Posts Tagged ‘WLS’

Celebrate Black History Month At Your Local Westchester Library

February 1st, 2016 No comments

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.


W.E.B. Du Bois


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.

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.


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,


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.


Check out these children’s book recommendations on Pintrest:



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 The exhibit will be up for the full month of February.


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.

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

September 26th, 2013 No comments


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

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


Press Contacts:

Bruce Mason                                                                          Kate Meyer

Total Boox                                                                               Westchester Library System

(917) 541-9014                                                                     914-231-3226                                   

One-Stop Month

May 2nd, 2013 No comments
Elaine Sozzi, Head of WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service

Elaine Sozzi, Head of WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service

Guest blog post by Elaine Sozzi, Head of WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service.

Whether it’s helping adults get reemployed or change careers, or helping youth locate summer jobs, the One-Stop is the place to go.

The One-Stop is a local employment portal dedicated to connecting Westchester and Putnam businesses to job seekers.  The network of Workforce New York One-Stop Career Centers has helped thousands of people get job training, learn new skills and find employment free of charge.  It’s a place to find information and register for workshops, trainings, orientations and more.

In an effort to celebrate its successes, recognize its benefactors and beneficiaries, and promote its services, the White Plains Workforce Investment Board has designated May as One-Stop Month for the third year.

It starts off with a kick-off breakfast on May 1st with keynote speaker Laura S. L. Herman, Managing Director, FSG.  Additional activities throughout the month include a series of career-related workshops offered at various libraries throughout Westchester in cooperation with the Westchester Library System (WLS).   These programs are targeted to a wide variety of jobseekers, career changers and business professionals and include: “Second-Act Careers for Semi-Retirement”, “Careers in Healthcare”, “Get LinkedIn to Your Job Search”, “Personal Branding”, “Hire Me! Keys to a Great Job Interview” and “Top Strategies for Kicking Off a Job Search”.

Whether you’re looking for a job or need an upgrade in training, get in touch with the One-Stop and come to one of the free workshops at a library near you!  Dates and times can be found on our website.

22nd Annual Book and Author Luncheon Event Update

April 24th, 2013 No comments

The Westchester Library System’s 22nd Annual Book & Author Luncheon on April 18, 2013, was a tremendous success! The event, sponsored by Entergy and TD Bank, took place at CV Rich Mansion, White Plains, and was attended by close to 200 people. Lifetime Arts, Inc. received the National Library Week Recognition Award for their contribution to libraries and literacy. Here are a couple of photos from the event!


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NYS Assemblyman Steven Otis (Assembly District 91) getting his book signed by author Deidre Bair.



WLS 4-18-2013_MG_9853

Posing with the National Library Week Recognition Award is (l-r) Cathy Draper, Member, WLS Board of Trustees, Ed Friedman, Executive Director, Lifetime Arts, Inc., Maura O’Malley, CEO, Lifetime Arts, Inc., and Dave Donelson, President, WLS Board of Trustees.


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(l-r) Dave Donelson, President, WLS Board of Trustees, Authors Dorothy Wickenden, Marie Howe and Deidre Bair, Terry Kirchner

Westchester Library System’s 22nd Annual Book & Author Luncheon

April 10th, 2013 No comments

Author Deirdre Bair

Westchester Library System’s 22nd Annual Book & Author Luncheon Features Three Outstanding Authors

Westchester County, NY (April 10, 2013) – The Westchester Library System (WLS) will hold its 22nd annual Book & Author Luncheon on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at CV Rich Mansion in White Plains, NY. The event celebrates National Library Week and features talented authors Deidre Bair, Marie Howe and Dorothy Wickenden who will discuss their newly published books.

Lifetime Arts, Inc. will receive the National Library Week Recognition Award for their outstanding contributions to libraries. The Luncheon is sponsored by Entergy and TD Bank.

“The Westchester Library System’s Book & Author Luncheon is the highlight of our National Library Week festivities,” says Terry Kirchner, WLS Executive Director. “This year we have a talented group of authors who will be sure to entertain and enlighten.”

He adds, “We are also thrilled to honor Lifetime Arts, a non-profit organization that allows WLS to sponsor creative aging projects for seniors. With these programs, the local public libraries have become art making centers, bringing together great teaching artists with librarians and seniors.”

