What’s It Like to Be in Elected Office?

May 14th, 2015


Tuesday, May 19, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Brightwood Branch Library, 359 Plainfield Street

Carlo Gonzalez
Rep. Carlo Gonzalez

The Springfield City Library and the Springfield Board of Elections will be hosting a Candidate/Voter Seminar on May 19th from 6pm – 7:30pm at the Brightwood Branch Library located at 359 Plainfield Street.

This is the second in a series of seminars being offered by the Civic and Community Engagement Team at the Springfield City Library and the Springfield Board of Elections aimed at encouraging civic engagement as it relates to voting and electoral participation. Elections staff will be on hand to register Springfield residents and help them check their voter status.

The seminar will focus on what it is like to be a candidate and once you’ve won the election, what it is like to be in office. Candidates and voters are invited to this moderated panel to hear about grassroots campaigning, learning about issues important to voters, fundraising, constituent work, and using social media. Audience questions will be encouraged.

State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, who counts the Brightwood Branch as one of the libraries in his district, will welcome participants. The panel, moderated by Reminder Publications editor G. Michael Dobbs, will include former candidates and officeholders Ernesto Cruz, Ivette Hernandez, Marjorie Hurst, and Bruce Stebbins.

G. Michael Dobbs
G. Michael Dobbs
Ernesto Cruz
Ernesto Cruz
Ivette Hernandez
Ivette Hernandez
Marjorie Hurst
Marjorie Hurst
Bruce Stebbins
Bruce Stebbins

Brightwood Gallery: Artworks from the Riverview Senior Center

May 14th, 2015
Flamboyan painting June 2015June 1 – June 30
Opening Reception: Tuesday, June 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
Brightwood Branch, 359 Plainfield Street

Throughout the month of June, the Brightwood Gallery will display several artworks, including paintings, by the members of the Riverview Senior Center.

Meet the artists from this month’s art exhibit in a free reception open to the public on Tuesday, June 2, at 6 p.m. Paintings and drawings will be on display created by the members of the Riverview Senior Center. As a special bonus, one artwork will be raffled off to those in attendance compliments of the Friends of the Library. Refreshments will be furnished by the Department of Elder Affairs. Join us, and take stock in Springfield’s abundant talent!

Vallina painting June 2015

Featured artists will include: Nelly Figueroa, Carolina, Puerto Rico; Mayra Hernandez, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico; Gladys Montalvo, Ponce, Puerto Rico; and Neyda Vallina, Amarillas, Cuba.

Sponsored by City of Springfield Department of Elder Affairs, the Riverview Senior Center, and the Friends of the Library.

Jazz Festival at Mason Square Branch

May 11th, 2015

On Thursday, May 21st the Mason Square Branch will transform from quiet library to concert hall. There will be music, amplified, so put down your paperback, just this once, and join us for some live jazz!

The branch will host three different groups including,
5:00 The J Walker Trio (Ed Brainerd, Dan Margolis and Joel Meginsky)
6:00 The Billy Arnold Trio (Ralph Whittle, Jim Daggs and Billy Arnold)
7:00 Smack! (Steve Yarbro, Nick Borges, Dan Thomas, J. Witbeck, and Colin Jalbert)

Steve Yarbro sax.

In addition, we’ll be serving Chef Wayne’s Cajun fare: think New Orleans style red beans, jambalaya, and corn bread. You might as well be on Bourbon Street.

Children (and adults!) of all ages are encouraged to attend this family-friendly evening of good music, good food, and good fun.

We hope to see you there!

Celebrate National Poetry Month at the Library!

April 9th, 2015

We have special programming scheduled in April for all poetry lovers and writers!

Maria Arroyo Spr Poet Laureate2014

The ABCs of Publishing Poetry
Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 1-3:00 p.m.
Central Library Community Room

Sign up online

How do I put together a chapbook? Are entering poems into fee-based poetry contests the only way I can get published? How do I learn which markets are best for my poems? If I have enough poems for a full-length book, how do I approach publishers? In this engaging workshop facilitated by award-winning multilingual poet and Springfield’s first Poet Laureate, María Luisa Arroyo, bring all of your questions and a few poems in order to begin or continue your poetry publishing career. [18+].


