Wednesday, April 6, 2016

World War II Reenactor at Kirtland Public Library

Join us on May 17th at 7:00 pm at the Kirtland Public Library as reenactor Peter Booth brings the story of an American soldier to life.  Told in the first person, Peter shows us what it was like for American soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day in June 1944.

To help bring this story more fully to life Peter will be bringing historical objects from the time period to show what types of equipment and weapons American soldiers used and fought
against.  The public is invited to bring any items of historical interest along to the event, however we ask that any weapons be left at home.  This event is made possible through the generosity of the Friends of the Kirtland Public Library.

The library has many great resources, for adults and young readers, which can help illuminate more fully the story of D-Day and America’s involvement in the Second World War.  If you don't see the book you want on this list ask a librarian and they will be able to help you find what you want.

Books for Young Readers

Books for Adult Readers

Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory by Adrian R. Lewis

Movies & Documentaries

While these movies & documentaries featured here might not strictly be about D-Day they offer insights into the experiences of American soldiers during World War II

D-Day (2004)

D-Day's Sunken Secrets (2014)

D-Day 360 (2014)

The War (2007)

Band of Brothers (2002)
Also available on Blu-Ray, based on the book of the same title by Stephen Ambrose

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Also available on Blu-Ray, based on the book of the same title by Max Allan Collins

Saturday, February 6, 2016

KPL Celebrates Black History Month

This month the Kirtland Public Library recognizes Black History Month.  Here we feature short biographies of famous African Americans, which are also part of the second children’s scavenger hunt for February.  If you are interested in reading more about the people featured in these short biographies ask a librarian for help in locating more information about them.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions African Americans have made to American history, culture, science, and literature and their central role in U.S. history.  Black History Month grew out Black History Week, which was first celebrated in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, and other prominent blacks.  It was celebrated in February to coincide with the week between Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays.  By the 1960s, thanks to the Civil Rights movement and a greater awareness of black contributions to the U.S., Black History Month was celebrated on many college campuses.  In 1976 Gerald Ford was the first President to officially recognize Black History Month, and since then every President has recognized February as Black History Month.

W.E.B. Dubois (1868-1963):  A well-known sociologist, historian, and civil rights leader, Dubois was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University.  During his lifetime Dubois published several works that are still widely-read today, such as The Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction.  Dubois died in 1963 at the age of 97 in the African country of Ghana.

Colin Powell (b. 1937): Powell, born the son of Jamaican immigrants, in Harlem, New York City. He was raised in the South Bronx.  During a 35 year career in the United States Army, Powell rose from the rank of Second Lieutenant to General.  He ended his career as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which made him the youngest officer, at 52, to hold that position, the first African-American of Caribbean descent, and the first to receive his commission through the ROTC program.

Toussaint Louverture (1739?-1803):  “I was born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a free man.” Loverture was born on the island of Saint-Domingue sometime between 1739 and 1746.  He was a leader in the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Inspired by the French Revolution, the slaves of Saint-Domingue rebelled against their masters.  The Haitian Revolution led to the end of slavery on Saint-Domingue and the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, and it was the most successful slave rebellion in the Americas.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993): Marshall served at the 96th justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and was the court’s first African American justice.  He is perhaps best known for arguing the landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court.  In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson named him to the Supreme Court, on which he served until his retirement in 1991.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005): Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist.. On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man after the white section filled up.  Her act of civil disobedience helped ignite the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would last for 381 days and would lead to the desegregation of the Montgomery buses.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895): Born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, Frederick Douglass was a prominent abolitionist, social reformer, and writer.  During his life he fought for the abolition of slavery and woman’s right to vote.

Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993):  A famed jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.   Gillespie is best known for his trademarked trumpet, which featured the horn bent up at a 45 degree angle.

George Washington Carver (1860-1943): Born into slavery in Missouri, Carver is best known as a botanist and inventor.  He advocated growing alternative crops, such as peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, as ways to improve the health and well-being of farmers and their families.

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913): African American abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the Civil War, a spy.  She is perhaps the best known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad – a series of safe houses which helped runaway slave escape to freedom in the northern states and Canada. Later in life Tubman promoted the cause of women’s suffrage, or the right to vote.

George Crum (1828-1914) George Crum is a mixed African American/Native American cook and restaurant owner.  He started off as a cook in Saratoga Springs, New York, but by 1860 he owned and operated his own restaurant in Malta, New York.  Legend has it that he invented the potato chip after a difficult customer kept sending back French fries claiming they were cut too thickly and not cooked enough.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday and Christmas Favorites

The Holiday is a time to spend with friends and family.  As we dig out our old decorations and add new ones our homes are transformed into a wonderland of twinkling lights, candy canes, gingerbread, and homemade cookies.  At the library we also bring out our Holiday items and make displays featuring movies, books, cookbooks and CDs.  Here at the Kirtland Public Library we would like to take a moment to talk about some our Holiday favorites.

SilentNight: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub (Chad's Pick)  
Anybody who knows me knows that I am a huge history buff.  I love all types of history, but I’m most interested in World War II and the U.S. Civil War.  The first book of Weintraub’s I read was Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.  That book revealed to me a little known event from the First World War where British and German troops temporarily laid down their weapons to share a common Christmas celebration: setting up Christmas trees, singing carols, trading food and tobacco, and even playing a game of rugby.
Unfortunately, as the war progressed, these sorts of temporary truces disappeared; discouraged on both sides by the officers.  Weintraub has also written extensively on Christmas during other conflicts.  His books run the gamut from the AmericanRevolution, to the U.S. Civil War, World War I, World War II (and this one), and Korea.
(Jane's Pick)
What’s my favorite Christmas story? That is a very difficult question for me…you see, I have a collection of over 125 Christmas books and it’s hard to pick just one. So what’s my favorite? Is it Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp or The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin? Could it be A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (the edition illustrated by Beth Peck) or Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, or possibly, Wombat Divine by Mem Fox?
After careful consideration I have decided that my favorite Christmas story is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: an Appalachian Story written by Gloria Houston and pictures by Barbara Cooney. This is a wonderful story set at the end of WWI, in a tiny community in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s Ruthie’s family’s turn to provide the Christmas tree for Pine Grove. But Papa has been called to war; Ruthie and her Mama wonder how they will get the tree to town. This is a fictional account of a story that was passed down by the author’s grandmother and the illustrations are lovely. Check it out; it’s sure to become one of your favorites too!
Must see Christmas movies are: Holiday Inn, It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Elf. Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!!]

The Family Man (Maria's Pick)

A favorite Christmas movie of mine that I have to watch every year is The Family Man starring Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. It's a funny modern day take on A Christmas Carol where a single, wealthy Wall Street trader, who's living the high life in New York City, wakes up one Christmas morning in suburban New Jersey. He finds he now has a wife and two kids and has traded in his Ferrari for a minivan. All through the movie he's trying to figure out how to get his old life back and not lose his mind. It's one of my favorites because it's a funny, heartwarming tale of figuring out what's most important in life. It's perfect for people who like second thoughts and second chances. 

My favorite Christmas movie is Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, an animated film from the 1960's. It basically follows the Christmas Carol plot, but adds original music, humor, and the cutest cartoon characters ever. 

Iron Man 3 (Chris' Pick)

Since, for lack of a better word, I am a bit of Scrooge when it comes to this holiday, I wouldn't say I have much of a favorite holiday movie. But, since there is a contingency of people who believe Die Hard is a Christmas movie, Then I contest that Iron Man 3 totally counts as a Christmas movie as well and has been my December tradition since the dvd was released.

Sure, the movie MAY be about Tony Stark coming to grips that after the Avengers incident, the universe is much bigger and scarier place than he thought. While dealing with his demons he also goes toe to toe with terrorist threat, The Mandarin, and business threat Aldrich Killian and his thugs while trying to figure out their dangerous Extremis compound. 

But let's run the checklist: Takes place during holiday time, has numerous Christmas carols throughout the soundtrack, follows a Christmas Carol pattern of facing his past, a present situation, and re-prioritizing his future complete with a small boy working as a Tiny Tim style character, has gift giving, snow, and a revelation at the end which helps Tony with his outlook and making him better for it. In my book this movie totally counts. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving and the Presidents

Our celebration of Thanksgiving owes more to our Presidents than it does to the Pilgrims.

