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Library News

New Traveling Exhibition Tells a Story of Liberty and the American Experience

“Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963,” a traveling exhibition opening at the Keene Public Library on June 24, 2015, examines the relationship between two great people's movements that resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and the March on Washington in 1963. Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. One hundred years separate them, yet they are linked in a larger story of liberty and the American experience – one that has had a profound impact on the generations that followed.  

“We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition and we are particularly pleased to host the exhibit this year in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Keene’s own Jonathan Daniels”  said Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services. “The dramatic story of how these two pivotal events came into being, a century apart, and how each helped put the nation on a course toward fulfilling its commitment to liberty and justice for all, is one that can inspire all Americans. Decades of work, struggle and sacrifice by many dedicated individuals and groups preceded both of these events. The exhibition tells the story of these struggles and their impact on American history and on the extension of equal rights to all Americans.”

The library invites community members to an opening reception on Wednesday June 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when Keene State College American Studies Professor Michael Antonucci will offer tours of the exhibit. At 7 p.m. that night, the first in the “Changing America” Film Series will be screened. In the 1990 film starring Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg, two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

Emancipation from slavery was not the product of one act but of many. In the 19th century, enslaved and free Americans chipped away at slavery through daily acts of resistance, organized rebellions, and political pressure on politicians, generals, and the U.S. government. Finally, on September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which ordered that as of January 1, 1863, all enslaved individuals in all areas still in rebellion against the United States “henceforward shall be free,” and under the protection of the military. 

The Emancipation proclamation was limited in scope and revolutionary in impact. It committed the nation to ending slavery. The U.S. Congress responded with Constitutional amendments abolishing slavery, expanding citizenship rights, and giving black men the right to vote. These acts changed the political landscape, but the new freedoms were stripped away in the following years. However, on each Emancipation Day anniversary, Black Americans organized parades and speeches reminding the black community and the entire nation of a commitment that remained unfulfilled.    

These local Emancipation Day celebrations and many other actions set the stage for the national push for freedom in the 20th century. On August 28, 1963, an estimated 250,000 Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in the District of Columbia to mark the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. People traveled from every state, united across race, class, and ideological lines, and representing organizations, unions, churches or simply themselves. The prayers, electrifying speeches, and stirring music of that day served to remind Americans of the nation’s commitment to fulfill its founding principles of liberty and equality for all.    

In the months following the march, demonstrations and violence continued to pressure political leaders to act. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were turning points in the struggle for equality. The bills outlawed segregated public facilities and prohibited discrimination in employment and voting. The success of the March on Washington and the achievements of the modern struggle for civil rights have provided a lasting model for social change.

“Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” which brings four outstanding films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States (see http://createdequal.neh.gov). “Created Equal” encourages communities across the country to revisit and reflect on the long history of civil rights in America.  

The exhibition will travel to 50 venues across the nation, accompanied by public programming that will help audiences understand and discuss the relationship between these two great people’s movements.      

The library is sponsoring many free programs and public events in connection with the exhibition. In addition to the weekly film series, there will be lunchtime brown bag discussions, lectures, musical performances, and children’s story and activity programs. Contact 603-352-0157 or visit the online calendar for more information. “Changing America” will be on display at the library until August 7.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established as a Smithsonian museum by an Act of Congress in 2003. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. Groundbreaking for the $500 million museum took place in February 2013 in a ceremony featuring remarks by President Barack Obama; former First Lady Laura Bush, a member of the museum’s advisory council; and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) who submitted the legislation that created the museum. It is now under construction on Washington’s National Mall, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. It is scheduled to open in winter 2015. For more information, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.

The National Museum of American History collects preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. For more information, visit www.americanhistory.si.edu.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and of her community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov

New openings in all of the Science of Superheroes programs. Sign up now!

Because science and superheroes belong together, we are offering a month of programs on July Thursdays. And because these programs have been so popular we've added more programs so that you can sign up now!

Science of Superheroes

Summer Meals @ your Library!