An Evening of Poetry / Noche de Poesia
Thursday, April 16, 6:30 pm
Brightwood Branch Library

Join us for an evening of bilingual poetry (English and Spanish) featuring local poets including Isabel Marcheselli, Sheldon Alexander, Mayra Rohena, and others. Tonight’s emcee is Damaris Perez-Pizarro, writer for El Pueblo Latino.


Words of Inspiration: The Poetry of Laura Chagnon
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 1-2:30 p.m.
Sixteen Acres Branch Library Community Room

Sign up online

Please join us during National Poetry Month for a poetry reading and book signing by local poet Laura Chagnon. Despite a brutal assault that left her legally blind and a quadriplegic, Ms. Chagnon’s love of poetry inspired her to learn the wonderful art form and create her own works. Laura’s zeal for poetry comes from her love of sharing her words with others. Laura Chagnon said in a May 20, 2014 MassLive article, “I hope people feel amazed and inspired by the poetry I have written,” she said. “After reading my words and knowing what I have overcome, perhaps others will learn it is possible to do anything if they put their heart into it.”

The Friends of the Library will sponsor a raffle of a tote bag complete with two complimentary books.

Veterans of Color Documentary

April 8th, 2015

Screening Times:

At Mason Square Branch Library Community Room
765 State Street, Springfield, MA
Saturday, May 16 between the hours of 1:00-3:00 p.m.
(The Honorable State Representative Ben Swan is scheduled to be at the Mason Square Branch showing)

Sixteen Acres Branch Library Meeting Room
1187 Parker Street, Springfield, MA
Saturday, May 23 from 1:30-2:55 p.m.
(The Honorable City Councilor Clodo Concepcion is scheduled to be at the Sixteen Acres Branch showing)


This is a film screening of the outstanding oral history documentary, Veterans of Color, that chronicles the challenges 31 African American male and female veterans faced during their military career and later adjustment to civilian life. According to the documentary, “These oral histories will enable future generations to hear directly from veterans the realities of their experiences and better understand the realities of war.”

Seventy-five years of involvement in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and World War II resulted in over ½ million casualties and thousands of wounded American veterans. After participating in some of the bloodiest combat missions in American history, many veterans of color faced one of their fiercest battles dealing with housing and job discrimination, racial hatred, and other hardships when they returned home. This much-needed documentary tells their story.

Civil Rights in Springfield

April 7th, 2015

Conversation and Photo Exhibition
Monday, April 27, 5:30 p.m.
Mason Square Branch

repub photo 1

When considering the Civil Rights movement, the first things that often come to mind are the events and struggles that occurred elsewhere in the country: Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on the bus, sit-ins in North Carolina, and bus boycotts in Alabama, for starters. While these are the events that, rightfully, made for national headlines and subsequent entries in history books, there are other important tales to tell too.

Join us in the Mason Square Community Room on Monday, April 27th at 5:30 p.m. to hear the story of the Civil Rights movement in Springfield. Our host, Ayanna Crawford, will contextualize local activism within the national movement before introducing an intergenerational dialogue that audience members are encouraged to take part in.

Participating civil rights leaders and advocates, including State Rep. Benjamin Swan, former State Rep. Raymond Jordan, Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, and Rev. Karen Rucks will recount the climate in the city that incited the movement in the 1960’s, they’ll tell stories of leadership, of tireless work and strategizing, of inspiring a community, and making a movement.

They’ll also talk about some of the things that continue to hold the city and its residents back today. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions, to weigh the always-shifting nature of civil rights violations and activism, and to consider how they, themselves, can affect positive change in their neighborhood.

The conversation will be followed by a light reception highlighting the branch’s recently-acquired prints that depict the civil rights rallies and marches against police brutality that swept the city following the Octagon Lounge Incident in July, 1965. The photographs were generously donated by The Republican.

Seussabration Celebration!

March 11th, 2015

If you know Dr. Seuss you know Ned McDodd is the Mayor of Whoville, and Gerald McGrew from If I Ran the Zoo, but what about Betty MacLeod? Betty is very popular in the Children’s Rooms of all Springfield City Libraries!

Betty grew up in Springfield and attended Classical High School, just like Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. And like the famous children’s book author she spent many of her afternoons in the Central Library. As an adult, Betty continued to live and work in Springfield. She started in the mental health field in the late 1970s and 1980s before changing focus to assist families with adoptions. For the last years of her career, she worked in Early Intervention with Thom (now CHD).

