Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcome 2012, Thank You 2011

While Baby New Year is getting ready to cry the Pollard is getting ready for an exciting 2012. We have the the annual Foundation Author Night to look forward to, featuring Denis Lehane on May 24th.

Plus the Pollard is excited to be a partner in the Dickens in Lowell celebration aimed to celebrate Charles Dickens transformative 1842 trip to Lowell, as part of a global celebration of his 200th birthday. Stay tuned for details on our programming which will include a community reading program called Lowell Reads! where we'll be looking to get as many Lowellians as possible reading and talking about Charles Dickens' Great Expectations from June thru August. If you've read Great Expectations before, it's time for a revisit, and if you haven't you won't believe what wonders are in store for you.

Perched, as we are, on the eve of a New Year, it seems fitting to look back on the year that is about to expire. 2011 was a great year for the Pollard, here are a few highlights:Library Snapshot Day helped us catch a glimpse of a day in the life of our library. We got some great photos, and received lots of interesting feedback.

Lowell Film Festival. The Pollard was proud to be a partner once again in the Lowell Film Festival especially since the theme of this year's fest centered around the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War. As you may know, our building was originally constructed as a memorial hall dedicated to the Lowell men who lost their lives in that great conflict. We have some impressive mementos including the Phillipoteaux murals in our 2nd floor reference area of some of U.S. Grant's victories, a piece of the ironclad warship the Monitor, and of course the marble slabs engraved with the names of the fallen Lowellians.
Foundation Author's Night featuring Linda Greenlaw. The affable swordfishboat captain came to the Pollard and regaled us with stories from her life.

New Library Database Evergreen! The Pollard, along with the other libraries of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium migrated over to a new open source cataloging system this past May and the transition was challenging but ultimately rewarding.

Summer Reading Program. Once again our Children's Summer Reading program was an outstanding success.
Fall Festival. Our first annual Fall Festival was a fun filled day featuring a Friends Bake Sale, a Food For Art Raffle, face painting, performances by Elaine Kessler and Dave Norton Trio. All at just the right autumnal crispness.

Poets, authors, lecturers, speakers, etc. In 2011, our library was graced with the writerly and oratory talents of Stephen O'Connor, Jay Atkinson, Kate Hanson Foster, Chaim Rosenberg, Paul Hudon, Steven Collins and RP Hale.

Holiday Celebration. To round out the year we hosted a special Holiday celebration featuring a special Santa visit for children with sensory issues, a holiday storytime and a showing of the Muppets Christmas Carol. A story written, by the way by one Charles Dickens, whom, we may have mentioned we are planning to celebrate in grand fashion in 2012. It all comes full circle.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Everybody, let's rock @ PML's 2nd Annual Elvis Birthday Matinee - Saturday January 7th @ 1PM

Mark your calendars and shine your shoes for the Pollard's 2nd annual Elvis Birthday celebration, Saturday, January 7th @ 1PM. This year's feature is Jailhouse Rock and it's sure to chase away those winter blues. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. A-thank you very much.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, Thursday, January 5, 2012 @ 6:30PM

No, not that Prince. The Prince:

Have you ever heard someone or some entity’s actions pejoratively described as being "Machiavellian"? Ever wonder what that means? Ever wonder if indeed, the definition of "Machiavellian" might have changed somewhat from the facts of his philosophy. The Pollard's Non-Fiction book club has tasked itself with investigating this definition by reading Machiavelli's legendary treatise The Prince, originally written in 1513 and cited as one of the first works of political philosophy. We're going to see if we can make sense of what Niccolò was getting at and whether his ideas deserve the rap they’ve been given.

One of the great things about this month's selection is that since it was written in the 16th century, it is in the public domain and is widely available online. And it is a favorite amongst poly-sci profs so there are also study guides available to aid contextualizing the work.

Join in on the discussion! Despite the fact that we ask you obtain your own copy of the selected title (copies available to borrow from our library system, call 978-970-4121 with your library card to request one) the Pollard Library Non-Fiction Book Club is free and open to the public. We will be voting for future titles at the December meeting. For more information or to request a ballot please contact Sean Thibodeau, Community Planning Librarian or 978-970-4118.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Closures at the Pollard

Library Holiday Closures:

Saturday, December 24th: 9am-2pm (Early Closure)

Monday, December 26th: CLOSED

Monday, January 2nd: CLOSED

We Wish You a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Vacation is coming up! Don't Forget to Reserve Your Museum Passes!

Nancye Tuttle's cover story in yesterday's Stepping Out gave lots of great advice to parents and caregivers for what to do with kids over winter break. We appreciate the fact that she listed the two great programs we're hosing at the Pollard in addition to a slew of other great free library programming in the area.

We also wanted to call attention to our museum pass lending program made possible in large part by the Friends of the Library. The library has passes available for free or discount admission for many area musems. From Lowell's own American Textile History Museum , Boot Cotton Mills Musem, New England Quilt Museum, and the Whistler House, to the Discovery Museums in Acton and the Children's Museum in Boston, to the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts. You can browse and reserve your pass today on our website.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Survey Time - What do you think about Evergreen?!?

Can you believe it's been seven months since our library consortium (MVLC) switched over to an open source catalog system called Evergreen. Now that we've all had some time to get to know the new system, MVLC is asking you patrons to share your thoughts on what you think about Evergreen. So, if you have a few minutes to complete their survey, we'd be grateful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Films & Storytime & Bake Sale!!! Read on!

This month's independent film selection is technically a Christmas movie, but with a few twists. First, it's set in Australia, so you can throw away your white Christmas expectations. And the primary drama involves a mother with terminal cancer saying her goodbyes to her daughters—also not the normal bubbly stuff of Christmas movies. But it is a truly beautiful film—and life affirming. The film proves that when you embrace loss you can appreciate what you have.

So come see this free screening of Little Sparrows at 6:30pm, Thursday, December 8th. The film is in English so there will be no subtitles. Run time 88 minutes. Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences. The Pollard Library Independent Film night occurs on the 2nd Thursday of every month. The events are free and open to the public. Made possible by the Friends of the Library.

If you're looking for a more traditional Christmas movie, we've got you covered on that as well. In anticipation for the 2012 Dickens in Lowell celebration, and with a nod to the new Muppet Movie in theaters we're going to be showing The Muppet Christmas Carol on Saturday, December 10th at 1pm.

