Tag Archives: Learn at the Library

Telling New Stories about The First World War

Those of you who attended the first week of our two-week book discussion on Mary Borden’s The Forbidden Zone were treated to a lively discussion about the kind of stories we tell about the First World War, and how they shape the way we think about history and what we can learn from a given moment in time.

As was pointed out last night, the traditional narrative of The First World War tells us that the war was ugly and disillusioning and utterly, totally futile.  That it’s only value lies in the fact that it led to the Second World War.  But in reality, that narrative obscures the critical importance of the First World War to a significant number of historic events, movements, and developments.  To take just a few examples, our language evolved as a result of the war.  Phrases like “binge drink”, “blind spot”, and “pushing up daisies” all entered the vernacular between 1914 and 1918.  The rise of women employed in industry, mechanics, and technical jobs rose significantly, if only for the duration of the war.  But the result was that a significant number of women received training for new kinds of work, were exposed to new people, and learned a new kind of self-reliance.  In the United States, Black men and women enlisted in a number of positions, and worked on the home front, leading to a change in national demographics, but, more importantly, a renewed fight for civil rights across the country.  Some of the medical advancements made during the war remain with us today, from plastic surgery to burn treatments.

And so, with that in mind, we wanted to share some book recommendations for those looking to read some new stories about the First World War that get away from the narratives of the War Poets and traditional narratives that stick with us regarding the war.  We hope you enjoy!

The Forbidden ZoneMary Borden was born in Chicago, but was living with her husband in London when the war broke out.  When the Red Cross turned down her offer to buy them a hospital, she built, funded, and staffed a hospital on her own, and worked there as a volunteer nurse for the duration of the war.  This book is a collection of her reminiscences, memories, and experiences of war service, written largely while she was at the front.  As a result, this is a collection of stories about the women who lived behind the front lines, and how they survived the war, about the colonial troops who served for the British and the French armies, about the kind of wounds she treated, and the moral and physical challenges of caring for soldiers in war, knowing you were healing them to go back and fight further.  Structurally, the book is a modernist masterpiece, show that the modernist form of writing was not in anyway exclusive to the men in the trenches.

Three ComradesErich Maria Remarque is perhaps best known for his novel All Quiet on the Western Front, but his later works are also sensational, and drive home the lasting effects of the war, not only on veterans, but on the societies as a whole that had to endure the war.  This book, written during the rise of Hitler and his National Socialist Party, tell of three war veterans, and the woman with whom one of them falls in love.  It’s a tragedy, and it’s a hauntingly beautiful study of the melancholy and loss that its main characters are all suffering after the war, and in the world it left behind.  It’s also a deeply moving story of friendship and love that counters the narratives of brutality and anger that are so often found in stories from the trenches.

The Forty Days of Musa Dagh cover 2012 edition.jpgThe Forty Days of Musa Dagh: The First World War was not only a European war–it was one that truly encompassed the world, and Austrian novelist Franz Werfel shares one of the darkest parts of the war in this novel, based on true events.  The story was inspired by the self-defense by a small community of Armenians living near Musa Dagh, in the Ottoman Empire (the area is part of current-day Turkey), and recounts the events of the Armenian Genocide, which began within the context of the war, with perpetrators using the chaos of war to hide and justify their actions.  Werfel continued to rewrite and update the book after its first publication in response to the rise of the Nazi party, and the persecution of people within Werfel’s own life.  The Armenian Genocide is a critically important aspect of the First World War, but this book also documents the Genocide itself, and sheds light on how states and people shift their language to dehumanize groups within its own borders.

Looking Ahead to February!

The period after New Year’s isn’t, frankly, that much fun.  It’s cold, it’s dark, and this year, we don’t even have the benefit of snow cover to reflect any kind of light back to us, making everything just a little bit bleaker.

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Here at the Library, we try to disrupt the winter doldrums by providing fun classes, lecture series, and other events that can keep your brain buzzing and your imagination humming.  Here are just a few of the events we have on the horizon.  And keep your eye out, as our spring calendar will be out in a few short weeks with another helping of programming.

