Celebrating Ruth Colvin – Syracuse icon and library lover
In 1961, Ruth Colvin was shocked to discover the number of illiterate people in Syracuse. Despite her inexperience, Ruth decided to tackle the problem by starting a small group of teachers. When he started without help, it didn’t take long for him to register players in the area, and then he interviewed academic students at the University of Syracuse. Ruth’s efforts eventually led to the Literacy Volunteers of America (now ProLiteracy). He also taught hundreds of people to read. Ruth and her husband, Bob, also traveled extensively, traveling to other parts of the world, encouraging reading and studying cultures and religions that are very different from theirs. She received 10 honorary doctors and a Presidential Medal, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Ruth wrote 12 books, most of which are about literacy. His latest, My Travels Through Life, Love, and Literacy – Remembrance: Travel for Over 100 Years, was published in May. In it, Ruth reflects on her life, from her childhood in Chicago growing up in a time of turmoil, to her early days living in Syracuse during World War II with her husband, traveling to distant lands around the world. “As I shared my experiences in my life, I learned that seeds were planted all my life that made me who I am. I have learned from my mistakes – and from my successes – and some tragedies were a hidden blessing,” Ruth writes.
The local library of Ruth Colvin and Petit Branch, a small library located in the Westcott area of Syracuse. Ruth goes to the Petit Branch once a week to pick up literature and always has time to talk to the library staff about her experiences. He often spends more time with the author asking him to research books on a wide range of topics. At age 103, Ruth lives a life of learning, sees reading as an opportunity and calls the library one of the most important things in her community. He never fails to talk about how important libraries have become in his life, and he is so grateful that the public library is here for him.
Join the Onondaga County and Petit Branch libraries as we celebrate the evening with Ruth Colvin via Zoom on Thursday, October 22, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ruth will be reading from her new list. Ruth’s signature books will be distributed to the first 10 people to sign up for the event at www.onlib.org.