Banned Books Week Begins!

Sept. 26 – Oct. 3 marks this year’s Banned Books Week.

It may not come as a big surprise that Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were all challenged or banned in the past. Would it surprise you to know that they were each challenged or banned this year as well?

What else have you read this year that some might consider inappropriate? You can see this year’s list of banned and challenged books here, in the catalog of banned and challenged books of 2008-2009.

Who challenges books? Why? These graphs, from the American Library Association break down some of those statistics.

What do you do when you read something strikes you as objectionable? This article, The Secret Life of Book Bannersfrom the September 27 Chicago Tribune, discusses one woman’s experience from childhood to adult with banned material.

UPDATE: check out this interactive map of banned books in the US! Banned Books Map!

Published in: on September 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Reading by Award Winning Local Poet

Award winning poet, Andrea Cohen, will be reading her poetry at the library on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:30 PM.

Andrea Cohen

Andrea Cohen

Andrea Cohen is the author of the poetry collections Long Division and The Cartographer’s Vacation. Her poems and stories have appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, Glimmertrain, The Iowa Review, and Ploughshares.

Her awards include the Owl Creek Poetry Prize, a PEN Discovery Award, Glimmertrain’s Short Fiction Award, and several residencies at the MacDowell Colony. She directs the Blacksmith House Reading Series and writes about marine research at MIT, where she also edits the online literary journal Sea Change.

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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Farewell, John Updike

John Updike (1932-2009) died last week.

It is hard to imagine “The New Yorker” without him. By the magazine’s own count, he published in it 146 short stories, dozens of short essays and over 500 poems and critical reviews from about 1954 through the fall of 2008. He wrote nearly 60 books–novels and criticism–and hundreds of book reviews and essays for other periodicals. All were elegant and observant, carefully structured and insightful. He chronicled an America where its people seemed to replace values and faith with materialism and a yearning for status, yet he did it gently, with understanding, patriotism and love. Updike will be very much missed by all of us readers who anticipated regular pieces in New York literary magazines and expected a book a year. He was part of New York, yet he lived on Boston’s North Shore–a sophisticate whose roots were popular and grounded.
I cut my professional teeth as a librarian on the controversy over “Couples”, Updike’s racy 1968 novel of contemporary mores that divided library patrons in the upstate New York university town where I worked.
My public library did buy the title, but we were careful about lending it from the bookmobile when it traveled to rural areas! I read “Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories” (1962), and that began a life-long appreciation of the short story. I read the “Rabbit” novels (1970s-1980s) and saw folks I knew in the perfectly and gently captured characters and scenes. I read “The Centaur” (1963), “The Witches of Eastwick” (1984) and “Gertrude and Claudius” (2000) and was struck by the breadth of Updike’s imagination, interests and knowledge. His art criticism and baseball essays were still other facets of this complex, funny, and perceptive author. His 1965/1999 children’s book of seasonal poems ” A Children’s Calendar” was our family’s favorite. Every work surprised and delighted; I was often caught by the unexpected and immediately recognizable wisdom and truth therein.

Some humorous lines from an early poetry collection called “Telephone Poles” (1963) is my parting salute to John Updike. Many great tributes to him are pouring in, but it is in the hearts of his millions of readers that his memory lives.

“In Upperville, the upper crust
Say “Bottoms Up!” from dawn to dusk
And “Ups-a-daisy. dear!” at will–
I want to live in Upperville…

Depression never dares intrude
Upon thy sweet upswinging mood;
Downcast, long-fallen, let me go
To where the cattle never low.

I’ve always known there was a town
Just right for me; I’ll settle down
And be uplifted all day long–
Fair Upperville, accept my song.

Beverly Shank
WFPL Assistant Director

Published in: on February 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Diane Rehm Show on Public Libraries

radioDiane Rehm’s program talked about libraries on January 7th. Guests to the show, Jim Rettig, Carla Hayden and Ginnie Cooper, discussed how your local library might benefit you, especially during the slow economy. If you missed it when it aired, you can still catch the archived version online.

Here’s the description of the program:

Libraries today have become multimedia centers, offering not only books but DVDs, e-books and Internet access. They can also be an especially important community resource during times of economic hardship. A look at the future of libraries in a slowing economy.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Staff Picks: Pauli

Kabul Beauty SchoolKabul Beauty School: an American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez.
NY: Random House, 2007.

Pauli says : I just finished listening to Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez on CD. I was enthralled by the story of a Michigan beautician (Rodriguez) who started a beauty school in Kabul, Afghanistan, after visiting there with a non-governmental agency and realizing that both Westerners and Afghani women were starved for hair salons. She forms lasting friendships and assists hundreds of women to become as self-sufficient as possible in a conservative, war-torn country.

The Readers’ Café Book Club will be discussing this book at the library on April 9th at 7 PM.

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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November’s Upcoming Events

Here’s what’s happening this month! November Events at the Library

Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Make a Mini Felted Gift Bag November 7th

Make a mini felted gift bag in a free class offered by the Children’s Department. On November 7th from 7-9 PM learn how to make a plain two-toned mini felted gift bag.

Pre-registration is required. Call the Children’s Department at 617-972-6435 to register


Published in: on October 20, 2007 at 3:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Knitting Nights Moving to Wednesday

knittinggroup.jpgKnitting nights are on Wednesdays! Starting this November, every Wednesday evening from 7-9PM, Mary Clare from the Children’s Department will be hosting a knitting group for adults only.

Published in: on October 20, 2007 at 3:46 pm  Comments (2)  

Halloween at the Library

jackolanternsmall.jpgDon’t miss Night of the Living Banjo, a family bluegrass concert on October 28th at 2 PM. Come in costume!

And be sure to come in to the Children’s Department on Halloween for a jack-o-lantern coloring competition.

Published in: on October 20, 2007 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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October’s Database of the Month

 Automotive Repair Reference Center

Watertown Free Public Library has 41 databases that the public can use to research family history, repair an automobile, complete a homework assignment,  research investments, find a new career or just find a new book to read.  Each month we will highlight a different database in this spot, so be sure to check back monthly!

This month check out  Automotive Repair Reference Center.  If you love your car, you’ll love this database.  ARRC includes repair information from the publishers of the Chilton guides, along with factory drawings, step-by-step photographs, technical service bulletins and recalls, maintenance schedules and more!  ARRC covers most vintage makes of car going back as far as 1945.  Summer is over, but there is plenty of good weather for working on your car!

Published in: on October 16, 2007 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment