Thursday, December 31, 2020

Tats: Tattoos and their Social Significance

Do you have any tattoos? 

tattoo is a design made on a living being, by inserting ink, dyes or pigments into the dermis layer of the skin to change its appearance

A tattoo may be a flower, an anchor, a word, a religious symbol, a literary allusion, an entire scene, something from the sciences, a lover's name...

The Planets
Sometimes it seems like 90% of everyone I see has a tattoo (or two... or 27), a method of body adornment especially abundant among young adults. Tattooing has become quite popular these last 25 years, but it is by no means a modern art.

In September, 1991, in the Ötztal Alps near the border between Italy and Austria, hikers found the mummified remains of a man. Researchers nicknamed him Ötzi and Frozen Fritz (and later concluded that he had been murdered). His remains were dated to about 3200 BCE, but what interests us here is that he had 61 tattoos. A very old tradition, indeed!

From Wikipedia (accessed on 12/30/2020):

"[Ötzi's tattoos consisted of] 19 groups of black lines ranging from 1 to 3 mm in thickness and 7 to 40 mm long. These include groups of parallel lines running along the longitudinal axis of his body and to both sides of the lumbar spine, as well as a cruciform mark behind the right knee and on the right ankle, and parallel lines around the left wrist. The greatest concentration of markings is found on his legs, which together exhibit 12 groups of lines. A microscopic examination of samples collected from these tattoos revealed that they were created from pigment manufactured out of fireplace ash or soot. This pigment was then rubbed into small linear incisions or punctures. It has been suggested that Ötzi has been repeatedly tattooed in the same locations, since the majority of them are quite dark.

Radiological examination of Ötzi's bones showed "age-conditioned or strain-induced degeneration" corresponding to many tattooed areas... It has been speculated that these tattoos may have been related to pain relief treatments similar to acupressure or acupuncture. If so, this is at least 2,000 years before their previously known earliest use in China (c. 1000 BCE).

At one point, research into archaeological evidence for ancient tattooing confirmed that Ötzi was the oldest tattooed human mummy yet discovered. In 2018, however, nearly contemporaneous tattooed mummies were discovered in Egypt."

Tattooing was invented in many cultures over the centuries. Besides China (as noted in the Wiki article quoted above) tattooing was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, by the Inuit, and in Polynesia. In fact, our word "tattoo" comes from the Polynesian word "tatau", which means "to strike". If you're unfamiliar with the process, typically the tattoo artist "strikes" the target skin with a sharpened stick or needle. However, in some societies tattoos are created by cutting the skin and rubbing a colored agent into the cuts. Modern tattoo machines have one or more reciprocating needles that move in and out 100 or more times per second.

Some tattoos are purely decorative, some are chosen for their symbolism, some are for medicinal purposes (either to mark the site where surgery is to be done or in the belief that the tattoo itself has healing properties), and some are used as identifying marks of ownership on animals (for example, on cattle). Some cohorts, such as gangs or military units, use tattoos to create a common identity among members.

The European history of tattoos is one of originally perceiving them as curiosities of "savage" peoples. 

Nancy Drew on the arm of Erin O'Neall/Teen Librarian

In the 16th century French sailors kidnapped an Inuit woman and her child from Labrador. For over ten years the tattooed woman, whose name is lost to history, was put on display in Antwerp. 


Jeoly, a
n enslaved man from Mindanao, had a similar fate; his tattoos were objects of fascination to visitors to a tavern in England. When he died his tattooed skin was preserved for a time and displayed in the  Anatomy School of Oxford

And the famous Captain James Cook [1728 -1779] who captained the first British ship to explore the South Pacific islands and the eastern coast of Australia, also transported a tattooed person away from his native lands, in this case, from Tahiti. Omai was brought to the court of King George and became quite popular. 

Artist Sidney Parkinson accompanied Cook on his first voyage of exploration. It is believed he had himself tattooed in Tahiti, perhaps the 1st European to be "inked". But that started a tradition of naval men getting tattoos. In fact, eventually, it was assumed that a tattooed man was a sailor. American naval identification documents (called "Protection Papers"), used to prevent the British Royal Navy from "impressing" American sailors, often included a description of a sailor's unique tattoos.

