Logan library branch finds unique poetry in its shelves

Belita Thornton, library supervisor at the Free Library of Philadelphia branch in Logan, has come up with a new way to celebrate National Poetry Month this year.

“Book Spine Poetry” involves piling books in an order where the titles on the side combine to create a poetic phrase or sentence.

Thornton said she was searching the Internet for new activities for the teenagers when she came across a way to commemorate something that’s been celebrated across the country each April since 1996.

“I saw that it was a program that didn’t require a lot of extra energy,” Thornton noted. “All you needed were books and we are a library and have plenty of them.”

Bad timing, good intentions

Thornton unintentionally scheduled the first book-spine poetry program during the week that students were on spring break, so participation was light.

“There were three children who participated and they were beginning to lose focus so I offered snacks and computer passes and they began to put together some great poems,” she said. “I was very impressed.”

Rashaun Gross, 16, was one of the three participants.

“It was hard at first but then it got easier,” he said. “I liked it because it gave us something to do.”

Thornton said the low turnout will not discourage her from giving the idea a second chance.

“I wanted the children to get a different perspective on learning and get the mind to work in a different way,” Thornton said. “Although today’s turnout was not the best due to the holiday, I plan on trying it again in the summer.”

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