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.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Italian Renaissance: Brought to you by The Medici

The Medici Family was fraught with contradictions; wealthy and murderous, yet patrons of the arts. This is The Medici. There would be no renaissance without them; the Medici funded the artists involved in one of the most important movements in the history of art. 

Among others, these artists were supported by the Medici:

  •  Michelangelo

  • Raphael

  • Donatello, and

  • Leonardo da Vinci.

The Medici increased their wealth by providing banking services to the wealthy and to the Pope. Their connection to the Pope gained them a high status, power, and influence. They were known to be unscrupulous in their schemes to gain power and money. 

Read more about the famous Medici real-life drama:

The Medici

Ferdinand Schevill

945.5 S328m

The last Medici

Harold Acton

929.2 M489a 1980

Florence and the Medici

J. R. Hale

945.5 H162f 2001

The Medici, godfathers of renaissance


The Medici: a great Florentine family

Marcel Brion

OVERSIZE 929.2 M489b

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stump the Librarian: Day Four

Today's Stump the Librarian question is relevant to the holiday of Passover: Are there Kosher for Passover, gluten-free paper plates?

Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: You wouldn’t normally think that paper plates might contain gluten, but it is sometimes possible that the starch used in binding the paper pulp could contain wheat (which is a no-no for Passover). Furthermore, there are stringent requirements for certifying a product as Kosher for Passover (and there are multiple Kosher certification agencies). The Orthodox Union states that people may use paper goods containing corn starch even though they are not certified (source:* Another certifying agency, OK, has a list of Kosher for Passover paper plates here: *

*Worcester Public Library does not endorse any of the aforementioned certifying agencies/products and is not responsible for determining if a particular product meets certain standards. Please check with a religious official if you have additional questions on this subject.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question today for our fourth day of Stump the Librarian as part of our National Library Week festivities! Each day from 4/9-4/15, we will select a question and try to answer it (we welcome all ages to ask questions!). You may submit your challenging questions in person using our box by the self checkout machines at the Main Library, email us at (subject: Stump the Librarian), or PM us on Facebook! If you stump us, you'll win a library lovers prize (if you don't stump us, you'll still get a prize)! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

On this Day in Government Documents: April 11th, The Launch of the Ill-Fated Apollo 13

Forty-seven years ago today Apollo 13 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with every intention of being the third manned mission to land on the moon. The trajectory of this mission soon changed from a space odyssey to a rescue effort that tested the ingenuity of the flight crew and the Houston flight controllers. Not only did this incredible event inspire a major motion picture (which misquoted “Houston, we’ve had a problem” with “Houston, we have a problem,” not an uncommon mistake as seen in the second government document titled, “Houston, we’ve got a problem”) but it also launched a bevy of government documents ranging from congressional hearings regarding the mission and the accident to a four volume chronology on the spacecraft, all available for your research needs at the Worcester Public Library. Click here to see documents published by the U.S. government on Apollo 13 held at Worcester Public Library.   

Apollo 13: "Houston, we've got a problem"


 "SPACECRAFT - Hey, we've got a problem here.
     Thus, calmly, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert gave the first intimation 
of serious trouble for Apollo 13 - 200,000 miles from Earth.
     CAPSULE COMMUNICATOR - This is Houston; say again, please. 
     SPACECRAFT - Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a Main B bus undervolt."


"For three long minutes no word was heard from the
spacecraft as friction with the air raised the heat shield to a
fiery glow that blacked out radio communication."


BONUS: The Apollo spacecraft: a chronology is available as an online resource!

Friday, April 7, 2017

outsider art:

outsider art: any work of art produced by an untrained artist who is typically unconnected to the conventional art world—not by choice but by circumstance.
The characterization of the artists who create outsider art were socially or culturally marginal figures.
These people nevertheless produced—out of adversity and with no eye on fame or fortune—substantial high-quality artistic oeuvres.

These works are from musician activist and artist Tim Kerr.

These works are from street artist Brian "Bydeeman" Joseph.

For more information: 
Kinshasha Conwill
759.1 T344
Extraordinary Interpretations : Florida's self-taught artists
Gary Monroe
709.759 MONROE
The preference for the primitive
H. Gombrich
700.4145 GOMBRICH 2006
Outsider Art
Roger Cardinal
American Self-Taught
Frank Maresca
709.73 M325a
Drawing the city
Behan, Teju
759.95 BEHAN

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Treasures from the Worcester Room: Worcester's Major League Team

As the Boston Red Sox open up the 2017 Major League Baseball season, it is interesting to remember that Worcester once had its own MLB team.  In fact, the Worcester team is responsible for some fascinating and important baseball milestones as well.  Between 1880 and 1882, Worcester was home to the incredibly, creatively named "Worcester Worcesters".  The Worcester Public Library's Worcester Room has a number of resources that detail the team's unique legacy.

