West End branch library

West End Branch Library Looking For Young Writers

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It’s that time of year again. The West End Branch Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County holding its annual Mary E. Finley Memorial Essay and Speech Contest for students in grades 6 to 12 who either attend school or live in Cincinnati’s West End. Essays should be about what the Public Library means to them and need to be submitted by Saturday, October 22 to the branch. (805 Ezzard Charles Drive) The top prize is a laptop computer; and second, third and fourth place awards will be cash prizes.

Why the contest?

As a librarian Mary E. Finley had the power to make a meaningful impact on a young boy (and most likely many more) who grew up in Cincinnati’s West End. She was one of the first African American librarians hired by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, retiring in 1972 after 44 years of service. She passed away in 2000.

Now in her memory that boy who has since grown up and followed her career path until his retirement – George Ferguson – is sponsoring this contest to inspire other students to enjoy reading.

“Mary strongly encouraged African Americans to learn to use the library and to make certain their children were avid readers,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I became a librarian in large part because of the strong encouragement I received from her. She was a remarkable lady.”

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