Sunday, June 25, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: June 25, 1950 The Korean War

On this day in 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea beginning a conflict which remains unresolved to this day. After the end of World War II, the Soviet Union occupied Korea north of the 38th parallel and the United States controlled the land in the south. Both North Korea, a socialist republic,  and South Korea, a Western-style regime,  believed their government to be the rightful government of the country.

The United Nations condemned this invasion calling for North Korea to withdraw to the 38th parallel. With the fear of the spread of communism and the possibility of a third world war, President Truman ordered U.S. troops to South Korea only five years after the end of World War II.

Early in the war,  territory often changed hands with Seoul changing hands four times. The last two years of the war were stagnant with each side's territory remaining mostly the same. This stalemate resulted in an armistice signed on July 27, 1953 establishing the Demilitarized Zone which physically divided Korea and allowed for the release of prisoners. Even though the armistice was signed, no peace treaty was ever signed.

Aerial warfare had advanced since the end of WWII from the propeller plane to the fighter jet in air-to-air combat. The use of helicopters was new to warfare and necessary due to Korea’s rough terrain. Helicopters, along with the advancement of triage techniques learned in WWII helped to reduce the rate of fatal casualties during the war. Approximately 33,739 U.S. troops perished in battle and another 2,835 perished from non-battle deaths.

This product of the Cold War is also termed “The Forgotten War.” Despite this moniker we have plenty of documents published by the U.S. Government, many from the Department of Defense, the State Department, and Congressional Committee Hearings here at the Worcester Public Library. Browse our Korean War reading list today.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Build a Better World with Books

The theme of this summer's Adult Programming is Build a Better World, whether it's improving yourself, making a difference in your community, or adding something positive to the world on a global scale.  We're kicking off the summer with two gardening programs, and here is a list of books on the popular subject of community gardening.

Check out these Build a Better World lists:

Community Organizing

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Treasures From the Worcester Room: Casey at the Bat

Did you know that earlier this month, Worcester celebrated Casey at the Bat week in commemoration of the 129th anniversary of Ernest Thayer's famous baseball poem?  In honor of that, today's blog post is about one of the most unique and fascinating additions to the library's Worcester Room Collection; a handwritten copy of the poem gifted to the library by Ernest Thayer himself in 1896.

Casey at the Bat is of course well-known to baseball and poetry enthusiasts alike.  The poem, telling the legend of star baseball player Casey, and his ill-fated strikeout was an instant sensation when it was first published in 1888, and has been endlessly preformed, adapted, parodied and honored in the following years.  However, what some might not know, was that the author was a local Massachusetts man.  He was born in Lawrence, and raised in Worcester.  At some point, he seems to have made the acquaintance of Worcester Public Library Director Samuel Green, which led to our library acquiring this great treasure.

Judging by a letter written to Samuel Green from Thayer that was included with the handwritten poem, it seems that Green had contacted the author and requested that he donate a handwritten manuscript copy of Casey.  In the letter, Thayer notes that while his "handwriting is not easily legible," he thinks that the enclosed copy of the poem would be of interest to the "baseball enthusiast."  While the poem states there is "no joy in Mudville," the Worcester Public Library is certainly happy to have received such a gift.  The poem, which has undergone archive-quality preservation serves as one of the highlights of the library's Worcester Room Collection, and is just one example of the amazing items that the Worcester Room Collection holds.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Zinio for Libraries

Zinio for Libraries, is a collection of digital magazines to read online on desktops and mobile devices. A valid Worcester Public Library card is required to access our collection of 50 popular titles. Create an account using your library card.Browse, checkout, read magazines in your browser or download to mobile apps. Once you checkout a magazine you may keep it as long as you wish - no holds, no wait list, instant access and no need to worry about return dates! 
Back issues are also available. Go to>Research>Online Dartabases. Scroll down to By Title Alphabetically and select Zinio. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: June 12th, 1987, "Tear Down This Wall"

Thirty years ago today, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, while giving a speech in West Germany, called for Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" The Berlin Wall had divided the city since 1961 into East and West and would continue to do so until June of 1990 when demolition began to remove the concrete divide. Below is an excerpt of President Reagan’s Speech.

“We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Little was done to stop the construction of the wall, which was built during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Those in power thought the wall would help to prevent another war in Europe.  

The Berlin Wall stood as a physical and symbolic barrier between the capitalist world and the communist world. It was erected to isolate and restrict the massive emigration from East Germany to West Germany due to East Germans desire for independence and economic freedom from the Soviets.

Many crossed the wall successfully, although this became more difficult as each iteration of the wall was constructed to be reinforced better than the last. Many died attempting to cross the wall, either from being shot by guards, jumping from the window of a building, or even by crashing a hot air balloon while attempting to fly over the border.

