Sunday, December 10, 2017

DIY and Hobby Magazines for the Winter Time

Need a new hobby to get you through the winter months? The Worcester Public Library has dozens of arts & crafts and DIY magazines on display. We also keep up to two years of back issues (some even longer)--enough to keep you busy crafting and creating until the trees start budding again.


Ever wondered how writers create that unique voice that sets their books apart? Wondering how authors ever actually finish writing a novel in the first place? This month’s The Writer has answers to those questions and more.

Other titles on display for the aspiring wordsmith: Poets and Writers, Poetry, and--since reading is the key to becoming a better writer--The New York Review of Books.

What better way to stay warm this winter than by cooking up some comfort foods? The WPL has all of the most popular cooking magazines, packed with tips and recipes from the experts.

On display you’ll find the latest issues of Fine Cooking, Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, and more.
Knitting, Crochet, and Cross-stitch

If you’re lacking enough hats and scarves to get you through the snowy season, now is the perfect time to start knitting. Find patterns from the pros in titles like: Knit Simple, Crochet!, Vogue Knitting International, and Cross-stitch & Needlework.
DIY & More!

From home improvement and woodworking to jewelry making, dance, and yoga, the Worcester Public Library has you covered. Visit Periodicals on the 3rd floor of the Main Branch to get started on your winter hobby and DIY journey today. Don't forget to check our online catalog as well for other titles of interest!

Friday, December 1, 2017

World AIDS Day 2017

December 1st marks World AIDS Day when we come together to support those living with AIDS, reduce the stigma associated with it, and remember those we have lost to the disease. 

Join AIDS Project Worcester tonight from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Spyridon's Cathedral on Russell Street in Worcester for their free, annual event.

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, on the second floor of the Main Library, Worcester Public Library has a display of books, brochures, and pamphlets on HIV/AIDS information. View our World AIDS Day Reading List for more titles. 

Also be on the look out for new HIV/AIDS related titles coming soon to Worcester Public Library. This purchase was made possible by the AIDS Community Outreach Project, "Bringing HIV/AIDS information to the Heart of the Commonwealth." AIDS Project Worcester, University of Massachusetts Medical School Lamar Soutter Library, and Worcester Public Library have partnered to increase knowledge of the disease by not only purchasing new titles, but also building a training room at AIDS Project Worcester, and updating AIDS Project Worcester's website.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Magazines on Display in Periodicals

Here’s the latest:

In the November issue of The Atlantic, hear the scientific side of how Leonardo da Vinci made Mona Lisa smile. (Hint: it involved several late night trips to a Florentine morgue).

Matt Taibbi pens a scathing exposé of the “The Great College-Loan Swindle” in the latest Rolling Stone. But, if student loan problems hit too close to home, skip ahead to the latest news on Stranger Things, Sam Smith, and get inside the mind of the meteoric Cardi B.

If you’re feeling uneasy about the future, you’ll find no solace in this month’s WIRED feature, “Love in the Time of Robots.” The article tells the tale of engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro who builds androids. But not just any androids--”beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas.”

Read these and hundreds more of the latest and most popular magazines, all on display on the 3rd floor of the Main Library.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Romance Book List

It's the most wonderful time of the year for romance readers - snuggly, steamy, and heartwarming Holiday Romances are here! We've put together a list of our newest titles to look for, and in December we'll have plenty of displays up on the first floor of the Main Library, highlighting our entire holiday fiction collection. Keep warm with some Holiday Happily Ever After!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Massachusetts Health Connector Open Enrollment Period: November 1st, 2017 through January 23, 2018

Open enrollment starts today, November 1st. What do the changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mean for Massachusetts residents?

While the ACA enrollment period has been cut in half to only 45 days, Massachusetts residents open enrollment period is almost twice as long.

Massachusetts residents have from November 1, 2017 through January 23, 2018, to renew their current plan or apply for a new health or dental plan. Visit the Massachusetts Health Connector to buy or renew a commercial health plan and receive financial assistance if you qualify.

