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Celebrate Black History Month At Your Local Westchester Library

February 1st, 2016 No comments
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Black History Month is a month set aside to learn, honor, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. Learn about famous firsts by black Americans, read the history of black history, and find information about milestones in black history. Check out just some of what’s going on at your local Westchester library this month.

dubois

W.E.B. Du Bois

HARRISON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Live Performance

“W.E.B. Du Bois, a Man for All Times” — Written and directed by Alexa Kelly, presented in conjunction with Pulse Theatre Ensemble. This play entertains and enthralls, as it compels the viewer to travel on this near-100-year journey. The audience is brought to laughter and tears. Sunday, February 7, 2-4 pm, Richard E. Halperin Memorial Library Building.
Film

SELMA: A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Starring David Oyelowo; PG-13, 128 minutes. Saturday, February 20, 1-3:30 pm, Richard E. Halperin Memorial Library Building.

MOUNT VERNON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Book Discussion

Brian G. Johnson, trustee of the Mount Vernon Public Library, will be leading a book discussion of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” at the library on Monday, Feb. 29.This Black History Month event will examine whether the conditions and circumstances that prevailed during “Native Son” protagonist Bigger Thomas’s time still exist today. 6 – 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Nishan Stepak, nstepak@wlsmail.org.

NEW ROCHELLE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Family Workshops: African Dance

Saturdays: January 30 – February 27, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 pm Ossie Davis Theater

Anthony Wooden, Director of Bokandeye African Dance and Drum Troupe returns to the library for another series of free African dance workshops for children ages 7 and up, as well as their parents. This popular series, now a tradition at the library, provides instruction of native African dance, while also instilling an understanding of the rich cultural meanings of the movements, rhythms and dress, African village life, and the role of the extended family.  Registration will take place at the first class. Made possible by the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library. Free.

Bokandeye African Dance and Drum Performance

Saturday, February 27, 2:00 pm

Bokandeye’s 20th Annual Performance at NRPL! Traditional movements and rhythms of African village life will reverberate throughout the Ossie Davis Theater, and the audience will be swept up by this exhilarating performance by Bokandeye Dance Troupe and students, directed by the fabulous Anthony Wooden. Be sure to arrive early! First come, first-served, to the capacity of the main library’s  Ossie Davis Theater. Made possible by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District

Exhibit: Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life

February 8 – February 29

This original exhibit of photographs, artifacts, art work and personal items tracing the extraordinary career of musician Billy Strahorn is based on a recently-released book of the same title. Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life, written by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger, and the exhibit, curated by Leslie Demus, Theresa Kump Leghorn, and designed by Jesse Sanchez, celebrates the centennial of the birth of the American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger.

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life Documentary Film and Reception with Glenda Davenport and the Hiroshi Yamazaki Trio

Sunday, February 21, 4:00 pm – 5:30: film; 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Music & Reception

As Duke Ellington’s long-time collaborator, Billy Strayhorn penned some of the world’s most definitive jazz standards. Nearly half a century after his death, however, Strayhorn’s musical genius remains unrecognized. In the 2007 Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life documentary, directed by Robert Levi, the mystery behind the complex life of this pioneering composer, arranger and pianist gets uncovered, bringing his rich legacy to light. Following the film, a reception will feature jazz singer Glenda Davenport and the Hiroshi Yamazaki Trio performing a set of standards, including hits of Strayhorn and Ellington.

SOMERS LIBRARY

Check out these children’s book recommendations on Pintrest:

https://www.pinterest.com/somerslibrary/black-history-month/

(TARRYTOWN) THE WARNER LIBRARY

fitzgal2

Gallery Exhibit

Annual African American History Month Gallery Exhibit featuring several local African American artists. This year we are displaying the work of Donald Whitely, Steven Ferri, and Hilary Blackman. Their biographies are available on our website http://www.warnerlibrary.org/fitzgerald-gallery. The exhibit will be up for the full month of February.

(YORKTOWN) JOHN C. HART MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Yorktown Historical Society Program

“History of Slavery and Slavery in the Area” by Mike Kahn, Board Member and Leader of Pines Bridge Monument. Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 pm. All are welcome. No registration.

Live Performance

Sunday, February 21, 2pm

“W.E.B. Du Bois, a Man for All Times” –Written and directed by Alexa Kelly, presented in conjunction with Pulse Theatre Ensemble. This play entertains and enthralls, as it compels the viewer to travel on this near-100-year journey. Brian Richardson portrays W.E.B. DuBois, a black American born just after the Civil War, and 5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Du Bois broke many barriers: he attended and graduated from Harvard, studied in Europe, ran for Senator, co-found the NAACP, participated in the founding of the United Nations and saw segregation declared unconstitutional. No registration, doors open at 1:45 pm.