The Luncheon, held from 12:00pm – 2:00pm, will be followed by an author signing. Registration begins at 11:15am. Ticket prices for the Book & Author Luncheon are $95 for general admission. Proceeds from this event will support WLS’s efforts to expand its e-book collection and increase digital media content for all Westchester public libraries. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (914) 231-3226.

The authors’ books, available for purchase and autographing at the event, include:

Saul Steinberg (Deirdre Bair) –National Book Award winner Deirdre Bair’s new biography meticulously connects the puzzle pieces of the complex, often paradoxical life of graphic artist Saul Steinberg (1914–99), the luminary best known for his postwar New Yorker cartoons.

The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (Marie Howe) – American poet and New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe’s latest collection, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, is a meditation on ordinary yet nevertheless miraculous moments, such as hurrying through errands, attending a dying mother, and helping a child on the playground.

Nothing Daunted (Dorothy Wickenden) – Author and Executive Senior Editor for The New Yorker magazine, Dorothy Wickenden’s latest novel is a captivating book about Wickenden’s grandmother, who left her affluent East Coast life to “rough it” as a teacher in Colorado in 1916.

The Westchester Library System is located at 540 White Plains Road, Suite 200, Tarrytown, NY 10591. For a complete list of programs and events throughout the Westchester Library System, visit our WLS website.

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’ 23 public library systems. WLS and its members libraries have a total collection of 5.4 million items, including 3.7 million books, as well as audio recordings, videocassettes, 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.

Library Advocacy Day

March 13th, 2013 No comments
(l-r) Guest speaker DavidVinjamuri and Senator Hugh Farley at the Legislative Office Building’s “Well” at the Rally hosted by NYLA

(l-r) Guest speaker David
Vinjamuri and Senator Hugh Farley at the Legislative Office Building’s “Well” at the Rally hosted by NYLA

A group of 23 library supporters from Westchester car pooled up to Albany to join the New York Library Association’s (NYLA) Library Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 5th.  The group was made up of directors, trustees, and staff from all of our member libraries, as well as Westchester Library System and Westchester Library Association. We visited the offices of the 14 legislators who represent Westchester County. This year’s emphasis with all legislators was restoration of Library Aid to $102 Million vs. the $89.9 Million included in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget.

WLS President Dave Donelson sums it up best in his blog post.

Library advocates from across New York State filled up the Legislative Office Building’s “Well” at the Rally hosted by NYLA which featured speakers Senator Hugh Farley and guest speaker David Vinjamuri.  A special thank you is due to this year’s great group of Library Advocates.  All contributed in some way—sharing insightful success stories from their libraries, taking pictures, driving, writing, tweeting, participating!

Since our visit, the Senate has included a proposed restoration of $4 Million in Library Aid for the FY 2013-14 Budget.  However, the NYS Assembly has not followed suit, including only the $89.9 Million the Governor proposed in his Executive Budget.

There is still time to contact your legislators!  Check out NYLA’s Virtual Advocacy Effort page for resources to show your support for libraries via social media as well as NYLA’s Online Advocacy page to contact your Assemblyman. The deadline for an on-time budget is March 31st.

Libraries do provide essential services—let’s be sure our legislators understand the value they bring to New York.

President Thomas Jefferson by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

February 20th, 2013 No comments

220px-Reproduction-of-the-1805-Rembrandt-Peale-painting-of-Thomas-Jefferson-New-York-Historical-Society_1The following blog post was written by a special guest of the Westchester Library System, Assembly District 95 Assemblywoman, Sandy Galef.

“I have always been impressed with President Thomas Jefferson. I was a graduate student at the University of Virginia, a school developed by President Jefferson, and my personal view of his multi-faceted life made me admire him even more. The University of Virginia is one of his outstanding architectural and educational achievements. In addition, I was amazed at many of his inventions which one can view at his home, called Monticello. He was both an important Founding Father and an extraordinary President.”


Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, 95th Assembly District




Book Review of Fraternity

January 11th, 2013 No comments

For those of us who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, it was a decade that marked the beginning of epic shifts that would change our personal lives, our nation and the world. It was a time marked by social change and war that few understood. The counter culture and social revolution gave rise to protest, both violent and peaceful. We marched for racial and social justice. We cried for Bobby, Martin and John. We watched in horror as college students, much like us, were shot down at Kent State. We ended each night in rage over the gruesome images from Vietnam on the 11 o’clock news. As a suburban teenager growing up in a working class neighborhood on Long Island, I sang along to Janis Ian’s Society’s Child with all the heartfelt emotion of my teenage angst and parental defiance.