Recent cuts to the Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments affect lower income consumers on the silver tier plans. Find out how the president’s recent decision to cut CSR payments could affect your Massachusetts plan.

Need help navigating the system? Find a trained and certified Enrollment Assister in Worcester who can help you navigate the application process.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Urban Fiction in Fall 2017

Have you seen our expanded Urban Fiction collection? We’ve been hard at work getting the latest titles with that steamy, gritty drama you love! We have books from your favorite authors, like the latest in The Cartel series by Ashley and Jaquavis, or Hoodlum 2 by K’wan, but also lots of up-and-coming authors like Tyrone Bentley, Aija Monique, and Amir Sanchez. Stop into our fiction section and browse our special urban fiction display, highlighting all the juicy reads that keep this genre so hot! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October is Health Literacy Month!

If you have ever left the doctor’s office confused or tried to research a health topic but did not quite understand the information, you are not alone.  

Medical information, prescription instructions, and the health system as a whole are complex notions for the layperson and especially for those with learning disabilities and English as a second language. A patient’s ability to process health information is affected by literacy skills, age, disability, cultural competency, and emotional responses.

Health Literacy Month highlights the need for plain language, easy-to-access, and reliable health information understood by all.    

At Worcester Public Library we strive to provide jargon-free health information for our patrons. In our Consumer Health Reference area, we offer health reference books that are easy to read and understand. We also provide pamphlets, brochures, and community information.

Health Reference Center
On our website, we have selected a list of health websites with reliable information. One website in particular,, specializes in plain language medical information. This site offers easy-to-read health information in both English and Spanish on topics ranging from health conditions and diseases to doctors visits to parenting., also in English and Spanish, is another reliable website to research health needs.

When researching health information on the internet:

  • be sure to verify the information is current; most health articles will have a “last updated” date somewhere on the page
  • if the website ends in .com, be wary; if it ends in .gov, .edu, or .org you can expect the information to be reliable
  • always ensure the information is accurate by checking other reliable websites and health books to verify the information
  • websites full of advertisements may indicate the website is in the business of selling ads and not in the business of providing reliable health information

If English is your second language you have the right to language help at no cost to; talk with doctors, nurses, and other staff members; talk about bills and insurance; and to make appointments.

Misunderstanding medical information can have costly and unnecessary consequences. Ask questions to clarify, do your research using reliable health resources, and ask for an interpreter when needed, to make sure your health needs are met.  

Review our Health Literacy Reading List and visit the Health Literacy Display on the 2nd floor of the Main Library for more information today.
Health Literacy display; up for the month of October

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Booklists for the Fall

As the weather cools and swimsuit weather fades away, thoughts turn to coziness and comfort food.  Here's a list of foodie memoirs that will make you want to hit the kitchen and get cooking, like The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, a recipe-laden account of the author's quest to retrieve her great-grandmother's elusive ravioli recipe, taking her throughout her home state of New Jersey and her family's homeland of Liguria into the circles of numerous relatives. Mangia!

And speaking of coziness, what's cozier and more romantic than New England in the fall?  For a list of romance novels set in nearby locales, click here. Books like Heroes Are My Weakness, which tells the tale of a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows who finds herself trapped on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Her only company is with a sexy novelist who knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands.  

Finally, in honor of our Worcester Arts Council's grant funded calligraphy workshop series, here's a list of titles recommended by Worcester artist CJ Kennedy on the art of calligraphy. For other books on this topic, visit the 745.6 collection on the 3rd floor of the Main Library or ask a librarian! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Treasures from the Worcester Room: A Flyer from the Worcester Lyceum

One of the most striking things you notice when considering the library's Worcester Room Collection is not only how many impressive personages walked down the streets of Worcester during the city's long, proud history, but also how interconnected the histories of Worcester's various institutions are. We recently discovered an 1850 flyer from the Worcester Lyceum advertising an planned series of lectures from some speakers who are very well-known in history.  Founded in 1825, and eventually becoming Worcester's Ecotarium, the Lyceum was apparently able to book some notable people to speak,  Put it this way: of the ten speakers, eight of them are well-known enough to have fairly detailed Wikipedia pages.  This was an all-star cast of lecturers.

