Thursday, January 31, 2019

WooReads Patron Book Reviews: Classics Edition

Do you have any classics on your To Read list? Check out these book reviews by our readers on WooReads: Adult Reading Challenge.

If you're struggling to find a good read, don't forget about our eBooks, book clubs, and booklists!

Moby Dick

By Herman Melville

We could all stand to learn a thing or two from this cautionary tale of how the recklessness of one man's obsession and his stop-at-nothing pursuit of the white whale destroys the lives of those around him. Melville's prose is beautiful and witty and the characters he creates are deep and complex. A must-read-at-least-once-in-your-life-book. Yes, it's long, but if you don't care to learn about whale anatomy and how to process a harpooned whale, you can skip those chapters!

~John B.

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley

A wonderful read. Always great to read something by Huxley and Brave New World is an eternal classic.

A captivating look at a sterile, industrialized and calculated future. Perhaps a warning for a world that may lose itself and its magic.

~Lavinia P.


By Mary Shelley

The movie was better than the book! (ha! ha!) I kind of a hard time sticking with this book- the style of writing was very dated and I guess I just couldn't relate to it. I did, however, enjoy learning about the symbolism in the book- "The creature" represents the quest for knowledge, etc. Also- was enthralled with the brief history of the author's intriguing life with those "Romantics".

~Agnes W.

The Republic

By Plato

Very informative for working on my paper for Philosophy class. I could finally understand it.😍

~Valdajean J.

The 100th Birthday of Jackie Robinson

Today we are celebrating the 100th birthday of baseball player & civil rights icon, Jackie Robinson. Born January 31, 1919 in Cairo, GA, Robinson became the first player to break the MLB's color barrier when he made his major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.  The MLB had been segregated since the late 1800s, and Robinson's debut had served as a stepping stone for integration everywhere. That season he was named the National League's Rookie of The Year, and in 1949 was voted the National League's MVP. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. 

Want to learn more? 

-Robinson`s autobiography “I Never Had It Made” 
-“Jackie Robinson: an intimate portrait” by Rachel Robinson with Lee Daniels
-“Jackie's nine: Jackie Robinson's values to live by” by Sharon Robinson 

-42: The Jackie Robinson Story, starring Chadwick Boseman
-Jackie Robinson (presented by PBS) 

-“Who was Jackie Robinson?” by Gail Herman 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Preparing for a Career in Health Care? Check out WPL's Resources!

Worcester Public Library offers students who are studying and preparing for a career in health care a variety of resources to help them succeed on their education path.

We have many study guides for various health care fields in our 2nd floor stacks at the Main Library. Check out this Reading List to see if we have what you are looking for. 

We have databases that health care students will find useful from preparing for entrance exams, to conducting research, to preparing for license or certificate exams.

Learning Express Library

This database can be found under the Education & Test Prep link on our Online Databases page. A Worcester Public Library Card and pin number are needed to create an account. 

Once the account is created, you have access to wide variety of test prep materials such as entrance exams for health occupations, nursing school entrance tests, allied health exams, nursing license and certificate exams, and emergency medical services certification exams.

Health & Nursing Gale Databases

The health related Gale databases can be found under the Health & Nursing link on our Online Databases page. They include Gale - Health and Wellness Resource Center, Gale - Health Reference Center Academic, Gale - Nursing and Allied Health Collection, and Gale - Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Collection. 

These databases offer access to academic journals, magazines, books, reference, images, and videos. Results can be refined by a variety of filters; peer-reviewed, full-text, images, publication dates, and so on. 

Gale databases allow users to sign in with their Google or Microsoft accounts. Once signed in, users can save articles and send them to their OneDrive™ or their Google Drive™. The database also offers citation tools and does the work for you!

If you need further help finding a study guide or accessing our databases, come to any reference desk at the Main Library or call 508-799-1655 ext. 3. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

WooReads Patron Book Reviews: Nonfiction for Days

Wondering what nonfiction book to read next? Check out these reviews to see what other people have recently read. Also browse our Booklists and Staff Picks to get more ideas for your next read.

Don't forget to log your books into WooReads: Adult Reading Challenge. We also like your book reviews so keep em' coming!

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

By Robert T. Kiyosaki

Awesome book! Completely changed my mentality on how I see money and what I spend my money on. Don't expect a step by step plan on how to make money though the book does give you a few ideas on how to start.

~Christian N.

Gumbo Tales: Finding my Place at the New Orleans Table

By Sara Roahen

A love letter to New Orleans cuisine and the city itself, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Don’t read if hungry! Having recently visited New Orleans, I now crave so many dishes that aren’t readily available in Worcester!

~Amy K.

Napalm and Silly Putty

By George Carlin

For anyone who appreciates the brash thoughts of Carlin. Funny, sharp, short and sweet, brings memories of watching his acts.

I may not agree with him on everything, but he has a unique voice that rejects mainstream society.

~Lavinia P.

Old in Art School

By Nell Painter

-got a kick out of this story...60 year old woman who's highly educated (in History) takes on the MFA program at RSDI. I loved the way this author described her classes-especially the "crits" (students' work criticism), and the use of artsy language...