By June of 1987, when Reagan delivered his speech, the wheels were already in motion for the dismantling of the wall. The Soviet economy was in decline which prompted Gorbachev to push forward an economic restructuring, perestroika, which focused on private ownership of business and foreign investment. He also allowed for openness, glasnost, which promoted transparency and freedom of the press.

Shelfie of our American Foreign Policy documents
published by the U.S. Department of State

The Berlin Wall was one of many conflicts from the Cold War. Check out our Cold War Era reading list to learn more about some of the government documents the Worcester Public Library holds on this topic.   

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Birth of a Nation (2016)

2016 deliberately references the D.W. Griffith’s 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation. Nate Parker, Director of Birth of a Nation 2016, chose the title in order to stir up controversy and increase publicity.
Parker made the reference to the 1915 version; which was a completely different story about the Ku Klux Klan. The 1915 was one of the earliest, silent films. It is known as one of the most notoriously racist films.
The 2016 film has different subject; examining Nat Turner’s slave rebellion of 1831 from the slaves’ points of view.
The question is: Does the new, 2016 film, stand alone? What would the movie be without the hype?
Join the Un-Common Cinema screening of the 2016 version, and join in the

Monday, May 29, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: May 29th, 2017 Marks the 100th Anniversary of JFK's Birth

And so, my fellow Americans,
ask not what your country can do for you -
ask what you can do for your country. - JFK

The Kennedy name is synonymous with American politics, and today marks the birth of a political legacy: John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born 100 years ago on this day.
Not only is the Kennedy name synonymous with American politics but it is also synonymous with scandal and tragedy.
Coming from a very wealthy family, he had almost every privilege in life. This allowed him to lead a life of public service that began with the United States Naval Reserves and ended tragically with his assassination during his Presidency while on a visit to Dallas, Texas, in 1963.

His first election to the House of Representatives was made possible by his father, who urged the current U.S. Representative, James Michael Curley, to run for mayor of Boston to make way for his son and financed Kennedy’s campaign. There were extramarital affairs, most famously with Marilyn Monroe. There were cries of nepotism which stemmed from many close family members holding appointed and elected positions in the government.    
But amid the scandal, President Kennedy worked towards civil rights, established the Peace Corps, bolstered the space program, and had an average approval rating of 70%, the highest of any president.    
Below are just a few items from our Government Documents collection published during his all-too-brief presidency.

View our JFK Reading List to see what other publications we have in our Government Documents collection.

  If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. -JFK

Sunday, May 14, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: May 14th: America Explores! Lewis and Clark and Skylab

May 14th, 1804: Lewis and Clark set out on their Corps of Discovery 

The first federally funded scientific expedition set out to fulfill President Thomas Jefferson's instructions "to explore the Missouri [R]iver, & such principal stream of it as by it's course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce."

Lewis and Clark crossed into the western portion of the United States for the first time by Americans, exploring the recently acquired Louisiana land, mapping a path all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Their mission was not solely for science and research but also to establish an American presence before other European countries and to gather information on the native peoples of the western land with regard to culture and population size.

Explore their journey through Worcester Public Library's pamphlets, brochures, and other documents.

May 14th, 1973: Skylab launched into orbit

On this same date in 1973, another federally funded mission set out to explore. With the end of the Apollo missions, NASA set its sights on more long-term missions to research how humans and other organisms would fare in space.

Skylab was launched as an unmanned orbital workshop by the re-purposed Saturn V rocket from the Apollo missions in an effort to save money due to a dwindling budget. However, the vibrations from the launch resulted in several malfunctions including a torn off micrometeroid shield and damaged solar panels used to generate electricity. This left Skylab with only half of its power-generating capability and caused the lab to overheat.

Between 1973 and 1974, three manned missions traveled to Skylab to conduct scientific experiments, Skylab 1, Skylab 2, and Skylab 3. The first mission was able to repair the damage done to Skylab during the launch making the orbiting lab habitable for humans. Experiments conducted by the Skylab missions ranged from sleep monitoring to nuclear emulsion. One study from Biomedical Results from Skylab observed the zero-gravity effects on living human cells during Skylab 3. 

Interested in learning more about how important it is to fund science? Check out our reading list on the Skylab missions.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Treasures From the Worcester Room: A Historic Cartoon

As the library looks ahead to its 2017-2022 strategic plan, it is interesting and important to look back to the library's past.  While many of the glimpses to the library's past housed in the library's Worcester Room Collection include such items as historic board minutes, circulation records and photographs, we do have many less traditional items as well.  One such example is a cartoon depicting a day in the life of the Worcester Public Library from noted award-winning illustrator and Worcester resident Vitty Mattus.

