The Electoral College – Keep It or Dump It? A Public Discussion

February 1st, 2017

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Brightwood Branch Library, 359 Plainfield St., Springfield

Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election marked the second time in 16 years that the winner of the popular vote has lost the election in the Electoral College. This disconnect between winning the vote of the nation’s electors and winning the vote of the nation’s people has prompted renewed calls to abolish the Electoral College.

All 50 states and every other democracy in the world directly elects its leaders by popular vote. So, keep the Electoral College or dump it? The League of Women Voters/Springfield and the Springfield City Library bring together a panel in a free public forum to explore this important question Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Brightwood Branch Library, 359 Plainfield St., Springfield.


Doing a deep dive into the pros and cons of our unique American institution will be State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), who has called upon the state Senate to petition Congress to abolish the Electoral College, and political scientists Amel Ahmed and Jesse Rhodes from UMass Amherst, and Adam Hilton from Mount Holyoke College.

“The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the direct-popular-vote method for electing the President and Vice-President is essential to representative government,” says panel organizer Linda Matys O’Connell, convener of the League of Women Voters/Springfield. “We also believe people need real information to make good decisions about our government, so we are eager for an in-depth airing of the issues surrounding the Electoral College with our thoughtful panelists.”

Senator Lesser also hopes to spur an exchange of ideas: “Given the importance of empowering voters to believe every vote counts in a presidential election, the repeal of the Electoral College merits a thorough discussion and examination. My hope is that this Resolution contributes to such a discussion,” he said in a statement when he filed his Senate resolution.

To kick off Tuesday’s discussion, Professor Rhodes will lay groundwork and provide context by presenting a short history of the origin and functioning of the Electoral College, and Senator Lesser will present his rationale for calling for its abolishment.

Professor Ahmed, will speak in its defense. She argued recently in the journal “The American Prospect”: “While the disconnect between the electoral and popular votes may be cause for alarm, abolishing the Electoral College poses even greater dangers, particularly for liberals. . . . Indeed, the Electoral College is one of the greatest guarantees our system delivers to ensure that minority interests are represented in the office of the presidency.”

Mount Holyoke’s Hilton notes that one of his students described the hybrid American presidential election system as a “Frankensystem.” While he acknowledges that the system is “needlessly complicated, and operates in a way now that it was not designed to do,” he will focus on the pitfalls of substituting what he calls “technical solutions” like Electoral College reform for solutions to social-political problems.

“I think the grievances of the citizens are something we have to think really carefully about—what kinds of political arrangements, compromises, and deep fundamental changes need to happen for those grievances to be addressed in a positive way,” he said in an interview with Mount Holyoke’s Keely Savoie.

About the panelists

Jesse Rhodes is an associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst. His major areas of scholarly interest are social policy, voting rights policy, economic inequality and political behavior.

Amel Ahmed is an associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst. Her main area of specialization is democratic studies particularly the politics of institutional choice in the process of democratization.

Adam Hilton is a visiting instructor of political science at Mount Holyoke College. He focuses on electoral history and practice.

State Sen. Eric Lesser is co-chair of the Senate’s Millennial Engagement Initiative. He represents parts of Springfield and Chicopee, and East Longmeadow, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Wilbraham, Belchertown and Granby.

About the LWV/Springfield
The League of Women Voters is a political organization that encourages informed and active citizen participation in government with the goal of helping the people access their power to shape better communities. It does not support candidates or parties. The LWV/Springfield is a unit of the Northampton Area LWV.

A Cappella Group to Perform at Central Library

January 23rd, 2017

“Time Was” Features Singers H.B. Hall, Sharon Jacobson-Deragon, and Marty Batt
Sunday, January 29, 2017, 2 p.m.
Central Library Rotunda

The Springfield City Library is thrilled to present a musical performance by a cappella group Time Was on Sunday, January 29th from 2-3 PM. Featuring Howard “H.B.” Hall, Sharon “The Nightingale” Jacobson-Deragon, and Marty “Sweet Voice” Batt, each member of Time Was brings experience, a love of music, and exceptional talent to their performances.

The concert is part of the Rotunda Rhythms monthly musical series, hosted in the Central Library at 220 State Street in Springfield. Programs in January through April will feature local musicians in performances well suited for a general, all-ages audience. Each concert includes a free attendance raffle for the audience, sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Library Hosts Winter Reading Club

January 9th, 2017

All Ages Can Earn Prizes for Reading
January 17 – February 24

Springfield residents looking to avoid cabin fever this winter should swing by their library and join the Winter Reading Club. The Club is for all ages – infants, children, teens, and adults – and anyone can participate! Just stop by your branch to pick up a reading log or review sheet.

There are a variety of different prizes to be won, depending on your age group. Prizes include free books, treasure box prizes, raffle tickets to win a LEGO Academy Building Set, raffle tickets to win an Amazon gift card, and a raffle drawing to win one of nine Stop & Shop gift cards.