Public Libraries Offer Career Counseling and Life Planning

January 5th, 2016 No comments
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clip_image002WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service will be offering two types of free eight-week career counseling and life planning programs in public libraries throughout the County this winter. WEBS is sponsored by the Westchester Library System.

The first type of program is called a Managing Your Career in Changing Times. It will help adults assess themselves, explore career options, obtain career and educational information, find out about the latest trends in resumes and job search, and develop a career plan.  The program is geared to those who are unemployed, changing careers, reentering the workforce or returning to school. The seminar will be offered at three public libraries: Town of Pelham Public Library on Tuesday evenings, Greenburgh Public Library on Wednesday afternoons and Somers Library on Wednesday mornings. All programs will start in early March.

The second type of program is called Take Charge! Career/Life Planning After 50.  Its purpose is to help adults over 50 assess themselves and plan a direction for the next stage of life.  Options that will be considered include part/time or full/time work, volunteerism, entrepreneurial ventures, and learning and leisure opportunities. These programs will be offered at the Chappaqua Public Library on Tuesday mornings and the Yonkers Public Library (Will Branch) on Thursday afternoons. Both programs are nineteen-hour seminars consisting of an orientation session, eight weekly group sessions and one individual session with a career counselor. They will begin early March.

Individuals can find out about exact dates and times and register for a seminar by calling WEBS at 674-3612 on or after January 11, 2016.

WLS Trustee Institute re Renovation or New Construction? held 6/24/2015

July 24th, 2015 No comments
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TrusteeInstituteJune2014Renovation or New Construction?  Lessons from the Field on making the Right Decisionwith Raymond Beeler, co-founder of Gallin Beeler Design Studio Architects, PLLC, and Judith Lockman, Public Library Consultant, working with the Garden City Public Library and North Bellmore Library, both on Long Island (pictured left).

Judith Lockman started the evening off by sharing her experience with the renovation of the Syosset Public Library, where she served as director at the time.  At the start of their project, they quickly moved from a simple renovation to meet current issues to a project that would need to look ahead for decades to keep the library as a welcoming destination place for at least the next 20 years.  One key to this was adaptability and working with an architect who would listen and be flexible.

Their needs included the basics:  more space for public access computers, more programming space, addition of a café.  Field trips were encouraged among the Board Members to see different styles in action.  The café raised many questions, so one library that decided to close their café was visited as well as one that decided on a “nook” version with a seating area and only vending machines.  A café has different rules that are under health board and restaurant requirements, so Syosset decided to go with a combination/”nook” area; and that worked out very well.

Choosing an architect is also a community chore.  One is needed who has a reputation to meet and talk with all parties involved and is interested in the Director’s and Board Members’ vision for the project.  Input from the public is important; but often the public is not aware of the business transactions of the library—how the materials are delivered and processed—making input from the staff essential regarding workflow.  The building should help the staff do their job.

Ray Beeler spoke about this process for the Syosset project.  It is important to carefully think through a project in the beginning.  However, an architect must be willing to listen and seek out input from the public to bring the community along in the process.  The Syosset Public Library project had a $13.2 Million 30-year bond vote with a 2/3 Yes vote.   The stages of construction and floor plans can be seen from the slide presentation made.

The library offered modified/”drive through”-type services to the public as the renovation took place.  Once the construction was completed, the library allowed for staff time to give tours of the new library and they even had a FAQ page made up so that the library staff would be able to easily answer questions about the renovation project.  They even coined a catch phrase of “tastes vary” in order to answer the many comments about colors and design choices made.  Overall, the new library turned out differently than when the project started and has been embraced by and has truly become a destination place for their community.

Bellmore Public Library was the second project that Ms. Lockman and Mr. Beeler covered.  This project started with a needs assessment done by the architect that involved interviews with both full- and part-time staff members.  The results were brought back to the library board, which indicated that doing smaller renovations would not improve the functionality of the library.  A wrapper around the building was planned to increase the library from 2,800 to 4,000 square feet.  The planned development would add needed space for the children’s area and re-establish a front entrance.  This project also went out for a public bond vote in the amount of $8.9 Million.  In order to get people to vote yes, which means paying more taxes, it is essential to present something that makes sense.  Incorporate assistance from a financial advisor in order to determine the overall project costs; what the cost would be for each tax payer; and be clear about what the tax payer will be getting for those costs.  For this project, the Bellmore Public Library determined that the annual cost to a tax payer would be $71/year for 15 years or less than 20 cents per day in exchange for a beautiful community center.  In their publicity and informational flyers, they described the results of the construction in detail and coordinated a core group from the community to act as ambassadors for the project.  The result was a 2/3 yes vote, and today they have a wonderful new building that will service their community well into the future.

