Local Authors @ Your Library

July 1st, 2014

July is local author month at the Mason Square Branch Library.

On the first four Thursdays in July from 6-7:30 p.m. the Mason Square Branch will feature recently-published local authors who will be available to meet and greet the public, sell and sign copies of their books, and answers questions about writing, publishing, and more. Stop by and see what stories they have for you!

Thursday, July 3, 6-7:30 pm


Haven Williams is co-author of the joint autobiography, Perforated Fiber, which chronicles the difficulties faced while growing up in the ghettos and semi-rural areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts in the late 1970’s into the 1990’s. You can find out more about the book here and see it in the catalog here.



Dr. Oliver Akamnonu is the author of over twelve books that touch on topics as varied as village life in Africa, surviving civil war, class warfare, and moving to the West. His books include: Suppers of Many Dishes part 1; Suppers of Many Dishes part 2>; The Gods have Not Yet Spoken; Taste of the West; Nation of Dead Patriots; Coming Late to America; Bature; The Honorable; and Comedy of Naked Vampires. You can find his website here and view his books in the catalog here.

Thursday, July 10, 6-7:30 pm


Latoya Bosworth: With a little bit of brass, plenty of bold, and the right amount of vulnerability, Latoya Bosworth, aka Brenda’s Child, has performed as a spoken word artist from her hometown of Springfield, MA to San Diego, CA. In 2007 she published her first poetry collection. Since then she has published five books, including two novellas and a memoir. In her most recent book, On Her Own Two Feet, the sequel to the best selling novella Despite Everything, protagonist Desiree Cruz has left her physically abusive, cocaine-addicted boyfriend and her longtime job of exotic dancer to begin to her journey of self-acceptance and self-love. You can find her works in our catalog here and her website here.



Lynnette Johnson: Lynnette calls herself privileged. She was fortunate to be born to two loving parents who not only tolerated her free spirit, they nurtured it. She was able to have experienced an extended childhood. They thought the “it” was dancing, and then “it” was drawing, and then “it” became acting, and then “it” was fashion, but there was always the writing. Mrs Brunelle asked her third grade students to keep a weekly journal. This regular writing exercise grew into a vital part of Lynnette’s life. She has been writing it down ever since.

As she grew into herself she was introduced to Spoken Word. Spoken Word is an art form that combines Lynnette’s two true loves, writing and performing. Once she discovered this form of self expression she could no longer imagine her life without it. Lynnette has a gentle style. Her voice is a combination of humor and sarcasm with wit and charm.

She speaks of love and unlove, human frailty and the favor of God. Her desire is to connect. She recently put together her first book of poems and short stories, fact and fantasy titled I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You. You can find Lynnette reciting at various open mic’s, at weddings and church functions, in the mirror in her bedroom, in her car…. she just can not keep “it” to herself. You can find her website here.

Thursday, July 17, 6-7:30 pm


Price Van Ray: Author, illustrator, publisher, and former Mason Square resident, Price Van Ray, has written numerous books for children. His most recent, Chronicles of the Knickelback: The Monster Survival Guide follows a boy haunted by memories who learns that he is a Knickelback, guardian of the multiverse. You can find his work in the catalog here and his website here.



Andrea Hairston: Professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College, Ms. Hairston is also the artistic director of Chrysalis Theatre, a cross-cultural performance ensemble. In addition to writing a number of plays, the professor has composed two speculative novels including Mindscape and Redwood and Wildfire. Her most recent work, Lonely Stardust: Two Plays, a Speech, and Eight Essays, brings us the texts of nine marvelous works of scholarly performance as well as two works of drama in which the fantastic shows us the way through despair. You can find her work in the catalog here and her bio here.

Andrea will read from her works accompanied by music performed by Pan Morigan.