Horace Greeley was of course one of the most notable newspapermen of all time, and the founder of the New York Tribune.  He and his papers were considered national thought-leaders, and helped shape the opinions of the time, and define the role of the newspaper in American society.  He was also quite active in politics, serving as a senator and eventually running for president in 1872.

Wendell Phillips was one of the most famous abolitionists in American history, and a pioneer in advocacy for the rights of women and Native Americans.  Interestingly, eleven years before the start of the Civil War, several of the other speakers were known for their abolitionist views, notably Edward and Henry Beecher, the brothers of Harriet Beecher Stowe and well-known theologians in their own right.  It is important to remember that Worcester, and Massachusetts in general was a strong supporter of anti-slavery efforts.

Besides the speakers however, the entrance fees (almost $30 for men and $15 for women and children in today's money) included access to the Worcester Lyceum's expansive library.  Interestingly, the books in the Lyceum's library would eventually be donated by Dr. John Green to a new location: the Worcester Public Library.  The Lyceum's library collection is currently housed in our library's Green Collection.  This flyer and its links to the history of the city is just another example of the treasures that you can discover in the library's Worcester Room Collection.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Recommend an ebook title to purchase

Interested in making an ebook recommendation? There are two ways you can do that! Fill out the Suggest a Title form on our website. You can find it at under Explore —Suggest a Title. We can place a hold and notify you when the item becomes available.

Another way is to directly recommend a title to c/wmars while you are browsing the digital collection. Click on this link to learn more about it. Please note there is no guarantee your suggestions will be purchased. They will be considered if there is enough interest in the title and if it fits our selection criteria.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

In honor of September being Library Card Signup Month, see these titles that are about books and libraries!

For example...Simon, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a bluff that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who lived and worked in a traveling circus more than two hundred years ago.Why does his grandmother's name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Could there possibly be some kind of curse on his family? Simon must try to decode his family history while moving on from the past...a wondrous novel about the power of books and family and magic.

And if you agree with Margaret Atwood's famous quote 
“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise," you might like these titles in which children are the main characters. Like Eggshells by Catriona Lally: Odd and lonely Vivian puts out an ad for a friend—specifically one named Penelope—in a local Dublin paper, and when someone fitting that description finally answers, Vivian's life begins to change.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Build a Better World: Coming to America - A Place to Put Down Roots

We have all come to America for similar reasons which can be summed up in one phrase: build a better world for your family.

In an effort to highlight these similarities, we are asking patrons participating in our Summer Reading program to tell us about how their families came to America. Below are a few Coming to America stories. Despite the fact that each patron's background differs from the next, there is one theme that resonates strongly throughout each story: America, a place to put down roots. 
I met my husband two years ago. He is from Jamaica. We got engaged in St Catherine, Jamaica in front of his children and grandchildren. He migrated to USA this past May; with his two younger children. We got married a month ago and it has been a great journey to learn more about his Jamaican culture. He is learning a lot about living in USA. There are a lot of challenges when joining two cultures together. We would not change it for the world. Loving every moment of my new husband and his daughters coming to America.
~ Mona R. 
My family came to America because of their parents and for work and opportunity in America.
~Citizenship student
 They came during the potato famine in Ireland and settled in northern N.J.
~Maureen K.
My family on my mom's side came over on the Mayflower, my family on my dad's side came over in the early 1900's.
~Jessie C.
My family came to the United States to live near my mother's family. I was 8 months old when we came over from France. My brother was 2. He left his Nunu (teddy bear) on the plane. When my parents reported this the plane had already left for Germany. They found Nunu and made sure he arrived safely in Boston so that they could be reunited.
~Katherine R.
I came to the United States in order to join my daughter.
~Citizenship Student
Not sure of your families origins? We have plenty of resources at Worcester Public Library to help you get started, including a subscription to Ancestry!