From out of Nowhere, Betty called and asked if the Library would accept the donation of a Dr. Seuss quilt and book set, thinking it would be nice if we raffled it off for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. We were stunned! We have received donations of crayons, LEGOs, and of course, books, but never something handmade.

After a bit of thinking, the Children’s librarians realized that they wanted to make sure that lots of children citywide had the opportunity to receive a raffle ticket, so instead of raffling the quilt on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2 became the kickoff for a month-long celebration of Dr. Seuss’ books! Any child who reads a Dr. Seuss book in any Springfield City Library location or who checks out a Dr. Seuss book during the month of March earns a raffle ticket for a chance to win the quilt and book set.

Karen at the Mason Square Branch reports that children actually stand in line for the chance to read her Green Eggs and Ham. “It’s their favorite book!” she reports.

When asked what inspired her to create a Dr. Seuss quilt, with the intention to donate it to the Springfield City Library, Betty replied that the project combined her two loves: reading and quilting. She loved The Cat in the Hat as a child and continues to love the bright colors of Dr. Seuss–and, of course, Dr. Seuss is a natural fit with Springfield, being a native himself! She felt that creating and donating the quilt was the perfect way to give back to a place that had given her so much. Betty sets a wonderful example for us all.

Quilter extraordinaire Betty MacLeod with her handmade creation, and The Cat in the Hat.
Quilter extraordinaire Betty MacLeod with her handmade creation, and The Cat in the Hat.

This past Saturday, March 7, the Children’s Room celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday with an extra-special storytime with Dr. Seuss books, a visit from The Cat in the Hat, and Betty, who came along to talk to the families about her quilt and to show them how a sewing machine worked. Children were able to help sew a four-patch quilt square of their very own, using Dr. Seuss fabric! Later they used tissue paper to create collage wigs of blue hair and decorated breastplates announcing that they were “Thing 1” or “Thing 2.” Children read Dr. Seuss books and filled out raffle tickets. They showed off the Lorax projects they made at the Museum. Photo opportunities abounded, and every phone with a camera feature got a workout!

Children ages 12 and under have the opportunity to enter the raffle through March 31. Come in to any Springfield City Library location and read yourself or someone you love a Dr. Seuss book, or take one home if you’d like. Be sure to fill out your raffle ticket on your way out!

The winner’s name will be drawn on April 6, 2015 (You don’t have to be present to win.) and will receive a lap-sized Dr. Seuss quilt, three Dr. Seuss books, and a stuffed Cat in the Hat! Thank you Betty MacLeod!

Read Off Your Fines Month for Teens

March 2nd, 2015

Good news! This program has been extended through August 31! Stop in and start reading off your fines!

teen girl with books

It Pay$ to Read at the Springfield City Library during the month of March! All this month, teens ages 12-19 who have overdue fines on their library cards have a chance to reduce those fines by reading. Teens can come by any library location starting March 1, sign in at the reference desk, and make themselves comfortable nearby to read – $2 of their fines will be eliminated for each half hour read, up to an hour and a half each day. (Bills for lost or damaged items are not covered by this program.) They can read books, graphic novels, magazines – whatever they enjoy reading!

Teens, make a fresh start for Spring by reading off your fines now. See you at the Library!

Sip & Savor, Rhythm & Rhymes

February 17th, 2015

Sip & Savor, Rhythm & Rhymes Celebrate the Library with Our Friends!
Friday, April 17, 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Central Library Rotunda

rotunda The Friends of the Springfield Library will host a special get together on Friday, April 17 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. celebrating National Library Week and Springfield’s first Poet Laureate María Luisa Arroyo. Imagine enjoying hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and mingling under the soaring dome of the Central Library Rotunda while listening to beautiful music provided by Joel Meginsky!

Tickets to Sip & Savor, Rhythm & Rhymes, with all proceeds to benefit the Friends of the Springfield Library, are $35 per person. You are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets by April 15 by paying online, by mailing a check made out to Friends of the Springfield Library to the address below, or by paying in person at any Springfield City Library location. Walk up tickets will also be available at the event.

Friends of the Library
220 State St.
Springfield MA 01103

The Friends of the Springfield Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the work of the Springfield City Library. The Friends work to promote awareness of library resources, raise funds for special programming and advocate on behalf of library interests.