Pan Morigan: is a songwriter, vocalist, and composer. Her genre-defying work combines the influences of blues, Irish music, Jazz, and something purely of the imagination. She is the music director for Chrysalis Theatre and has created song and improvisational scores for over 25 live productions and for public radio, as well as recording two albums, Wild Blue and Castles of Gold. She is a winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Music Composition and has toured across the U.S. and overseas with writer and collaborator, Andrea Hairston, composer Adele O’Dwyer, Jazz vocalist, Bobby McFerrin and others. She is currently finishing a recording of original music written for the lyrics from Andrea Hairston’s book of fiction, Redwood and Wildfire.

Thursday, July 24, 6-7:30 pm


Blanche Jackson-Hill: Wilbraham resident, Blanche Jackson-Hill’s book, Straight to the Point Financing: A Quick & Easy Guide to Managing Your Money, has been lauded as the guide that will “revolutionize the finances of the common man.” In her dedication, Jackson Hill notes that the book is for “the younger generation, who has not yet developed any bad financial habits but also has not established a solid foundation for good habits to manage money. For those who find themselves trying to get out of debt, you will hopefully find that these guidelines are easy to adopt. This book gets right to the subject at hand, making it very suitable for people who really do not enjoy reading. Therefore, this book is for everyone.” You can find her book in the catalog here.

Read to your children, say doctors

June 25th, 2014

The American Academy of Pediatrics is joining with other organizations to call for parents to read aloud to their children — from birth — to foster literacy and social skills. A recent article from NPR highlights a new initiative by pediatricians to urge parents to read to their children and to provide books for families.

The Springfield City Library has supported early literacy and lifelong learning for generations. Our librarians have created a list of suggested read-aloud books for infants and toddlers. Stop by your branch library and ask our librarians to assist you in finding good books to share with your families.

Booklist: Read-alouds for infants and toddlers.

Science Squad at the Central Library

June 9th, 2014

Central Library Children’s Program Room
Wednesdays, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, beginning June 25


This series of programs will explore eight different scientific areas with engaging, hands-on activities tailored to school-aged children. Each program will include a brief discussion of scientific principles, getting hands-on by making models or examples, and “science in action,” where Science Squad members conduct experiments and work with their models. Ages 8-12. To register, please call the Children’s Room at 413-263-6828 ext 201.

    Week 1: Geyser Science – Get messy with the science of geysers, then show off what you’ve learned by building and testing your own geyser!
    Week 2: Slime Science: The Revenge – We will dig deep into the science of slime and substances that act like two different types of matter, and make an especially gross type of slime.
    Week 3: Balloon Science – Get carried up, up, and away with the science behind hot air balloons, and design your own flying balloon capable of carrying passengers.
    Week 4: Boat Race Science – Discover principles of buoyancy, aerodynamics, and boat design, and make your own boat to race against other Science Squad members!
    Week 5: Catapult Science – We will launch marshmallows through the air with our own simple catapults, having fun while learning about engineering.
    Week 6: Rocket Science – Learn about rocket design and flight, then create and fly your own awesome rocket creation!

Home: A Reception and Exhibit of Handmade Quilts

June 4th, 2014

Forest Park Branch
Thursday, June 12, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Home is an exhibit of quilts made by Springfield residents.

"Coming Home" Quilt, created by the late Dorothy Whitten Roy, a third generation Springfield resident.
“Coming Home” Quilt, created by the late Dorothy Whitten Roy, a third generation Springfield resident.

Come see the variety of quilts displayed, and meet the quilters who created them! A wide variety of quilting techniques will be on display, from the traditional to the modern. Don’t miss the additional programming – for all ages – which complements the exhibit, including a spinning demonstration, pattern making for young children, and more.

Light refreshments will be provided at the reception.

The exhibit will continue through August 26th.

Spinning Wheel Demonstration
Thursday, June 12, 6 – 7 pm

The textile industry is back in Springfield! Come and watch and try your hand at spinning thread on a spinning wheel! Spinner Lucy Willingham will set up her spinning wheel in our lobby. Drop in and watch, or, if you wish to try your hand at spinning, be prepared to take up a spindle.