And, as always, if there are events or classes you’d like to see offered here or at our branches, let us know!  We aim to provide the best possible programming we can, and your input is vital to that process.


At the Main Library

Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 – 8:00pm: Guided Meditation

So often in our hurried lives we become ungrounded, unfocused and scattered. Please come for an evening of relaxation as Reiki Master Teacher Valerie York leads us in a guided meditation to ground and call back our energy.


At the Main Library

Tuesday, February 26, 6:00 – 7:00pm: Writing for Professional Success

Strong writing skills and a good understanding of grammar are more than just helpful assets to list on a resume. In fact, effective business writing skills, from emails and memos to reports and presentations, are the tools that can launch and build careers. This workshop is designed for those who are looking to explore the fundamental skills needed for effective professional writing. We will focus on some basic rules of grammar and sentence structure that will provide clarity to your writing, as well as tips and tricks for making your writing more credible and persuasive. We will also discuss etiquette for composing workplace emails and helpful strategies for networking and collaborating with co-workers. This course is designed for those who are new to professional writing, or just entering the workforce, as well as those looking to brush up on their writing skills or make a career change.


In the Teen Room

Wednesday, February 6, 10:00am – 12:00pm: Mosaic Sun Catchers

Bring some light and color into the gray landscapes of winter!  Join Leslie Doherty of Ways of Color for this workshop where you will learn to create a mosaic sun catcher. All materials will be provided.

This event is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Peabody Institute Libraries.


At the South Branch

Thursday, February 7, 7:30 – 8:30pm: Real Talk Real Moms

Join Peabody native, Jessica Luque, to discuss the joys and hardships of being a mom. Jessica is a mom of 3 all under 4 years old and knows the struggle of working full time, raising her kids, and trying to squeeze in time for herself. Come to the South Branch to sit back, relax, and meet other moms who know just how you feel. Feel free to talk or just listen — all moms are welcome!   Moms, we encourage you take this hour for YOU, so we ask that you do not bring children along.  Registration is not required. Just show up!

For more information, please feel free to call 978-531-3380 x11 or email Jessica at jessicaluque86@gmail.com.

 


 

At the West Branch:

Wednesday, February 28, 1:00 – 2:00pm: Heritage Films presents “Ol’ Time Radio Days”

Before there were podcasts, there were radio shows.  The origins of most of our popular entertainment, from soap operas to game shows, got their start on the radio.  Come join us for a 40 minute film presentation by local historian and film maker Dan Tremblay of Heritage Films! This particular film will focus on the history of the Ol’ Time Radio Days.

Looking Ahead…

It’s pretty dark and gloomy out there today, dear readers, but we are eager to combat our growing autumnal lethargy with a look at the phenomenal programs that we have coming up in November and December!  We have done our best to assemble a line-up of classes, concerts, film screenings, and activities to drive away the winter doldrums.  You can register for these lovely events by going to our website, giving us a call, or coming in and speaking with your friendly public service staff.

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As ever, if you have ideas or suggests for programs you would like to see here at the Library, please let us know!  We are here for you, after all.  And now, on to the calendar!


At the Main Library: PowerPoint, Photographs, and Digital Slideshows

Tuesday, December 4, 4:00 – 5:30pm

In this one day course, learn how to use Microsoft Powerpoint to share your favorite pictures with family and friends. Topics will include the basics of Powerpoint, digital photo editing and scanning, and creating digital slideshows using your favorite memories. Bring digital photo files that you’d like to use on a flashdrive, any physical photographs that you’d like to scan, and your own laptop, if possible- the library has just (5) available laptops with Powerpoint 2016 for attendees.