Additional questions were fielded along with more networking and sharing over delicious refreshments provided by our wonderful hosts—the Dobbs Ferry Public Library—and participant feedback was extremely positive!

New York Health Exchange for you or your small business

January 22nd, 2014 No comments
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Small business owners and consumers across New York have have been enrolling in the New York Health Exchange.

healthcare

The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) will continue its outreach to educate businesses on the implantation of the Federal Health Care Act by holding presentations at their office and at different libraries in the County.

 

Partnering with the Westchester Library System, the BCW will hold workshops during the day for businesses to take advantage of. Businesses will receive information about the availability of small business ACA tax credits, health insurance and care options for small business and their employees.

 

In addition, participants will also receive information about the availability of small business ACA tax credits, health insurance and care options for small business and their employees.

Trying to determine how many people you can hire in the coming year while covering health insurance benefits?  Want to know more about tax credits for which you may be eligible?

Come to any of these free sessions and get the information you need:

January 27th, 6 PM - BCW, 108 Corporate Park Dr., Suite 101, White Plains

January 30th, 4 PMBronxville Public Library, 201 Pondfield Road, Bronxville

February 6th, 1:30 PMMamaroneck Public Library, 135 Prospect Avenue, Mamaroneck

February 13th, 1:30 PMHarrison Public Library, Bruce Avenue, Harrison

February 20th, 1:30 PM - Town of Pelham Public Library, 530 Colonial Avenue, Pelham

February 27th, 1:30 PMTuckahoe Public Library, 71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe

Presentations given by Glen Ganaway, Outreach Manager for the Business Council of Westchester and former financial manager for a physicians group.

Click HERE to download a flyer.

In Addition, health-related information is available by clicking on the link below:

Health Insurance Marketplace: Have health insurance questions? Get Quick Answers

Westchester Library System partners with Total Boox: A New E-Book Service

September 26th, 2013 No comments
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TotalBoox

Westchester County, NY (September 26, 2013)—Library card holders in Westchester County now have access to Total Boox, a new e-book service with the following features:

  • Unlimited Access – All books are immediately available to all patrons. No need to wait.
  • Unlimited Downloading – Download as many books as you want to your mobile device.
  • Unlimited reading – No expiration. Books stay on your device for as long as you wish.
  • Unlimited freedom – all books can be read online and offline.

There is a large selection of over 17,000 quality books on the Total Boox platform, in all categories and genres.  Cardholders can access Total Boox on the WLS homepage by simply registering with their library card number, and PIN. Just browse through the Total Boox site and select books of interest to add to your collection.

“We’re very excited to launch our service with WLS”, says Yoav Lorch, Founder and CEO of Total Boox. “This is the first time in the history of libraries where all titles are always available to all patrons, regardless if any titles have been checked out or not. We strongly believe our unique model provides true value to readers, librarians and publishers, and hope to see it in the near future installed in public and academic institutions nationwide.”

“WLS is proud to be the first library system worldwide to integrate this service”, says Terry L. Kirchner, Executive Director.  “Total Boox offers a wide range of e-books, including current titles in computer technology and the sciences, that will help our member libraries better serve the information needs of their communities.”  For more information on Total Boox and other digital collection services, visit our website www.westchesterlibraries.org.

About the Westchester Library System
The Westchester Library System (WLS) includes 38 member public libraries located throughout the County and is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems. WLS and its member libraries have a total collection of 5.3 million items, including 3.8 million books, as well as audio recordings, DVDs, print serials, and other materials. The mission of the Westchester Library System is to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County. The Westchester Library System serves as a center of innovation for the Westchester County library community. WLS provides model programs, affordable and easy-to-use information technology, and support services that enable libraries to continuously improve service to their communities.