Quilt created by Barbara Stroup
Quilt created by Barbara Stroup
Quilt created by Loretta Forsyth.
Quilt created by Loretta Forsyth.

Mad about Mysteries with Sisters in Crime

June 3rd, 2014

Central Library Community Room
Wednesday, June 25, from 6:30 – 8 p.m.


A special mysteries program for the Adult Summer Reading Club presented by members of Sisters in Crime New England!

In this panel, three authors whose books run the gamut from historicals set in Puritan times, to contemporary cozies, to hardboiled PI stories about hot-button topics like teen-trafficking, will discuss the pleasures of reading and writing mysteries, including why they write the books they do, and what mysteries they have enjoyed in the past and what they are reading now. The audience is encouraged to join in the conversation.

The panelists are:


M.E. Kemp is the author of a series of historical mysteries featuring two nosy Puritans as detectives, the series reflecting her love of American history. Kemp was born in Oxford, MA, the town her ancestors helped settle in 1713 and where her family still resides today. With her roots going back even further, to Salem, MA in 1636, it is no wonder that she developed an early love of New England history. In seventh grade she won first prize in a national Scholastic Magazine contest with a New England-based short story. She still corresponds with the seventh grade teacher who sponsored her.


Carole Shmurak is Professor Emerita at Central Connecticut State University and the author of eleven books. Deadmistress, her first mystery featuring professor/sleuth Susan Lombardi, was named a Notable Book of 2004 by Writers Notes magazine. Other titles in the Lombardi academic mystery series are Death by Committee, Death at Hilliard High, and Most Likely to Murder. Writing as Carroll Thomas, she co-authors the Matty Trescott historical novels, one of which – Ring Out Wild Bells – was nominated for the Agatha for best YA mystery of 2001.


Steve Liskow: A former English teacher, actor, and director, Steve was a finalist for the Edgar Award for best short story (“Hot Sugar Blues” in Vengeance, edited by Lee Child) by the Mystery Writers of America. He won the Black Orchid Novella Award for “Stranglehold,” which appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and has twice won Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award from the New England Chapter of MWA. He has also published five novels set in central Connecticut. Blood On The Tracks, which came out in fall of 2013, introduces guitar-playing PI Chris “Woody” Guthrie, who battles crime and bad songs in Detroit. Steve conducts several fiction workshops and lives in the northeast with his wife Barbara and two rescued cats.

The panelists will have their books for sale at the event.

Attend this program, and earn a chance to win! Gift cards for La Fiorentina, Barnes & Noble, Friendly’s, Leone’s, Hot Table, and more will raffled off for registered Adult Summer Reading Club members who attend ASRC programs.

Author to Join Noon Book Group Discussion

May 8th, 2014

Noon Hour Book Group
Tuesday, May 13, 12 noon
Central Library Community Room


Come join us for a discussion of Springfield during the 1940s. Our book discussion group is reading Waitin’ for the Train to Come In: a novel of World War II by David Garnes.

This story is about a family living in Springfield and describes events and struggles they had during that time. The author grew up in Springfield and will be joining the book group to answer questions about what it was like back then. So if you remember the old Forbes & Wallace building, know anyone who worked at the Springfield Armory, Milton Bradley, Mass Mutual, or just want to come and hear about or re-live those years, come join us.

Book Description: World War II, perhaps the defining event of the 20th century, didn’t happen only on the battlefield. WAITIN’ FOR THE TRAIN TO COME IN is an historical novel about a New England family on the home front during the tumultuous years that changed the world–and the lives of all Americans.The novel follows the Stewarts of Springfield, Massachusetts as they cope with the sacrifices, adventures, and drama of “the war to end all wars.” Live the years 1943-1946 through the eyes of Laura and Alan Stewart, their son Billy, and his Aunt Belle as each experiences life in an urban neighborhood and, for one, on a Navy ship in the Pacific. Through the eyes of Laura, Billy, Belle, Alan and many other characters, WAITIN’ FOR THE TRAIN TO COME IN also explores larger outcomes of the war: the changing role of women; adjustments of returning veterans; life in wartime factories; and the struggles of being a child and adolescent during these turbulent years. Re-live air raid drills; rationing; holiday and end-of-war celebrations. Experience life in the Navy, from basic training to kamikaze attacks, typhoons, and the pleasures of wartime Honolulu. David Garnes’ extensive research also adds to the vivid re-creation of popular culture of the Forties: on the radio, in the movies, and in newspapers and popular books and magazines. WAITIN’ FOR THE TRAIN TO COME IN will appeal to readers who lived through this period, as well as those who did not experience the war but enjoy a well-plotted novel set against the backdrop of a crucial and exciting time in our history.

