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Interviews, Facing the Page

The New York Public Library Saved His Life

 Beowulf SheehanPedro Munoz. Photo: Beowulf SheehanPedro Munoz, a junior-high dropout and recovering addict, had never set foot in a Library until two years ago.

Now, Tompkins Square Library is his favorite spot in the city — the place that gave him the strength to turn his life around.

“The Library has saved my life. Without it, I would still be out there on the street,” says Munoz, who has been learning to read and write at free adult-literacy center at Tompkins Square Library.

“The Library has given me hope and confidence,” added Munoz, who is now inspired to go on to earn his high school diploma. “The Library is the most important place for me in the whole city.”

Munoz, who grew up in Manhattan, discovered the Library’s services in 2009 as he was struggling to become sober after decades of drug and alcohol abuse.

After hearing about the Library’s Centers for Reading and Writing, he got up the confidence to walk into the ornate Jefferson Market Library in Greenwich Village and was awestruck that the Library’s free services were available to anyone who needed them.

“It was like walking into a castle,” he recalled. “I had never even walked into a Library before. I didn’t feel comfortable.”

Since then, Munoz has attended classes twice a week at Tompkins Square Library and now views his library card as a badge of honor. “My library card is more important to me than a credit card,” he says. “It takes you places.”

For Munoz, the support he has found at the Library’s Centers for Reading and Writing, both from his teachers and fellow students, has also helped him stay on track.

“The Library helped me stay sober too,” said Munoz, who now looks forward to going back to his literacy classes all weekend. “I always say I can’t wait ’til Monday so I can come back and study,” he added. “It’s amazing what I can do now. There’s no stopping me.”

Read more about Pedro!


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Cutting literacy classes

Such a wonderful story about the recovering addict who attended free literacy classes and has turned his life around and states that his library card is more important to him than a credit card. What a shame it would be to cut this program. Who knows how many other people would miss a chance of turning their lives around.

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