Build a Better World: End of Summer Reading Book Reviews

Thank you to all who contributed their book reviews as part of our Summer Reading Program. Here are a few more for you to peruse!

Don't forget to check out our upcoming events and book talks coming fall 2017!

Letters from Paris

by Juliet Blackwell

This book review is about "Letters from Paris," a historical/mystery fiction novel by Juliet Blackwell and a book from the recommended reading list. Besides being well written, the book is a wonderful mixture of history, art, love, culture, and mystery. The real-life and famous "L'Inconnue de la Seine," a death mask of a young girl from the late 1800's, is the driving force in Claire Broussard's adventures in Paris. The author writes her own fascinating interpretation of what happened to the young girl from the death mask while Claire, from the present era, learns about buried secrets from her past and where her future life begins. The chapters often change voices and time periods but in a very fluid, natural way. Paris comes to life within these pages, through the eyes of many of the characters. French words are sprinkled throughout the novel as a gentle reminder to the reader that you are still in France despite the novel being written in English. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy historical fiction, mystery, and Paris life.
~ Lex P.

Being Mortal 

by Atul Gawande 

The book brings to light what end of life discussions could look like. Being mortal means that we will inevitably die, and when we look to medicine and technology to extend our lives, we have to ask what makes life worth living for the few extra months or years. Sometimes having these conversations in a graceful way by asking what's most important to us (e.g. being able to watch football and eat ice cream) will make decisions down the road much easier both for the family and for the people administering treatment or procedures. It's a worthy read to start considering items we put off simply because we can. ~Anita Y.

John Quincy Adams: A Militant Spirit

by James Traub 

I have a project to read a biography of each president. This one is especially good as it is well written and covers a wide span of history and places. JQA led an interesting and long life and kept a detailed diary, all of which makes for a fascinating book. He wasn't a happy person, his parents were so hard on him (as he was on his own children), he had an unhappy marriage, but he ends up gaining my respect by the end. This book provides a lot of perspective on the root causes of the Civil War and the current political situation. Highly recommended!
~Jeanne G.

Inside the Clinton White House: an Oral History

by Russell L. Riley

I read Inside the Clinton White House - and found the beginning and the ending absolutely fascinating. The middle was boring and I mostly skimmed it - but it was a great book overall.
~Melissa C.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Build a Better World: Coming to America - The Land of Opportunity

We have all come to America for similar reasons which can be summed up in one phrase: build a better world for your family.

In an effort to highlight these similarities, we are asking patrons participating in our Summer Reading program to tell us about how their families came to America. Below are a few Coming to America stories. Despite the fact that each patron's background differs from the next, there is one theme that resonates strongly throughout each story: America, the land of opportunity! 

My mom came to America 50 years ago from Norway ... to work at the Worcester Public Library! She lived next door at the YWCA and worked at the downtown branch! She was initially just here for 1 year but ... has now been in Worcester for 50 years. She worked at multiple library branches and then ultimately left the library system not long after my brother was born (then came me!) She later returned to work for CW Mars!
~ Margaret K. 
I came to America to further my education.
~Khym D.
My great grandfather immigrated to the United States from Sicily, Italy in 1912 at only 11 years old with his younger brother who was 8 years old. I don’t know why his family left Sicily. His father, my great-great grandfather had arrived in the United States before them. My great-great grandfather worked as a laborer at a dye company, and my great grandfather followed his footsteps to become the superintendent at that same company. In 1919, he married my great-grandmother who was a U.S. born citizen, and he was naturalized in 1928.
~Lex P.
I came to America 15 years ago, for a job opportunity. It was a one year contract, renewable for up to three years. I came, as you can guess, on a regular commercial flight! Early on in my stay, I met my husband, who grew up in the United States (his great grand-parents emigrated here). We met in North Carolina, got engaged and married there, moved to Colorado, then Maryland, and finally moved here to Worcester, 9 years ago. I did not think that I would emigrate to America, but here I am to stay. My parents and siblings are overseas and thankfully I can visit them often. I have been welcome in America, and I am lucky that I feel at home here too.
~Natalie H.

