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