This showing will be part of a larger Holiday celebration from 11:30am-3pm, which includes a Bake Sale hosted by the Friends of the library (11:30-1pm) and a Holiday Storytime (11:30am-12:30pm). All free, thanks to the good work of the Pollard Library Friends group and our Youth Services Department.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Delayed opening this Thursday, December 1st

Just a quick reminder that this Thursday is the first Thursday of the new month which means two things:

1) The library has a delayed opening to accommodate a staff meeting. The library will be open 11am-9pm.

2) The Non-Fiction book club will meet at 6:30pm in the Ground Floor meeting room to discuss another truth seeking monograph. This month, while we wait for snow to arrive in the Merrimack Valley, we'll discuss Carlos Eire's Waiting for Snow in Havana. We'll also be voting for future titles at this meeting so don't miss it...or contact Sean Thibodeau if you want an absentee ballot.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Just In...Library closing at 3pm tomorrow (Wednesday November 23rd)

We just got word the library will be closing tomorrow, Wednesday, November 23rd at 3pm in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. We are currently scheduled to be open normal hours (9am-5pm) on Friday and Saturday after the holiday.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Library Closed for Thanksgiving - Open Friday & Saturday

In observance of Thanksgiving, the Pollard will be closed Thursday, November 24th. We will, however, be open from 9am-5pm, Friday and Saturday, November 25th & 26th.

So stop by on Saturday on your way to the grand City of Lights Parade and Holiday Art Stroll festivities!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Puleo Talk Tomorrow, Old English Cemetery Tour Sunday

Here are a few local events you might find interesting this weekend:

Tomorrow, at 10am, Stephen Puleo, author of Dark Tide, the June selection for the Pollard's non-ficiton book club is reading from his latest book: A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 at the Georgetown Peabody Library. Cost of Admission $12.00. For reservations contact: Mary Paganelli 978 352-2587 Friends of the Library, Mary Ann Walsh 978 535 5680 AAUW

Sunday, November 20, at Noon. Meet at the main gate of Old English Cemetery (1099 Gorham St. Lowell 01852) for a free tour of this rarely seen relic from the days of Lowell’s first founding. Tour led by local cemetery enthusiast Kim Zunino. After the tour, interested parties can proceed on their own to Middlesex Community College Federal Building, 50 Kearney Sq, to hear programs on various aspects of Gravestone Studies. The programs are free and open to the public. Events sponsored by the Lowell Historical Society, the Lowell Historic Board, Middlesex Community College & the Association for Gravestone Studies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Parker Lecture - R.P. Hale - The 2012 Fraud: Misreading the Maya and Their Calendars - Thursday November 17th @ 7pm

Join us for what's sure to be an illuminating Parker Lecture this Thursday, November 17th for R.P. Hale's debunking of the myth of the Mayan calendar in a lecture entitled: The 2012 Fraud: Misreading the Maya and Their Calendars. We will explore the history of the Apocalypse, mankind’s second oldest story, along with what the Mayan calendars are and how they work. R.P. Hale is of Aztec heritage, an astronomer, musician, calligrapher, and chemist. In 1999, the Smithsonian Institution recognized R.P. Hale as one of the top musical instrument makers in the United States.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club - Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire - Thursday, December 1st - 6:30pm

The Pollard's Non-Fiction book club marks it's first anniversary with a sparkling memoir of exile and redemption. Join us at 6:30pm on Thursday, December 1st for a discussion of Carlo's Eire's 2003 National Book award winner, Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy. Here's some of what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it:
As imaginatively wrought as the finest piece of fiction, the book abounds with magical interpretations of ordinary boyhood events...Eire looks beyond the literal to see the mythological themes inherent in the epic struggle for identity that each of our lives represents.

Into this fantastic idyll comes Castro—"Beelzebub, Herod, and the Seven-Headed Beast of the Apocalypse rolled into one"—overthrowing the Batista regime at the very end of 1958 and sweeping away everything that the author holds dear. A world that had been bursting with complicated, colorful meaning is replaced with the monotony of Castro's rhetoric and terrorizing "reform." ...The final cataclysm comes when Eire and his brother, still young boys, are shipped off to the United States to seek safety and a better life (another paradise, perhaps). They never see their father again.

As painful as Eire's journey has been, his ability to see tragedy and suffering as a constant source of redemption is what makes this book so powerful. Where his father believed that we live many lives in different bodies, Eire sees his own life as a series of deaths within the same body. "Dying can be beautiful," he writes, "And waking up is even more beautiful. Even when the world has changed."
In January, the book club will be discussing The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli but we've not decided on the titles beyond then. So, we will be voting for two more at our December meeting. If you would like more information or a ballot please contact Sean Thibodeau, Community Planning Librarian at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Movie Matinee: To Have and Have Not

We're screening another fall classic this Saturday at 1pm. Howard Hawk's classic To Have and Have Not. Starring Humphrey Bogart and the screen debut of provocative 19 year old Lauren Bacall, this movie is has Nobel Prize written all over it. It's based on an Ernest Hemingway novel and William Faulkner had a hand in writing the script. It's a spicy romance, sure to warm your heart and spur your senses. Free and open to the public. This screening is made possible by the Friends of the Pollard Library.

Library Closed Friday November 11th - Veterans Day

In observance of Veterans Day, the Pollard Library will be closed Friday November 11th. We will reopen Saturday, November 12th at 9am.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On the Road to the Pollard

The Pollard is featured in a unique library road trip undertaken this past summer by photographer Robert Dawson and his son, Walker. Dawson sees himself as an outside advocate for libraries and their role in shaping community.
As a teacher of photography at Stanford University in California, Dawson has worked for much of his career “on things that we share as Americans.” He says libraries have changed a great deal during the 17-year germination of the project. “They have been very flexible, and they are less about books and more about community,” but they are still “a critically important aspect of the shared commons that we have in this country.”

“Libraries are all local, and I am trying to look at it from a national perspective,” Dawson observes. “What struck me most is the vitality of libraries; they are all used a lot, partly because of access to computers, and poor people don’t necessarily have that at home. The vitality is the one thing that unified almost all the libraries that I went to.”

In eight weeks, the pair visited 189 libraries in 26 states—and fittingly enough they end their road trip at the Pollard, a library frequented by the original lonesome traveler, Jack Kerouac. Dawson's wife, Ellen joined them for their New England leg of the journey. His blog has a great write up on their experience in Lowell as well as some gorgeous shots of the Pollard.

Thank you for visiting Mr. Dawson and thank you for standing up for libraries.

