Dear Fabolous...

As a fan of your music for the past 12 years, it's with great sadness that I inform you that you have the worst case of Libramnesia ever known to man. Libramnesia is a highly common but, under-treated social condition that causes its sufferers to completely forget about libraries or even worse, believe libraries are irrelevant. Libramnesia symptoms include publicly saying dumb shit like, "Where else are the homeless gonna get to jerk off at, man?"

The only thing you kinda got right in that statement is libraries do serve our country's homeless community. When shelters are forced to ask their homeless patrons to leave during daytime hours, we become their other home. We protect them from the bitter cold in the winter and the excoriating heat in the summer. We also provide them free access to resources that help them find employment, housing and financial assistance. I think the better question you could have asked is, "Where else are the homeless gonna get free access to support services, man?" And just for the record it's not only the homeless that depend on us. Lots of other people need us too, including immigrants and refugees trying to gain citizenship, ex-offenders trying to re-integrate into their communities and children that don't have access to computers and/or books at home.

As the founder of Libramnesia and a former sufferer of the condition, I can appreciate your very misinformed perspective on the significance of libraries in the digital age. However, as someone who has spent the last five years strongly advocating for libraries in her community, I can't appreciate your potentially infecting other people with this intellectually debilitating disease. The purpose of my letter is not to clown you, but to protect anyone else from thinking that libraries are no longer relevant. In this day and age of massive socio-economic disparities, libraries have never been more relevant than now.

Yes, libraries are lenders of books and other educational and entertaining material (including the Scary Movie 4 DVD in which you had a cameo), but they are also a gateway for immigrants and refugees, an early literacy center for preschoolers, a WiFi hot spot and business office for area workers, an exhibit space for artists, a technology resource for residents and visitors, a training center for the development of new skills, and a gathering place for people to relax, explore, learn and grow. Libraries are sacred spaces that protect our human right to access information with the power to impact the quality of our lives and when you make statements like the one you did the other day, you compromise my efforts in my community to protect that right.

Please consider this letter an open invitation for you to visit Hartford Public Library -- one of the country's most innovative urban public libraries in Hartford, CT. It would be my honor to help you fully recovery from Libramnesia.


Thea Montanez, President, Hartford Public Library