases.

The physical stress of dealing with the flood may also put a strain on people who are already ill or the elderly, providing an opportunity for respiratory infections and other sicknesses to arise.

Without electricity, people may turn to portable gasoline- or diesel-powered generators, gas stoves, charcoal stoves, grills, portable camping stoves and other devices to cook indoors. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned.

Exposure to this gas reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and can lead to death.  Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home. Do not burn charcoal or propane inside a home, cabin, recreational vehicle or camper, and do not operate gasoline-powered or diesel-powered engines indoors.

For more information on cleaning up after a flood or water damage, contact the American Lung Association Help Line at 1-800-LUNG-USA.

Deb Brown, President & CEO
American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic