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The Public Library, Hall of Famers, Public Health

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2022 6:00 pm

The Public Library, Hall of Famers, Public Health

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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July 24, 2022 6:00 pm

On this edition of CBS “Sunday Morning” hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Conor Knighton looks at how public libraries have evolved in the 21st century. Plus: Dr. Jon LaPook looks at the role of those on the front lines of public health; And Mark Whitaker looks at two legends being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. You can thank steel mogul Andrew Carnegie for so many of our beautiful old libraries. By 1930, Carnegie's money had built more than 1600 libraries around the United States. But those dusty, book-cluttered edifices of the past have changed.

They've morphed into tech-savvy, state-of-the-art community centers and more. If you haven't visited your local library lately, Connor Knighton says it's time to check it out. These racks and shelves contain a lot of books. Back when all the world's knowledge was bound up in books, the local library was where you had to go to learn almost anything. Oh, we're more than books, and that's one of our slogans is that we are more than books. From technology petting zoos to podcasting studios, libraries across the country are adapting to the information age. Ahead this Sunday morning, we check out the future of libraries. Dr. John LaPook looks at the vital role played by America's public health system, perhaps never more so than now. Plus Mark Whitaker on some unsung heroes finally being honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. John Dickerson with a status report on the January 6th hearings, commentary from director Adam McKay, and more on this Sunday morning, July 24th, 2022.

We'll be back after this. The New York Public Library says that I took out Tropic of Cancer in 1971 and never returned it. Do you know how much that comes to? That's a nickel a day for 20 years. It's going to be $50,000.

It doesn't work like that. If, like Jerry Seinfeld, you still haven't returned that library book you borrowed in 1971, prepare to be surprised by what you find when you do. With Connor Knighton, time to check out the library 2022. On a recent Monday morning, the citizens of Kanawha County, West Virginia, came to check out a new chapter in the life of an old institution. These are no longer warehouses of books. These are marketplaces of ideas.

This is a community's living room. After more than two years and $32 million in renovations, downtown Charleston's public library reopened to the public. Inside, visitors discovered a brand new cafe, a tool-lending library, an idea lab full of the latest technology. There was an excitement you could see and hear, which is exactly what the librarians were hoping for. Librarians from time immemorial, like shh. Are we beyond the age of shushing?

We're beyond the age of that, yeah. Erica Connolly is the director of the Kanawha County Library. From podcasting booths to computerized sewing machines to augmented reality screens, the facility has been updated for the modern age. I tell you what I'm not seeing here, I'm not seeing a ton of books.

Yeah, no. We have 3D machines, we have robotics, we have 3D pens. While there are still plenty of books, the redesign allowed the staff to rethink how they were displayed. It was more about the engagement, how we wanted our public to engage within the library. And it wasn't at the shelves, it wasn't describing a book and then leaving.

We wanted them to stay. Across the country, library attendance has declined 21% from 2009 to 2019. But borrowing has actually increased, it's just moved online as collections have shifted from physical to digital material.

That's caused libraries to shift their thinking in terms of what might bring people through the doors. Good morning, welcome. Good morning, welcome. Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks begins each day greeting patrons as they enter the downtown branch. Hey boss, what's going on man?

How you doing? The 200,000 square foot building fills up fast. I mean you've been open for all of nine minutes at this point and it's bustling already.

It's always like that. People come to Austin's library to play board games, video games, games of giant chess. Alongside the actual books, there are Chromebooks and MacBooks to check out.

The teen area hosts jam sessions featuring the library's collection of guitars. What do you think is the most unexpected physical item that you can check out at the library? Seeds. Seeds? Yes, if you want to plant a garden, we have seeds so you can check out. So that's not something you have to return, right?

There's not late fees on seeds. The return is, come show us what you got from your garden. When Austin Central Library opened in 2017, it instantly became a community hub. Visitation increased in subsequent years. Were you here on opening day? Oh gosh, I was here.

It was one of the most glorious days of my life. You know, we had 17,000 people waiting to get into this building. The building itself is part of the draw. Bright and open, full of spaces to lounge and meet, modern libraries are attempting to meet the needs of today while staying flexible for the future. More and more of these libraries are being built so that they have very open floor plans. And I think part of that is that vision of long-term.

We don't know what the next thing might be. Miguel Figueroa is the former director of the Center for the Future of Libraries. It's really easy to think about the future as exclusively technological. And I think a lot of libraries are keeping pace with that. At the same time, I think we're starting to see that there's a really great future for these institutions as place. The value of having an open public place in your city, in your neighborhood. In 2009, the city of San Francisco became the first in the country to hire a full-time social worker for its main library.

Dozens of cities across the country have followed suit. A lot of the social safety nets have been underfunded or removed. And unfortunately, that often means that there's a crunch on other public institutions, like public libraries.

They are very trusted institutions and people feel welcome within them. People like Andrew Constantino, who, for a time, was a daily visitor to the downtown Seattle library. The library is like your grandmother's house. If you're homeless or living in poverty, that's exactly what it's like. When you are allowed to be at the library, whereas, you know, if you're homeless, you're not allowed to be many places. Years ago, Constantino was living on the Seattle streets and in shelters.

The library was his refuge, a place to get out of the rain and get back on his feet. You mentioned the importance of feeling welcome here. What was it like to not feel welcome elsewhere? Oh, it sucks. You know, it's like everywhere in our society, you have to buy access.

You know, if I want to use your bathroom, I have to buy a soda pop. Public libraries are public, a place where everyone can come together. In one room, recent immigrants practice English. In another, first-time computer users learn how to navigate the internet. The internet, an always-on, limitless hub of information, didn't replace libraries. It may have made them more essential.

The side effects of some of the technologies where we do become so focused in on online information or online discourse that we forget how to connect with other people. Libraries retrain you, I think, to be a member of a public, to be part of the civic discourse. While COVID made those connections challenging, most libraries closed during the height of the pandemic, there's been a recent slew of grand openings. Newly renovated libraries have popped up everywhere from Flint, Michigan to Fayetteville, Arkansas, from Spokane, Washington to Washington, D.C. I really think that far from any idea that some people might have that the library is somehow obsolescent, you know, or irrelevant, is actually the opposite.

I think that our society as a whole needs more institutions and public areas that are like the library. It's much more a model for how we should treat other people than just an artifact of the past. Measles, diphtheria, scarlet fever and whooping cough, all of them diseases that are all but history, thanks in part to the United States public health system. Dr. John Lapook takes a look at our public health workers and finds their tough job has become even tougher. Monkeypox is now spreading around the world and putting the U.S. public health system once again on the front lines in a battle to keep the country safe. I've heard many people say, oh no, it's going to be another pandemic just like COVID.

What would you say to them? We have been working extraordinarily hard and we are still in a position where we can contain this. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the CDC has been responding aggressively, educating health professionals and patients alike. There's no crystal ball, of course, but do you see monkeypox getting out more widely to the general population? I think we are going to see more cases before we see less and that is because we will have more testing.

We have more education out there. People know what they're looking for and how to test for it. The total number of cases in the U.S. has been growing steadily and is now more than 2,800.

While anyone can get monkeypox, the virus is spreading predominantly among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. To our knowledge right now, it does look like most of the transmission is happening with close personal contact. With the U.S. public health system front and center, we thought this would be a good time to explore what the system actually does. Why is public health different than the practice of medicine? In medicine, it's the individual that's the patient. In public health, you can think of the individual, the community, the planet as the patient.

Michelle Williams is Dean of Faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She says the estimated 270,000 public health workers in this country are unsung heroes. Do you think that one of the problems is that the public really doesn't value public health enough because they take it for granted?

Yes. When public health works, nothing bad happens. So you don't notice that that child that had a spill on the bicycle got up and is just fine because they're wearing a helmet. Public health workers have a lot on their plate, including eliminating disease, cutting down on workplace injuries, ensuring clean water and better sanitation, reducing injuries from fires and car crashes, and keeping our food safe to eat. Here I'm checking to make sure he's not stacking dishes. You know, if you stack wet dishes on top of each other, it builds up bacteria. We don't want that. Trey Williams is a health inspector in Oklahoma City. This is the kind of stuff that the general public has no idea about, right?