The Noon Hour Book Discussion Group meets in the Central Library’s Community Room on the second Tuesday of each month at, unsurprisingly, noon. Ask for a copy of the current book at the second level circulation desk. For more information, contact Chris Kasputis at 413-263-6828 ext 442 or by email at ckasputis@springfieldlibrary.org.

Sister Stories at Mason Square on May 17

May 5th, 2014

Sister Stories: Education–Empowering Girls and Women

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 1-3 pm, Mason Square Branch Library

Despite advances, mothers, women, and girls still face obstacles to achieving all they are capable of, worldwide and here at home. How do education, reading, and writing empower girls and women and have their voices be heard? Our two speakers, both published authors, will give their global and local perspectives on this question during our panel discussion. Community members are invited to share their reactions, successes, challenges, and ideas. Light refreshments will be served.

Dr. Gwenn Meredith

Dr. Gwenn Meredith, a leading expert on women’s rights in the Middle East, speaks and writes about women in the Arab world. Her scholarship also includes writings about Welsh, English, and Egyptian women, historical gender studies, and other women’s issues. She says, “The young Pakistani heroine Malala Yousafzai’s cries for universal education for women and girls goes unheeded in Egypt; no one has heard the voices of street girls begging to be given a life, a chance.” Dr. Meredith has published numerous books and articles, including Il Binait Dol: Egypt’s Hidden Shame. Her talk today will focus on global perspectives on girls, women, and education, offering perspectives and insights on the situation right here.

Maryam Sullivan

Maryam A. Sullivan is an award-winning poet, playwright, and author of the first Urban Muslim Fiction book, The Size of a Mustard Seed. Mrs. Sullivan was also the 2009 Lorraine Hansberry Scholarship recipient for creative writing, the 2010 scholarship recipient for community involvement from The Springfield Partners for Community Action, and the 2011 Harold Grinspoon Creative Entrepreneurial scholarship recipient as well. Outside of the writing world, Maryam is a certified English as a Second Language teacher, operates her own online tutoring service geared towards homeschoolers, and is the founder and the creative director of Covered Girls Collective, a performing arts and media literacy group for immigrant girls in Western Mass. She holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors from Bay Path College and Master’s degree with honors from Regis University. Mrs. Sullivan’s talk today will focus on innovative ways she is using technology and community-building to further girls’ education and empowerment.

Our hosts are Ayanna Crawford and Jean Canosa Albano.

Ayanna Crawford

Ayanna C.Crawford is the proud mother of two children with one in college. She currently works for the Springfield Public Schools as an Educator. She also is the owner/President of AC Consulting Services. She is also the host of the Ayanna C. Crawford show Inside Excellence scheduled to aired on Focus Springfield as well as the co-host for the BLE program with State Rep Ben Swan on WTCC.

She has been a guest lecturer at Smith College’s education department on “Best Practices for Literacy Development in Urban Schools.” She is a graduate of Westfield State University with a BA and Springfield College with an M.Ed and a former member of AmeriCorps, a service program that places students in urban schools to help with closing the achievement gap.

Currently Ayanna serves on the board of directors for the American Red Cross and Total Women Conference, Inc, She is an Alumni from Leadership Pioneer Valley, which cultivates emerging leadership in the Pioneer Valley. She currently hosts the Gospel Café, a regional entertainment showcase in the New England area, as well as Tastemakers Soul, an event of the local, regional, national entertainment world to network with executives in the entertainment industry. Ayanna has been a featured speaker at numerous colleges and universities on the topic of race, women’s issues, and parenthood.

