UNITE Teens is Coming to Springfield!

Are you bored after school? Do you feel unwelcome in Springfield? Have no idea what you want to do with your future?

Calling all teens in the Brightwood neighborhoods! Do you like free food and stuff to do?

Brightwood Branch, 359 Plainfield Street – Springfield MA 01107
Meets every Tuesday and Thursday | 3:00 – 5:00 | Ages 13 – 18

We at Springfield City Libraries asked teens in the community what we could do to address teens feeling bored, aimless, and disconnected from their community. What we came up with is called UNITE Teens!

Starting in November, every Tuesday and Thursday at the Brightwood Library branch, the community room will be closed off from 3:00pm-5:00pm and made into YOUR space–no parents, no younger kids, just teens! Tuesdays will have a fun activity–a craft, a makeable or DIY project, a creative activity, or games–and every Thursday will have speakers from the community who’ll talk to you about paths you can take, how to get there, and projects they want YOUR help on!

Some of these speakers include:

  • Carlos McBride of local radio station WNEPR, who will talk about podcasting
  • Several speakers from ARISE Springfield who’ll tell you about ways you can get active in making your community a better place
  • Make-It Springfield, the local makerspace
  • Local politicians and business leaders who can tell you how to follow in their footsteps
  • College students and professors to share projects they’re working on and tell you how you can make the path to college more attainable
  • Creative professionals to teach you new outlets for self-expression
  • …and more!

And, of course, there will be pizza and snacks every day!

You can just show up, but you should definitely sign up here (it helps us order the right amount of food)!

UNITE Teens…it’s where you can Make Do Be U!

This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant # RE-95-17-0068-17, in the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

Website Usability Survey

We appreciate your feedback! If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact our Ask A Librarian service at askalibrarian@springfieldlibrary.org.

Very often(2-4 visits per day) Often(1 visit per day) Sometimes( 1-3 visits per week) Rarely(2 visits per month) Never

UNITE Teens Sign-Up

Sign up for UNITE Teens! Feel free to bring a friend, but please fill out a separate RSVP for them too so we know how much food to have for you!

First and last
Sign up for as many as you like!
"Anything else" can mean health conditions, preferred pronouns, need to leave early or arrive late, ect.

Afterthoughts Book Group – Central

Central Library Book Selections

We select a new book to discuss every month. Library copies of the book are available at the Second Level (Rotunda) Circulation Desk. Come join us for a lively discussion and meet others who also enjoy reading. New members are always welcome. This group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from noon to 1:00 PM in the Central Library, Community Room.

For further information, contact Lisa Lipshires at 413-263-6828 ext. 395 or email llipshires@springfieldlibrary.org.

Reading Selections For 2019

January 8 The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (2017) fiction.

A young Chinese woman, forced to give up her daughter born out of wedlock, finds purpose, passion, and the key to a new life in the tea-growing traditions of her ancestors. Meanwhile, her daughter grows up as a privileged and well-loved California girl who wonders about her origins.

February 12Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland with Charisse Jones (2014) nonfiction.

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

March 12Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) fiction.

An American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, whose journey from a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance has inspired writers and readers for over eighty years.

April 9 Night by Elie Wiesel (1956) nonfiction.

Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in Romania to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting absolute evil.

May 14The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West (1945) fiction.

In fourteen heartwarming vignettes, a Quaker farming family in southern Indiana at the time of the Civil War must negotiate their way through a world that constantly confronts them—sometimes with candor, sometimes with violence—and tests the strength of their beliefs.

June 11The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu (2018) nonfiction.

An ex–Border Patrol agent and descendent of a Mexican immigrant finds himself on both sides of the battle over illegal immigration in this fraught memoir of his time patrolling the Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas borders from 2008 to 2012.

July 9Beartown by Fredrik Backman (2017) fiction.

In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.

August 13The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone (2017) nonfiction.

Traces the life of Elizebeth Smith, who met and married groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman and worked with him to discover and expose Nazi spy rings in South America by cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine.

September 10On Kingdom Mountain by Howard Frank Mosher (2007) fiction.

In 1930 Vermont, Jane Hubbell Kinneson, a local bird carver and the last resident of a remote, wild mountain on the U.S.-Canadian border that is threatened by a proposed new highway, confronts some of the most important decisions of her life.

October 8Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (2017) nonfiction.

Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered a chilling conspiracy.

November 12The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott (2017) fiction.

A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant’s suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early twentieth-century Catholic Brooklyn.

December 10Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla (2017) nonfiction.

A woman, born as an “untouchable” into the Indian caste system, describes how she was educated by Canadian missionaries in the 1930s and what it was like growing up in a world full of poverty and injustice but also full of incredible possibility.