Originally a minor league team, the Worcester Worcesters joined the majors in 1880 thanks to a campaign spearheaded by manager Frank Bancroft.  Bancroft was apparently quite a skilled promoter.  For example, as can be seen in the newspaper article above, the Worcester team became the first American professional baseball team to play in Cuba.

One of the proudest moments for the Worcesters was when pitcher Lee Richmond (pictured above) became the first pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game.  On June 12, 1880, he completed the rare feat as the Worcesters beat Cleveland 1-0.  Richmond was so skilled a player that as one baseball history site says, "his dominance for Brown University’s squad – while he was being lured in and out of the majors by Harry Wright and Frank Bancroft – so upset the Ivy League that they legislated against any 'professionalism' in the college ranks, laying the foundation of NCAA policy to this day."

While Richmond was an ace pitcher, the Worcesters were perhaps not the most skilled team.  As the book The Worcester Club: 1880-1882 charitably states, "it became evident that the Worcesters weren't the best team in the league, but they prided themselves on being the most gentlemanly."  At the end of the 1882 season, due to low attendance numbers, the Worcesters were removed from the league.

Interestingly, after the club disbanded, Richmond would go on to become a doctor, and then a math teacher in Ohio, where he taught the son of another perfect game pitcher.  According to an article from the Society for American Baseball Research, Richmond told his young student "Your father pitched a perfect game. Well, so did I. It doesn’t mean anything around here and it isn’t going to help you with your geometry."

While baseball is now back in Worcester, with the Bravehearts playing games here every summer, it is important to look back on the legacy of the Worcesters.  Just another example of the fascinating stories of Worcester's long history that you can find in the Worcester Room.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Book Lists for Days

Dear Worcester Readers,

Looking for something to read?  Library staff has compiled a few book lists on varied topics for your browsing pleasure. Click on any link below to see what's checked in, what's check out, and what looks good to you!

Funny, Punny Titles

It's cold! Which makes it a perfect time to curl up with a cozy mystery! Click on the link above for funny, punny titles

No more episodes of Penny Dreadful? Here’s what to read next!

World Stories for the Community

A wide-ranging list of novels, biographies, memoirs and short story collections to promote understanding of other cultures.

Spiritual Matters

A collection of thoughtful items that encourage self-reflection and peace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Un-Common Cinema Presents: From Nothing, Something

Saturday, April 15
2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Saxe Room

Join us for a monthly screening
of thought provoking film, followed
by a lively discussion of
the issues presented.

Have you ever wondered about the creative process??

About where ideas come from?

And how creatives manage to find these ideas 
over and over as they work?  

On April 15th, 2017, the Worcester Public Library will be showing the documentary "From Nothing, Something."

We will be screening the film and discussing it. 
The film will bring many interesting questions to explore. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Treasures From the Worcester Room: A Pre-War Playbill

As the United States prepares to commemorate the one hundred year anniversary of America's entry into World War I this year, it is interesting to note that the United States entered the war relatively late.  As such, the war was a subject of fascination to many Americans for years, without Americans having declared a side.  Along those lines, it is interesting to look at at a play that was performed in Worcester 101 years ago this month in February of 1916.  That play was Under Fire written by Roi Cooper Megrue.

The Worcester Room's collection of theater programs has always been one of the collections that has interested me the most.  Not only does it demonstrate how Worcester has long been a home for the arts, it also helps to demonstrate the opinions and culture of the city at the time.  This particular program has a few interesting features worth highlighting.  The program insists that the production is "new and neutral" and promises a show free from "noise, horror and atrocities" and featuring "thrills, comedy and romance". This shows a country and a city that could still look at the First World War through the eyes of a third-party observer.  In fact, when researching the history of the production, I found one article from the time that mentioned that when the show was running on Broadway, the director hired reservists from the German army who were living in America to play German soldiers.  This was mere months before the United States would be battling the German army in Europe.  Just another great example of the treasures that can be found in the library's Worcester Room.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winter Reading Challege: Last Chance for Submitting Reviews!

Here are a few more fiction book reviews by patrons who participated in our Winter Reading Challenge. Our Winter Reading Challenge will end on February 28 (so if you're going to participate, hurry up and read!). You may even win a Bundle of Books Basket! Want your book review to be featured on our social media? Take the challenge and write a review of the books you read! Sign up and log the books you read here! Good luck and happy reading!

