Castro Documentary to be Screened at Sixteen Acres Branch

March 6th, 2017
Clodo Concepcion hi res.

Film Screening with Discussion of the Documentary The Castro Tapes
Saturday, March 25, 3:15 p.m.
Sixteen Acres Branch Library

Please join us for a free showing and discussion of a fascinating PBS documentary, The Fidel Castro Tapes. According to the producer: “To some an icon of resistance and to others the very face of dictatorial oppression, Fidel Castro was one of the most provocative political figures of the 20th century. The Fidel Castro Tapes chronicles how his drive and charisma catapulted him to power in Cuba and how he used these traits to maintain control of his country for nearly five decades and capture the attention of the world.”

There will be a discussion after the documentary that will feature a special guest, Sixteen Acres resident and former Springfield City Councilor Clodo Concepcion. Clodo grew up in Cuba, the second of 12 children, on a tobacco farm under the Batista government. He came to the United States in 1956.

“Health in the Square” Grant Funds Gardening Workshops

March 1st, 2017
Kiosk Image Gardening Workshops

Springfield Residents Can Grow Seedlings, Have Soil Tested, and Plan Gardens


Springfield City Library’s Mason Square Branch was lucky enough to win a “Health in the Square” grant from the National Library of Medicine a few months ago. However, the real winners are Springfield residents who can now attend a variety of free gardening workshops, many of which are funded by the grant.

Events include Garden Planning on March 9th from 5-6:30 PM, Soil Health and Soil Testing on March 25th from 11 AM – 12 PM, Community Garden Get Together on March 25th from 12:30-2:30 PM, and Bring Your Soil on March April 13th from 5-6:30 PM. All events listed above will be held at the Mason Square Library, located at 756 State Street in Springfield.

Many additional gardening-related workshops are planned at various city locations. For more information, please visit the Springfield Food Policy Council website or call them at 413-263-6500 ext. 6539. Those interested in attending workshops may also contact workshop coordinator Anna Muhammad at or call 413-214-1237.

March Brings Talented Authors to Springfield City Libraries

February 28th, 2017
Kiosk Image Author Fair

Libraries Host Events Showcasing Local Writers

The Spring Local Author Fair
March 4, 2017, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m
Central Library Rotunda

Katherine Kraver Book Signing
Wednesday, March 29, From 6:00-7:00 p.m. East Springfield Branch AND
Saturday, April 1, from 1:00-2:00 p.m., Sixteen Acres Branch

Katherine Kraver II

The Springfield City Library is honored to host a large number of authors this spring. On March 4th from 12:30-3:30 PM the Central Library will host the Author Fair, which features talented local and Massachusetts-based writers. The authors will be on hand to discuss their books and their writing, and to sign copies of their novels, nonfiction works, poetry collections, and children’s books. The Central Library is located at 220 State Street. A full listing of featured authors and genres can be found on our website.

On Wednesday, March 29th from 6-7 PM, the East Springfield Branch Library will host Katherine Kraver, A globetrotter who has visited Jordan, Haiti and two dozen other countries, she is dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of refugees and hardships that children face across the globe. Ms. Kraver will be reading from her newest book, The Boy with the Red Shoes. The program will also include crafts, a slide show on the author’s travels and writing process, and a book signing. $1.00 from the sale of each of her books will be donated to The Red Cross to help children. The East Springfield Branch Library is located at 21 Osborne Terrace.

Mardi Gras Concert to be held at Mason Square Library

February 23rd, 2017
mardi gras MS Poster

“Krewe Les Gras” to Perform Cajun Rhythms and Funky Jazz Grooves
Thursday, March 2, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Mason Square Branch Library

The Springfield City Library’s Mason Square Branch will transform into a music hall on Thursday, March 2nd from 5:30-7:30 PM. Join us for an evening of funky, jazzy tunes with Krewe Les Gras and students from Springfield’s Community Music School.

Inspired by the sounds of the Crescent City, the birthplace of so much American music, Krewe Les Gras seeks to bring the New Orleans experience to the masses. Cajun rhythms, funky grooves, and wild improvisations are sure to keep you on the dance floor all night and day. Participants can enjoy bead necklaces and king’s cake during the performance. The concert will be held at the Mason Square Branch Library, located at 765 State Street in Springfield.

Jazz Concert to be held at Central Library

February 21st, 2017
B&W of Rotunda Rhythms Spring 2017

“Jim Argiro Jazz Trio” Also Features Andrea Niki and Jason Schwartz
Sunday, February 26, 2 p.m., Central Library Rotunda


The Springfield City will be hosting an exciting musical performance by the Jim Argiro Jazz Trio on Sunday, February 26th from 2-3 PM. Featuring Jim Argiro on piano, Jason Schwartz on bass, and the vocals of Andrea Niki, the trio will perform original arrangements of jazz standards and upbeat, toe-tapping numbers. Stories of Jim’s work in show business, as well as how he approaches the arrangements of the songs performed, will offer insight into the life of a jazz musician.

The concert is part of the Rotunda Rhythms monthly musical series, hosted in the Central Library at 220 State Street in Springfield. Programs in February-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.

From Madness to Music Screening at Sixteen Acres

February 14th, 2017

From Madness to Music: Film and Discussion
March 1, 6-7:30 p.m., Sixteen Acres Branch Library
Sign up online

March 1 is Zero Discrimination Day. Please join us for a free showing of a thought-provoking documentary “From Madness to Music.” It is a timely and poignant response to the world’s imminent need for change and healing during heightened tensions between faiths and cultures across the globe. Culling from 10 years of video archives recorded by volunteers, students, and professionals, the film explores the challenges facing youth in conflicted communities in the U.S. and Middle East. Their intention is “to shine a light on the work and the people who, given a chance, are committed to building a stronger, more peaceful world because the world needs some GOOD NEWS!”

The documentary is followed by a q&a and community conversation with Music in Common founder and director Todd Mack.

Please note that the branch will be closed to the public at this time. Come to the main door for entry.

Consumer Protection Information Desks at Library

February 14th, 2017

Be Aware, Be Smart: Consumer Protection, Good Credit, and You
Central Library Rotunda: Monday March 6, 12-2 p.m.
Mason Square Branch Library: Thursday, March 9, 5-7:30 p.m.


Stop-by the Central Library on March 6 from 12 – 2 p.m. or the Mason Square Branch Library on March 9 from 5-7:30 p.m. and see how consumers can protect themselves against fraud, identity theft, and scams.

Natalia Shtrom from the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information will be available at the Central Library to answer questions about using credit wisely, shopping well for a used car, maximizing your security when shopping online and more. On the 9th she’ll be joined by Milagros Johnson also of the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information at the Mason Square Branch.

Free literature and informative handouts will be available to take. Bilingual services (English and Russian) will be provided at the Central Library, and trilingual services (English, Russian, and Spanish) will be offered at Mason Square. This service is offered in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week.

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.