The Winter Reading Club for older children is entitled Reading Robots: Take Me to Your Reader! and branch libraries will be offering a number of robot-inspired activities to tie in with the theme. Teen readers are invited to participate in comics/graphic novel author Gene Luen Yang’s Reading Without Walls Challenge. Additional information about each age group, prizes, robot activities, and more can be found here. The Winter Reading Club starts Tuesday, January 17th and ends Friday, February 24th.

Area Poets & Novelists to Give Readings

December 29th, 2016

Children’s Authors, Poets, and Writers Visit the Central Library
Sunday, January 8, 1 – 3 pm
Central Library Community Room

The Springfield City Library is thrilled to host a large number of area authors at a Literary Spotlight event 1:00-3:00 PM on Sunday, January 8th. Creative Readings by Local Writers will feature a collection of poets, novelists, and children’s authors, who will read spoken samples of their creative work. An open mic session will follow the readings as time and interest allows.

Participating readers are: Jane Schneeloch, Springfield poet; Don Fisher, Chicopee poet; Price Van Ray, South Hadley poet and novelist; Jacqueline Lynch, Chicopee novelist; Peter Cianciolo, Springfield author of A Father’s Love; Maria Kamoulakou-Marangoudakis, Springfield author of Sky Cloud City; Patrick Shanahan, Holyoke author of The Bird Song, and Betsy Sheehan, East Longmeadow author of Grace O’Malley, the Queen of the Sea.

Refreshments will be available compliments of the Friends of the Library, with a free attendance raffle for all who attend. The Central Library is located at 220 State Street in Springfield.

New Club Mixes Books and Brews at Bar

December 21st, 2016

Relaxed Book Club to Meet at Nathan Bill’s
First Meeting: January 4, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

Public libraries host programs for all ages, from newborn babies to senior citizens. So what is the Springfield City Library planning for 20- and 30- somethings? A new Books & Brew Book Club at Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant, starting in January. A kick-off meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 4th at 7:30 PM; the group will pick the club’s book titles for the next three months. Each book will be available for free check out at the East Forest Park Branch Library.

Although targeted toward Millennials, this lively book club is open to all adults ages 21+ and is scheduled to meet from 7:30-8:30 PM on the first Wednesday of every month. No registration is required. Nathan Bill’s is located at 110 Island Pond Rd, Springfield, MA. The East Forest Park Branch Library is located at 122 Island Pond Rd, Springfield MA.

Masterful Musicians to Perform in Sixteen Acres

December 15th, 2016

Cellist and Pianist to Play Gorgeous Classical Selections
Tuesday, December 27, 6:30 p.m.
Sixteen Acres Branch Library

Add some joy to your holiday season and attend an educational, enchanting, free classical music concert at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 27th. Two teachers from the Community Music School of Springfield will play a wide variety of classical music at the Sixteen Acres Branch Library, located at 1187 Parker Street in Springfield. Sofya Shainskaya, a pianist with a distinguished career as a performer and teacher for over 30 years, was at one time the accompanist and musical arranger for the former USSR Olympic Gymnastic Team. Sofya’s husband, Boris Kogan, a cellist, was a child prodigy in his native Russia. Mr. Kogan was Assistant Principal cellist with the Leningrad Symphony and has performed in locations such as Yale University, Carnegie Hall, and Washington, D.C. As well as playing beautiful musical selections by J.S. Bach, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, Sofya and Boris will talk about the composers, as well as their own experiences as musicians in the United States and in Russia.

Mason Square Branch Awarded “Health in the Square” Grant

December 6th, 2016
Mason Square 2014

Grant Will Fund Free Nutrition, Gardening, and Technology Programs

The Springfield City Library’s Mason Square Branch has been awarded a grant from the National Library of Medicine for a series of programs called “Health in the Square.” The Library will partner with the Mason Square Health Task Force, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, American International College, and Springfield Food Policy Council to provide a variety of programs designed to increase health and health knowledge among Springfield residents.

As part of the grant, Springfield City Library staff will receive training on an online resource called Medline Plus; the Mason Square Branch Library will purchase three tablets for patrons to easily access health information via the National Library of Medicine; the Mason Square Branch Library will host nutritional “Tasty Tuesday” snack programs for children ages 9-12 and their families; and the Springfield Food Policy Council will lead gardening workshops at both the Mason Square Branch Library and at additional community garden locations in the City of Springfield.

All library programs are free and open to the public. Some programs have limited spots and require registration. All library locations and hours, as well as a complete listing of all library events, can be found on our website. You may also request information by calling the Central Library Reference Desk at 413-263-6828 ext. 213.

Health Literacy Resources at your local library

December 6th, 2016

By Ellen Sulzycki, Reference Librarian


Recently, Mason Square Branch Library received a grant from the National Library of Medicine for Community Engagement. Through this grant, Springfield City Librarians have been trained in best practices for health reference services. Margot Malachowski, previous Health Sciences Librarian at Baystate Medical, visited Springfield City Library for a training session on serving patrons with health related questions. Topics ranged from how to access reliable health data to how to locate primary care providers.

