Photo of Watertown LibraryJust a quick note about Watertown, Massachusetts. Watertown has been described in news reports the last two days as a suburb of Boston—which it is—but it’s also worth mentioning, in light of recent events—and the efforts of some to exploit those tragic events for political reasons—that it’s also a town with a very strong immigrant community, the product of a proud history of welcoming and supporting immigrants that goes back decades: Armenians especially; Russians more recently—plus dozens of other nationalities. Over a quarter of Watertown residents are foreign-born, in fact. It’s strange to think that two men of Chechen heritage would cause such terror in the place where I’ve probably met more Russian immigrants than anywhere else.

Over a decade ago, when the library lost state adult education money to support their adult ESL program, town council members—some of whom, if I recall correctly, were 1st-generation immigrants themselves—didn’t hesitate to use local money to keep it going. I visited last year for the program’s 25th anniversary—Project Literacy is now a prominent part of the town’s beautiful remodeled library—which, like a lot of libraries in old New England towns, is located right in the center.