In 1894 a Londoner named Sutherland Macdonald [1860-1942] opened the first documented tattoo shop in England. His clients were mostly lower-class; the art-form was still associated with the edges of society and criminals.

Here in America, the first recorded professional tattoo artist was a German immigrant named Martin HildebrandtHildebrandt opened a shop in New York City in 1846. This was during the Civil War, and, in addition to the services offered at his professional premises, he began traveling from military camp to military camp to tattoo soldiers. 

One of our librarians has this tat

In the West, tattoos were originally a male thing but tattoo artists and the tattooed themselves eventually included both men and women. A good tattooist could command high prices for his or her complex designs. Among the tattooed were the wealthy, and even royalty.

When the tattoo machine was invented (and patented in 1891), prices came down and high-quality tattoos were now affordable by the general populace. This led to a rejection by the upper-income market, members of which didn't want to be associated with lower-class habits.

There is abomination and brutality associated with tattoos: the Nazis tattooed sequential numbers onto the arms of their Jewish prisoners - male and female, adult and child; they kept excellent records of the millions of Jews (and others) that they murdered in the death camps.

Many studies have been done of tattooing and the social eddies surrounding this art. In 1975, there were only 40 tattoo artists in the USA but by 1980, there were more than 5,000. A phone survey in 2006 determined that 36% of Americans ages 18–29, 24% of those 30–40, and 15% of those 41–51 had a tattoo. But of those who are inked, 72% of adults have tattoos that are hidden by their clothing.  

The American tattoo industry generates an estimated $1.6 billion in revenue. There is also a market in tattoo-removal services: an industry study concluded that 17% of people with tattoos regret having them, usually because the tat was the name of another person.

Kentucky became the last state in the USA to legalize "tattoo parlors", in 2006.

No discussion of tattoos would be complete without examining the tattoo culture and designs of Japan. Although at times illegal, at times high art, irezumi are remarkable for their complexity and beauty. 

The popularity of this means of artistic expression led to the creation of a reality TV show in 2005. Called "Miami Ink", it took place is an actual tattoo shop - each episode highlighted several customers and delved into why they chose to get inked and why they chose the design they did. The show had a large following and several spin-offs were produced: "LA Ink", "London Ink", "NY Ink", and "Madrid Ink". Many celebrities appeared on the show, including world-famous chef Anthony Bourdain.

Alice Through the Looking Glass/ Erin O'Neall, Teen Librarian

If you'd like to learn more about "tats", you might want to borrow some of the books and DVDs on our list - Staff Picks: Tattoos

A fluorescent tattoo of an MC Escher print

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


New year, new stories! Time to find your next great read with WPL. Looking for a New Year's resolution? Why not challenge yourself to read more! Try fiction for fast-paced thrillers, swoon-worthy romance, and more! Learn something new with nonfiction, where you can explore a wide array of topics. Check our our staff booklists for recommendations. Get rewarded for reading when you sign up for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. If you log twenty books or 3 activities, you'll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! You'll also help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May. We can do it, Worcester!

The Eye of Heaven by Clive Cussler & Russell Blake 

Very fun and entertaining book! Love the Fargos! Their adventures never disappoint. ~ Miriam V.

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

In a collection of stories, Gabrielle Union shares her truth. Often humorous, emotional, and enlightening. It really does feel as though you're two friends reminiscing about lived experiences over bottle(s) of vino! ~ Mary T.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

A wonderful historical romance that is timely and fun to read. The setting was well-researched by the author. You'll learn a lot about Victorian England and the suffragist movement.  ~ Tara J. 

Cemetery Beach by Warren Ellis 

A quick fun read about an agent that is sent to investigate a different planet. From the beginning to end is an endless run against time. The art is okay; it wasn't the best. ~ Maximino M.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Featured January Releases

Did one of the book covers on our homepage catch your eye? They are all new titles being released in January 2021, and all are well-reviewed and anticipated. You can either watch the video below or read the descriptions of each, then click the linked title if you'd like to request a copy or get your name on the wait list. And don't forget to watch for more featured releases next month! 