They're not seeing this. Right, right, absolutely. These pastries here and below we keep for two days. The cakes we keep for three.

The cookies we keep for a week. The U.S. public health system has a long history. In 1799, Boston set up one of the country's first health departments, led by none other than Paul Revere.

Since 1900, advances in health and safety have increased the U.S. life expectancy by an estimated 25 years. Still, during the COVID pandemic, local health departments have had to scramble and improvise. We're providing this service free to the public. Patrick McGough heads up the Oklahoma City County Health Department. People just drive on through.

They don't have to have an appointment, nothing. COVID vaccinations, boosters, flu shots, and smiling eyes. We'll do the COVID in the left.

It's warmer, it's friendly, you're in your own car. The structure of the public health system is extremely complex. Local and state departments, educational institutions, private industry, and, at the top, government agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, and the FDA.

No one person runs the whole system, and not every branch has the resources it needs. Why is COVID so important to you? Well, basically, it's about the doctors' offices. They don't all have secure forms of transferring information about you as a patient. The technology to securely share health information electronically has existed for decades.

Yet at the height of the pandemic, doctors were faxing orders for COVID tests to this machine. We need a health care information exchange. We need a health care information exchange. We need a health care information exchange that is just at our fingertips, that the health departments and the hospitals and the primary care physicians can all share information so quickly and easily. But that's not what we have. Instead, there's a patchwork of reporting systems across the country that don't effectively talk with each other, critical during the early stages of COVID and monkey pox.

And Dr. Walensky says there are more challenges. Does the CDC have the authority to demand that public health agencies around the country send information to it? We do not.

Reporting cases from around the country is voluntary. Do the data systems exist right now to adequately collect all the information needed? They don't. We've made a lot of progress during COVID, but we still have a lot of work to do. It would really be helpful if we had the capacity, the data systems, the workforce, the laboratory systems in place, the public health infrastructure truly in place so that we could deliver health to all of America.

Why don't we have those systems in place right now? There has been a chronic, decades-long underfunding of a public health infrastructure in America. And Michelle Williams says the public health system faces a brain drain. We know that burnout is real and it is pervasive. When was your last vacation? I haven't had a vacation.

Well, your calendar is already crazy. It's estimated that since 2008, at least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared. The collision of public health and politics hasn't helped. Lots of hate mail, lots of hate email.

And in Oklahoma City, Patrick McGough is feeling the heat. Texts that were awful, all kinds of stuff. So when people question your motives, what does that feel like? So I see that I have staff on the front lines giving everything they have, their family time, their own health, their own finances, and then to be attacked and called all kinds of things. It didn't just happen because the pandemic arrived. Something else happened. Something caused people to lose faith and it's to the public's demise. It may do away with public health. Despite these challenges, what Michelle Williams is seeing at Harvard makes her optimistic. What's happening with applications to your public health school? We have a year-over-year 50 percent increase in our applications.

How do you explain that? They are running towards the opportunity to have an impact in this world. And I am inspired by that because we are going to prevail.

It will take more time, but we are going to prevail. Are we not being clear? We're trying to tell you that the entire planet is about to be destroyed. Well, it's something we do around here. We just keep the bad news light.

Right. In case you haven't noticed, it's hot out in all sorts of places all around the world. We have thoughts on the climate crisis from the man behind the recent movie Don't Look Up, Academy Award-winning director Adam McKay. This past week around the planet, we've seen the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK. Catastrophic heat and fires in Spain, Portugal, France, Morocco, China, large swaths of the US, not to mention the tail end of near biblical unprecedented flooding in Australia. Temperatures and events that were predicted for the year 2050 are happening right now, which means that while we always knew that man-made carbon emissions caused global warming, the speed of that warming, which in fairness scientists warned us was hard to predict, is much, much faster than we ever thought.