About Total Boox

Total Boox (pronounced “books”) is a young company offering a unique patent-pending platform for ebook distribution, where access to all books is free and the cost to the reader reflects the portion of the book that has actually been read. This disruptive approach creates significant advantages in reader-book matching, discoverability, distribution, analytics and more. The company has distribution agreements with many world class publishers, among them Elsevier Science and Technology, O’Reilly Media, Source Books, Constable-Robinson, F+W Media, Other Press, Red-Wheel Wiser, Berrett-Koehler and others. Its services are available to libraries or directly to individual consumers. For more information visit www.totalboox.com.

 

Press Contacts:

Bruce Mason                                                                          Kate Meyer

Total Boox                                                                               Westchester Library System

(917) 541-9014                                                                     914-231-3226

bruce.a.mason@gmail.com                                             kmeyer@wlsmail.org

Libraries = Intellectual Capital = Wise Investment in the Future

April 15th, 2013 No comments
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An investment in our libraries is not only a wise investment in our county’s future it is an investment that insures Westchester’s place as the intellectual capital of New York. There is a return on investment that is more than just financial. It’s about empowering libraries and empowering communities to serve the public good. Take for example the role libraries played during October’s Hurricane Sandy.

Proving that libraries are more than just repositories of books and information, community building at the library could not be more evident than during that storm. Libraries were the “go to” hot spot – literally. They became the community living room and they were packed! Patrons connected and kept warm. They recharged not only their devices, but their spirits, dampened by nature’s sudden disruption of their lives. To meet the demand, Westchester libraries expanded their hours to accommodate patrons and youth librarians developed engaging programs
for students and their parents who found themselves with a long unexpected school break. Entrepreneurs who typically work from home set up shop in the local library, barely missing a beat. And Westchester Library System’s website kept county residents informed of each library’s online status, WiFi availability, and expanded hours.

What is the most significant return on investment in our libraries? Consider this – in a world where knowledge is power, the library’s free access to information, cultural, and educational resources can empower everyone. In Westchester, more than 7 million library visitors a year take advantage of these resources. Some of those visitors attended the nearly 25,000 library sponsored programs –author talks, story- telling, film screenings, art shows, concerts – all free of charge.

The Westchester Library System (WLS) works to empower libraries with effective capacity building tools and services. A strong library system is critical in the delivery of millions of dollars worth of enhanced services for a fraction of the cost of providing these services separately. And while WLS helped Westchester libraries save over $100,000 per year through centrally provided internet access, technology maintenance service, and upgrades – patrons benefited from free use of computers, internet access and WiFi at 44 library sites. (That’s twice as many Starbucks in Westchester – just in case you were wondering.)

With more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies requiring job applications to be completed online – libraries’ free access to the internet levels the job playing field. WLS further strengthens Westchester’s workforce offering programs in career opportunities, job search, resume writing and interviewing, and connections to the county’s One Stop Employment Center in Westchester libraries.

Keep in mind too, that the System’s 500,000 library card holders (about half the total county’s population) benefit from the cost efficient WLS’ delivery system and interlibrary loan service. More than 1 million items are loaned between the county’s libraries each year. This includes DVDs, audio books, e-books, books, and other print materials. Databases, including Morningstar and Lexis Nexis, language learning tools, and skill building programs, are just a few of the myriad of knowledge resources available online 24/7!

Are you still wondering why anyone would still go to the library to do research when you can ‘Google’ it from home? Ask a research librarian (there is one in your library!); Westchester librarians answered 1,531,058 reference last year. While Google can give you 50,000 responses to your inquiry, your librarian can help you find the one answer you need.

The return on investment can be measured not only by financial impact, but also by our collective community pride in opening the door to knowledge, changing a life, promoting quality of life, and insuring Westchester’s place as the intellectual capital of New York.

It’s National Library Week. Thank your local librarian. And take just one minute and join us in the celebration by making an investment in Westchester’s future with a contribution today.

Westchester’s Big City Libraries

June 7th, 2012 No comments
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Recently, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative put out a study entitled, The Library in the City: Changing Demands and a Challenging Future.

For those who work in an urban library setting, there were no surprises in the Executive Summary, which stated:

 ”Big-city public libraries have rarely been as popular as they are today and rarely as besieged.”

The report goes on to document the growing popularity of various library services for 14 big cities around the nation, most of which are represented by a number of interesting graphs.

I thought it might be interesting to see how Westchester’s big cities would compare to the data found.  Some of the charts could not be replicated exactly.  Our latest available data is from 2010; we are in the process now of collecting the 2011 data.  Below are a few samples of the charts from the report along with their Westchester renditions.

 

One interesting note is that the current Director of the Philadelphia Free Library is a former Director of the Westchester Library System, Siobhan Reardon.