education the centerpiece of cpl's african american history month programming

Education is on the forefront of Cleveland's transformation plans. The city is aiming to reform its troubled school system as well as increase the number of youth attending and graduating from college.

Cleveland Public Library (CPL) had Cleveland's goals in mind when planning its African American History Month programming for this year. Throughout February, the library will offer a variety of education- and educator-focused programming, music and events at its main facility and branch locations. 

"We try to focus on topics that resonate with the community," says CPL programming director Aaron Mason. "Education is the topic of the day."

Featured programs and events include:

* A showcase of student-produced music and videos created by Cleveland’s youth through the efforts of Reading R.A.M.M. (Recording Arts Music Media) founder Edward “Phatty” Banks. The February 9 event at the main library is designed to connect area children with reading and education through use of pop-culture-style music and media.

* A performance by Ralph Miles Jones and Baba Issa Abramaleem, otherwise known as "The Seekers of Truth Revolutionary Ensemble." Jones is a multi-instrumentalist and recording artist from Oberlin College. Abramaleem is a composer, visual artist, playwright and percussionist-guitarist. The duo plays CPL's Rice Branch on February 15.

* A free screening of the documentary "PUSH: Madison vs. Madison" on February 22 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch. The film covers the trials of a talented but dysfunctional high school basketball team.

This year's round of African American History Month programming is meant to look ahead rather than back at history, notes Mason.

"The library should be a place of learning and engagement," he says. "It's about exposing people to new ideas."
SOURCE: Aaron Mason
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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