Want to share your family's Coming to America story? Go to our Summer Reading site and complete the challenge today. 

Not sure of your families origins? We have plenty of resources at Worcester Public Library to help you get started, including a subscription to Ancestry!

Build a Better World: Summer Reads Book Reviews

Our Summer Reading Program ends August 19th. There is still time to sign up for our Adult Summer Reading Program and share your book reviews on our Summer Reading site. Submit 3 book reviews and be entered into a random drawing to win a fun prize. We might even post your book reviews here. Keep those book reviews coming!

The Inheritance

by Louisa May Alcott

This book review is about “The Inheritance” by Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women.” This short novel was Alcott’s first, written at 17 years old and truly is a juvenilia work. This book was never published during her lifetime and was found in old records in the 1990s. Sadly, the story is very predictable, and the characters are fairly flat. Edith is an orphan from Italy who’s taken to England by a kind man who takes pity on her and becomes a companion and governess for the Englishman’s daughter. Her saintliness, kindness, and selflessness is spoken of ad nauseam from all the characters around her. I would only recommend this book to people who are big fans of Alcott’s work in general. If not, definitely stick to “Little Women,” which is her masterpiece.
~Lex P.

Never Let Me Go

by Kazuo Ishiguro

I could not get into this book. I have heard that it is interesting and worth reading. I spent about 2 hours listening to the audio book and deleted it. Could not keep my attention.

~Jean P.

113 Minutes

by James Patterson 

This is a fast paced book that you can read in a few hours. A book of sorrow, suspense and revenge. Read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this book.
~Jean P.

Thank you for your wonderful book reviews!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Build a Better World: Share your Book Reviews!

Sharing is caring! Share your book reviews with us on our Summer Reading Site and we will share them here!

Secrets in Summer 
by Nancy Thayer

This book review is about Secrets In Summer by Nancy Thayer. The setting is Nantucket in the summer. The protagonist, Darcy Cotterill, is a librarian which is a bit rare to find in novels and extremely refreshing. Her ex-husband moves in next door for the summer with his new family and naturally turns her life upside-down. If you are looking for a book about relationships, life on Nantucket, or a great beach read, I highly recommend this book. Nancy Thayer's writing of the every-day life is like a very modernized version of Jane Austen.

~ Lex P. 


by Gregory Maguire

Wicked gave an interesting view of how the witches of Wizard of Oz got to Oz. The fact they were friends at school before going to Oz was interesting. It explained what happened before Dorothy got there. I loved it.

~Barbara G.

By Elizabeth Hayley

This was fast-paced and quite enjoyable but I just wanted some closure and a sense of a journey, of both Derrick and Siobhan accepting one another. Overall a good short novel.

~ Viryuana M.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Build a Better World: Coming to America

Chances are your family, like many other families, immigrated to America from another country. Americans hail from a wide variety of countries, cultures, and experiences but our reason for coming to America reveal that despite our differences we are very much alike. Whether your family arrived in America hundreds of years ago or a hundred days ago, the reason to come to America is strikingly similar: build a better world for your family.

In an effort to highlight these similarities, we are asking patrons participating in our Summer Reading program to tell us about how their families came to America. Below are three Coming to America stories. Despite the fact that each patron's background differs from the next, there is one theme that resonates strongly throughout each story: America, a place of refuge. 

