Friday, April 29, 2011

Thank you, Linda. Thank you, Lowell.

Thank you to all who came out last night for the Pollard Memorial Library Foundation's meet the author night with Linda Greenlaw. There were many smiling faces in the crowd and much laughter echoing through Memorial Hall. The food was delicious, the wine tasty and Ms. Greenlaw charmed us all with her salt of the earth presence and salty-dog story telling skills. There is no doubt about it, her life story has been an interesting one, and she knows how to tell it. What a great night for the Pollard!

Additional photos of this event are available on the Pollard's Facebook page: and our Flickr account:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Linda Greenlaw Tomorrow Night!

So. You've watched The Perfect Storm, you've read all her books, it's time to get ready to meet the author. Tomorrow night Linda Greenlaw will be at the helm of our 2nd Floor Reference room for an intimate evening of great conversation. The suggested donation for this event is $40 and will benefit the Pollard Memorial Library Foundation. Come for the food, come for the atmosphere, come for the conversation. You won't want to miss it.

For The Union Dead

Robert Gould Shaw memorial on the Boston Common
It's still National Poetry Month! So, in anticipation of tomorrow night's Lowell Film Festival opening selection: "Glory" -- a film that tells the story of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw's all black Union regiment (Massachusetts 54th) -- I thought we'd share a selection from Robert Lowell's poem "For The Union Dead."

Written in 1960, Lowell's poem vividly describes the Shaw monument on Boston Common and is itself an interesting meditation on monuments in general, the impact of war, and the toll of loss. The full poem is available here and well worth reading.

from For The Union Dead

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die--
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year--
wasp-wasted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns....

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some things to do tonight...enjoy the weather, and whatnot

Former laureate, and current Pulitzer prizing winning poet Kay Ryan, will be reading at the O'Leary Library on UML South Campus. Tonight at 7pm.

Also, there are two, count 'em, two Artbotics exhibitions tonight as part of Boston Cyberarts!

From the official website:
"The college course's exhibit, Play, will be displayed at the 119 Gallery, while the after school high school's exhibit, Other Side, will be shown at the Revolving Museum. Both exhibitions open on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 6:00-9:00pm, free admission. There will also be a live video connection between both galleries. Walking directions will be available to visitors, encouraging them to visit both exhibits. RSVP on Facebook!"

One from Robert

Spring Pools

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—-
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Book on Benson's

The Nashua Telegraph reported yesterday that Arcadia Publishing has released a new photo book on Benson's Wild Animal Farm. This will be the second book about Bensons by Nashua Author Bob Goldsack who was quoted in the article as saying:

“I’ve interviewed so many people for both books, and not one person ever had a bad thing to say about Benson’s...And that’s unusual. I always thought that was an amazing thing.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

One for Today


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

                            --Denise Levertov

This Just In...Library will close at 3:00PM Today

We've just received word that City Hall and the Library will be closing at 3pm today in recognition of the holiday. The library will reopen tomorrow morning at 9am.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pulitzer Prize Winners have been announced....

The winners of the 2011 Pulitzer prize were announced earlier this week and here is a short list of the major categories:

FICTION: "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan
HISTORY: "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner 
GENERAL NONFICTION: "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee 
DRAMA: "Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris
BIOGRAPHY: "Washington: A Life" by Ron Chernow  

And last but certainly not least:

POETRY: "The Best of It: New and Selected Poems" by Kay Ryan.
Yes. The same Kay Ryan who will be coming to read at UMass Lowell next Tuesday, April 26, 7 pm, O'Leary Library, 61 Wilder St. This event promises to be not only free, but awesome so don't miss it. And while you're there, make sure to congratulate her!

A full list of winners is available on the Pulitzer Prize website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazon's Kindle to allow for Library Lending

Library Journal just reported that Amazon announced today it will allow its Kindle devices and Kindle reading apps to participate in library lending. Amazon is working with OverDrive, a leading provider of digital content for libraries (and the vendor that Pollard patrons currently use to borrow ebooks) to make the titles in the OverDrive catalog compatible with all generations of its Kindle devices and Kindle reading apps. No word yet if this deal is exclusive with Overdrive, or for when exactly this will happen, but they're saying sometime later this year. This is certainly big news for all you Kindle owners out there. Finally, some lending love!

Red Sky in Morning...Coming this Saturday

That's how the saying goes correct? "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning." Well, we're predicting a red sky over the Pollard this Saturday Morning because there's quite a storm brewing in the afternoon. One might even say, The Perfect Storm. That's right! We're showing the movie that put Linda Greenlaw on the map at 1PM this Saturday, April 23rd in anticipation the Pollard Memorial Foundation's Author Night with Linda Greenlaw next Thursday, April 28th. The movie's free, but the Author night is a benefit for the Foundation so they are asking for a $40 donation payable at the door. Please let the Community Planning Department know if you have any questions about either event. 978-970-4118.

The Pollard had a special visitor yesterday

The Pollard was pleased to welcome State Senator Eileen Donoghue yesterday, April 19, 2011. The former Lowell Mayor and City Councilor visited our library to take a brief tour and stop in on one of our April Vacation Programs. We were delighted to have her here and hope she visits again soon.
Library Director, Victoria Woodley, State Senator Eileen Donoghue and Community Planning Librarian, Sean Thibodeau (left to right) talk in the 2nd floor reference room of the Pollard Library (Photo by Marianne Gries)

The Senator enjoyed a short film about Iceland's first day of Summer or "Sumardagurinn fyrsti" as they say in Iceland. This program was of one of several April School Vacation events. (Photo by Marianne Gries)

Common Threads Tomorrow Night!

The Pollard's Common Threads poetry discussion event (part of the larger Common Threads cause) will be taking place tomorrow, Thursday, April 21st at 7PM in the Ground Floor Meeting Room. This promises to be a low key affair of friendly poetry lovers getting to know each other over seven wonderful poems by seven current or former denizens of Massachusetts. Why seven? Why not...? Read up and come down. Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lowell Film Fest Trailer

Don't forget to take in all you can of this free annual film fest hitting various locations in Lowell (including the Pollard or should I say "Memorial Hall") next week April 28th-30th. Full schedule of films, tours and related events available at the film festival website. See you there!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

One from a Librarian Poet

Far Out

Beyond the bright cartoons
Are darker spaces where
Small cloudy nests of stars
Seem to float on the air.

These have no proper names:
Men out alone at night
Never look up at them
For guidance or delight,

For such evasive dust
Can make so little clear:
Much less is known than not,
More far than near.
                                   --Philip Larkin.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April Vacation!

Photo by Marianne Gries

Don't forget our Youth Services Department has some great April Vacation programs going on including a dolly sleepover, a celebration of Iceland's first day of summer, and of course Lego Club! And, just announced, is our young adult Game Day! Come on down Thursday from 2pm-4pm and test your skill in a variety of games. We’ll play video games, board games, twister, etc. Snacks and drinks provided. Open to Grades 5-12. Isn't vacation grand?

A message from the Library Director

With the permission of the City Manager, the Pollard Memorial Library will be opening to the public at 11:00AM on the 1st Thursday of the month, starting May 5, 2011.

The staff will be using this time before the delayed opening to hold monthly staff meetings and training. I regret the inconvenience to the public, but I believe this will facilitate staff communication on important library issues.

-Victoria B. Woodley, Director
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St
Lowell, MA 01850

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Closed for Patriots Day

The Pollard Library will be closed Monday, April 18, 2011 in observance of Patriots Day. The library will reopen on Tuesday at 9am.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snapshot Day a Success -- National Library Week Half Over

Photo by Marianne Gries

Thank you one and all for the Pollard's Snapshot Day success. We couldn't have done it without you. Keep an eye on the library's flickr account to see photos from the day. And don't forget you can look at the Massachusetts Snapshot Day Pool to see photos from all the participating libraries in the state.

We thought this would be a good opportunity thank you for supporting us and Massachusetts' libraries during National Library Week and ask you to to let your state legislators and governor know how important libraries are to you! If you can find the time, please send an e-mail to your governor and your representatives today, to let them know how much libraries mean to you.

Snapshot Day is Here! And it's a rainy one...

I took this photo looking out at the Smith Baker Center from one of the front windows of the library this morning. It's Library Snapshot Day and I've been taking quite a few photos of all that's been going on inside the library all morning. But since it's also pouring outside, I thought I'd take one of the unfortunate weather. It'd be a perfect day to curl up in the warm library with a book.

Anyway, the shot reminded me of an Ezra Pound poem so I thought I'd share that as well (it being National Poetry Month and all).

In a Station of the Metro
    The apparition of these faces in the crowd ;
    Petals on a wet, black bough.

                                             --Ezra Pound

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club! A is for American, Thursday, May 5, 2011 @ 6:30PM

Non-Fiction Booklovers! Thank you all for last month's engaged and thoughtful discussion of River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

It's time to turn your attention to an American National Lexicographical Opus: A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States by Jill Lepore will be discussed on Thursday, May 5, 2011 @ 6:30PM in the Ground Floor Meeting Room. Lepore's book looks to answer the question: What ties Americans to one another? Not race, religion, or ethnicity. At the nation’s founding, some commentators wondered whether adopting a common tongue might help bind the newly United States together. “A national language is a national tie,” Noah Webster argued in 1786, “and what country wants it more than America?” In A is for American, Jill Lepore tells the tales of seven unusual characters—lexicographer, Noah Webster;  Caribbean-born architect, William Thornton; Cherokee silversmith, Sequoyah; Hartford minister, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet; aging slave Abd al-Rahman; artist/inventor, Samuel Morse; and Alexander Graham Bell—and their efforts to use language to define national character and shape national boundaries. Taken together, these superbly told stories, ranging from the Revolution to Reconstruction, reveal the daunting challenges faced by a new nation in unifying its diverse people.

Of course, we understand if you can't make May's meeting. In preparation of that possibility or, if you want to read ahead, here is a list of future titles with corresponding dates:

June 2, 2011 @ 6:30PM - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

July 7, 2011 @ 6:30PM - Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puelo

August 4, 2011 @ 6:30PM - Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
If you have any questions or suggestions for future titles please email them to Happy reading!

Independent Film Night This Tursday, April 14th @ 6:30

"Bad Day To Go Fishing" a film by Álvaro Brechner.

Or in the original spanish "Mal Dia Para Pescar" un film de Álvaro Brechner.
Either way, you don't want to miss it. This Thursday, April 14th at 6:30PM as part of our independent film series. 

Spring 2011 ESOL Tutor Training Schedule starts in May!

Literacy Volunteers of the Pollard Library has scheduled a training for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Tutors. This 18 hour training is free for anyone who is interested in volunteering to work with non-native English speakers seeking to improve their English. For full details of this program including how to sign up please visit our webpage and check out our Spring 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.

Library Freeze Mob

Here's a video of a some librarians and library friends out in Western Massachusetts participating in a freeze mob at the Holyoke Mall this past Sunday to promote National Library Week. This is certainly a fun and interesting way to gain attention.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy National Library Week

This week is National Library Week (April 10th-April 16th) and the Pollard's celebrating by letting you, our patrons, know that you really matter:
  • Massachusetts Library Snapshot Day
    Wednesday, April 13th

    Pollard Library will join libraries across the Commonwealth and the nation to provide a “snapshot” of what happens in a day in the life of libraries. How many books are checked out? How many people receive help finding a job? Doing their taxes? Doing their homework? During Snapshot Day, libraries will collect data and photos that help demonstrate the value of libraries and raise public awareness that libraries are busier than ever. Everyone can participate just by doing your regular library business: using the Internet, picking up books, checking out DVDs, returning CDs, tutoring and/or being tutored, participating in a storytime, conducting research, learning, laughing and/or enjoying a moment of quiet reflection. So come on down and be a part of it just by doing what you do. Pictures from the day will be posted on the Pollard's Flickr page.
  • Pollard's Annual National Library Week Poster Contest - All Week!The entries are in and they've been displayed all around the ground floor children's area. Starting today, and running through Saturday, April 16th, patrons can vote for their favorite posters. Ballots are in a small pink plastic box at the Children’s Reference Desk. One Ballot Per Person. Even grownups can vote. At the desk is also a marked jar to collect completed ballots. Winners will be announced during the week of April 18th. The categories are:
    • Preschool/Kindergarten
    • Grade One/Grade Two
    • Grade Three/Grade Four
So please come on down to the Pollard this week, make your voices heard, let us know what you think, enjoy our space, materials, and services, and celebrate your library, as we celebrate you! See you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Play Ball (Go Sox!)

The Pitcher

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.