Vote Vote Vote

Today is election day! The polls are open, and will be open until 8pm. So there's plenty of time to do some research and get down there to make it count. Starting at 7:30 you can watch the Lowell Sun's Election night coverage streaming live on their website.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Don't forget to Fall Back

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2am this Sunday November 6th. You might want to just set the clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night.

Sunday Night the kids of Lowell will have to wait that extra hour to go trick-or-treating. Cruel world. (Unless they made off with candy from surrounding communities the nights before).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Human Resources Manager - Independent Film Night, Thursday, November 10th @ 6:30

Join us November 10th at 6:30PM for the next installment of our Film Movement Independent Film night (the 2nd Thursday of every month). October's film is The Human Resources Manager by Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride). The film won 5 awards at the Isralei Academy Awards including Best Picture. The story is based on the novel "A Woman from Jerusalem" by A. B. Yehoshua which chronicles a physical and spiritual journey taken by the Human Resources Manager of Jerusalem's largest bakery. At the outset he is not a happy man. He is separated from his wife, estranged from his daughter and stuck in a job he hates. But when one of his his employees, a foreign worker is killed in a suicide bombing and the bakery is accused of indifference and he is sent to Romania, the victim's home country, to try and make amends. Along the way he discovers more about himself and his ability to affect others than he ever expected.

Interesting tidbit about the film from an interview with the the director in 2010:
No one in the film has a name but the dead woman, Yulia; instead, they are identified by titles: the Human Resources Manager, the Weasel, the Boy, the Driver, etc. This idea came from the source book, but Riklis decided to keep the convention because he felt it made the story more relatable. Additionally, “everybody is alive here but maybe dead inside, and the only dead person is actually alive. It’s out of respect in a way to her, both because she’s dead and the catalyst of the whole thing,” says Riklis. “The rest have to earn their names.
The film is in Hebrew, Romanian and English with English Subtitles. Run time 104 minutes. Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences. The Pollard Library Independent Film night occurs on the 2nd Thursday of every month. The events are free and open to the public. Made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Staff Meeting Tomorrow, Thursday November 3rd - Library will open at 11am

A reminder that tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month which means the library will be closed until 11am to accommodate a staff meeting. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Patti Smith is Everywhere

I know you are all excited about the non-fiction book club's discussion of Patti Smith's National Book Award winning memoir Just Kids this Thursday, November 3rd at 6:30pm. You've probably even finished the book already. Well here's some extra credit for you and further proof of the cultural status and influence of one Patti Smith.

In the October 10th New Yorker, she's written a beautiful and short reminisce of the early onset of her kleptomaniac and francophillic tendencies.

The New York Times Magazine featured a front page article on October 14th, in which she discusses, among other things, her writing process for Just Kids.

And if you want to see some of her work live and in person, the Wadsworth Museum in Hartford is featuring some of her photographs in an show called Camera Solo, on display through Feburary 19, 2012.

Free Workshops for Veterans History Project next week at Middlesex Community College

The national Veterans History Project is looking for your help collecting stories from our veterans.

Next week, (just in time for Veterans Day) Middlesex Community College will host two workshops led by Millie Rahn, oral historian and trainer for the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. The workshops will be held at 9 a.m. and at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov.8, in the Assembly Room of the MCC Federal Building in Lowell.

The intensive 90-minute workshops will cover topics such as finding people to interview, doing background research, sample questions, creating a transcript, and maintaining a paper trail for those who want to archive interviews in public or private collections. They will also cover interviewing techniques, audio versus video interviews, one-on-one versus group interviews, and how to create the best possible audio or video document with various kinds of technology.

The workshops are free and open to the public. For more information about the workshops, contact Sheri Denk at 978-656-3159 or denks@middlesex.mass.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Library is Open -- Dress Warmly -- Trick-or-Treating has been Postponed

We are open! We have power at the library and anticipate being open our normal hours (9am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm Friday, Saturday. However, there are crews working on the heating system (unrelated to the storm) so you should dress warmly.

The city has also announced trick-or-treating has been postponed to Sunday November 6th from 6pm-8pm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Author Event - Paul Hudon - All in Good Time - Thursday, October 27th @ 7PM

We're very excited to welcome local historian, poet, and friend to the Pollard, Paul Hudon this Thursday October 27th at 7pm to read from his recently published collection of poems, All in Good Time (2011, Loom Press). The book is comprised of 365 poems written daily between 2005 and 2006. They range from terse philosophical observations to full blown monologues from unique character's perspectives (invented or otherwise). Hudon's journey across a full year chronicled in daily poetic musings is proof of the power of an inquisitive mind and a honest work ethic. A journey well worth taking.

Paul Hudon is the author of the popular local history volume Lower Merrimack: The Valley & Its Peoples: An Illustrated History. This event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cooking with Gas...or, what you will

Here are a couple of interesting opportunities for those of you who know your way around a kitchen:

COOL has just extended their deadline to November 15th for their Lowell Cooks Contest. The book is slated to be published in the spring of 2012, its aim is to highlight the delectable diversity of our fair city. You can submit your recipe to and further details are available on the COOL website.

Also, we just received word the ALA is promoting a nationwide Beekman 1802 Heirloom Recipe Contest which is being held in honor of the publication of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook. Entries get the chance to win an all expense paid trip to meet Discovery-Planet Green reality TV stars The Fabulous Beekman Boys in Sharon Springs, NY, take a tour of the Beekman 1802 Farm, and have dinner with Josh and Brent. Submissions are due by November 1st. We have entry forms at the 2nd Floor Reference Desk of the library or you can fill one out online and submit it at the 2nd Floor Reference Desk.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parker Lecture - Stephen Collins Shakescene - Thursday October 20th @ 7pm

Join us for this Thursday at 7pm for Stephen Collins' Shake-scene. Actor Stephen Collins will give a performance stressing the lasting effect of the bards impact on the English language. Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, histories, and Sonnets are all represented in this exciting show. This lecture is brought to you by the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club - Just Kids by Patti Smith, Thursday, November 3rd @ 6:30pm

Non-Fiction lovers, of Lowell, it is time to set our readerly sights on the next Non-Fiction gem to be discussed at our meeting November, 3rd @ 6:30pm. This month's selection comes from the memoir section of the non-fiction universe but it is not just any memoir. This is Just Kids by Patti Smith—a 2010 National Book Award winning reminisce from an American cultural icon about her formative years as an artist living in NYC and her close relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. As it says on the jacket: "Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame."

Say it with me....G-L-O-R-I-A

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Movies Movies

As our region slides back into autumnal weather this week we're glad we have some fun indoor activities for you to enjoy. And what is the best indoor activity? That's right, watching great films. We have not one, but two films for you to enjoy this week.

