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!