                                       --Robert Francis

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Poem from the Bard of Gloucester

These Days

whatever you have to say, leave
the roots on, let them

And the dirt

                   Just to make clear
                   where they come from

                                              --Charles Olson

Unfamiliar Fishes

Sarah Vowell's latest greatest most snarkiest historical adventure is now available for check out.

From Publisher Weekly's Review: Recounting the brief, remarkable history of a unified and independent Hawaii, Vowell, a public radio star and bestselling author (The Wordy Shipmates), retraces the impact of New England missionaries who began arriving in the early 1800s to remake the island paradise into a version of New England....Outrageous and wise-cracking, educational but never dry, this book is a thought-provoking and entertaining glimpse into the U.S.'s most unusual state and its unanticipated twists on the familiar story of Americanization.

The Chicagoist has also just published an interesting conversation with Ms. Vowell.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Evergreen Migration

As you may know, the Pollard along with the other libraries in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) will be moving to a new library system this May. The following is a FAQ about the process, currently on the MVLC website. Stay tuned for more updates as they are available.

What We’re Doing:

MVLC libraries will be moving to a new automated library system, called Evergreen, at the end of May, Evergreen is an open-source library system that was developed in Georgia in 2006 and has been adopted by libraries and library systems throughout the world since, including two in New England. MVLC will be the first library system in Massachusetts to move to Evergreen, but we will be quickly followed by two other large library networks – NOBLE and C/W MARS.
Being open source, the new software will allow us to make changes to our own system and provide beneficial control over the development, maintenance, reliability and adaptability of our most essential services and their associated costs. Ultimately, it will provide MVLC the opportunity to design an information system that will fit the needs of our users, rather than being limited by the existing services that are provided by privately licensed software.

When Will It Happen?

Migration to the new system is planned for the Memorial Day weekend. We will be taking our current system down at the end of business on Friday, May 27th and coming up live on our new system on Tuesday, May 31.

Will Service be Disrupted?

During the transition, many MVLC provided services will be unavailable. Libraries will be able to check materials in and out, but there will be no ability to look up items in the public catalog or to place holds. Many databases and most electronic content will also be unavailable. (Some databases subscribed to by our individual members may be available.) OverDrive e-books and audio books will also not be accessible during that time. We will provide more specific information as the time draws closer.

Will the Holds I’ve Placed Be in the New System?

Yes. All current requests will be migrated to the new system.

What about the booklists I’ve created in My List?

Evergreen has a similar feature called the Bookbag. All My List information will be migrated to your Evergreen Bookbag.

Should I print out copies of My Lists, My Holds and My Searches?

Test results indicate that account information is successfully transferring from the old system to the new. However, if you’d like to keep a record of your account specific details, just in case, we encourage you to print the information that is most vital, such as items checked out, your holds list, My List titles, etc. in order to ensure that you have a backup of that information.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One from Walt

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
                                                                --Walt Whitman

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Heart of Darkness (on a different continent)

As I've been reading this month's Non-Fiction Book Club selection: The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, which tells the story of Theodore Roosevelt's ambitious and wholly impractical journey through the wild jungles of the Amazon rain forest, I am reminded time and again of Werner Herzog and two of his most famous and frankly ambitious films: Aguirre Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo; but most especially Les Blank's film The Burden of Dreams which is about the making of the latter (the clip above is a monologue of Herzog's from The Burden of Dreams). If you haven't seen them, you should. And Herzog's recently published journals from the making of Fizcarraldo are also a treat.

I don't mean to make these recommendations to burden you...just focus on reading The River of Doubt in advance of next week's book club meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2011 @ 6:30PM. And then if you find the subject interesting (as I'm sure you will) you can check out Herzog's work, post-meeting. In any case, see you next week!

Autism Awareness Month

April is also National Autism Awareness Month. Our Children's Department has created a great display in the Ground Floor Lobby of the library and they have some great events planned including an online survey and a special storytime for World Autism Day. Full details on the Children's Department blog and the PML Autism Guide.

National Poetry Month Commence!

Today marks the start of National Poetry Month. A good place to begin each day this month (or any month, really) is at Poetry Daily. Today's selection includes two poems by Carl Dennis from New Ohio Review.

We thought we'd give you one more bookish poem today from an older source:

There is no frigate like a book

There is no frigate like a book
  To take us lands away
Nor any coursers like a page
  Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
  Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
  That bears a human soul!
                             --Emily Dickinson