By now we know that what the menu for the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621 differs from what is found on most of our tables today.  The first Thanksgiving, celebrated among the Puritan Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe would’ve featured venison, shellfish, corn, and other roasted meats.  These would’ve been cooked using Native American spices and cooking methods.  The meal most likely did not have any desserts or other sweets as the Pilgrim’s exhausted their provisions over the previous winter.  Although, cranberries were probably present at both the first Thanksgiving and on our tables today.  The Pilgrims held a second Thanksgiving in 1623 after a long drought ended that threatened that year’s crops.  Days of fasting and thanksgiving became common features of many New England settlements.

The first national proclamation of a day of thanksgiving issued by the Federal Government came in 1789.  George Washington called the day to celebrate the end of the American Revolution and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  John Adams and James Madison also proclaimed days of thanksgiving during their administrations.  Thomas Jefferson, our third president, felt it was not appropriate to issue proclamations for days of Thanksgiving, because of the separation of church and state.  By 1817 New York became the first of several states to declare an annual day of Thanksgiving, celebrated on different days.  As with many of our holidays the celebrations began as regional or state affairs, only becoming nationally recognized later on.

In 1827 Sarah Joseph Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” began a 36 year campaign
to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, expanding the holiday from its traditional home in New England throughout the rest of the country.  During that time she sent dozens of letters to politicians, senators, representatives, leaders, and government officials urging them to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Finally, at the height of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln scheduled Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November.  In a speech written by Secretary of State William Seward, President Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday in November would be an official U.S. holiday, Thanksgiving Day.  Lincoln also used this opportunity to thank God for recent Union victories in the American Civil War.  This marked the first time since 1815 that an American president had declared a day of thanksgiving.

Annually, Presidents issued Proclamations of Thanksgiving which made the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day.  This tradition held until 1939.  That year the last Thursday in November did not occur until the 30th, leaving less than a month until Christmas.  Several retailers approached the President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and urged him to move Thanksgiving up by a week to allow for a longer shopping period.  It was hoped that consumers, who shopped after Thanksgiving, would buy more for the Christmas holiday.

This decision caused a great deal of confusion and anger.  FDR’s opponents questioned his disregard for tradition by moving Thanksgiving to another date.  The mayor of Atlantic City pejoratively called the new date “Franksgiving.”  Aside from irritating his opponents the effect of transferring Thanksgiving had a very real impact.

Schools that had vacations and tests set had to revise their schedules.  Then, as now, Thanksgiving was a big day for football games.  Many teams needed to examine and revise their schedules.  To make matters worse many of the country’s governors did not agree with Roosevelt’s decision to change the date of Thanksgiving.  Twenty-three state governors decided to follow Roosevelt’s lead and moved Thanksgiving to November 23.  Twenty-three other disagreed and chose to keep Thanksgiving Day on its traditional date of November 30.  The governors of Texas and Colorado decided to recognize both days as Thanksgiving Day.  These decisions by the state governors split families whose members lived in different states and could not get together to celebrate the holiday due to having different days off.

In 1940 FDR moved Thanksgiving Day again up by one week. Thirty-one states followed suit while 17 continued to follow the traditional date.  In 1941, many people anticipated the new date and celebrated Thanksgiving Day on November 20.  In October 1941, the House of Representatives passed a joint resolution making the last Thursday in November a legal, national holiday.  The Senate agreed, however they amended the resolution to make the fourth Thursday in November a legal holiday, which takes into account years where November has five Thursdays. President Roosevelt agreed and signed the resolution into law on December 26, 1941.  Since then Thanksgiving has always been observed on the fourth Thursday in November.

The library has many good cookbooks to help you find that perfect recipe to make your family meal extra special.

Martha's Classic Thanksgiving (DVD)
The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create your Own Holiday Tradition

Their are many great websites out there that feature traditional Thanksgiving recipes, or if you want to try something different, new twists on the originals or something new and exciting.  Check out these following websites:

Better Homes & Gardens Thanksgiving Dinner Menus
Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas and Recipes
Thanksgiving Menus & Recipes from the Food Network 
Thanksgiving Menus for Beginners to Experts  from or their other page for more Thanksgiving Recipes