Indian Orchard Walking Tour

November 2014

Indian Orchard resident and author Gerry O’Brien created a self-guided walking or driving tour of the neighborhood’s 21 heritage sites, including the library. Formatted by Michaela Dias, the brochure is published with funding provided by the Indian Orchard Citizens Council. Printed copies of the guide to Indian Orchard Heritage Sites can be found at the Indian Orchard Branch Library, Indian Orchard Citizens Council Office, Chmura’s Bakery, Boilard Lumber, and Indian Orchard Mills Art and Industrial Space main office.

Download the pdfA Guide to: Indian Orchard Heritage Sites. A self-guided driving or walking tour to 21 local landmarks by Gerry O’Brien

Mason Square Branch Seed Lending Library Re-Opens

Welcome to the Mason Square Branch Seed Lending Library!


Made possible through a grant from Vermont-based seed company, High Mowing Organic Seeds, the seed library features a great variety of %100 organic, non-GMO seeds for vegetables, greens, herbs, and flowers. With multiple varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, peas, pumpkins, and watermelons, there’s something for everyone! This year we have also received a seed donation from the Hudson Valley Seed Company.

How do I sign up?

Anyone interested in borrowing seeds must fill out a membership form, located in a binder at the branch. Though you’ll only need to give us your name and contact information once, we ask that you record which seeds you’ve taken every time you borrow from us.

So I can supply my entire garden this summer from your seed library?

Well, to some extent. There’s a limited supply of seeds, so we prefer that patrons be reasonable about how many they take overall. You CAN take a whole seed packet, but if you don’t think that you’ll use all the seeds inside, then grab an orange envelope and take just what you need.

But wait, how do you “lend out” seeds?

Though we don’t expect patrons to save seeds, we do take donations of non-GMO commercial seeds in an effort to make this project more sustainable. When you bring seeds in, please make a record of it on your membership form. We’ll also take gently-used garden tools!

I’m a first time gardener!

Great! We’re here to support you. The library works with the Springfield Food Policy Council and the Mason Square Community Garden Group to provide Springfield residents with hands-on gardening workshops led by experienced gardeners. See our workshop schedule for details. We also have a variety of gardening books, covering urban gardening, vegetable gardens, container gardens, flower gardens, and more!

You didn’t answer all my questions!!!

Oh, okay. The Branch staff would be happy to answer any further questions.

Springfield City Library joins Digital Commonwealth Collection

August 2016 –

Public Can Now View Springfield Directories from the Last 167 Years

Springfield City Library is pleased to announce its inclusion in the Digital Commonwealth, beginning with the digitization of City of Springfield directories. City directories list addresses and business ads, and are used by genealogists, historians, and others researching people and places of the past. Digitization provides an easy way for the public to look through directories online. Once the project is complete in 2017, a full listing of the City of Springfield directories from 1849 – 1989 will be available in the Internet Archive. Directories from 1849-1869 are available thanks to the generosity of Maggie Humberston at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.

The Digital Commonwealth site provides access to thousands of images, documents, and sound recordings that have been digitized by member institutions so that they may be available to researchers, students, and the general public. Digital Commonwealth members receive free digitization services from the Boston Public Library as part of a grant awarded by the MBLC (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) and funded by the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act). Member institution’s collections are included in the Digital Commonwealth, Internet Archive, and Digital Public Library of America. Explore the Digital Commonwealth here.

Visit our Local History and Genealogy page (coming soon) for more information about our collections.

Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides over 800,000 free print, physical, and digital resources for public enrichment.

New Commonwealth Catalog Announced

December 2015 –

Springfield City Library has joined hundreds of Massachusetts libraries to provide a new service called the Commonwealth Catalog that makes it easy for residents to get the resources they need from libraries across the entire state. “It gives our residents access to millions of items beyond our local collection,” said Molly Fogarty, Library Director. “It also helps us save money. We couldn’t possibly afford to own every book our patrons need.”

When Springfield City Library’s network, C/W MARS, doesn’t have an item, residents can use the Commonwealth Catalog to search through all participating libraries in one easy step and sort results by books, audiobooks, or DVDs. Next, they simply request the item and it’s delivered right to any Springfield City Library branch for pickup, usually within a few days. Last year, residents borrowed 6.5 million items from libraries outside their own community.

“Commonwealth Catalog is part of our strong statewide system of sharing library resources,” said Dianne Carty, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. “No matter where a resident lives, resource sharing gives everyone the same access to the vast resources available at libraries throughout the Commonwealth.” It includes items from unique public library collections such as the Boston Public Library, as well as academic collections from institutions like the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Bridgewater State University and many other public and special libraries.

Funding for the Commonwealth Catalog is provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The service is managed by Fenway Libraries Online with participation from the nine automated Massachusetts library networks and several public universities.