On Thursday, October 13th, at 6:30pm we'll be showing The Colors of the Mountain as part of our ongoing Independent Film night. This film's story is as poignant as its scenery is awe-inspring.

Picking up on the fall classic theme from September's showing of Casablanca, this Saturday October 15th, at 1pm we'll show another fall classic, this time starring Lowell's own Bette Davis. We've picked one of her more famous films, Dark Victory. This one gets a three handkerchief rating for it's tear-jerking capabilities so be prepared.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Museum Pass Spotlight: Museum of Science: A Day in Pompeii

Through the good work of our Friends of the Library group, the Pollard is able to offer many free or discounted passes for area museums, zoos, parks, and cultural organizations. We thought we'd highlight a special exhibit going on right now at the Museum of Science Boston: A Day in Pompeii.

Museum-goers can visit Pompeii before, during, and after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. For centuries, Pompeii lay buried under a 12-foot blanket of ash and debris until 1749, when workers digging up a riverbed struck part of a building with their shovels, revealing a lost city right under their feet. Now the secrets once hidden under the hardened ash are on display in A Day in Pompeii.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Columbus Day Closure & Delayed Opening this Thursday

In observance of Columbus Day the Library will be closed Monday, October 10, 2011.

We would also like to remind you this Thursday is the first Thursday of the month which means our opening time will be delayed to 11AM to accommodate a morning staff meeting.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don't miss the PML Fall Festival THIS Saturday, October 1st 10am-2pm

We know no one wants to talk about the Red we won't even mention them, but this once.

We will say, however, that the Pollard has something that might cheer you up if you need it: our Fall Festival this Saturday October 1st from 10am-2pm. We have a great line up of fun for the whole family, including Elaine Kessler's Fall Program, and facepainting for the kids and a reading of selected short stories by actor Brendan Murphy and others, and afternoon cafe featuring the folk/rock stylings of local legend Dave Norton for the grown ups. Plus a Friends of the Library Bake Sale and your chance to win an original painting by entering our "Food For Art" raffle. Bring nonperishable food items to the library for your chance to win! Proceeds to benefit The Greater Lowell Open Pantry.

Of course we understand if you need to take a drive to leaf peep or something and cool off and realign your jangled nerves, but you'll want to come on back in time for this fun filled fest. And by the way, Lowell Open Studios is also happening this weekend so there's really no reason on earth why you wouldn't be coming to downtown Lowell! We'll see you at the fest!

Create Your Own Comic Contest for Teen Read Week

A reminder to you creative kids out there, the Pollard is hosting a Create Your Own Comic contest in celebration of Teen Read week (October 16-22, 2011). Deadline for entry is Friday October 7th, so get sketching! Full contest details are available on the Pollard Teen Tumblr page!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LFD Winter Coat & Blankets Drive

The Lowell Fire Department is holding a Winter Coat & Blankets Drive. So, please take the time to look through your closets. There is a real need of winter coats and blankets this year. All items can be dropped off at the JFK Fire House any time before October 29th. If you have any questions you can contact Larry Finn, Lowell Fire Department

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Library eBooks now available on the Kindle

You can now borrow library eBooks to read on the Amazon Kindle. As the video above shows, you'll have to first search for and "check out" the eBook you want from the MVLC's Digital Downloads Page. Then you'll have to go to Amazon to log into or create your Amazon account to prompt it to release your book. More information is available on Overdrive's blog.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Independent Film Night Thursday, October 13th @ 6:30 - The Colors of the Mounatin

Join us October 13th at 6:30PM for the next installment of our Film Movement Independent Film night (the 2nd Thursday of every month). October's film is The Colors of the Mountain by Carlos César Arbeláez. Winner of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the film chronicles the small desires of the smallest citizens of a mountainside Colombian village being torn asunder by gorilla warfare. A group of school children kick their soccer ball into what turns out to be a minefield and they scheme to get it back. While to the adults around them (their parents and teacher) struggle to maintain a sense of order amidst chaos. As the director said in a statement:
I didn’t direct a film that claims to explain the complex Columbian armed conflict or the political reality of my country. I focused, above all, on the drama of the civilian population. The film is more human and, in a way, destined for a more universal audience. In The Colors of the Mountain, it doesn’t really matter what one armed group or another does in the “La Pradera” district, as the focus is on the secret psychological drama that the main characters matter how tragic the reality of the children, they’re always ready to defend games and laughter as fundamental parts of their lives.
The Pollard Library Independent Film night occurs on the 2nd Thursday of every month. The events are free and open to the public. Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences. Made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Books Week Begins Tomorrow

Banned Books Week Display

The time has come. The time of year to remove window a/c units, replace screens with storm windows, watch the Red Sox struggle down the home stretch, and celebrate your freedom to read. That's right, the last week of September begins tomorrow and that means it's the beginning of Banned Books Week which runs September 24th - October 1st. Come check out our display on the first floor featuring a some books that have been banned or challenged sometime in their lives. Some of the titles might surprise you.

And don't miss our Selected Shorts segment of the Fall Festival (12:30pm, October 1st) where Community Planning Librarian, Sean Thibodeau will read a selection or two from a banned or challenged book.

Good News from Acton

The Discovery Museums in Acton recently announced the success of their participation in the Highland Foundation's Free Fun Fridays program. Many photos of the events are posted on their facebook page.

But what's even better news (especially for the children of the Acre) is that they received from the Institute for Museum and Library Services which will strengthen their relationship with the Acre Family Child Care in Lowell and the expansion of their Open Door Connections program. Their full press release is pasted below:

Part of our Open Door Connections efforts are focused on intensive programs that expand to other places the type of hands-on learning that occurs at the Museums. Through our work with Acre Family Child Care (AFCC) in Lowell, staff from the Museums have been training family daycare providers to bring these learning techniques to low-income families in Lowell. We are very pleased to announce that we recently received a highly-competitive national grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) of $134,000 to support our efforts for the next two years! With this grant, we will expand our partnership with Acre Family Child Care to better engage under-represented local immigrant communities. Playing Together: Using Museum Fun to Better Engage Immigrant Communities will offer a seasonal calendar of events that will more than double the number of programs available to AFCC's providers and families. The project will also produce four science-themed workshop curricula designed for family daycare providers; a lending library of 18 science-themed kits with curricula translated in to Khmer, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Portuguese; and a model for a community preschool science fair. This project will increase the role of curiosity, science, and play in the lives of young children in Lowell.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fluff Fest In Somerville this weekend featuring Lowell native Astronaut Richard Linnehan

This Saturday September 24th from 3pm-7pm, Union Square Main Streets in Somerville is holding their annual Fluff Festival. This year Lowell-born NASA Astronaut, Richard Linnehan will sit in as a judge on their cooking competition. In 2008, he brought a fluffernutter on board with him on the Endeavor mission. And if that's not enough for you, Susan Olsen a.k.a. Cindy Brady will be at the festival to showcase digital artwork she's created that was inspired by Fluff.

