Reading Volunteers Needed!

June 9th, 2015

Looking for an opportunity to help your community this summer?
Volunteer to be a Reading Buddy at the Springfield City Library!

mom and daughter reading

You will be a reading role model by reading to and with children ages 5-12 for one hour a week at one of our libraries during our Summer Reading Program: June 22-Aug. 29. Mandatory training will be provided.

To find out more, please call 413-263-6839 or visit our Volunteer Page to download an application.

Summer Reading Club Kick-Off Announcement

May 28th, 2015

Join Mayor Sarno and Supt. Warwick at 2:15 p.m. Monday, June 8 on the Steps of City Hall.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield School Superintendent Daniel J. Warwick love to read, and as honorary Co-Chairmen of Springfield City Library’s Summer Reading Club, they challenge all city children (teens too!) to read this summer, for the fun of it!

Winning great prizes like tickets to the Big E or the Boston Bruins, and enjoying the Rollerskating Party at Interskate 91 provide extra incentive! Finally, this year Summer Reading Club will end with a blast – a Summer Celebration Party at one of Springfield’s treasures, the outstandingly beautiful Forest Park and Zoo in Forest Park.

The fact is children who read every day during summer vacation won’t lose two months of learning; and in fact, they will maintain or even gain new skills! Springfield City Library’s Summer Reading Club, June 22 – August 29, is an independent reading program with incentives and free activities to help kids keep reading over the summer.

Children in kindergarten through 5th grade keep track of their reading on special sheets and when completed pick out their prizes – new books. Babies, toddlers, and pre-readers earn prizes when read to by a caring adult. Our Teen Summer Reading Club is made up of different bingo cards and 11-18 year olds win prizes by reading books, comics and magazines, exploring subjects online, and attending library programs. Adult Summer Reading Club involves playing Library Bingo with quite a variety of ways to win. Gift cards to local shops and restaurants will be raffled off, and the Finale party will include a game of Library Jeopardy. Check it out and set an example for the children in your life. Let’s make the City of Homes a city of readers!

The benefits of being involved in a summer reading program, as stated by the American Library Association, include:

  • Encouragement that reading become a lifelong habit. By joining Summer Reading Club every year, reading becomes part of your summer routine.
  • Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the extensive enrichment activities offered, which so often there is no time for during school days.
  • Reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up, plus they read more when they can choose books based on their own interests!
  • Summer Reading Club is great fun for all ages, providing opportunities for family time.

This year’s theme, Every Hero Has a Story, provides an opportunity to shine the light on local heroes such as firefighters, veterans and active military, police and even police dogs. We’ll invite children to look at the people in their lives and discover their own personal heroes! Stop in to any branch of Springfield City Library for details and program booklets.

The Summer Reading Club is sponsored by the Friends of the Springfield Library, Inc., the Boston Bruins, the Massachusetts Library System, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Lasting Peace in the Middle East

May 20th, 2015

A Talk by Former Ambassador Mark Hambley

Saturday, June 27, 1 pm
Sixteen Acres Branch, 1187 Parker Street

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, 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.

Mark’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 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 bringing stability to the Middle East or have they been part of the problem?

A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Call the branch at 413-263-6858 for more information.

About the speaker:


A native of Boise, Idaho, Mark Hambley currently works as a Board of Apollo International, Inc. and as special counsel on a full range of international matters. Over the past 50 years — including more than three decades as a Foreign Service Officer — he has visited 167 countries; worked with the United Nations on sustainable development and climate change; and acquired expertise in local and regional affairs during a wide variety of overseas postings, especially in the Middle East, during the course of which he was appointed Ambassador to Qatar and later to Lebanon and as Consul General in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

During his years in government service, Mark was an active observer/reporter of several noteworthy, and on occasion even seminal, events including the Viet Cong’s Easter Offensive in Vietnam in 1972; the Ramadan or Yom Kipper war of 1973; coups and political change in Yemen; the 1979 siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca; the Sadat assassination in 1981; the S/S Achille Lauro seizure and the security forces mutiny in Egypt in 1985/86; the Kyoto Protocol of 1997; and the three Gulf wars of the 1980s, 1990/91, and 2003 onwards.

Mark is a regular speaker and media commentator on the Middle East, international terrorism, and on issues related to environmental and energy security, potential pandemics, and climate change. Over the past few years, usually as part of his work with the London-based Next Century Foundation, his travels have taken him on missions to Iraq/Syria, Israel/Gaza, Saudi Arabia.

During and after the 2011 “Arab Spring,” he has spent considerable time in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya – all countries where he had served at one time in a diplomatic capacity. He is also a member of several corporate, civic, educational and philanthropic boards and institutions and has been the recipient of a number of governmental and civic honors and awards.

Mark and his wife, Patricia, make their home in Springfield, Massachusetts where they garden, write, read, and plot new adventures with their 80lb. white German Shepherd.

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.