Featured Fiction Titles for January:

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams--their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she'd given up, what was taken from her, how she'd suffered, surely they'd understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That's all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

Pickard County Atlas by Chris Harding Thornton
In a dusty Nebraska town, sheriff’s deputy Harley Jensen patrols the streets. It’s July 1978, and the heat is making people restless. That and the Reddick family patriarch has decided, decades after authorities ended the search for his boy’s body, to lay a headstone. Instead of bringing closure, this decision is the spark that threatens to set Pickard County ablaze. After the memorial service, Harley tails the youngest Reddick, Paul, through the abandoned farms and homes outside town. The pursuit puts Harley in the path of Pam Reddick, a young woman looking for escape. Pam is drawn to Harley’s dark history, not unlike that of her husband, Rick—a man raised in the wreckage of a brother’s death and a mother’s fury. Unfolding over six days, Pickard County Atlas sets Harley and the Reddicks on a collision course. 

Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida
Mia looks like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia, she can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle, dress, and signature lipstick she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know is to retrace her steps outside the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the duplex she calls home in her posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with house-sitting. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend. But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram they discover an ugly truth, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. 

Featured Nonfiction Titles for January: 

One day, a baby magpie falls from its nest and into Charlie’s hands. Magpies, he discovers, are as clever and mischievous as monkeys. They are also notorious thieves, and this one steals his heart. By the time the creature develops shiny black feathers that inspire the name Benzene, Charlie and the bird have forged an unbreakable bond. While caring for Benzene, Charlie finds a poem written by his biological father, a British poet named Heathcote Williams who vanished when Charlie was a baby. As he grapples with Heathcote’s abandonment, Charlie is drawn to the poem, in which Heathcote describes how a young jackdaw—who, like magpies, are part of the crow family—fell from its nest and captured his affection. Benzene helps Charlie unravel his fears about repeating the past—and embrace the role of father himself. 

To Be Honest: A Memoir by Michael Leviton
If you’re like most people, you've probably lied. But imagine if your parents had raised you to never lie, under any circumstances. This is Michael Leviton’s extraordinary account of being raised in a family he calls a “little honesty cult.” For young Michael, his parents’ core philosophy felt liberating. He loved “just being honest.” By the time he was twenty-nine years old he'd learned that this honesty had consequences—in friendships, on dates, and at job interviews. And when honesty slowly poisoned a romance, Michael decided there had to be something to lying after all. He set himself the task of learning to be as casually dishonest as the rest of us. 

Aftershocks: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu
Young Nadia followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would say it was time to leave. This instability of her childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear then vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother gave her a revelation that was either a secret or a lie. When Nadia arrived in New York she felt uncertain yet eager to find herself. But what followed were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together. Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s quaking. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Staff Picks with Devon & Joy

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for this month's Staff Picks review. This week's titles include a tragicomic tale, an Oprah's Book Club choice written by a Pulitzer Prize winner, an historical fiction book that blends Chinese myths with American fables, a history of the exploration of Mars, a coming-of-age tale set in 1980s Scotland, and a physical and spiritual journey through the history of Christianity. Check back next month for another Staff Picks review!

Staff Picks for December
Sad Janet by Lucie Britsch
A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith by Timothy Egan
The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stewart
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Power of Code

Learning how to program – or code – can be the pathway into a great career, earn you a promotion, give you an incredibly flexible and powerful tool for problem solving, and be the source of significant personal satisfaction.

How can the library help you to learn to code? 

 We offer classes in Python, CSS and Wordpress to help you get started.

  • Register for the CSS class here: CSS
  • Register for the Python class here: Python
  • Register for the Wordpress class here: Wordpress

 We have a large collection of books and e-books you can borrow to help you on your way. 

Here are some of the programming languages our books cover:

• Python • C • C# • C++ • SQL Server • Oracle • ASP.Net • VB • Javascript • JQuery • Scratch • Ruby • Objective-C • Java • Perl • PHP • Scala • Swift • Raspberry Pi • Assembler • Clojure • Rust • Postscript • Pascal • COBOL • Arduino

And these technologies:

• HTML • CSS • XML • Regular Expressions • Linux • Networking • Windows • Mac OS

And these applications:

• Microsoft Office; Excel, WORD, Powerpoint • Adobe Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, Illustrator, Elements • iPhone and iPad apps • Alexa

Monday, December 14, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Tis the season to be reading! We have lots of new books at WPL just waiting to be read. Click here to browse our latest titles. If you like what you see, place a hold for curbside pick-up. Log any books you've read for our WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. Help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by May 2021. Check out the adult patron book reviews below for suggestions on your next read. 