At the South Branch:

Tuesday, November 20, 2:30 – 3:30pm: Introduction to Yoga & Meditation

This four week series is designed to help adults discover the fundamentals of yoga.  This is a practice of reconnecting the Mind and Body through Breath & Movement. Guided meditation, yoga philosophy, and posture alignment with modifications will be shared during the class. This class will allow you leave class feeling grounded in your body and balanced in your mind.  The South Branch Library has a small number of mats for use, but we ask to please bring your own, if possible. You may also bring a throw blanket or pillow to sit in meditation with. Wear comfortable clothing you can move freely in. This series will be led by Certified Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master, and Peabody native Marco Aurelio Vinci. Any direct inquiries about the class should be e-mailed to marcovinciyoga@gmail.com


At the West Branch:

Wednesday, November 14, 1:00 – 2:00pm: Heritage Films presents Norman Rockwell, Illustrator

Come join us for a 40 minute film presentation by local historian and film maker Dan Tremblay of Heritage Films! This particular film will focus on Norman Rockwell.


In the Teen Room (Main Library)

Wednesday, December 5, 6:30 – 8:30pm: Open Mic Night

Come share your songs, your stories, your poems, and your jokes at the library’s Open Mic Night!   Whether you’re a musician, storyteller, writer, comedian, or other type of entertainer, the mic is yours. The sign-up sheet goes out at 6 p.m., and performers can sign up on a first-come-first-serve basis.  And if performing’s really not your thing, that’s okay.  Come hang out, drink coffee, and support some inspiring local talent.  All ages welcome!
We hope to see you soon, beloved patrons!

Dreaming of September…

Did someone say September?

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Personally, each and every one of us here agrees that we seemed to have slipped into a time vortex, and we are completely unable to account for the swiftness with which September is approaching.  Professionally, however, we have been hard at work planning events, classes, concerts, and other programs here at the Library for you, beloved patrons.  With the start of a new school year comes the potential for lots of learning, fun, and new beginnings, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Library for these events, and the many others listed on our website, soon!  Registration is open for these events, so please call or go online to secure your place!

As always, please let us know what kinds of programs you would like to see offered here.  We constantly try to meet the needs of the community, and your input is vital to ensuring we achieve that goal!


At the Main Library:

Monday, September 10, 6:00 – 7:30pm: All About Social Networking: Social Media Services and What’s Right for You

One of the easiest ways to stay in touch with friends and family is through social media. In this class we’ll walk you through the most popular social networks and talk about which ones are best for you.  Feel free to bring your own smartphone and laptop or just follow along.


In the Creativity Lab:

Tuesday, September 4 & 11, 6:30 – 8:30pm: Sew a Personalized Wallet

No sewing experience necessary. In this two-session class, you will sew a fabric wallet from scratch. You will also learn how to make it yours with a custom embroidery design that will be stitched into the front. Fabric and sewing machines will be provided, but you may bring your own if you wish.  This class is for ages 13-adult. Space is limited and sign up is required. Signing up for the first class session automatically registers you for the full two-session class.

At the West Branch:

Tuesday, September 18, 1:00 – 3:00pm: Eco Jewelry Making Workshop

Green Art Workshop Presents Eco Jewelry Making!  Discover how to upcycle paper, metal, and natural objects into one-of-a-kind decor and wearable art! Play with your favorite eco-friendly materials and design earrings, a pendant, necklace, or bring an accessory to adorn. Please register in advance as space is limited to 15 participants. There is no charge and all materials will be provided, unless you want to bring an accessory of your own to adorn.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Peabody Institute Library.


At the South Branch: 

Tuesday, September 25, 6:30pm – 8:30pm: peabody Recreation Department Fall Painting Program

The Peabody Institute Library’s South Branch will host Peabody Parks & Recreation Department’s Fall art class taught by Jeanette Lerner.  This session will run 6 weeks on Tuesdays, September 25, October 2 & 30th, and November 6, 13, and 20 from 6:30-8:30pm. For more information or to register, please contact the Peabody Parks and Recreation Department at 978-536-0600.

 

Getting Ready For School? We’re Ready to Help! (Part 1)

First and foremost, our apologies for the deafening silence on this blog in the past few days.  We were getting over a bit of summer sickness, and appreciate your patience with us a great deal.

