Monday, February 28, 2011

Are eReaders more environmentally friendly than printed books? The library might just have the answer.

In case you were wondering if using an eReader would have a positive impact on the environment you might want to check out this recent Slate magazine article comparing the relative carbon imprints of eReaders vs. printed materials. The conclusions are interesting, especially the fact that ultimately, the most environmentally conscious choice might just be to patronize to your local library (and, of course, to walk there and back while you do so). But you probably already knew that.

Did you also know you can surf for free ebooks from the comfort of home or work by logging on (with your library card) to our mp3 and ebook resource Overdrive? You can then download and read the ebooks on your computer or supported portable ebook device. You can check out their Quick Start guide and FAQ if you have questions on how to get started, or you can always, walk on down to the library and we can help you out. That's why we're here. Our thanks to Joseph J. MulĂ©, Director of the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster Massachusetts for sharing the Slate article.

Don't Forget, Book Group meeting Thursday Night @ 6:30 PM & Grace Ross Saturday @ 1PM

Happy Women's Week everyone! A member of the newly formed non-fiction book club asked to share with the group an apropos editorial from last Friday's New York Times, in advance of our meeting this Thursday, at 6:30PM when we shall discuss Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

And don't forget we have Grace Ross speaking at the library about her new book Main St. $marts on Saturday at 1PM.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lowell Women's Week - Author Event - Grace Ross - Saturday, March 5, 2011 @ 1PM

As you may know, this Sunday begins Lowell Women's Week (February 7th - March 8th). The theme this year is Women's Strength: Achievement, Power and Vision and as part of the celebration of empowered and visionary women, on Saturday, March 5th @ 1PM the Pollard Library is happy to welcome Grace Ross, longtime activist, community organizer and 2006 Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, to discuss her recently published book, Main St. $marts, and her vision for the future.

Ross grew up in New York City and, after attending Radcliffe as an undergraduate and earning a master's degree in education from Harvard, chose to make her home in Massachusetts. Her 2006 populist gubernatorial campaign generated a large-scale grassroots response.

In her new book, Main St. $marts, she discusses the root causes of our current and troubling economic situation.  Additionally, Ross explores what we can do to reverse foreclosures and job losses, while transforming our schools, neighborhoods, and health care system. Main St. $marts puts forth a bold vision for our future.

For a full list of Lowell Women's Week events visit their official event website.

Plus, while this is not an official Lowell Women's Week Event, you may recall, if you are a regular reader of this blog and/or recieve our bi-weekly email newsletter that the Pollard's Non-Fiction book club will be discussing Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Thursday, March 3, 2011 @ 6:30PM. A book in which the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism make a passionate call to end the oppression of women worldwide. Join us for what will certainly be a lively discussion.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stenciling Restoration at the Library

Good news abounds. With the temperatures in the 50's it's beginning to feel like this winter is finally over. It's Friday afternoon. What could be better?

Well, here's a heartwarming story about a beautiful restoration project on the handstenciled wall trim in the southeast corner our Memorial Hall Reference Room on the Second Floor of the Library. This project was recently completed by our very own, multi-talented reference librarian, Monica McDermott. You should come down and check it out...she's really done an amazing job matching the paint color and brushwork. Below are some pictures and a short essay by Monica about the history of the stenciling and the restoration process:

The Reference Room wall restoration, 2011
by Monica McDermott

The room that is now the Reference Room was originally Memorial Hall, an assembly hall with carved oak panelled walls. It was destroyed by a fire in 1915 and restored with decorative stenciling and the Civil War paintings by Paul Phillipoteaux. During the 1960s and 1970s the room was used as office space by the Lowell School Department and the stenciling was painted over a drab light green. This layer of paint was removed in the 1980s when Memorial Hall was used again as an assembly room.

In 2010 some work was done to repair a water damaged wall in the Reference Room. The plaster repaired the wall but erased some of the decorative stenciling. Restoring this small corner area gave me a true appreciation of what an incredible task stenciling the entire room must have been.

These photographs show the stages of painting and stenciling, and trying to get 2011 to match 1915.

This is what the wall looked like after the work had been done to mitigate the water damage. As you can see the fresh coat of plaster was rather unsightly.

The first step was to match and fill in the green paint of wall behind the stenciled stripe itself.

Next step was to match and paint in the brown that backs the entire stenciled stripe.

Next up was to match and fill in the two paralell green stripes that inset the stencil.

And finally to re-hand-stencil the gold and green leafwork pattern of the inside of the stencil.

A book I found very helpful for this project, The Complete Stenciling Handbook, by Sandra Buckingham, is one of many books on stencil work in the Pollard Memorial Library collection.