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore 

Although challenging to keep reading because it is so sad and depressing, there is some legal resolution in the end. Not unlike other industrial pollution/workplace fallout tales, this is the story of many young women who died young due to the unknown - then known but covered up - effects of hand-painting numbers on clocks and military instruments that would glow in the dark. Fascinating, thorough, well-written investigation into the effects of radium poisoning. ~ Linda J.

The artwork is mesmerizing and is very busy. I loved the story with its intense twist and mythological fantasy that the world brings.
~ Maximino M.

Great character development! ~ Susan M. 
Cutting Edge Short Story Collection 

This is a collection of short stories by talented authors, some more well known than others. They are a bit dark, but all wonderfully written. I listened to the book and it was narrated by XE Sands. She does a very good job, drawing the listener in.
~ Katherine R.

On this Date in History: WPA Murals Dedicated at WPL - December 14, 1972

"Farming in the Worcester Region"

If you've ever visited the Main Library, you've probably seen the three large murals hanging on the wall above the second floor. The themes of the murals aren't related to libraries, so you may have wondered why we have them. Hopefully you'll have a greater appreciation of the murals after reading today's blog post! 

"Reading of the Mail - Communication of Ideas"

Did you know that WPL was not the first institution in Worcester to have these murals? In fact, our murals originally resided in the lobby of the former Parcel Post Building at Franklin and Harding Streets. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government created the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project to employ artists to create and/or teach art throughout the then-48 states. Most of the art would be displayed in public buildings, including post offices, schools, and hospitals. A jury contest was held to select the artist that would win the commission for the creation of murals in the Parcel Post Building. The winner? Ralf Edgar Nickelsen of Auburndale, MA.

Nickelsen was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1903. His art training included studying at his father's stained glass studio and the State Art School in Hamburg. Nickelsen immigrated to the United States in 1922, where he continued his studies at the Art Students' League in New York and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. At one point Nickelsen was a supervisor for the Massachusetts WPA Federal Art Project in Boston, where he oversaw projects in such institutions as the Medford Public Library. 

Image of Ralf E. Nickelsen from Worcester Daily Telegram, June 25, 1938

The awarding of the Parcel Post Building murals to Ralf Edgar Nickelsen was not without controversy. According to an article from the June 25, 1938 edition of the Worcester Daily Telegram, the chairman of the local jury committee that handled details of the contest alleged that the officials from Washington allowed Nickelsen to submit extra sketches for the mural. Apparently the subject matter of the sketches Nickelsen originally submitted did not fit the brief of "local history, local industry, or local pursuits." The drafts included tornadoes, floods, and sandstorms, which were not as common in the Worcester area! The local jury had selected Nickelsen as only their third choice out of the 47 New England artist contestants when they submitted their recommendations to Washington, and felt that the government violated the rules of the contest. However, Nickelsen was ultimately awarded the $2400 job to create the murals.

The news of the murals reached across the Atlantic. The Hamburger Anzeiger, a German newspaper based in Hamburg, proudly reported on their former resident's accomplishment in 1939. Hugo Sieker wrote about Nickelsen's artistic motifs in the winning drafts and praised the fact that Nickelsen maintained his "North German character" even after living in the United States for sixteen years. It was certainly fascinating (in a horrified sense, knowing what we know today) for this librarian to read a German article from that era.

"An Artist from Hamburg victorious in America," Hamburger Anzeiger, January 13, 1939.
Note the "Sandstorm" image depicted.

Nickelsen created three oil on canvas murals in the social realism style for the Parcel Post Building project. The three murals were entitled "Reading of the Mail - Communication of Ideas," "Street Building- The Foundation of All Communication," and "Farming in the Worcester Region." "Farming in the Worcester Region" is the largest mural at 33 by 8 feet, while the other two murals are 18 by 8 feet and 18 by 7 feet four inches.  The largest mural depicts harvesting grain from circa 1910 and the other two murals depict 1930s Worcester scenes. The murals were installed in the Parcel Post Building on November 10, 1940. 