Ayanna has been awarded 2013 women in leadership (Action award) from the TWA. Also, she was honored as a Local and Regional Woman to watch in 2014 BIW Magazine online.

Her motto is, “Be the change you want to see in the world”- Gandhi


Ms. Canosa Albano is the Manager of Public Services and the Mason Square Branch for the Springfield City Library. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, earned her Master’s in Library and Information Services from the University of Rhode Island, and is a member of the Sigma Delta Pi and Beta Phi Mu honor societies for Spanish and Library & Information Studies, respectively. She has been named a Massachusetts Literacy Champion and recognized in the Springfield Republican for International Women’s Day.

May is National Pet Month

May 1st, 2014

The library is celebrating with a donation program for the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center and with pet-related programs throughout the month.


National Pet Month is a celebration of the benefits that pets bring to people’s lives and that people bring to pets. It is observed annually in the United States in May. National Pet Month’s goals are to:

  • promote the benefits of pet ownership
  • support pet adoption
  • make people aware of the benefits of pets for people and of people for pets
  • increase public awareness of local community animal shelters
  • raise awareness of the role, value, and contribution to society of working companion animals

Each library branch will have a drop-off donation area for animal care or maintenance supplies for Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center. Help give back to the community during the month of May and drop off donations/supplies at any library location in the City of Springfield. It’s a very easy, simple way to make a contribution and make a difference in your community. The Thomas J. O’Connor Center provides shelter, education, advocacy, and assistance for animals and people in need. They rely solely on contributions from individuals and businesses that care about animals.

The Springfield City Library and the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center are both departments of the City of Springfield.

Wish List for Thomas J. O’Connor


  • Canned dog and cat food (any brand)
  • Beech Nut all-meat baby food (no onion or garlic, just meat)
  • Peanut butter, spray cheese, hot dogs
  • Fresh vegetables when we have rabbits and reptiles


  • Rawhide chews, pigs ears, bully sticks
  • Stuffed animals, ping pong balls, cat toys
  • Kiddy pools (summertime wading)
  • “Kong” toys and other heavy duty treat-dispensing toys
  • Small dog biscuits
  • Stretch and Scratch cat scratchers


  • Stainless steel bowls
  • Bedding: comforters, towels, and blankets
  • Clay cat litter
  • Plastic cat carriers
  • Dog crates and exercise pens
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner (not flea control)
  • B-Air Pet Dryer, 115 volt, or similar dryer with hand-held hose & nozzle
  • Nail clippers (new – dog and cat sizes)
  • Slip leads, 6’ leashes, adjustable collars (cloth)
  • Bandanas
  • Baled timothy hay – 1 bale every 3 months
  • Humane box traps (any size)


  • Laundry detergent, liquid bleach, dryer sheets
  • Liquid hand soap, white vinegar
  • Paper towels, Kleenex
  • Brooms, mops, mop heads (string type), dustpans
  • Lint rollers and refills
  • Air freshening sprays
  • Dishwashing liquid and gloves
  • Glass cleaner, multi-surface cleaners


  • Bottle water

GIFT CARDS (for our immediate needs)

  • Dave’s
  • Petco
  • Staples
  • Walmart
  • Big Y
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s

Download Wish List

Programs at the library in May!


Animal Meet & Greet!

East Springfield Branch, Wednesday, May 7, 6 – 7 pm

East Forest Park Branch, Wednesday, May 14, 6 – 7 pm

Join us in celebrating National Pet Month with an Animal Meet & Greet. Come meet some furry friends from one of our local animal shelters. Learn about their pet care, pet safety and how you can adopt a pet from your local animal shelter. This is a free family event.


