Karen Blumenthal loved a good book. She was an award-winning journalist and author, a featured speaker at book clubs and women’s groups, and a fierce advocate for libraries all over Dallas.
Blumenthal particularly enjoyed spending time in the Forest Green Library near her home. For years, she lobbied the Dallas Public Library system to replace the too-small building and inadequate facilities, and the Dallas City Council included funds for the new branch in the city’s 2017 bond package. The new state-of-the-art facility will open near Braum’s on Greenville Avenue later this year.
Sadly, Blumenthal will not be on site for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting and celebratory speeches. She passed away suddenly last May.
To honor her memory, Blumenthal’s friends and admirers have launched a fundraising campaign to purchase library enhancements and transform Forest Green into a community center serving students and families throughout Lake Highlands and Hamilton Park.
“Forest Green was such a big part of Karen’s life,” said Scott McCartney, Karen’s husband, “and it means so much to us to have this wonderful new library become part of her legacy.”
Blumenthal’s specialty was engaging the imagination of young adults by writing non-fiction books as engaging as any novel. Titles include “Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend,” “Tommy: The Gun That Changed America,” and “Jane Against the World.”
In the digital age, McCartney said, “Karen showed us that libraries are more important than ever. They are community resources for children and learning centers for people seeking a better life, bringing the latest and greatest to everyone, regardless of income. And for Karen, libraries were the backbone of her research and writing life. Every book she wrote – all 12 of them – started at the library.’’
The wish list for Forest Green includes technology upgrades, interactive learning supplies, furniture for play centers, reading areas and an early literacy station. About $35,000 of the $85,000 price tag has already been donated to Friends of the Dallas Public Library in Blumenthal’s memory.
“We hope to raise more than just the remaining $50,000,” said Mary Wilonsky, executive director of the Friends. “Anything over that amount will go toward a permanent endowment to support materials enhancements and programming at Forest Green for years to come.”
Blumenthal served as District 10’s Municipal Library Board member at the time of her death and was a long-time Friends of the Dallas Public Library board member.
“The city is building a fine new library, more than twice the size of the old one,” Wilonsky said. “As a tribute to Karen, we want to turn a good library into a great one that will serve the community in so many ways. This was her vision, and we are proud to carry on her work.”
Donations may be made online here.