Parker Tonight - Literacy & Laughter Saturday

Just wanted to quickly remind you of the highly anticipated talk tonight by Chaim Roseberg on his new book The Life and Times of Francis Cabot Lowell, 1775-1815. The talk begins at 7PM in the Ground Floor Community Room and is free and open to the public thanks to the good folks at the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series.

We also wanted to tell you there is still time to sign up for the UFund Literacy program for kids aged 3-6 happening this Saturday at 10AM in the Ground Floor Community Room. This is a really fun program that encourages literacy and laughter by bringing in a costumed character to act out a story. Participants also receive a book to take home with them. You can stop by the Children's Desk or call 978-970-4122 to sign up. Sponsored by the UFund College Savings Plan.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Fest is coming up

The Fall Festival is fast approaching. We hope you are getting excited to join us on Saturday, October 1st from 10am-2pm for some fun kids and adult events including a bake sale, a childrens performer, face painting, and an acoustic cafe. Full details available on our website.

We just wanted to remind you to bring in a non-perishable food item to get your tickets for the Food for Art Raffle (one ticket per item donated*). We'll be raffling of an original painting (shown above) of a plane trailing a "READ" advertisement as it flies over the Pollard. This piece was painted by our reference librarian Monica McDermott. You also visit the painting at any time between now and the festival in the display case on the Ground Floor of the library. All proceeds of the Food for Art raffle will be donated to the Open Pantry of Greater Lowell.

*You can also enter the raffle by checking out library materials (one raffle ticket per checkout) but we really would like to collect as much foodstuffs as we can for the good folks at Open Pantry.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Parker at the Pollard - Chaim Rosenberg "Life and Times of Francis Cabot Lowell" next Thursday, 9/22 @7PM

As part of the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series, the Pollard Library is pleased to welcome next Thursday, September 22nd Chaim Rosenberg to give a talk about his recently published biography, The Life and Times of Francis Cabot Lowell, 1775-1817. Though there have been many biographies written over the years of famous Lowellians, this is the first biography of Lowell's namesake. He was an instrumental character in the burgeoning industrial revolution though he died before ever seeing the town that bears his name. As local historian and blogger Richard Howe Jr. noted, this is going to be a special event for those interested in Lowell history so don't miss it if you number yourself among the ranks of Lowell's history buffs. This event is sponsored by the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series and is free and open to the public. For more information please contact the Community Planning Department at 978-970-4118.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Casablanca this Saturday 9/17 @ 1PM

You must remember this...

This coming Saturday, September 17th at 1PM, we're showing one of the most loved movies of all time. #2 on the AFC's 100 Years 100 Movies List. That's right—Casablanca. Free and open to the public. This film is unrated and the running time is 102 minutes. This screening is made possible by the Friends of the Pollard Library.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Local Poet Kate Hanson Foster reads from Mid Drift, Thursday September 15th @ 7PM

The Pollard is pleased to welcome Kate Hanson Foster Thursday, September 15th at 7PM to read from her newly published collection of poetry Mid Drift (Loom Press 2011).

From Loom Press’s website:
Set in post-industrial Lowell, Massachusetts, Mid Drift contains a speaker who is seduced by the "ugliness" of the city including prostitution, alcoholism, homelessness, and infidelity. Many poems also explore themes of family, religion and spirituality, and loss of self. Poet and writer, Amy Gerstler writes of Mid Drift: "Hanson Foster captures the arresting sense of how loss scrapes away layers of one's personhood exposing a quiet resilience, maybe even a rising faith, that glimmers dimly underneath abiding grief like some kind of ore."
Since it's publication in May 2011, Doug Holder, editor of the Ibbetson Street Press has written a review of Mid Drift on his blog Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene. New Pages has also written a short but glowing review.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact the Community Planning Department, 978-970-4118.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 PML Fall Festival - Save the Date - October 1, 2011 from 10am-2pm

We know many of you are lamenting the end of summer...but don't look so glum chum...autumn can be fun too! To that end, the Pollard Library is pleased to announce our 2011 Fall Festival will be held Saturday, October 1st from 10am-2pm.

This exciting event will feature something for everyone! For the little ones, we'll have children's performer Elaine Kessler and craft and face painting workshops led by a local troop of Girl Scouts. And for the grown-ups we'll have a reading of selected short stories by actor Brendan Murphy and others, and an afternoon cafe featuring the rock/folk stylings of Dave Norton.

There will also be a special food for art raffle where we'll be raffling off an original piece of art by our resident reference librarian/artist Monica McDermott. You can get your raffle ticket one of two ways—by bringing in a non perishable food item (one ticket per item donated—proceeds will be delivered to Open Pantry of Greater Lowell) or by checking out materials (you get one ticket per checkout).

Stop by the library for a brochure listing the complete schedule of events! All Free! All for you!

Non-Fiction Book Club: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr, Thursday, October 6, 2011 @ 6:30PM

Thank you book clubbers for last week's timely discussion of Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by R.A. Scotti. We knew when we picked it we'd be reading it during hurricane season but we had no idea the region would still be reeling from Irene. That certainly made for some interesting conversation. It is time once again to reserve your copy of the next book up for discussion and this one looks really interesting: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Thursday, October 6th @ 6:30PM. A few years ago, Carr made a splash with his Atlantic cover story, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and he's back to try to answer that question with this timely discourse on the effects the internet has had on how we think. From the jacket:

Building on insights from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic--a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption--and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Aren't you glad we have this book club to spend some time in thoughtful discussion over the loss of thoughtful contemplation? Now get offline, find a quiet place and see if you can finish this book.

Another tidbit before you go: Don't forget our Independent Film Series continues this week with A Screaming Man, 2010 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize Winner.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall 2011 ABE Tutor Training Starts in September!