We’re back, and, no doubt like many of you, getting ready for the all the back-to-school fun.  There’s no joy quite like a new box of crayons for the first day of school–but there’s also a lot of stress and anxiety around heading back to school, too.  That’s true no matter how old you are, how long you have been a student, or where you go to class.

The good news is that, as with nearly all things, the Library is here to help!

We’ve already mentioned the Library’s subscription to Tutor.com, which provides on-demand, one-to-one tutoring in an online classroom for students in kindergarten through college in over 60 academic subjects and test preparation areas, including the ACT and SAT.  It’s a phenomenal resource that can help students in any grade.  Today, we’re eager to feature a class that might very well prove helpful to those who may be writing research papers in the coming school year, and would like to learn more about the process and the resources available to you as Library patrons.  Here’s the course description:


Intro to Research and Writing

Writing a research paper can feel feel scary and overwhelming, but having the right tools and skills at your disposal can help make the process clear, and aid you in making the grade with confidence.  

This 2-week class is for students of all ages who are looking to acquire or enhance their research and academic writing skills for any class or academic program.

We will begin by looking at the physical and digital resources available through the library to help you assemble the facts, data, and sources necessary to write a strong paper.  We will then discuss how to construct a research paper, including building a strong thesis statement, crafting a persuasive argument, and citing your sources correctly. We will also brainstorm some effective writing strategies and support methods for students to help make the research and writing process as easy and low-stress as possible.


This course will be held at the Main Library on Monday, September 17 & 24, from 6:00 – 7:30pm.  As mentioned in the description, students of all ages and from any academic discipline are welcome–as are patrons looking to brush up on the research and writing skills.  Registration is now open on our website, or you can call us are (978) 531-0100 to register by phone.

We hope this class, and the other resources that we’ll be featuring in the coming weeks will prove useful to those of you heading back to school, supporting a student, or looking to learn more for yourself alone.  Please let us know what else we can do to make your academic life more easy, too!

Tutor.com, or Yes! You can do that with your Library Card!

It’s That Time of year, dear readers, when the back-to-school-scramble begins.  The rush to finish summer reading or assignments, find school supplies, and mentally prepare for the coming school year.  For some, it’s exciting–and rightfully so!  But it can also be a very stressful time of year–which is also completely valid.  Trying to anticipate all the coming school year might have in store isn’t easy.

Fortunately, as in so many other matters, the Library is here to help.

We’ve recently added Tutor.com to our collection of digital resources.  Tutor.com provides on-demand, one-to-one tutoring in an online classroom for students in kindergarten through college in over 60 academic subjects and test preparation areas, including the ACT and SAT.  The Tutor.com Learning Suite also includes practice quizzes, skills drills, video lessons and The Princeton Review Essentials test preparation. Tutors are available Monday-Friday 2-10 pm and Saturday & Sunday 9 am – 10 pm.

This resource is available to Peabody residents with Peabody library cards.  For those of you lovely people who aren’t Peabody residents, please check with your home library for further information and resources.

In order to access Tutor.com from our website, please use the following steps (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, too).

Go to www.peabodylibrary.org and hover over the “eLibrary” tab.  Click on “Articles/Databases”

Scroll down through our list of databases until you see Tutor.com (this list is in alphabetical order):

This will open a screen that will prompt you to enter your Peabody Library Card number:

You will be brought to the Tutor.com homepage.  From here, you can chose a number of options, from submitting a paper for review to asking for help with a math problem, to preparing for the SAT and ACT tests.  

We hope that this resource helps make your school year a stress-free and successful one.  Please let us know how we can better help you, or if we can answer any questions you might have about Tutor.com!

Summer Fun at the Library!

Via LoveThisPic

The Library is many things, beloved patrons: it is a place of learning, a place of study, a place for meeting old friends and making new ones, a place with resources aplenty and programs galore.

It is also a place with air conditioning.

