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After Charlottesville, A Subtle Sign From A Hilltown Library

The sign outside Meekins Library in Williamsburg, Mass. It normally lists hours of operation.
Meekins Library
The sign outside Meekins Library in Williamsburg, Mass. It normally lists hours of operation.

The small white sign outside the library in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, usually just lists the library's hours. That changed after the white nationalist rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For Katie Krol, the deadly events in Charlottesville marked a turning point. She's the director at Meekins Library, and said those images of Klan members and Nazis made her scared that history was repeating itself.

Krol decided to end her moratorium on commenting on anything political at the public library.

"[I] was...wondering what I could do that was possible for the library and what would work, and how I could grab people's attention without really being overtly grabbing their attention," Krol said.

And it hit her, early last week on her way to work.

"The song just came into my head," she said. "It was really that simple."

Get Together, a song from the 1960s that has since been used in commercials for fried chicken, Pepsi and diapers.

On the sign outside the Williamsburg library, Krol posted the first line of the chorus:

The lyrics don't click for everyone. On Facebook, one commenter wrote that he didn't get it.

But Krol said she's heard nothing but positive feedback. It is, after all, a pretty careful message.

"I thought it was safe enough," she said. "It was just simply, 'Everyone, get together, talk, respect each other.'"

Krol was thinking it might soon be time to take down the sign. But after talking it over with her staff, she's now going to put up the second line of the chorus: Smile on your brother.

Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He manages a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
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