~Agnes W.

Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot's Guide to Activism

By Nadya Tolokonnikova

It was like reading a conversation, made ever so much more powerful because you knew Nadya was writing this book in a language not her own, so I could understand her message. Empowering, engaging, encouraging and thoughtful. I needed this book to fuel me forward.

~Krystal L.

So You Want to Talk About Race

By Ijeoma Oluo

It is a great read!

~Kaitlin B.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A Healthy Start to your New Year!

Want to jump start some healthy eating habits in the new year? Did you know you can take a nutrition class or a cooking class right here at the Worcester Public Library?  As part of WPL's  Food Literacy programming, healthy cooking classes are taught monthly at the Main Library in the Saxe Room on Saturday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:30.  We have partnered with Colin McCullough of VegWorcester and Chef Kim Youkstetter, culinary instructor at Worcester Technical High School.  Colin has been a vegan for over 25 years and focuses his classes on plant-based and whole foods.  Their popular classes cover current and seasonal topics including:

Healthy Holiday Baking, Amazing Vegan Sauces, Gluten-Free CookingFresh Whole-Food Soups, Breakfast Smoothies that Taste Like Dessert, Tea Party Appetizers, Fresh Summer Salads, Grilled & Chilled, Using an Air Fryer: Making Fried Food Healthier,  Homemade Pasta.  

Nutrition classes are taught by the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program and also include a brief cooking demo. They are typically offered on Tuesday afternoons at the Main Library.  Past topics include:

Making Healthy Choices for People Living with Diabetes, Choosing Healthy Snacks – Limiting Sugars, Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables, Moderation is the Key: Cutting Back on Fats,  Healthy Eating for Healthy Living
WPL's most recent cooking class was held on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Colin McCullough was back to teach Unprocess Your Plate!  This class tied together all of the classes he has taught here at the library over the past year.  Colin gave an introduction on all the basics needed to start an unprocessed diet.  He recommended kitchen appliances and accessories, demonstrated how to prep and freeze make-ahead recipe ingredients, highlighted some recipe substitutions, recommended where to purchase local, fresh ingredients on a budget, and stressed how sauces are the key to eating whole grains, legumes and veggies.  

The class also got a sneak preview of
his soon to be published vegan cookbook

Join us for Colin’s next class, “Smoothies that taste like Girl Scout cookies” on Saturday, February 9 from 2:00 – 3:00 in the Saxe Room at the Main Library. Click here to register.

Click here to sample some titles from our catalog Vegan Book List

WPL also hosted two special programs this past year. The fourth annual Celebration of Coffee, where over 100 people gathered to sample and learn about coffees from around the world.   

The library was also host to New York City based Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Projecta non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Korean history and culture. They presented their program, Hidden Wonders of Korea, to an audience of 75 who got to sample a Korean meal.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe

A drawing of Poe sitting at a desk.

 If you look into the life of Edgar Allan Poe you will find conflicting information.  I’ve read that he was athletic, a weakling, a family man, a lady’s man, a drunkard, and someone who didn’t drink much at all.  The cause of his death is a mystery, too.  In 1849 he disappeared for days, reappeared to be taken to a hospital, and is described as being raving mad until he passed away there.  Rather than get bogged down in the murky details of his life, let’s discuss Poe’s writing.  

Born on January 19th, 1809, Poe had early aspirations as a writer.  He idolized the poet Lord Byron, and did his best to emulate Bryon’s Romantic and brooding style.  Poe first began publishing in 1827, but in the 1840s his writing took shape as what we think of today.  In 1841 he published the short story “The Murders in Rue Morgue”, which is considered to be the first modern detective story.  Many fictional detectives, including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, were based on C. Auguste Dupin from “The Murders in Rue Morgue”.  

One of Poe’s most famous works is “The Raven”.  Published in 1845, it brought Poe the fame he’d been seeking.  It earned him invitations to important literary gatherings and brought him recognition in the streets, where children would follow after him flapping their arms.  More than two centuries later, references to Poe’s works can be found throughout pop culture.  The Simpsons did their own version of “The Raven” during a “Treehouse of Horror” episode, and SpongeBob SquarePants used another of Poe’s famous stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, for an episode entitled “Squeaky Boots”.  From cartoons to narrations by respected actors like Vincent Price and James Earl Jones, Poe remains in our lives beyond his mysterious death.  Even if you think you know plenty about him, I suggest you checkout some Poe-related items that Worcester Public Library has to offer. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

WooReads Patron Book Reviews: Not So Rave Reviews

Books. Some you love. Some you hate. Some you can't get past the first paragraph. Then there are those books that offer the promise of a worthwhile read. So you bear down and make it to the end just to find out that for you, the book wasn't worth it.

Now what? Did you waste your time? Not at all. You learned more about yourself, you learned more about the author, and you are able to let others know what you thought of the book. Read below to see why our patrons gave these titles a not so rave review.

Alternate Side

By Anna Quindlen

Meh. I would rate this 2-3 stars out of 5. Have enjoyed other works by this author. Story is about rich, successful Manhattan women's mid life issues. I really didn't care much about any of the characters; especially the protagonist.