Mason Square Branch Library will soon have iPad tablets exclusively for patrons seeking health information. Visit a Springfield City Library location today to explore these recommended websites for health information:

Delicious Baked Goods, Great Books for Sale at Library

December 1st, 2016

The book sale will continue through Friday, December 23. Stop by!

Mason Square Hosts Annual “Book and Bake Sale”
Thursday, December 15, 3 – 7:30 p.m.


Pioneer Valley residents looking for literary holiday gifts will want to stop by the Book and Bake Sale, to be held at the Springfield City Library’s Mason Square Branch from 3-7:30 PM on Thursday, December 15th. Shoppers will enjoy free hot chocolate while they browse a wide selection of used fiction and nonfiction books for adults, teens, and children, all for sale at deep discounts. Paperbacks and children’s books are priced at $0.50 each, hardcovers are $1.00, or you can fill a bag for just $5.00.

Visitors will also find an array of baked goods for sale, including cookies, brownies and fudge. All proceeds from book and baked good sales will benefit the Friends of the Springfield Library, who support a large number of the Springfield City Library’s free programs for the public.

Those wishing to contribute a baked good for the bake sale may contact Mason Square Branch Supervisor Caitlin Kelley at 413-263-6853.

Reading Lists: Cozy Home, Cooking and Baking

November 15th, 2016

The colder the weather, the nicer it is to have a snuggly home. That may mean colors, candles, and blankets, or it may mean lots and lots of pie. Either way, we hope you’ll find some inspiration below!


Kitchen of light: new Scandinavian cooking with Andreas Viestad

First frost: cozy folk knitting by Lucinda Guy

Against the grain: (extraordinary gluten-free recipes made from real, all-natural ingredients) by Nancy Cain

A year of gingerbread houses: making & decorating gingerbread houses for all seasons by Kristine Samuell


Carla’s comfort foods: favorite dishes from around the world by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko

Warm bread and honey cake: home baking from around the world by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra


Hand made baking: recipes to warm the heart by Kamran Siddiqi

Little retreats: more than thirty cozy getaway spaces for the seaside, mountains and country by Jane Tidbury

Gluten-free Christmas baking by Ellen Brown [e-book]

Baking chez moi: recipes from my Paris home to your home anywhere by Dorie Greenspan

Sweet Eats for All: : 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes–from Candy to Cookies, Puff Pastries to Petits Fours by Allyson Kramer

Shades of country: designing a life of comfort by Chippy Irvine


Handcrafted Christmas: ornaments, decorations, and cookie recipes to make at home by Susan Waggoner


Simple sustainable style: ways to make a house your home by Randy Florke with Nancy J. Becker

Vegan for the holidays: celebration feasts for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day by Zel Allen [e-book]

Knish: in search of the Jewish soul food by Laura Silver

This is just a small sampling of all the materials we have available through the library. Browse the catalog online or ask your librarian for some great recommendations!

History Comes Alive with Civil War Soldier Reenactor

November 2nd, 2016

Forest Park Branch Library to Host Reenactor Doug Quigley
Thursday, November 10, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Have you ever wondered what life was like for Union soldiers during the Civil War? What did they eat? What did they wear and carry with them? We invite you to Springfield City Library’s Forest Park Branch on Thursday, November 10th, to find out. Costumed reenactor Doug Quigley will make the past come alive and present a fascinating window into the experience of the Civil War. Children, teens, and adults are all invited to this free event, which will be held from 6:30-7:30 PM at 380 Belmont Avenue in Springfield.

Special Event for Nonprofits to be Hosted at Library

October 24th, 2016

Local Organizations Invited to Nonprofit Mingle
Central Library Rotunda
Thursday, October 27, 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Local nonprofits, foundations, and grassroots organizations are invited to the Nonprofit Mingle at the Springfield City Library, to be held from 5:30 – 7:30 PM on Thursday, October 27th. Attendees will enjoy the social atmosphere, wine, and food while networking and discovering the Library’s Funding Information Network resources. Those who bring business cards will be entered into a special raffle at the event.

“The Nonprofit Mingle is a great chance to network and build relationships,” said Jean Canosa Albano, the Library’s Assistant Director for Public Services. “The more the nonprofit community becomes connected, the easier it is for all of us to collaborate to address Springfield’s aspirations and concerns. We’ll also get to show off the Funding Information Network. I think attendees will be pleasantly surprised by how useful it is.”

The Mingle will be held at the Central Library, located at 220 State Street in Springfield. Although the event is free to attend, registration is required. Register online or by calling the Central Library Reference Desk at 413-263-6828 ext. 213.

Please note that the library will be closed to the public at that time, so you should enter by the street level door on the right of the building on the State Street side. Free parking is available in the parking lot across the street (between the Classical High Condos and the old School Department building).