Literacy Volunteers of the Pollard Library has scheduled a training series for ABE (Adult Basic Education) Tutors. This 18 hour training is free for anyone who is interested in volunteering to work with native or near-native English speakers seeking to improve their reading and writing. For full details of this program including how to sign up please visit our webpage and check out our Fall Schedule. Please note: Attendance at the orientation and all training sessions is mandatory if you wish to become a tutor. We thank you in advance for your interest.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Labor Day Closure - end of Summer Hours

In observance of Labor Day, the library will be closed Monday, September 5th. Labor Day also marks the end of our Summer Hours. Meaning, the library will be open on Saturdays once again beginning Saturday, September 10th.

**ALSO, reminder the library will open late (11am) this Thursday, September 1st to accomidate our monthly staff meeting. We appreciate your understanding.**

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Overload

Don't forget our non-fiction book club meeting this Thursday, September 1st, at 6:30PM. Where we'll be discussing RA Scotti's book Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. The timing of this discussion couldn't be better (or worse! depending on how you fared through the winds and rain and constant media chatter about Hurricane Irene). Come on down! Free and open to the public. For more information contact Sean Thibodeau at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Independent Film Night Thursday, September 8th @ 6:30 - A Screaming Man -

Have you ever acted in a rash or spiteful manner and lived to regret your decision? Join us for our independent film night Thursday, September 8th at 6:30PM. We'll be showing the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize Winner, A Screaming Man directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. The film is set in the African nation of Chad during its civil war though the film isn't about war, moreso the effect war has on people. The protagonist, a 60 year old pool attendent, is trying to affirm his place in the world whist being surrounded by tumolt and in a moment of weakness he makes a decison he will forever regret. This is the stuff of drama. Don't miss it.

The Pollard Library Independent Film night occurs the 2nd Thursday of every month! Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences. Our Independent film nights are made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Open Forum with Lowell's Data Analyst - Tomorrow 7PM

Move Lowell Forward is hosting a forum here at the Pollard, tomorrow, August 17th @ 7pm with Michael Hebert, data analyst for the City of Lowell. Mr. Herbert is responsible for the LowellStat program, which is an implementation of Citistat, a data collection and monitoring package designed to help municipalities deliver services more efficiently and track responses to inquiries and problems. The event is free and open to the public.

Mr. Herbert will be talking about his role in city government, about CitiStat, and about the findings of the program so far, as well as how it's been used to help your local government make decisions. He'll also take questions from the audience. RSVPs requested but not requited. Email

There's No Basement in the Alamo

Tomorrow is the 225th Birth Anniversary of one David (Davy) Crockett (born August 17, 1786). Crockett was a congressman as well as a frontiersman, hunter, and soldier. He moved to the colony of Texas after losing a Congressional reelection bid in Tennessee. In Texas, he helped the settlers with their bid for independence from Mexico. He died at the Alamo in 1836.

There's a new biography of the man that has been getting good reviews. The new book, David Crockett: Lion of the West by Michael Wallis unearths the fascinating story of the man behind his folk hero persona. A conflicted figure who stood up against President Jackson for his treatment of the American Indians after the Trail of Tears but was a slaveholder in Tennessee and fought to preserve slavery in Texas.

In his life, Crockett was famous for being famous—something that is commonplace with celebrities of today but his celebrity has stood the test of time, as Mr. Henry Allen says in his WSJ review:
He invented a kind of American manhood, too, one that depends on believing it can always survive walking alone down whatever mean streets—can pack up and head West as a last resort, like Huck Finn lighting out "for the Territory" or Jack Kerouac fleeing nothing and everything by heading west in "On the Road."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lowell Quilt Festival & Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival

The Lowell Quilt Festival began today and runs through Saturday, August 13th at the Lowell Auditorium. Tomorrow night is Gallery Night, when all venues except the National Park are open for free from 5pm-8pm. After the festival wraps on Saturday there is a free Jazz Festival at the Sampas Pavilion 3pm-10pm put on by the Adaigo Big Band.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spinners Blood Drive Tomorrow

The American Red Cross in concert with the Lowell Spinners will be holding a blood drive Thursday, August 11, from Noon to 7PM at the Tsongas Arena. Each donor will receive a ticket to a Spinners game, a coupon for Six Flags and a coupon for a 6 piece box of chocolate dipped fruit from Edible Arrangements. See the attached flyer for additional information then click here to schedule a convenient appointment. Drop in donors are encouraged.

New US Poet Laureate to be named today

Tip o' the cap to Paul Marion, who posted that the NYTimes has reported that Philip Levine is going to be named the next US Poet Laureate later today. Levine, 83, is a native of Detroit Michigan and a celebrated poet of the working class experience. A telling fact about his creative aesthetic is that he worked for in several local factories including Chevrolet Gear and Axle and Detroit Transmission while in graduate school earning a masters with a thesis on Keats's 'Indolence Ode.' He studied at Iowa alongside the likes of Robert Lowell and under the likes of John Berryman. I really enjoy his reaction to being named us poet laureate: "

"How can I put it? It’s like winning the Pulitzer,” he explained. “If you take it too seriously, you’re an idiot. But if you look at the names of the other poets who have won it, most of them are damn good. Not all of them — I’m not going to name names — but most. My editor was thrilled, and my wife jumped for joy. She hasn’t done that in a while.”

Here's a sample of one of his earlier poems:

On the Edge
My name is Edgar Poe and I was born
in 1928 in Michigan.
Nobody gave a damn. The gruel I ate
Kept me alive, nothing kept me warm,
But I grew up, almost to five foot ten,
And nothing in the world can change my weight.

I have been watching you these many years,
There in the office, pencil poised and ready,
Or on the highway when you went ahead.
I did not write; I watched you watch the stars
Believing that the wheel of fate was steady;
I was you rise from love and go to bed;

I heard you lie, even to you daughter.
I did not write, for I am Edgar Poe,
Edgar the mad one, silly, drunk, unwise,
But Edgar waiting on the edge of laughter,
And there is nothing that he does not know
Whose page is blanker than the raining skies.

More samples of Levine's work are available at the NYTimes online. The Pollard also has a few of his books available to checkout.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club: Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938 by R. A. Scotti, Thursday, September 1, 2011 @ 6:30PM

Thank you book clubbers for last week's lip-smacking discussion of Cod by Mark Kurlansky—the cod on crackers and cod chowder were really something else—the donuts and cupcakes and cooikies were all stellar as well. But, I digress. The time has come to set our sights on a new Non Fiction gem. Our nautical theme continues onward for at least one more month as we will be discussing R.A. Scotti's book Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. This, from the jacket:
The gripping and unforgettable story of the Great Hurricane of 1938, still remembered by all who survived it as the most terrifying moment of their lives...On September 21, 1938, the fastest hurricane on record caught the Northeast by surprise and left a wake of death and destruction across seven states. Traveling at record speeds, the storm raced up the Atlantic coast, reaching New York and New England ahead of hurricane warnings and striking with such intensity that seismographs in Alaska registered the impact.
Sounds like quite a story, don't miss out what sure to be a lively discussion Thursday, September 1st @ 6:30PM.