"Street Building- The Foundation of All Communication"

When the Parcel Post Building closed in 1970, Dr. Samuel Bachrach, former president of the WPL Board of Directors, and Dr. Anthony Polito, chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee of the WPL Board of Directors, advocated to have the murals remain in Worcester and proposed the library for a site. The Parcel Post building was turned over to UMASS Medical School for use as a storage facility. However, before the murals could be transported to the library, it was discovered that the U.S. General Services Administration had taken the murals for safekeeping. Worcester would only be allowed to have them back on permanent loan if the murals were restored and if the Friends of the Worcester Public Library would raise the funds to transport the murals back and to rehang them.  Hiram Hoelzer restored them in New York and the Friends raised the $1200 necessary to transport and rehang the murals. 

Fun fact: the murals originally had rectangular holes to account for the air registers on the post office's wall. However, when the murals were restored, the restoration team filled in and repainted the holes. You can still see the lines of the rectangles if you look carefully (the rectangles are a different shade than the rest of the mural as seen in the photograph below). Nickelsen reportedly was not as thrilled with the restoration job.

"'Farming in the Worcester Region' mural by Ralf Edgar Nickelsen at Worcester Public Library,"
image date and photographer unknown

The murals were rehung in Worcester on the wall above the second floor of the Main Library in the then-social sciences division. Hoelzer and his team put the finishing touches on the work and then on December 14, 1972 at 4 PM, officials held the dedication ceremony. Mr. Nickelsen and his wife Ingeborg attended the ceremony. 

"Mr. & Mrs. Ralf E. Nickelsen at dedication of Nickelsen murals
in Worcester Public Library Dec. 14, 1972"

These murals remain on permanent loan from the National Collection of Fine Arts of the Smithsonian Institution. Ralf Edgar Nickelsen died in 1990 and his papers are held in the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

So what became of the old Parcel Post Building? After over 30 years of use by UMASS Medical School, the building was demolished. The City built the Union Station Garage on the site in 2007.

Site of the old Parcel Post Building, circa mid-1990s

A special thanks to Benjamin Korstvedt, Ph.D of Clark University for translating the article from the Hamburger Anzeiger for us!

More information:

"Charges Rules Violated In Making P.O. Mural Awards." (1938, June 25). Worcester Daily Telegram.

Dempsey, James. (1993, January 25). Library mural has own history. Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Massachusetts Historical Commission. "U.S. Post Office Parcel Post Station."

McKie, Jr., Lincoln. (1972, December 7). WPA Murals of City Hung at Library. Worcester Telegram.

Nemeth, Robert Z. (1972, March 20). How to Save a Landmark. Worcester Telegram.

Nickelsen, Ralf E. (1972, April 10). Appreciates Effort to Save His Works. Worcester Telegram.

Ralf E. Nickelsen Papers, 1929-1993. 

Sieker, Hugo. (1939, January 13). "Ein Hamburger Künstler siegt in Amerika" [An Artist from Hamburg victorious in America]. Hamburger Anzeiger.

"The Mural is Back." (1972, December 13). Worcester Telegram.

Yasko, Karel. (1972, July - September). "Treasures from the Depression." Historic Preservation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


Patrons are raving about reading in this week's adult book reviews! If you've read a great book, why not share your thoughts with other readers? Sign up for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. You'll be able to write reviews, log the books you've read, and log the programs you've attended with WPL. By logging your books, you'll help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May. You can also get rewarded for reading! If you log at least 20 books, you'll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! Don't forget that while we're closed for browsing, you can still place a hold on items through our catalog and we'll let you know when you can pick them up. 

An Unwanted Guest by Shari LaPena

A winter weekend in the Catskills seems nice. Than a guest gets murdered during a storm. No electric, no phone. Another guest turns up dead. Where will it end? Suspenseful! 
~ Karen S. 

