Friends young and mature filled the Spanish River Library mezzanine to see Ben Franklin. Kind of. Mitchell Kramer, noted Benjamin Franklin impersonator, mingled with the crowd and posed for ‘portraits’ before presenting the life and times of one of our country’s most revered figures.
The resemblance between Mr Kramer and Dr Franklin no doubt helped audience members fall into the fascinating and ‘useful’ life of a founding father. And a first person account, however theatrical, lulls you into what may have been. Franklin’s origin, interests and talents were revealed along with plenty of jokes and jabs, just how you’d expect from the witty statesman. Stories about Franklin’s wife and children, his audience with the king, inventions vs improvements and his personas were all on display. Even if you knew your Ben Franklin stats there was much to be enlightened by thanks to this unique medium; Kramer’s spirited and knowledgeable representation of Franklin inspired laughs but even more so understanding, reflection and wonder. After the presentation, ‘Ben’ answered questions that in some cases opened the door for even more.
This may have been what Benjamin Franklin appreciated most—questions and continued discovery. And as a co-founder of our country’s first lending library he surely would have directed us downstairs to continue our research.
Events such as this are part of the history and evolution of beloved meeting spaces filled with books. We read fiction, test data and learn about those who came before us in such a place. If you’re not a Friend of the Boca Raton Public Library, consider joining to help secure the wonder of books, learning and history. Peruse the downtown library’s bookstore run by the Friends. Or, spread the word a
bout these special events intended to feed the minds and spirits of readers, writers, inventors and statesmen/women alike.