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 We all know who the famous character Sherlock Holmes is, but I never actually read about him until now. I'm not a big fan of mystery novels in general, but I found this book very entertaining. I appreciate how wonderfully short and to the point it was since many Brit Lit novels are very verbose. This murder mystery involves a historically cursed family that is "hounded" by an evil dog-like creature. Is it a real dog? Is it a demon? Is it operating on its own? Why is the family being murdered? How can it be stopped? Holmes and Watson crack this multi-layered case in under 300 pages, and the ending will most likely surprise you. It is written from Dr. Watson's point of view, often through diary entries or letters. If you are a (murder) detective/mystery fan, this is definitely the godfather of all mystery books that you must read. Despite not being much of a mystery fan myself, I plan on reading all his Sherlock Holmes books.

Lex P.

by Yaa Gayasi

Homegoing deserves the attention and best-seller status it has acquired -- riveting story by a first-time novelist of two sisters whose lives in 18th century Ghana go very different directions. Wonderfully depicts the different regions of Ghana and in turn, the U.S.
Highly recommended!

Allison H.

by Allen Steele

Alan Steele, Massachusetts resident and former writer for the weekly news journal Worcester Magazine, is the author of the science fiction novel "Coyote". Coyote is the story of why the first extrasolar human colony is founded and how the colonists are challenged by the alien ecology and their own human mistakes and frailties. The colony is on the moon of a ringed planet a few hundred light-years from Earth - the planet is named "Bear" and one of its moons is the titular "Coyote". During the 230 year-long voyage the humans are kept asleep - until one is "accidentally" awakened. The novel is divided into sections, with each section having its own protagonist. The first section takes place on Earth, where the crew and colonists are assembled. The next part is told from the point of view of the man who tries to remain sane after discovering he is the sole conscious person on board. There's a section told by Wendy, a teenager, who is one of the colonists, and another section which follows the misadventures of a teenage boy. Coyote will appeal to readers that enjoy grand adventure, hard science fiction, and the works of Robert Heinlein. But I think the first section, in particular, will draw the interest of politically-aware readers: How did this hugely expensive space mission come to be funded? Why is there only 1 star on the flag? How does ship's captain Robert E Lee modify his orders? And what secret is Wendy's father hiding from both her and Captain Lee?

Melody F.

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by Ben Aaronovitch 

The Hanging Tree is a fun, fast-paced mystery that will remind you of Doctor Who and Percy Jackson for grown-ups. Peter Grant is a policeman in London who specializes in supernatural occurrences -- and London is full of them. This is the latest installment in the series "The Rivers of London". In the Hanging Tree the world of the super-rich collides with the "demi-monde" of fae, river goddesses and elves. The result is murder most foul.

Maryagnes R.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s name first broke the scene when Madonna heavily invested in her art. Kahlo was a Mexican painter whose art did not fit any convenient movement of the time; not even the current Surrealism.  No one was like Kahlo. She  had a sad story as a physically challenged woman. She broke her back and was confined to her bed for years. She continued to paint in her reclined position. Instead of the pitiful invalid, Kahlo’s self-portraits show her strength, her sense of humor and her pain. She was married to the famous muralist and philanderer, Diego Rivera, whose murals thematically included the power of the people and political uprisings.
Frida Kahlo: the painter and her work
Prignitz-Poda, Helga.


Frida Kahlo: the paintings
Herrera, Hayden.

759.972 K12h 1993

The letters of Frida Kahlo: cartas apasionadas
Kahlo, Frida.

759.972 KAHLO

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection & 20th century Mexican art from the Stanley and Pearl Goodman Collection


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Winter Reading Challenge: Even More Book Reviews by You!

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Here are a selection of nonfiction book reviews by patrons who participated in our Winter Reading Challenge. Our Winter Reading Challenge will end on February 28 and all adults are welcome to participate. You may even win a Bundle of Books Basket! Want your book review to be featured on our social media? Take the challenge and write a review of the books you read! Sign up and log the books you read here! Good luck and happy reading!

The Perfect Horse: The Daring US Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts is a real life thriller about how the Nazis tried to apply their eugenics theories to horse breeding by using the Lipizzaners and other thoroughbred horses to breed the perfect war horse and how the Americans acted to save the horses trapped ahead of the advancing starving Russian army. Fascinating reading for horse fans and World War II fans.

Maryagnes R.

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Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. I found it extremely interesting to read about the early years of this country in the context of current events. I didn't realize how divided and tumultuous things were back then, with frequent talk of civil war, fears about reverting back to monarchy, major personal animosity among the founding fathers. It's a long book, but written very engagingly so it goes quickly. Highly recommended.

Jeanne G.

Image of itemBad Feminist by Roxanne Gay is sharp, introspective, and witty. She provides a much-needed intersectional discussion of race, gender, and sexuality.

Caitlin S.