This I Believe

Gates, Frieda


  • Frieda Gates discusses how her work as a librarian allows her to help others educate themselves and the importance of tolerance and respect for others views.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Frieda Gates is director of the public library in Syracuse, New York. She started as a clerk right after she finished high school before the first World War, and worked her way to the top by careful application to detail and a contagious enthusiasm. But this attention to detail has not limited her thinking to narrow paths. She now demonstrates as she reveals her credo.
I am one of those people who has been truly blessed. And if you ask why, my answer is as simple as this: I am spending my life in work that I love. Ever since I was 10 years old, I have been associated in some way or other with the library profession.
From the moment I entered the children's room of the Syracuse Public Library, not much less than fifty years ago, the influence of good books and kind friends has ever been present in my life. It seems to me, as I look back, even at that age the values and beliefs important and vital to me now were beginning to take shape in my mind and heart.
Circumstances did not permit formal training in my case. I know I have missed much. Yet how fortunate I have been to be where I could take my inspiration and guidance from the treasury of thought and wisdom which surrounds me. Where is there a greater source for knowledge than in the written word? The ideas which great minds have discovered and handed down through the ages are before me.
I am able through my profession to lead to this knowledge the people whom I deem it a privilege to serve. By helping them, I believe I am helping myself, for only by doing for each other and working together can my community be comprised of an intelligent and enlightened citizenship.
I believe my ethical duty is to form my thoughts and social attitudes according to the American democratic tradition. Tolerance with regard to the opinions of others which differ, I think, is extremely important. I believe every man has a right to his own truth and to his own mistakes--and I have made many--as long as by these truths and by these mistakes, he doesn't harm his fellow man.
Mistakes are byproducts of deeds. I trust in man's innate fairness and in his natural disposition to forget and forgive, and I am seldom disappointed. I believe that we are all equal citizens, with equal rights and duties. I believe in true democracy, in strict respect for the rights of the individual, mutual tolerance, and in building a society where people from all walks of life and opinions can meet together in understanding and good fellowship. As a member of the Jewish faith, I believe in the dignity of man, because he is created in God's image. My faith teaches me to believe in the goodness of man and in his ability to live in justice and brotherhood. I believe in God as the symbol of all eternal values.
I believe my credo, which has been formed through contact with a satisfying and stimulating profession--and a living faith--can be a successful credo only if I can make it useful to my fellow man. It is successful if I can help him increase his happiness and help him and myself maintain the principles that make up our democratic way of life.
Those are the beliefs of Frieda Gates, a native of Syracuse, New York, an active woman who divides her spare time between social and civic organizations, the golf course, and her garden.