ALSO—Don't forget this week is Independent Film Night at the library. Come to our free screening of Illegal by Olivier Masset-Depasse tomorrow night at 6:30pm. Made possible by the Friends of the Library.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lowell one of the "Geekiest Cities" in the USA

I heard Jack Baldwin and Mike Flynn on 980WCAP talking this morning about this news item and felt I should share it here. Forbes has just released a list created by the US National Science Foundation that lists the top 20 "Geekiest" cities in America. Our own Lowell, MA placed 6th on the list. The report defines “geeks” as any worker with a bachelor’s level of knowledge and education in science or engineering-related fields or workers in occupations that require some degree of technical knowledge or training. There is a slide show of the winners on this list available here. From the description of why Lowell was chosen:
14.1 % of the workforce, 16,580 workers employed...Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford area has attracted a number of technology companies, including Kronos, Inc., Jabil Circuit, and Juniper Networks.
The full list:
1. San Jose, CA
2. Boulder, CO
3. Framingham, MA
4. Huntsville, AL
5. Durham, NC
6. Lowell, MA
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Ithaca, NY
9. Bethesda, MD
10. Seattle-Bellevue, WA
11. Kennewick-Pasco, WA
12. Austin-Round Rock, TX
13. Ames, IA
14. Palm Bay-Titusville, FL
15. Boston, MA
16. Ann Arbor, MI
17. Bloomington-Normal, IL
18. Olympia, WA
19. San Francisco, CA
20. Fort Walton Beach, FL

A surprising omission to this list, as noted by Jack Baldwin, is Cambridge MA. Though three of the ten cities chosen are in Massachusetts. There is also a strong showing as you might expect from the Silicon Valley and the Evergreen State.

Wolfram launches CDF — PDF's replacement?

Library Journal reported last month that Wolfram Research, makers of the Wolfram Alpha computational search engine have released a document format that brings interactivity to static documents. The new format Computable Document Format or CDF would allow users to interact with online documents by imputing their own data and generating live results. The video above is impressive and it's easy to imagine this technology having a great impact on how information is conveyed in the digital world. The main value of a PDF has always been that the information contained is immutable and therefore its authorship is guaranteed. CDF will maintain authorship by fixing the information just like a PDF but it makes that static info interactive by adding computational tools on the receiving end. This is exciting. Someone reading a CDF can input their own information and see different results of their own choosing.

Surely presentations (academic or business or otherwise) will be greatly enhanced. In addition, e-textbooks, online journal articles, and other digital forms of information relation cannot help but benefit from enabling the the recipient (reader/student/learner) to interact with the content and generate unique results of their own while all the while the CDF format like PDF before it vouchsafes the veracity of the document's contents and the users generated content.

There are already 7,000 demonstrations of CDF documents available in Wolfram Demonstrations Project.

At present you would need to download a special browser to view CDFs. Wolfram says this technology will be entirely web based in the near future. Students, take note, if you want to impress your teachers this fall...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Delayed Opening (11am) Tomorrow 8/4

Tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month and that means the Pollard Library will have a delayed opening to accommodate a staff training. Our hours will be 11am-9pm tomorrow, Thursday, August 4th. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adult Summer Reading - Deadline Extended

We've extended our Adult Summer Reading program for one additional week. So you have until next Friday, August 12th to submit your summer reading forms to enter the drawing for Novel Destinations items such as tote bags, notepads, and pens. Enter today! Tell a friend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Independent Film Night Thursday, August 11th @ 6:30 - Illegal - a film by Olivier Masset-Depasse

Join us at 6:30PM on Thursday, August 11th for the latest installment of our Independent Film Series: Illegal - a film by Olivier Masset-Depasse (2010). This is an elegant little film about a former teacher from Russia living illegally in Belgium with her fourteen year old son. They are caught one day by the Belgian authorities. Her son escapes arrest but she is taken into custody and threatened with imminent deportation. What follows is her struggle to maintain her dignity while she attempts to gain freedom for her and her son. 95 mins. In French and Russian with English subtitles. This screening made possible by the Friends of the Pollard Library.

The Pollard Library Independent Film series occurs the 2nd Thursday of every month! Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Man Booker List Announced

The 2011 Man Booker longlist was announced yesterday. This is a prestigious annual prize given to a full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth of England or the Republic of Ireland and published in the United Kingdom for the first time in the year of the prize.

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the longlist for the prize gives us a list of some of the best books to have been published in the past year, including in this case the works of four first time novelists. New work, new life—always exciting. The bad news is that many of the works are not yet available in the United States. The Los Angeles Times published the full list including predicted dates of when you might find them on American bookshelves.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Parker Lecture Brochures Now Available

It's that time of year again. Time to mark your calendars for the upcoming Parker Lecture Series. We have the attractive 2011-2012 Calendar of Events brochures available at our public desks. Some of the highlights include local authors, Jane Brox and Katherine Paterson, a panel on "Intellectual Property and the Arts" featuring Andre Dubus III, Arno Minkkinen and Alan Williams, and of course, the Pollard Library will be hosting a few events this fall:

September 22, 7PM -- Chaim Rosenberg will give a talk on his recently published biography of Francis Cabot Lowell.

October 20, 7PM -- Stephen Collins will perform his one man show "Shake-Scene" about none other than William Shakespeare.

November 17, 7PM -- RP Hale will give a talk entitled "The 2012 Fraud: Misreading the Maya and Their Calendars" just in time for the new year.

Come on down to the library and pick up your brochure today! And while your at it, enter our Adult Summer Reading drawing!

Park Service Civil War Trading Cards - Last Week for Luther, Abba's Up Next

This is the last week to pick up your Luther Ladd Civil War Trading Card created by the Lowell National Historical Park and available now at our public desks. Get 'em while they last! Beginning next Monday, August 1st and for the rest of the month of August we will be offering Abba Goddard's trading card, which is ironic because she wrote for the Lowell Offering. Here are some other facts about Ms. Goddard and her connection to the Civil War from her Park Service Trading Card:
Abba Goddard moved with her family to Lowell in 1834. She wrote for the Lowell Offering in the 1840s under the pen names A.G.A. and A.A.G. In October 1861, Goddard left Portland, Maine with five other women to accompany the 10th Maine Infantry as a nurse. "Miss Goddard will receive the blessings of our sick boys to the end of life," stated John M. Gould, a veteran and historian of the 10th Maine.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club discusses Cod: A Biography of a Fish that Changed the World. Thursday, August 4th @ 6:30PM

Last month the Pollard Non-Fiction Book club had a record attendance number and a spirited discussion of Stephen Puleo's Dark Tide: Great Boston Molassess Flood of 1919. Month by month, this group just keeps getting better.