And yeah, this should be extremely alarming to everyone. Heat events, flooding, fires, storms, blackouts, food shortages, and mega droughts are coming more and more. And after this week, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or whatever, the time for tolerating inaction on climate should be over. If a government is too corrupt or incompetent to take real action on climate, vote them out quickly. If a media outlet refuses to talk about climate or downplays it, turn the channel. If a company won't stop emitting carbon, stop buying their product. Before anyone gets too down about what just happened this week, remember, we have the science, but we have to start using it on a large World War II level scale and taking action right this very second.

Or as is now very clear after this week, we will lose everything much, much faster than we ever thought. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morrell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing.

Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men, list for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise.

In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. In Cooperstown, New York today, the National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomes seven new members. And as Mark Whitaker tells us, for several of them, it's an honor long overdue. For the true fan, entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is like being admitted to a shrine. This is the very first class of inductees.

It is, yeah, a set of five gentlemen. Hall of Fame President Josh Warich showed us the plaques honoring the patron saints of the game, inducted in 1936. These are some names that we know. Yeah, you just might know Ty Cobb, who got the most votes.

That's why he's there in the middle. But of course, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson, the greatest players of their era were the first class. The blank spots on the nearby wall will be filled by seven players who are being inducted this morning.

Six of them chosen by special committees set up to highlight players who haven't gotten their due. It's a sign of how the hall is increasingly trying to tip its cap to the diverse history of the game. Is this all an effort to make up for past sins? No, I wouldn't say it's an effort for past sins.

I would say it's really just to make sure that everybody's given a fair shake. In some cases, it may just be that the lens of time has changed the perspective of baseball. One inductee coming into focus played way back in the 1870s, John W. Jackson, better known as Bud Fowler. He was the first black professional player to help integrate white leagues. If you thought Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color barrier in 1947, think again. Bud Fowler, a black player from the Cooperstown area, was playing in white professional leagues 70 years before that. He found a game that he loved and it was with him throughout his life as a player, a coach, a promoter, a person who loved the game in a very different time in America. So he played for integrated teams in that period after the Civil War, is that correct? They weren't integrated until he showed up. Yankees Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is going to give the speech this morning welcoming Fowler to the hall. He visited Fowler's grave not far from Cooperstown just a few days ago. He was born in 1858.

I know a little bit about my genealogy and heritage and I know that my great grandparents were born at the same period of time. Slavery was still intact, how about that? So I can only imagine what Bud Fowler went through at that time. Fowler played alongside whites for about 10 years before the racial door slammed shut. In 1920, the Negro Leagues formed, teams of professional players who roamed the country. One alumnus is another of this year's inductees, Minnie Minoso, who became known as Mr. White Sox. Others include Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and yes Jackie Robinson. 16 years ago the Hall of Fame honored some of the players from back then. There were how many players in 2006 from the Negro Leagues?

17 Negro Leaguers. And at the time there was one Negro Leagues veteran who was considered a shoo-in, John Jordan O'Neill Jr., known far and wide as Buck. What was Buck O'Neill like as a player? He was an outstanding player, a great defensive first baseman. I think he would be in everybody's top five all-time Negro League defensive first baseman. Bob Kendrick is the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, co-founded by Buck O'Neill. He told me one season in the Negro Leagues he made one error the entire season. If you got it over to Buck, he was going to pick it. O'Neill played mostly for the Kansas City Monarchs, then was a major league scout, and finally the first black coach in the majors with the Chicago Cubs. But O'Neill was more than that.

He remained a goodwill ambassador for baseball all his life. You started playing baseball at what age? How old a man were you? How old a kid were you? 12.

12. In 1998, he told David Letterman about when he first played. Well, my daddy was a baseball player, and I followed them around, watching them play, and I always had good hands, see. And the old men would throw me the ball, and I would catch it, and I was a ham. You know, I enjoyed that. The thing that I remember most about Buck is that you always felt better leaving Buck than you did when you came to see him.

Kendrick was with O'Neill when the class of 2006 was announced, and somehow O'Neill didn't make the cut. And I said, well, Buck, we didn't get enough votes. And he looks at me and he smiles.