My family came over by plane due to the Cultural Revolution, a harrowing time when cultural relics were destroyed, music and literature were banned, re-education took place, and countless people were imprisoned and killed. My parents don't speak much of it, and perhaps it's because it's prohibited in China.
~ Anonymous

My grandparents came to America from Germany in the late 1920's. My grandfather had fought for Germany in the first world war; he could see the writing on the wall, and did not want to fight for Germany again.
~ Sharon B.

My fraternal grandfather came to America during the Armenian Genocide as a child.
~ Danielle T.

Want to share your family's Coming to America story? Go to our Summer Reading site and complete the challenge today. 

Not sure of your families origins? We have plenty of resources at Worcester Public Library to help you get started, including a subscription to Ancestry!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Build a Better World: Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover! Patron Book Reviews Continued...

There is still time to sign up for our Adult Summer Reading Program and share your book reviews on our Summer Reading site ! Submit 3 book reviews and be entered into a random drawing to win a fun prize! We might even post your book reviews here!

See what your fellow patrons are saying about their summer reads below!

The Lonely Hearts Hotel 
by Heather O'Neill

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill 2/5 stars. If only this book were as lovely as the cover. Overall I found this book crass and a too all over the place more my liking. The occasional quote that would seem perfectly lovely totally out of the context of the book bumped it up just over 1 star. I also was able to read through it in a little over a day - if it had taken any longer, I don't think the occasional lovely prose would have redeemed it enough to justify that extra star. 

True story I only picked this book up at the library (side note - read more library books) because the spine caught my eye and I thought the cover art was lovely and sweet. That'll show me to read books solely based on the cover.

~ Tracy M.

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English
by Natasha Solomons

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English is a charming debut novel. I fell in love with the protagonist as soon as I started reading it. At times, the story is funny, at times it is sad. Natasha Solomons tenderly explores the experiences of finding home in a new place and what it means to have a sense of belonging.

~ Yash P.

Fahrenheit 451

60th Anniversary Edition
by Ray Bradbury

forward by Neil Gaiman

“It was a pleasure to burn.” This opening line is one of my favorites of all time. So powerful and captivating. This book review is about the 60th Anniversary Edition of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, one of my all-time favorite books. The 60th Anniversary Edition begins with an introduction by Neil Gaiman, author of “American Gods” and ends with two supplementary material sections. Part One is “The Story of Fahrenheit 451” which explains Ray Bradbury’s process and the second part is called “Other Voices” where we hear from book critics describing their take on F451. 

This classic is about a superficial society where books and reading are illegal. The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman but not the kind of fireman we know of today. Instead of rescuing people and homes from fires, these firemen create fires to destroy books and even kill people who read them. It wasn’t the government that started censoring books; it was the people themselves! I highly recommend that you read this novel to find out what happens to Montag and to remember Ray Bradbury's cautionary tale!

~ Lex P.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Build a Better World: Patron Book Reviews Abound!

Loved it? Hated it? Write a review and let us know! 

Sign up for our Adult Summer Reading Program and share your book reviews on our Summer Reading site! Submit 3 book reviews and be entered into a random drawing to win a fun prize! 

A Life in Parts 

by Bryan Cranston

As someone who didn't know Cranston was the lead on Breaking Bad, I enjoyed gaining insight into his life (like going with the flow with marrying a couple because a reverend had booked two weddings on the same day) and how he delved into and created his character as an actor. It's a popular audiobook for a reason. Cranston has lived his life with much gusto, committed to both his family and his career. Poignant, funny, and inspiring, this book is still a 4.5 out of 5 stars 

~ Anita Y.

Stillhouse Lake 

by Rachel Caine

I needed a break from some deep non-fiction reading I've been doing, so turned to a thriller I had stored on my Kindle that was probably an Amazon deal of the day or something -one of those things that by the time I read it, I've forgotten how it made it on the list in the first place. The problem with most books along these lines (Woman In Trouble Surrounded By Men Where At Least One Is EVIL) is that the author often goes too far in the other direction to make the big bad wolf seem like a fluffy puppy. Caine did an excellent job of making each of the cast of characters switch realistically between menacing and helpful, suspicious on one page and then a Boy Scout the next. 