Next up for the group is Cod: A Biography of a Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky. This book is a little older but the favorite of many avowed non-fiction book lovers. Part history, part cookbook, part travelogue, this book presents a unique reading experience. So, read up and come on down to join in on the discussion, August 4th @ 6:30PM in the Ground Floor Community Room. All are welcome, snacks provided.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby, it's HOT out there....Cooling Center Open

The Lowell Senior Center is open for a cooling center to 8:00PM tonight and as needed during the week. You may call the center at 978-970-4131 to see if the hours will be extended after 4:00PM other days. Everyone is welcome, no residency or age restrictions.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Adult Summer Reading -- Tell Us Where You've Been

We know you've all been busy reading the summer days away. We know because we've been busy reserving, checking out, and shelving all those books you've requested, picked up, and returned. Now, it's time to get your just rewards by entering our Adult Summer Reading raffle. You can enter by stopping by the 2nd Floor Reference Desk to fill out an entry form. The form will ask you to rate the books you've read and give a short review. One entry form per book read. We'll be raffling off adult summer reading prizes (tote bags, notepads, etc.) on Friday August 5th. Questions about this program may be directed to Sean Thibodeau, Community Planning Librarian

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Share Your Vision of Lowell, for Lowell

Do you have ideas to share that would make Lowell a better place to live or work? The City's Department of Planning and Development invite you to share your ideas at an upcoming public visioning session. Your contribution will help shape the city's long range plans for the future. All meetings will take place at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway St, from 6:30-8:30pm. Light refreshments served. Dates and topics follow:

July 14th—Housing and Public Services
July 19th—Transportation and Mobility
July 25th—Economic Development, Workforce Investment and Institutional Partnerships
July 28th—Community Character, Engagement and Identity
August 3rd—Open Space and Natural Resources

Monday, July 11, 2011

Illuminated Reading

Local author Jane Brox has published an illuminating essay about the history of reading in the Boston Globe this past Sunday. In it, she traces the past present and future of reading. One of the more interesting sections deals with the auditory tradition of reading, especially during the Medieval Ages, since there were few books and even fewer readers. Her meditation on the future of reading in a digital world is also interesting, and being a library we especially appreciate her defense of the printed word and our role in its preservation:
As the screen overtakes the solid page, and the ground floors of libraries have begun to look like the decks of starships, and the page has become its own lamp, as millions of books become available at the click of a key, and a simple search will turn up almost anything one needs to recall, surely the memory of what is read is dissolving all that much faster. As a stalwart reader of printed books, I’m left to wonder what will happen to the wide, slow silty river of the their history, to the countless volumes waiting now in the abandoned silence of library stacks. Stacks: The word itself connects books to the harvest, to corn and hay. They were always earthbound. Smell the must, feel the brittle, browning pages between your thumb and forefinger. The tears, the cracked spines, the stains and folds. Even if we readers forget them, printed books will hold us in their memory.
The Pollard's physical structure may never look like a starship but we, along with other modern libraries, are in a sense charting a course through strange new worlds in the digital universe. Though, our circulation numbers will attest that our stacks are far from being abandoned.

The full essay is available here. Consider subscribing to the Globe if you appreciate the writing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Free Concert this Sunday - Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra

This Sunday, July 10th at 3pm, come rain or come shine, the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra is giving a free live performance at the Shedd Park Pavilion. Bring some lawn chairs or a picnic blanket (and basket) and allow their dulcet tones to gently lead you into a soft summer's Sunday evening.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Unique Charitable Effort

On July 14th, our library director, Victoria Woodley, will be going behind bars for "good" by participating in a "Lock Up" benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, all in an effort to help send kids to summer camp. For more information about this program and to find out how you can help please visit her webpage.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Delayed Opening (11am) Tomorrow 7/7

A quick reminder, tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month and that means we will have a delayed opening to accommodate a staff training. The library will be open from 11am-9pm tomorrow. We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

You can take the extra time to finish Dark Tide in advance of tomorrow night's discussion.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Independent Film Night Thursday, July 14th @ 6:30 - If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle - a film by Florin Serban

Join us Thursday, July 14th for the latest installment of our Independent Film Series: If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle by Florin Serban (2010). A Romanian love story of sorts. The story takes place in a prison where the inmate protagonist, Silviu has only two weeks left to go before he's released. But when his mother, who abandoned him long ago, returns and threatens to take his brother away -- his brother whom he was forced, by their mother's abandonment, to raise as a son -- the two weeks begin to feel like eternity. He can find no quarter for help and is driven to a surprising act of defiance in a desperate grasp for freedom. This is a nuanced psychological drama you won't want to miss. 93 mins. In Romanian with English subtitles. This screening made possible by the Friends of the Pollard Library.

The Pollard Library Independent Film series occurs the 2nd Thursday of every month! Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Weather

Beach weather has descended on the Merrimack Valley and for many of us, our thoughts have turned to the shoreline. Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting article judging the latest crop of eReaders based on their readability in extreme conditions, such as bright sun. Food for thought, if you're in the market for one of these devices. Don't forget to also pack a lunch for your beach day!

And if you're looking for recommendations for what reading material you might fill your tablet or tote with before you head out, you should check out NPR's extensive annual list of recommended summer reading. They've got book lists for every fancy and every reader in your family. So get out there and have fun! Oh, and don't forget the sunblock!

Tsongas Center Backyard Music Series Kicks Off Thursday June 30th @ 6PM

This summer, head on back, behind the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, along the scenic Merrimack River for a new Backyard Music Series! Bring the entire family down with your blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy the beautiful Summer weather with an evening of FREE music. Each show will feature a different genre of music, all perfect for adults and kids alike.

Series Schedule:

June 30th—Island Castaways (Jimmy Buffet Tribute)
July 14th—Jen Kearney and the Lost Onion
July 21st—Yani Batteau and the Styles
August 4th—Richard James and the Name Changers
August 11th—The Flip
August 18th—Melvern Taylor and the Fabulous Meltones