He said, that's how the cookie crumbles. And then he asked me how many had gotten in. I said, 17. He hits the table in utter jubilation. He was ecstatic that 17 of his colleagues had gotten their rightful place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Now I, on the other hand, was furious. I'm in disbelief that you could put 17 in and leave Buck out. And then O'Neill was asked to speak at the induction ceremony for those 17, at the age of 94. So I've done a lot of things I like doing, but I'd rather be right here, right now, representing these people that helped build the bridge across the chasm of prejudice.

I've oftentimes said that it was one of the most selfless acts in American sports history, because baseball fans were saying this should be your Hall of Fame induction speech. And there was this very kind, gentle man speaking on behalf of 17 others. All of them did. They didn't have a voice. And he became their voice. And I'm proud to have been a Negro League ballplayer.

Yeah. Buck O'Neill died two months after that speech. And now a do-over. 16 years later, he's finally in the Hall of Fame. He was a very special person. His niece, Angela Owen Terry, will give his induction speech. You said you think that the hardest thing about giving the speech is that you might cry.

Yes. I haven't been able to cry. Haven't been able to rehearse it without crying. And would it be tears of sadness or tears of joy or both?

Tears of joy and remembrances. Terry insists there's no bitterness over the long delayed recognition. Well, of course, I would prefer that he would be there.

However, I have, nor any member of the family has any lasting disappointment. He is in a place where he knows that he has attained his lifelong dream. You feel like he'll be there in spirit. Exactly.

Visitors to the Baseball Hall of Fame are greeted by a statue of Buck O'Neill. Listen closely and you might hear his spirit echoing. The greatest thing in all my life is loving you. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. It's been another week of hearings on the events of January 6th, 2021.

We have thoughts from our John Dickerson. The January 6th hearings that ended Thursday have taken place during the same summer months that 235 years ago the founders devoted to writing the Constitution. On this very day in 1787, the delegates in Philadelphia discussed the creation of the Electoral College, the process of picking presidents that rioters tried to interrupt on January 6th, 2021. Like this summer's hearings, the founders obsessed about a chief executive who would use the power of office to stay in power. The founders knew humans were deeply flawed, but in the end, they knew the experiment would only succeed if some share of those who participated in government had a moral core. Is there no virtue among us, asked James Madison. If there be not, we are in a wretched situation.

No form of government can render us secure. The hearings showed that there is virtue among us. The Capitol Police, Justice Department officials, Republican governors and state officials, Vice President Pence, White House aides all showed it.

But like the final episode of a hit drama, you can feel the seeds of a sequel that will challenge the heroes all over again. Because many of the political habits that led to January 6th are displayed in the response of Trump loyalists to the hearings about January 6th. Diversion, distraction, lying. It's why conservative Judge Michael Ludig testified that Donald Trump and his supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy.

The hearing this past week offered a clear example of the instinct of accommodating the inexcusable. The committee outlined how on January 6th, President Trump did nothing for three hours to stop the rioting at the Capitol, despite the presidential obligation to preserve, protect and defend. But Donald Trump was like a fire chief who did nothing more than warm his face in the flames. By the standard of any profession of failure, this grave would disqualify a person from the job. But to speak that plain truth out loud in the party Donald Trump leads would cripple your reputation in the party, just as it has Liz Cheney's.

Instead, the conditioned response is to distract. So the office of the third most powerful member of House Republican leadership tweeted about the hearing, all hearsay. It wasn't. Trump officials were under oath recounting their direct experience trying to get the president to act. But by attacking the witnesses, Trump defenders admit they have no evidence he did his job. At issue is more than the actions or inaction of a single president.

But the standards of the presidency and whether a large portion of those who the founders relied on to maintain those standards have become practiced in lowering them or casting them aside entirely. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Hi, podcast peeps. It's me, Drew Barrymore.

Oh my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News Podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it. And maybe you do too. From the newest interior designer, to the most famous interior designer, because, well, I need it.

And maybe you do too. From the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 20:34:06 / 2023-01-29 20:46:07 / 12

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