Stop by the Keene Public Library for FREE meals this summer! Enjoy nutritious meals and a read-aloud story at the Keene Public Library. Meals are provided July 6 - August 14, 2015, Monday through Friday by the USDA Summer Food Service Program. Breakfast is served from 9:05 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. All children and teens 18 & under from all towns & communities are welcome! FREE! No preregistration or application is needed; no restriction on family income. And everyone -- children as well as adults -- is invited to the library for Saturday Mornings Cartoons and Cereal each Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. through August 15. (The library is closed on July 4 so there will be no Cartoons and Cereal that day). This summer, we are screening classic Superhero cartoons. 

Kids Buddy Up To Promote Reading At Keene Public Library

Young children interested in developing a love of reading need look no farther than the Keene Public Library. This summer, the library will offer an opportunity for beginning and developing readers entering first, second, third, or fourth grade to practice their reading skills with either an adult volunteer or a more experienced reader in middle or high school. The program called “Book Buddies” pairs rookie readers with trained veteran readers. Between July 6, 2015 and August 10 2015, these “Book Buddies” will meet regularly on Mondays at 3 p.m. at the Keene Public Library to read, write, and talk about books. The older experienced member of the reading team will be a mentor, promoting an interest in books, reading, and writing as well as encouraging the “Junior Buddy” to practice new reading skills at home.

Literacy experts agree children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward or experience the summer slide. The National Summer Learning Association authors report, “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year, so it is common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material students forgot during the summer,” according to Reading is Fundamental, a nonprofit children’s literacy group. “The Keene Public Library Book Buddy program is geared to prevent a summer slide where youth  may lose some reading comprehension skills,” Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services at the Keene Public Library said.

Young students and mentors are both encouraged to sign up now so that they we can begin to make matches based on need and availability. The last day to register for the Book Buddy program is Monday June 22, 2015. The Big Buddy Application can be downloaded here. The Little Buddy Application is here. Teams will meet on Mondays at 3 p.m, The “Big Book Buddies” should expect to attend a short orientation to learn the techniques for making the experience a positive one. For more information, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Note the Date! June 2 for Chris Bohjalian

A recent announcement about the Friends of the Library author event left out the date!  Chris Bohjalian is this year's guest author and he will be at Heberton Hall on Tuesday, June 2, from 5-7 p.m.

Call for Summer Volunteers

The Keene Public Library is looking for volunteers to help us offer more programs for our summer program. “Every Hero Has a Story” is designed to encourage children to continue reading and learning during vacation so that valuable skills won’t be lost. We hope to offer a variety of book, art, science, and technology activities for children. If you are interested in helping us, please let us know by calling Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157 or submitting a Contact Us form.

Some of the things volunteers or interns may do this summer include:

  • Helping with registration and recording of books read by children;
  • Helping to coordinate the Big and Little Book Buddy Literacy Program matching experienced youth readers with younger new readers;
  • Scheduling and mentoring teen volunteers;
  • Soliciting donations of incentive prizes from local businesses;
  • Listening to children give oral book reports and talk about the books they've read;
  • Assisting the librarians with storytime, movies, gaming, or other programs;
  • Offering or helping with a craft program;
  • Preparing questions for future book discussion programs;
  • Creating a display or helping decorate the library spaces;
  • Chaperoning a reading party or special event;
  • Providing refreshments for a special event;
  • Offering a workshop using a special skill;
  • Helping the librarians tidy up and sanitize the play areas.

Volunteers will be required to provide references and undergo a background check paid for by the Keene Public Library which will include fingerprinting. Volunteers under the age of 18 will need parental permission and a work permit.  More information about volunteer requirements can be found on our Volunteer Page.

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Saturday Hours Change

The library is now closing at 1 p.m. on Saturdays, through September 5, 2015.  Saturday open hours through September 5 are 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  On September 12, we will resume the fall through spring Saturday hours of 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Saturday.  Check here for the library's full schedule of open hours and holiday closings.