And sometimes, that last point is reason enough to come and spend some time at the Library, especially considering some of the scorching days we have had recently.  You never need an excuse to come to the Library, but if you are looking for ways to fill your time while getting your fill of cool air, might we recommend some of our upcoming programs, classes, and events for you to enjoy?  We are always working to develop helpful, informative, and engaging programming for our patrons and community members, so please keep your eye on our calendars…and please let us know if there are any programs you would like to see offered at the Library!  We are, after all, here for you and for your needs…including your need just to cool off for a little while…

So, without further ado, here are some of the programs on offer in July and August for your enjoyment.  You can register for these programs on our website, or by calling the Main Library or Branches at the following numbers:
Main Library: (978) 531-0100
South Branch: (978) 531-3380
West Branch: (978) 535-3354


At the Main Library:

Winesburg, Ohio Discussion Series: Beginning Monday, July 16, 7:30 – 8:30pm

Professor Theo Theoharis will teach this four-part discussion series on Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio.  First published in 1919, this novel is widely regarded as a classic of American literature, and one of the first and best works in the ‘modernist’ mode.  A collection of short stories centered around the figure of George Willard, a newspaper reporter in a small Ohio town before the First World War, the book is part novel and part group portrait, depicting the private and public experiences of longing, disappointment, hope, religious conviction, joy in nature, joy in art, and the pains and rapture of romantic love.  Anderson’s ideas and tone, combining unsentimental assessment of flaws with compassionate probing of how scope for thought and feeling is found and lost in life, have made the book a classic that has remained in print continually since 1919 and influenced writers as diverse as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.  This series will continue on July 30, August 13, and August 27.

The Addiction of Loving an Addict: Monday, August 6, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Please join Jenny Ravikumar for a workshop/discussion around healing your heart, body and soul from the addiction of loving an addict. During our time together, we will be learning about the addiction of loving an addict. What it means to be co-dependent, how shame and forgiveness play into family disease and what you can do to begin your own recovery. We will connect on how we can explore the use of yoga, al-anon principles, essential oils and breath work to heal. You deserve self-care. Addiction may not be your choice, but it is your journey. How you move forward is your choice. Let’s release shame, invite forgiveness and explore loving kindness. We will end with a guided meditation, breath work and an essential oil assist.  Jenny Ravikumar, e-RYT 500 hour teacher, reiki master, healer and writer. She will share her powerful story of how she began (and is still to this day) healing her own heart while staying strong in loving her son and creating a new family lifestyle for them both.


At the South Branch: 

Gray Seals and Great White Sharks of Cape Cod Presentation with Bob Michelson, July 26, 7:00 – 8:00pm

Join Bob Michelson of Photography of Michelson, Inc. for a special 1 hour presentation on Gray seals and Great white sharks of Cape Cod! Follow seal researchers as they capture and sample newborn Gray seal pups on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness Area south of Chatham. Witness the first documentation of this species mating in the United States, and learn about the seals’ complete life history while in New England. Great white sharks have been returning in ever increasing numbers to hunt their favorite snack – Gray seals. Exclusive underwater photographs provided courtesy of the MA Division of Marine Fisheries and the Great White Shark Consortium show this apex predator in Cape Cod waters.  Bob Michelson is a published underwater photographer/videographer who has been diving for 38 years.  His work has appeared in numerous books and magazines such as National Geographic, Natural History, Highlights for Children, Field & Stream, TROUT, The Conservationist, and NH Wildlife Journal, and on various broadcast networks such as Discovery Science, ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS.


At the West Branch:

Heritage Films presents The Homestead Act History: Wednesday, July 25, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Come join us for film presentation by local historian and film maker Dan Tremblay of Heritage Films! This particular film will focus on the history of the Homestead Act. The Homestead Act is a wonderful 30 minute film made in the mid-west area about the western movement of immigrants when they found out that 160 acre plots of land could be gotten in 1862 as long as they maintained and lived on it. There were perils of course but the film has many great period photos of the Westward expansion.

Until next month, beloved patrons–we look forward to seeing you soon!