Visit with Toto the Tornado Kitten

East Forest Park Branch, Saturday, May 17, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

In honor of National Pet Month, Toto the Tornado Kitten will be visiting East Forest Park Branch Library with his caretaker Jonathan Hall. Come admire and meet one of the coolest cats and hear Jonathan tell the story of Toto’s remarkable rescue after the tornado in June 2011. Jonathan’s books Toto the Tornado Kitten and Oh Toto! Where Did You Go? will be for sale.

Family Film: The Jungle Book

Mason Square Branch, Thursday, May 22, 6 – 8 pm

In the last animated film produced by Walt Disney himself, a young baby is discovered in the jungle by Bagheera, a panther. The strong-willed boy, Mowgli, is raised by Baloo, the bear and the two paternal animals try to keep him safe and raise him right as he meets with misadventures that involve swing-dancing monkeys, hypnotic snakes, and fearsome tigers. Free popcorn and refreshments will be served.


Read to Bella, the Reading Therapy Dog

East Forest Park, Saturday, May 31, 1 – 2 pm

Do you have a beginning reader or a reader needing some reading practice? Sign up for a specific ten minute time slot to read to Bella, a Pomeranian therapy dog, trained to serve as an audience with children to help them with improving their reading skills. This opportunity is especially for beginning or reluctant readers who just need some positive reading practice. Bella is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face while helping to promote and encourage children to read.

Call 413-263-6836 or stop in at the East Forest Park Branch Library to secure a spot.

Comic Book Day is May 3!

April 29th, 2014

And we’re celebrating!

Free Comic Book Day at Forest Park Branch, Saturday, May 3, 11 am – 3 pm

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day at the Forest Park Branch Library! Drop by and pick up your free comic book while supplies last. One book per person.

Comic Book Celebration

East Springfield Branch, Saturday, May 3, 11 am – 3 pm
Brightwood Branch, Tuesday, May 6, 3:30 – 7:30 pm

Join us for an afternoon celebrating comics and graphic novels in the library. We’ll have a comic themed scavenger hunt, a trivia contest, and many other surprises all day! All ages welcome!

Phoenix Swords Coming to the Library!

April 28th, 2014

May 24, Indian Orchard Branch Lawn, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

May 24, East Springfield Branch Lawn, 1:30 – 2:30 pm May 31, Central Library Rotunda, 11 am -12 pm

May 31, Forest Park Branch Community Room, 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Long swords, daggers, and lances, oh my! Phoenix Swords demonstrate the history of swordsmanship using real weaponry. They will describe stage fighting and there will be a time for questions and answers. At some locations this event will take place outside so please call ahead if weather will be an issue.

Phoenix Swords is a performance group that for the last 12 years has given shows everywhere from Canada to Florida. Their focus is on historical sword techniques as written about by sword masters in Europe from 1300 to 1700. They perform at venues of all sizes and have done shows for everything from birthday parties to The History Channel.

Children’s and Teens’ Choice Book Awards

April 23rd, 2014

Indian Orchard Branch Library
March 25 – May 12

YOUR Books! YOUR Choice!


The Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards is the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by children and teens. Last year, over 1,000,000 votes were cast by young readers!


Come to your local branch to vote on YOUR favorite book. You may either vote on line at http://www.ccbookawards.com/ or on paper.

Winners will be announced during Children’s Book Week — May 12-18, 2014.


Children’s Book Week is all about celebrating your favorite books, authors, and illustrators! From comics to mysteries, from magic to history…you can find anything between the pages of a book! And TEENS don’t let the name fool you –- Children’s Book Week is for you, too! This week is all about celebrating the books that matter to you.

Library Snapshot Day — more pics

April 12th, 2014
Students from Forest Park Middle School congregate inside and outside the Forest Park Branch Library on a nice day...
Students from Forest Park Middle School congregate inside and outside the Forest Park Branch Library on a nice day…
Storytime at Mason Square Branch.
Storytime at Mason Square Branch.
More storytime...popular program at Mason Square Branch.
More storytime…popular program at Mason Square Branch.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.
DeBerry School students at Mason Square Branch Library.