It is rare where I read a book like this that I haven't predicted the "surprise" twist (is anything more overdone these days?) and guilty party by halfway through, and here, each time I was sure I had figured it out, I'd start to doubt it, much like Gwen herself. And I think that's what held this together so well - Gwen is such an interesting main character, as you see her grow from gullible victim to bad-ass self protector. 

I also have to give credit for managing to make clear the horrific nature of the serial killer's crimes while not veering anywhere near torture porn descriptions. There were times I wondered how realistic the level of continuing obsession of Gwen's internet stalkers was... given the 24-hour news cycle world we're in, wouldn't they have moved on to newer shinier targets? It was the only thing I had to conscientiously suspend disbelief over, and I was more than willing to do so.

~ Roseann F. 

Born to Run 

by Bruce Springsteen

Loved Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run and totally recommend the audiobook version.  I tried to get this from Overdrive but it took too long and was able to borrow the Recorded Book CD Set.  It's an amazing tale and so well written. You learn everything you ever wanted to know about Bruce Springsteen and his great passion for music and his family.  

~ Roseann F.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: The Presidential Succession Act of 1947

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 signed by President Harry Truman. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution covers a variety of scenarios: what happens if there is a presidential vacancy? what happens if there is a vice presidential vacancy? what happens if the president becomes incapacitated? However, it does not answer the question of what happens if both the president and the vice president can no longer serve.
The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 fills in the gaps of the Twenty-fifth Amendment with regard to the line of succession. This act, and its predecessors, the Presidential Succession Act of 1792 and the Presidential Succession Act of 1886, have never been invoked. The Presidential Act of 1947 is codified in 3 U.S. Code § 19.


The 1792 Act called for the president pro tempore of the Senate to fill the position of the presidency if the president and vice president could no longer serve. If the president pro tempore was unable to serve the speaker of the House would fill the position.

The line of succession changed in 1886. Congressional officers were out and cabinet members were in. Proponents of the new act insisted the president pro tempore and speaker of the House would lack the experience needed to fill the position of the presidency. Instead, the line of succession would go to the president’s cabinet and be determined by the order in which the cabinet positions were created. This meant the secretary of state would be first in line to serve as president if the both the president and vice president could no longer serve. At the time of Presidential Succession Act of 1886, six cabinet positions were filled by former presidents and it was thought these men would better be able to act as president because of their prior experience.

The order of succession changed again in 1947. Today, if the president and vice president can no longer serve, the speaker of the House becomes president. If the speaker of the House cannot serve, the president pro tempore of the Senate fills the position. If both of these officials are unable to fill the  position the line of succession moves to the presidential cabinet members and follows the order in which the cabinet positions were created starting with the secretary of state.

While none of the acts have been invoked, many instances have occurred where either the president or vice president could no longer serve, but there are no situations where both were unable to serve. However, thanks to Aaron Sorkin we can catch a glimpse of how the Presidential Succession Act might play out if it were necessary.

In Twenty-Five, episode 23 of season 4 of The West Wing, President Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) is unable to fulfill his presidential duties and temporarily steps down from office, invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment. The Twenty-fifth Amendment calls for the vice president to step in; however, Bartlet’s vice president recently resigned due to a scandal, leaving the office vacant as Bartlet had not yet nominated a new vice president. Next in line, according to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, is the Speaker of the House, Glen Allen Walken (played by John Goodman). Walken’s political views are in direct conflict with those of the Bartlet administration. The tension is thick as Walken is sworn in as the acting president. As Bartlet makes an effort to ease the situation, Walken retorts, “You are relieved, Mr. President.”

Curious about the Presidential Succession Act? View our Presidential Succession Act reading list to learn more from WPL's government documents collection.