For more information on the history of the Pollard Memorial Library go to

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Independent Film Night - Thursday, March 10th @ 6:30: "Come Undone" a film by Silvio Soldini

Join us for our ongoing Independent Film Series in partnership with Film Movement. Up next is Come Undone - a film by Silvio Soldini. Thursday, March 10th @ 6:30PM. As Jay Weissberg put it in Variety, "Silvio Soldini again crafts a handsome well-considered relationship drama." This film is not for the shy or faint-hearted. The protagonists strike up an affair that is as riveting and passionate as it is base and destructive. As they fall deeper under its spell they are faced with a choice neither is prepared to make. The film is in Italian with English subtitles. Brought to you by the Friends of the 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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club! Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Thursday, March 3, 2011 @ 6:30PM

Non-Fiction Booklovers! Thank you all for last month's engaged and thoughtful discussion of The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

If you haven't already, it's time to start reading the next selectionHalf the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn to be discussed on Thursday, March 3, 2011 @ 6:30PM.

And, if you can't make March's meeting or you want to read ahead, here is a list of future titles with corresponding dates:

If you have any questions or suggestions for future titles please email them to Happy reading!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Library will be closed on President's Day - Monday, February 21, 2011

In observance of President's Day, the library will be closed Monday, February 21, 2011. We will reopen Tuesday, February 22nd at 9AM.

Birthday Matinee - "What Happened to Kerouac?" by Richard Lerner and Lewis MacAdams, Saturday, March 12, 2011 @ 1PM

Come celebrate what would have been Jack Kerouac's 89th Birthday by taking in Richard Lerner and Lewis MacAdams' affecting documentary "What Happened to Kerouac?" Saturday, March 12, 2011 @ 1PM.

This powerful documentary shows Jack Kerouac's unique creative process and rise to fame as a writer, while also shedding light on his turbulent personal life and the decline and tragically early death of Lowell's own King of the Beats. (FYI, the above clip is not from What Happened to Kerouac? so don't go looking for it.)

This event is co-sponsored by the Lowell Film Collaborative, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!, and the Friends of the Pollard.

And while your in the birthday spirit, don't forget to check out Lowell Celebrates Kerouac's full list of the 2011 Kerouac birthday related events. Especially the evening line up of events featuring David Amram organized by the good folks at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Totally Twisted Team Tongue Twister Tournament

Teens! Take heed of this February Vacation Fun! Team up with some verbally dextrious friends and enter the Pollard's Totally Twisted Team Tongue Twister Tournament. Each tongue twister will get trickier and we'll be throwing in some extra challenges. Try saying "Sally sells seashells by the seashore" with a mouthful of jelly donut. Tournament will be in rounds with each successive round getting progressively harder. The last tongues standing win. Open to Grades 5-12. Sign up in teams of 2-4 by calling the Childrens Desk 978-970-4122. If you have any questions, contact Beth Brassel 978-970-4119 or email:

Friends are Gearing Up For the Annual Booksale! You can help!

The Friends of the Pollard Libary are gearing up for their annual booksale fundraiser to be held on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway St.

The first of three book donation drop offs will be held at the Lowell Senior Center on Saturday, March 5 from 9am-12noon.

Come by their meeting next Thursday, February 17, 2010 at 6pm in the Ground Floor Meeting Room of the Library to see how you can get involved!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Library CLOSED Today - February 2, 2011

This just in...the Library will be CLOSED today due to the weather conditions. Take care out there in the snow.

In other, Groundhog related news--Spring is on it's way! Phil could not see his shadow. So there's a silver lining.

Delayed Opening - Wednesday February 2, 2011

The Library will have a delayed opening today due to the storm. We are scheduled to be open at 11AM. Check back here for further updates.

In the meantime, let's hope Punxsutawney Phil has some good news for us.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This Just In...Library will close Today at 3:30PM

The Pollard Library will close today at 3:30PM due to the latest installment of inclement weather. No word yet about whether we will be closed tomorrow. Please check back here for updates.

White City, Indeed

The Non-Fiction Book Club has it's 2nd discussion on Thursday, February 3rd @ 6:30PM. We will be talking about The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. And no, the White City in the title does not refer to Lowell in the winter of 2011. It refers to the White City created as part of the grand World Columbian Exhibition a.k.a. Chicago's Worlds Fair of 1893 (which is also, incidentally, the same year our beloved Pollard Library a.k.a. Memorial Hall and Lowell's City Hall were built). As you might imagine, The Chicago's World Fair was a tremendous event (and the inspiration for Ms. McKeown's lovely song linked above). What's more, Larson's book is a tremendous read that tells the true story of the architects planning the great exposition and a killer stalking amongst the fair-goers. We recommend you check it out. Read it. Then come down Thursday to discuss it.

After School Craft Club will meet tomorrow February 2nd @ 3:30PM (weather permitting obviously...check back here to see if we're closed). On the schedule for the club is to paint the Clay Creations of last week and to make some new Origami creations. This club is for young people grades 5-8. Sign up at the Childrens Reference Desk 978-970-4122.

Winterfest Matinee - Saturday, February 5th @ 1PM we will be showing the 2006 family friendly film "Eight Below" directed by Frank Marshall. Rated PG. This film tells the heartwarming adventure story of a sled dog team fighting for survival in the wilds of Antarctica. You think we have it bad! We'll be showing this in concert with Lowell's 11th Annual Winterfest Celebration -- show some support/motivation for the Human Sled Dog teams. Free fun warm up for the entire family. Stop by and warm up or stay for the whole film.