She is a great story teller and you feel like you are back in time! A great escape! ~ Joan M.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Best book ever! I would read this book over and over again. It is that good! ~ Virginia B.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt like I was in the courtroom throughout the trial as an observer. The character studies were very good. My attention was held throughout the book.
~Jane O.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Celebrate the Season with Kanopy


Celebrate the season with Kanopy, a streaming service available free with your WPL card. Learn about another culture, watch seasonal classics, and discover the meaning behind holiday traditions. You can watch 3 movies per month, and have 72 hours to watch the movie as many times as you like. If you do not have a Kanopy account, create one hereIf you enjoy discussing films, try our Film Discussion Club

Seven Candles for Kwanzaa

This short film shows the unique African-American holiday that commemorates the strength of family ties, respect for ancestors, commitment to the growth of community, and gratitude for life's bounties.

Run time: 10 minutes

Rating: Not Rated 

Jingle Bell Rocks!

A trippy, cinematic sleigh ride into the strange & sublime universe of alternative & underground Christmas music, featuring The Flaming Lips, Run-DMC, The Free Design, Miles Davis & Bob Dorough, John Waters, and many more.

Run time: 95 minutes

Rating: Not rated 

In the Month of Kislev

A wealthy merchant learns the true meaning of Hanukkah when he takes the family of a poor peddler to court for savoring the smell of his wife's pancakes from outside their window.

Run time: 13 minutes

Rating: Not Rated 

Candles for New Years

For centuries, groups of Lahu have been migrating from southwestern China into the highlands of Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle region. Though they share much with other migrants in the ethnic patchwork of the region, the Lahu maintain a vigorous sense of themselves as a distinct people. New Years is their prime time for celebrating what it means to be Lahu.

Run time: 30 minutes 

Rating: Not rated 

The Man Who Invented Christmas

The story of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Run time: 105 minutes

Rating: PG

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Set almost entirely in a Chinese restaurant, this film is an offbeat, irreverent musical documentary that tells the story of a group of Jewish songwriters, including Irving Berlin, Mel Torme, Jay Livingston, Gloria Shayne Baker and Johnny Marks, who wrote the soundtrack to Christianity's most musical holiday.

Run time: 53 minutes

Rating: Not rated

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Featured Releases: December Edition with Devon & Joy

Join Librarians Devon and Joy for their first episode of New Releases: December Edition! Our New Releases show will premiere the first weekend of each month, and features books coming out in that same month. This month's releases include historical fiction novels set in Kabul, Berlin, and Paris, a mother's memoir, a guide to living a happy life, and a study on the return of the wolves in Yellowstone. Tune in on the third weekend of this month for our Staff Picks review show, and come back on the first weekend in January for more new releases!

New Releases for December 2020:
The Opium Prince by Jasmine Aimaq
Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin by Harald Gilbers
The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little
Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother's Letter to Her Son by Homeira Qaderi
Yellowstone Wolves: Science and Discovery in the World's First National Park edited by Douglas W. Smith, Daniel R. Stahler, and Daniel R. MacNulty
Happiness Become You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good by Tina Turner

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page


We're back for another week of adult patron book reviews! Our readers explored other dimensions, dived into political drama, and learned about the life of Judy Garland. If one of these books interests you, click the title to place a hold. Once you've read your books, don't forget to log them for the WooReads Adult Challenge: Turn a New Page. Help us reach our community goal of 3,000 books read by the end of May 2021. If you read 20 books, you'll be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite! If you're not sure you can reach 20 books, try our Book Bundle service. A librarian will select five titles for you, based on your reading preferences. Four book bundles equals twenty books! 

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

I like this author. She has great character studies. I enjoyed learning the whole background of Dorothy and Judy Garland. ~Jane O.

The Warsaw Protocol by Steve Barry 

Extremely good book. Loved it! ~ Miriam V.

Freefall by Jessica Barry 

Exciting read. A woman survives an airplane crash with her fiancée, and then discovers men are out to kill her. We don’t know why or if she’ll make it to safety. ~ Karen S.

5/5 stars. A very long but enjoyable read. Probably one of the longest books I have ever read. This is the author's first adult fantasy work, which I was excited to read about. I really liked the world building in this book, the characters, not so much. The last 200 pages held a very surprising plot twist, and I blazed through the last part very easily. ~ Yucheng Z.