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
  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.

Winter Reading Club for Kids

December 23rd, 2014
color wrc logo larger

January 5, 2015 through February 15, 2015

Join our Winter Reading Club and celebrate the fun of reading in Springfield by connecting kindergarten through fifth graders to their libraries, recognizing them for their reading, and encouraging them to try cool new things at home, at the library, and more!


During the program, kindergarten through fifth graders can get a game card at their local library or print one out from this page. Then all they have to do is:

  • Read books, comics, or whatever you want, by yourself or with someone else, for 30 minutes!
  • Go to museums!
  • Come to the Library for cool programs!
to be eligible to win prizes, including lots of pairs of free tickets to a Falcons hockey game, a Minecraft Lego set, and more!

How Winter Reading Club Works

mom and daughter reading

Attention kindergarten through fifth graders! Know how you can JOIN IN to win lots of great prizes in Springfield City Library’s Winter Reading Club? It’s easy!

  1. Winter Reading Club begins Monday, January 5, 2015 and ends Sunday, February 15, 2015. Stop by your local library to get a game card, or print one out from this page .
  2. You have three ways to win. You can read by yourself or with someone else for at least 30 minutes! You can go to museums! You can come to the library for cool programs! You can do one, two, or all three! The more you do, the more chances you have to win.
  3. Visit your branch library with your completed game card to enter the weekly Winter Reading Club raffle. Take a trip to the treasure box while you’re there.
  4. Enter every week (as often as you like!) for chances to win free pairs of hockey tickets, a Minecraft Lego set, and more!

Ask for details at any Springfield City Library branch or call librarian Ted McCoy at 413-238-6828 ext. 201.

Lasting Peace in the Middle East

December 10th, 2014

Due to unavoidable circumstances, the lecture has been postponed. We will post a notice when the event has been rescheduled.

A talk by former Ambassador Mark Hambley

Tuesday, January 6, 2015, 6:30–7:45 pm
Sixteen Acres Branch Library, 1187 Parker St., Springfield

Sign up online


The majority of stories coming from the Middle East that dominate America’s news media have not been good news. The headlines and images during many bloody decades of wars have been filled with extreme violence, religious intolerance, poverty, frightened refugees, and battle scarred towns and cities.

Springfield resident Mark Hambley, former American ambassador in the Middle East and who still visits frequently in the context of his current duties, will share some of his thoughts about this very troubled area of the world.

Mr. Hambley’s impressive diplomatic resume includes representing America in numerous Middle Eastern countries including Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. His current duties take him to these countries as well as Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Iraq, the Gulf, and on occasion, to Syria several times a year. For more information about Ambassador Hambley, please see this MassLive article.


Please join him for what we hope will be a valuable opportunity to ease your concerns or increase your disquiet — and perhaps learn a bit more about important Middle Eastern issues than you currently see, hear, or read in the media. These issues might include:

** Can Syria, Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan or Iraq have lasting peace?
** What conditions and political issues have led to the rise of the militant groups ISIS and Al-Qaeda?
** Is war with Iran inevitable?
** Can America and Western countries be part of the solution to bring stability to the Middle East or have they been part of the problem?

A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Teen Winter Reading Club at East Forest Park and Forest Park

December 9th, 2014
Teen Winter Reading Club logo 2014

Monday January 5, 2015 – Saturday February 14, 2015

Join our first ever Teen Winter Reading Club to be held at the East Forest Park and Forest Park Branches! Teens ages 11-18 can win prizes by reading books, comics, and magazines, doing online research, attending library programs, and more!

Step 1: Come into the Forest Park or East Forest Park branch and pick up a bingo sheet at the Reference Desk.

teen summer-reading-experience-teen

Step 2: Choose an activity on your bingo sheet and get started! You can record book titles and your comments on each activity in the “Notes” section of the bingo sheet.

Step 3: Return to your branch (Forest Park or East Forest Park) when you have crossed off two boxes and choose a prize!

Step 4: Continue working on your sheet until you have crossed off 5 boxes in a row (the row may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal). Bring your finished bingo sheet to the reference desk to be entered in your branch’s raffle.

Step 5: Start another bingo sheet!

Chibiconn video

November 18th, 2014

Chibiconn, our celebration of anime culture last weekend, made the news! Watch the video from WGGB, ABC40.