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. 





Wicked

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.






Dazzling 
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.

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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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Build a Better World through Patron Evaluation


As we head into the third week of our Adult Summer Reading program we have received many positive comments with regard to our classes, conversations, and programs here at Worcester Main Library through our outcome-based surveys designed by Project Outcome through the Public Library Association.

When we asked our patrons what they liked most about our programs here is how they responded:

- "it's helpful for my job"
- "very engaging and insightful"
- "informative session"
- "presentation was excellent and informative and organized very well"
- "the instructor was very knowledgeable and informative"
- "lots of actual practice"
- "teacher is knowledgeable and easy to learn from"
- "interacting with others"
- "teachers ability to instruct all levels of fitness"
- "gaining more confidence"

Below is a word cloud visualizing what patrons liked most about our summer programs so far!

Our classes, conversations, and programs offer our patrons new opportunities to learn a new technology, develop a new job skill, discover how to keep your mind and body healthy, or to join a community conversation. Every survey our patrons fill out will help us to design Worcester Public Library's action plan for our 5 Year Strategic Plan and build better classes, services, and programs!






Have you attended a class, conversation, or program at Worcester Main Library? Make sure you fill out a survey to let us know how we are doing and don't forget to log the event you attended on our Summer Reading site!