According to articles in the Worcester Telegram, Mattus had a long and distinguished career as an illustrator, becoming well known for Hawaiian landscapes painted during the Second World War.  He also assisted Leon Kroll in creating the war memorial paintings in the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.  Not to mention, he had a decades long career as an illustrator for the Worcester Telegram, which led to the creation of this particular cartoon.  While undated, this particular cartoon likely appeared in the Worcester Sunday Telegram's Feature Parade Magazine during the 1940s or 50s.  The item in question appears to be Mattus's original drawing, and contains notations telling newspaper staff how much to reduce the image for inclusion into the paper.

Many things have definitely changed in the years since Mattus's cartoon was first published.  For example, the library no longer lends out record albums, and cataloging staff no longer must hand-write out cards for a card catalog.  However, as Mattus charmingly illustrates, the library then as now serves as a place for young and old alike to check out items, converse socially and learn more about the world.  It just goes to show, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  This historic cartoon is just another example of the unique and fascinating items that you can find in the library's Worcester Room Collection.

More about Mattus and his work:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

MegaSlam IV: The Final Battle for Worcester

For the past four years, it has been my pleasure to work with Victor Infante, to put on MegaSlam: The Battle for Worcester.  Even now, it blows my mind that this year 64 people came  to the library on a random Wednesday night to listen to poetry!

The poets, in their inimitable fashion,  broke all of the rules, and they did it in style. The winner, Joe Fusco, Jr. walked away with bragging rights and a spiffy custom t-shirt! My sincere thanks go to all of the poets and all of the big-hearted and supportive audience members. You guys always make it worth it.

Joe Fusco Jr.

Joe Fusco, Jr. Winner, MegaSlam IV

Poetry Crowd
Poetry People

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Lists for Days II

Fiction Set in World War I

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States entering WWI, here's a list of historical fiction titles set during WWI.

Earth Day

Earth Day may have come and gone but book about the environment are always an interesting read.  From Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, click here for a list of titles from our catalog.

Autism Awareness

Here are several titles to bring awareness and compassion to a disorder which affects 1 in 68 children.

On This Day in Government Documents: April 25, 1990, Hubble Space Telescope Deployed

Deployed on this day in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope brought the promise of high-resolution images of our universe without the distortion of the Earth's atmosphere and light pollution.

Once the Hubble Space Telescope was launched by Discovery, NASA and the world would soon realize a problem with Hubble's main mirror would delay the much anticipated high-resolution telescope images. It took three years to design a solution for the problem and to send a shuttle crew to repair the faulty mirror.

Interested in learning more about one of the largest space telescopes? Worcester Main Library has many government documents published by NASA on the telescope and much more.

Check out our reading list and browse the documents below for more information. Want to view the sky through the lens of a telescope? Place a hold on one of Worcester Public Library's telescopes here.

Exploring the universe with the Hubble Space Telescope

Edwin P. Hubble - The namesake of our largest space telescope

Space telescope program review : 

hearing before the Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications of the 

Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 

Ninety-fifth Congress, second session, 

July 13, 1978.

Hubble: an overview of the space telescope

Hubble science year in review

Science with the Hubble Space Telescope-II

What a view: realizing a vision: first mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017

Need some books to get you into the spirit of Earth Day? We've got you covered! From Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring our book display will get you thinking about ways you can help our planet. Come visit the Worcester Public Main Library on the 2nd floor and grab some books from our Earth Day display today! Click here for a list of titles from our catalog.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A "Tall" Tale of the Library Giraffe

Recently, the world has been focused on April the Giraffe; a giraffe at a zoo in New York who just gave birth to a baby giraffe.  Did you know that the Worcester Public Library has a giraffe of its very own?  We do! The library's children's room is home to Cecily G the giraffe.

Cecily G, made by the German company Steiff, first came to the library in 1975.  She was originally part of a display in the children's department of the Filene's in the now-defunct Worcester Galleria Mall according to a Worcester Telegram article.  When the store was looking to sell the giraffe, the library purchased her and named her Cecily G after the title character in the H.A. Rey book Cecily G and the 9 Monkeys.

While Cecily G was much-beloved by children, eventually she became so worn out due to years of attention, that the library was forced to place her in storage.  Eventually however, thanks to a generous donation, Cecily was sent to a stuffed animal restoration expert in Virginia and repaired.  In 2007 she returned to a place of pride in the children's room; her very own giraffe savanna.

While it might sound like a "tall" tale, Cecily the giraffe is just another example of the amazing things that you can find at the Worcester Public Library.  The next time you visit the library, stop by and say hello to Cecily G.