While Commonwealth Catalog provides books, audio books, DVDs, and CDs, Massachusetts libraries also provide a wide array of digital resources including eBooks, research databases with information not available through standard online searches, language courses, streaming music and video, and more. Digital and material resources combine to give residents access to over 52.5 million items. Frequently asked questions are addressed on the Commonwealth Caalog’s FAQ page.

Imagine a Peace-Full City

Springfield Massachusetts Skyline
April 2014-

Inspired by the Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts’s “Imagine a Peace-Full City” prayer flag project, from October 29–November 20, 2014, the Springfield City Library offered residents a number of opportunities to come together and discuss ways that Springfield could become a safer, more peaceful place to live and raise a family. Cooperative craft-making, a creative open mic opportunity for teens and young adults, informative workshops focusing on public safety, fun family activities, and informal brown-bag lunches offered perspectives on solutions for safer neighborhoods and peace-making gave participants ways to make their homes, schools, and workplaces a better place.

Download the flyer

Firearms Safety Workshop

Forest Park Branch
Saturday, November 2, 2014 | 1 pm

Central Library Community Room
Monday, November 4, 2014  | 6 pm

Certified firearms instructors will lead a workshop for parents and other interested adults on how to keep children safe when they live in or visit homes where the adults own firearms. Learn how to safely store firearms at home and how to discuss gun safety with children. Practical safety tips will be offered, and questions will be answered. Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series.

Strangers Become Friends Photography Project

Indian Orchard BranchMan with Camera
Wednesday, November 6, 2014 | 6 pm

Brightwood Branch
Thursday, November 14, 2014 | 6 pm

Imagine a City of Springfield where strangers become friends. In this innovative photography project inspired by Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers project, Leonard Underwood of Underwood Photography Services will photograph strangers together. We will create a digital album of the results. Come take a chance, meet your neighbors, and maybe make a new friend. Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series. More information on Touching Strangers.

Open Mic & Arts Night

MicrophoneMason Square Branch
Thursday, November 7, 2014 | 6 pm

Imagine a PEACE-full Springfield. Youth: share poems, spoken word, music, digital works, and other artistic creations that imagine how our city can be more peaceful, or reflect how violence has affected you. Featuring a scene from JELUPA Productions play, Rising Waters, by Wilma Pruitt.
Sign-ups start at 5:30 pm, mic opens at 6 pm. For youth 15-25 years old.

Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series.

Getting Started with Neighborhood Watch

Mason Square Branch
Friday, November 8, 2014 | 1 pm

East Forest Park Branch
Friday, November 15, 2014 | 12 pm

Are you interested in a safer community? Join us to learn how you can work together with your neighbors to start a Neighborhood Watch organization. Feel free to bring a lunch; we’ll provide beverages. Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series.

Securing Peace in a Troubled Neighborhood: A Community Based Approach

People Holding GlobeSixteen Acres Branch
Tuesday, November 12, 2014 | 1 pm

We all strive to stay out of trouble and to keep our houses safe. The problem is, you can choose a neighborhood but you cannot choose your neighbors. What do we do when we become aware of violence in our neighborhood? The police can’t be everywhere, so how do we bridge the security gap? Join your neighbors for this informative talk and discussion when we’ll explore with you viable ways to secure peace in troubled neighborhoods. Feel free to bring a lunch; we’ll provide beverages.

Our presenter is Sera Mukankubito, who holds a dual Master of Arts in Sustainable Development and Coexistence and Conflict Management from Brandeis University. Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series.

Brown Bag Discussion: Peacemaking from a Veteran’s Perspective

Army Boots East Springfield Branch
Wednesday, November 13, 2014 1 pm

Join our guest Colonel Stephen White as we discuss Peacemaking from a Veteran’s Perspective. Col. White retired in 2011 after 30 years in the military as a Marine and as an Army Reservist. Bring your own lunch (we’ll provide beverages) and we’ll talk about possible solutions to violence and conflict in our city.

Col. White has deployed to Japan, Korea, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Iraq, and spent 18 months in Afghanistan, where he served in 2002 as the Deputy Chief of Operations in Bagram, and then in 2009 and 2011 as the Army Operations Center liaison to US Forces-Afghanistan in Kabul. He also served three years as Team Chief in the Army Operations Center at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Col. White has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wesleyan University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

Plan For Better Cities StampCan We Have a Peace-Full City? Panel Discussion

Mason Square Branch
Saturday, November 16, 2014 | 1 pm

Join us for a panel discussion addressing whether we can have a peace-full city, with less gun violence and greater public safety. Jim Madigan will moderate the discussion and the panel will include Rev. James Atwood, Springfield Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet, Luz Lopez, Central & Western Massachusetts Organizing Manager of Stand for Children, and other community representatives. After prepared questions, there will be time for audience members to address the panel. Part of the “Imagine a Peace-Full City” series.