Important Notice: Library E-mail Problems Fixed

We are happy to report that our email problems appear to be fixed.

Free Ukulele Class Offered at Keene Public Library

The Keene Public Library invites adults and teens to join us in learning one of the world's coolest and portable musical instrument: the Ukulele!  Classes will be held at the library on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. starting June 11 and going through July 16. Classes are led by Stuart Fuchs, a nationally touring Ukulele performer and teaching artist. These fun hands-on playing learning and playing sessions are designed for the absolute beginner but can also serve as a good review for adults and teens with a little ukulele experience. We will be learning about the instrument, chords, strumming rhythms & playing some simple songs in no time. Please bring your own Ukulele if you have one - ten instruments will be provided by Stuart Fuchs and Kala Ukuleles.

Stuart Fuchs is a performing multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, sound healer, and an innovative and compassionate teacher. He is a lifelong minstrel and plays a wide variety of styles of music on acoustic guitar and ukulele including folk, classical, jazz, rock, avant garde, sacred and world music. He also plays Latin percussion, Bolivian charango, Australian didjeridoo, Native American flute, Tibetan singing bowls, and yes - hunting calls and amplified toys. With over twenty years of experience in the arts, he has empowered people of all backgrounds to discover their own musicality and to play with greater ease, skill and joy. Stuart has performed his genre bending ukulele instrumentals and soulful songs at concert halls and festivals across the USA and internationally. He founded and played lead guitar in an award winning quartet "Babik" (Bah-Beek), in which he arranged and performed the gypsy jazz music of Django Reinhardt with symphony orchestras.

Shortly after embarking on a solo career In 2012 Stuart become an endorsing Kala Ukulele artist - in 2013 released his debut solo album "Stukulele" and began touring to major ukulele and acoustic music festivals. In 2014 he further expanded his reputation as a teaching artist with appearances at even more festivals, theaters and yoga centers. In 2014, Stuart was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a ten-day residency to compose and perform healing music for and with cancer patients at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

The library is located at 60 Winter Street. All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please call Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157.

Free New Math Club for Preschool Aged Children at the Keene Public Library

Starting Saturday April 25, the Keene Public Library will be offering Crazy 8s Math Club for preschool aged young children. On four Saturdays, children four or five-years-of-age will build stuff, run and jump, make music, make a mess and more! Children will experience fun mathematical activities that will both entertain and educate. Activities include Glow-in-the-Dark Geometry, Bouncy Dice and Toilet Paper Olympics. These weekly events provide an opportunity for children to interact with their peers while learning basic pre-math skills. The Crazy 8s Math Club will start on Saturday April 25 at 1 p.m. in the Keene Public Library’s Youth Department located at 60 Winter Street. The club will also meet on Saturday May 2, 9, and 16. Programs will last for 30 minutes. The Crazy 8s Math Clubs is a project of the Keene Public Library and Bedtime Math. Bedtime Math launched in February 2012, serving up wacky nightly math problems on topics kids love, from flamingos to frogs to roller coasters.   

The playful, zany stories entertain both kids and their parents – and introduce math in a way that gets kids hooked fast. Since our start, we've garnered more than 50,000 loyal fans of our email and Facebook page and nearly 400,000 unique visitors to our website, earning us coverage in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and others.

Although all Keene Public Library programs are free and open to the public, space is limited and registration is required for the Crazy 8s Math Clubs. To register for the Crazy 8s Math Club or for further information about family and youth programs at the Keene Public Library, call 603-352-0157.

About Bedtime Math Foundation

Bedtime Math is a nonprofit operating foundation, funded by charitable donations made by private donors and the proceeds from both Bedtime Math books. Our mission is to help kids love numbers so they feel confident with the math in everyday life. Bedtime Math does not award grants to other nonprofits; it funds its own charitable activities, such as publishing the free daily math problem and the parents’ blog, and producing programs like Crazy 8s and Summer of Numbers.