Opened on January 10, 1912, the Central Library, 220 State Street, built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, has a pink granite base surrounded by white Vermont marble, a frieze of white terra cotta and a dark green tile roof. Funded with $240,000 from Andrew Carnegie and $155,000 contributed by Springfield residents, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At its dedication ceremony on January 11, 1912, Mayor Edward H. Lathrop said, “We speak of libraries as of household things. The library touches us on all sides. It appeals to us through brain, heart and sentiment. We go to it for comfort, for hope, for devotion, for rest, for inspiration, and for amusement. It beckons us with impalpable fingers.”

Over 100 years later those words hold true. Please buy your ticket and support the library on April 17, 2015.

Mobile Printing at Central Library

February 11th, 2015

Print on the go!

Printing has just become easier. You can easily print on the Central Library’s public printer, located at 220 State Street, Springfield, MA, during library hours from your home computer, laptop or mobile device. Imagine that! You don’t have to be in the Central Library to print but you must pick up the print job on the same day during our open hours. Our new mobile printing solution is available during our regular business hours whether you’re in the Central Library or not. There are three ways to use our mobile printing option:

  1. Visit our online printer portal, enter your email address, upload your document or URL and click on green printer icon
  2. Send or forward the document as an attachment via email to scl-main-bw@printspots.com
  3. Install the PrinterOn app for iOS or Android devices (Kindle Fire not available). Search 01103 or Springfield and select SCL Main Branch

Stop by Wellman Hall at the Central Library on the same day during our open hours to retrieve your print job. (Note: The Central Library is closed on Fridays.) Black and white only; 15 cents a page. Consult a staff member for assistance.

Mobile Printing Instructions (PDF)

Artwork of Gina Beavers and Earskin Sloan

January 13th, 2015
In celebration of African American History Month our Brightwood Branch Library, 359 Plainfield Street, will showcase the artwork of two Springfield artists, painter Gina Beavers and photographer Earskin Sloan. Join us and meet the artists at the opening reception on Tuesday, February 3 from 6-7 p.m. beavers Gina’s bold colors and strong images remain powerful while highlighting the subject’s beauty. Gina says her art “can best be summarized as homage to Byzantine stained glass and Mexican muralists. I love the bold and powerful cubist influences of Diego Rivera, but I seek the order of clearly defined color fields as in the works of the stained glass artists in medieval churches. Like both, however, my work is infused with vibrant saturated colors.” sloan2 Earskin is the owner of CSP Digital Images in Springfield, and his diverse photography captures excitement, introspection, and community spirit with remarkable balance, clarity, and focus. The work of these two artists will be on display throughout February at the Brightwood Branch Library, and then will move to the Central Library Rotunda for the month of March.

Rewards of Freedom Photography Exhibit Opening at the Forest Park Branch Library

January 12th, 2015

Please join us on Thursday, January 15, 6-7:30 p.m., for an opening reception at the Forest Park Branch Library, 380 Belmont Avenue, Springfield. On display will be large prints of a number of photographs of Springfield’s history featured in the book, The Struggle for Freedom: the History of African Americans in Western Massachusetts. We shine a spotlight on local photographers from the turn of the 20th century to the turn of the 21st century. The photos highlight local Springfield heroes and dignitaries, as well as key moments from its rich tapestry of African American life.

Struggle for Freedom

One of the featured photographers, J.B. Bradley, published a magazine called Chat, which was produced throughout the 1960s, 70s and into the 80s, when his son, J.B. Bradley, Jr. took over. Both father and son wished to portray their culture in a positive light – also the goal of the exhibit, which focuses on freedom’s rewards: the right to be oneself, to live, work, love, and attain an education.

Bradley would take photos of all types of events, particularly those showing the social life of African Americans in Springfield, Mass. and Hartford, Conn. He photographed famous entertainers such as Della Reese and Chubby Checker, as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali. He sent copies of his magazine to former Springfield and Hartford natives around the world, who subscribed in order to get the news from their hometown.

Sports figures are also well represented both in the book and in this exhibit. Record-breaking track star Howard Drew, who accomplished many “firsts” in African American history, is pictured in a 1913 photo of Springfield High School’s track team.

A more recent photo, taken by Michael Gordon, shows seventeen year-old Omarthan Clark painting a self-portrait. Omarthan is now a working artist, presently a Graduate Teaching Associate at Ohio State University.

Special thanks to the Springfield Republican, Wayne Phaneuf and Marianna McKee for providing the photographs for the exhibit.

The exhibit will run from Thursday, January 15 through the end of February 2015.