~Patricia A.

The Poison Squad

By Deborah Blum

You may never want to eat again after reading this book! A history of quest for food safety stymied by the food manufacturing industry. Not as readable as Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook but still a worthwhile read.

~Amy K.

The Fountainhead

By Ayn Rand

Unnecessarily long and poorly written story featuring some unsavory and dubious actions.

While the idea of being the hyper individualistic Howard Roark may be appealing to a teenager who feels like they are fighting against the world, it's something one should grow out of.

~Lavinia P.

Unsheltered: a Novel

By Barbara Kingslover

I am a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, but this was a disappointment. I felt is it was a heavy handed, political diatribe (and I agree with her politics). Definitely lacks subtlety, I really didn't care for any of the characters.

~Patricia A.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Computer or Device Questions? Visit Our Open Lab!

Do you have a new tablet, phone or device that you need a little help getting started with?  Would you like some assistance with setting up an email account, or learning how to use Google Drive?  Would you like some tips and tricks on using Microsoft Publisher to create a flyer for an event?  How about how to get set up with Craigslist or Ebay to sell unwanted household goods?  If you answered yes to any of these or similar questions, than the WPL's Open Lab Tech Help is the place for you!

Every Wednesday evening in the 3rd floor computer lab between 5:30 and 6:30, come by to receive one-on-one technology assistance from our Reference staff.  You can stop in anytime from 5:30-6:30 and can stay for the full time, or just a few minutes if you have a quick question.  No appointment necessary.  Bear in mind that we cannot perform any hardware repairs to your computer or device.  Our open lab is for instruction only.  We hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

WooReads Book Reviews: Short, Sweet, and to the Point

Reading goal update: 1,446 books read

Keep reading and keep logging! We will get to 5,000 books together. Check for updates and log your books at

Get inspired to read. Check out these short and sweet book reviews below or use our Find Your Next Great Read Service! Get a customized reading list from an expert librarian based on your past reading experience. 

What We Were Promised

By Lucy Tan

This is a very well written book that I enjoyed a lot. It describes the lives of contemporary Chinese families

~Patricia A.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: a novel

By Maria Semple

This book was serious and hysterical all at the same time! I couldn't put it down!

~Kimberly F.

Back to the Bedroom

By Janet Evanovich

Was one of her starting books. Easy to read romance but not up to the quality of her later ones.

~Karen S.

News of the World: a novel

By Paulette Jiles

Good book, interesting story set in 1870 Texas. Well written, a quick and enjoyable read.

~Patricia A.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

WooReads Patron Book Reviews: Inspiration for the New Year!

Number one on your list of New Year's resolutions is, of course, to read more books. Number two on your list is to log those books on  WooReads: Adult Reading Challenge and help us reach our community goal to read 5,000 books before the end of May. 

Enjoy these book reviews and get inspired to read in the new year! From organizing to travel to biography to self help, this last has you covered. 

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing

By Marie Kondo

I intend to clean up my apartment in a method inspired by this book! Now to just get around to doing it!

~Adelaide G.

My Twenty-Five Years In Provence: Reflections on Then and Now

By Peter Mayle

A lovely culmination of a stellar career writing about France and especially Provence. A truly joyful book to read, made all the more poignant for having lost Mr. Mayle in January of this year (2018.)

~Margaret P.

The Art Of Asking: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

By Amanda Palmer

- 4.5 stars -

I listened to this book (read by the author, which I highly recommend) on a bus ride from Worcester to NYC, and I'm still thinking about it, weeks later. I have appreciated Amanda Palmer and her art from afar for a long time, and listening to her honestly work out the philosophy behind her life and art so personally fascinating. At times it got a little over-indulgent, but for the most part I didn't mind. The narration was close and heartfelt, interspersed with music, by the author and by friends, and ultimately introduced me to the radical concept that art, in all forms, is work, and that connection is a form of art.

~Gretta C.

AVA: My Story

By Ava Gardner

Autobiography of her early years in the south before she was discovered and her tumultuous years as a movie star. The movies she appeared in and the people she met and worked with. Those that loved her and helped her career and those that hurt her both physically and mentally.

~Arlene C.

Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Crush It! Is a great book to help entrepreneurs and creatives think about the choices they make and how to embrace entrepreneurship.

~Giselle R. 

In Pieces: a Memoir

By Sally Field

Sally hasn't had an easy career life but she can still show her funny, pleasant side. From Gidget to Mary Todd Lincoln, she has shown strength and courage. Enjoyed the read, even though it is tear producing at times.

~Arlene C.

So Close To Being The Shi*T, Y’all Don’t Even Know

By Retta

I brought this book on a flight from Boston to San Diego and cracked up laughing out loud at least a couple of times. It’s by Parks and Rec alum Retta (Donna Meagle on the show), who shares some fun stories—though not much dirt—about her time on the show as well as her love of tv, hockey, and Hamilton the musical. This is an easy and entertaining read, perfect for the beach or airplane. Enjoy!

~Amy W.