It’s through the lens of 60’S and 70’S defiance and my past that I read Fraternity. Brady’s crisp, journalistic writing style beautifully tells the story of 5 of the 20 African American men Fr. John Brooks recruited to the College of Holy Cross in the late 1960’s. He believed these young African American men had the potential to succeed if given the opportunity. Fr. Brooks took a personal interest in not only their education, but their personal lives. He “mentored, defended, coached, and befriended them through an often challenging four years of college, pushing them to reach for goals that would sustain them as adults”. Fr. Brooks, who eventually would become a beloved president of the college, was often challenged by his peers, alumni and the community for taking on such a “risk”. The financial risk alone was staggering – as these new recruits were offered full scholarships. It was a pivotal time for the college and things did not always go smoothly. But Fr. Brooks held fast to his ideals and never wavered in his support of these young men.

But what really drew me into this book was the story about the men themselves. Do you remember your first day of college? Scary, right? The first in their families to attend college, these men had the courage to enter a world very different from their own. The College of Holy Cross was, “white, [JESUIT] and all male,” with high academic standards and high expectations. Far from home, out of their own comfort zones, they entered a world that was hardly putting out the welcome mat. They were challenged but not deterred. They formed their bonds, worked hard, and persevered. They blazed a trail that others would follow. And each followed a passion that lead them to make a difference; a difference that continues to this day.

Did they know that their pursuit of a good education and a better life for their families would in effect play a role in changing society? Their time at CHC put them in the spotlight; they were challenged to reach their potential and make a difference. They continue to follow a path that brings light to MLK’s dream that men be judged by their character and not the color of their skin.

Now 40 years later, I am inspired by these brave men. I am awed by their courage and steadfastness. Read the book. It’s not too late to be inspired to make a difference. We still have a lot of work to do.

Tickets are still available for the 15th Annual African American Literary Celebration on Friday, January 18th featuring Fraternity author, Diane Brady and Holy Cross alumni Eddie Jenkins. Purchase your tickets here!

Superstorm Sandy and Social Media

January 10th, 2013 No comments

Superstorm Sandy and the role of social media

Superstorm Sandy presented many challenges, including the dissemination of information to individuals without power and/or internet access. At WLS, we decided to try using social media – Facebook and Twitter – to enhance our ability to share information about access to libraries, weather and traffic conditions, and overall safety issues related to the storm.

Shira Zwebner from Drive Action Digital has been working with WLS to develop our social media efforts and she prepared a report that reviews the impact WLS’s social media efforts had during and after the storm. It’s an interesting and quick read that highlights the growing influence of social media as an information outlet.



Laptops, Tablets and Ultrabooks, Oh My!

December 12th, 2012 No comments

If you love technology it’s a great time to be in the market for a new mobile device.  There are so many new laptops, tablets and smart phones on the market now one could spend every moment from now until New Year’s Day trying to decide what to buy.  Here are some things to consider when buying that new device.

Laptops vs. Tablets: Many people struggle with the decision of buying a laptop or tablet.  “Will a tablet do everything you needed to do?  Do I wanna lug around a full size laptop?  I don’t need a laptop, I love my smart phone, I just want a bigger screen!” These are all things that go on inside our internal dialogue when shopping for that new device.

You’re not alone!

Lately, the decision to buy a tablet over a laptop is becoming easier.  If you’re an Apple user and use your computer for basic functions such as Internet browsing, word processing, e-mail and chatting, the answer is an easy one.  The iPad is a cheaper, more portable, and equally as functional replacement for the old laptop.

However, if you’re not an Apple user and don’t want to become one, you have many options available to you.  Microsoft has recently released Windows 8.  Fully functional, touch friendly, and available in a wide range of new devices, it may just be the perfect choice to replace the old laptop.

New technology from Intel has also brought to market a line of new devices called ultrabooks.  These new devices feature the power of a laptop with the convenience of the tablet in one device. Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft, Sony and many others, have devices on the market with these new features and technologies.

If you have an Android smart phone and are comfortable with its functionality and just want a bigger screen, you may want to consider an Android tablet.  It’s like your smart phone with a bigger screen.

If you still struggle with what to buy, the best advice I can give is to visit your local electronics store.  Usually all it takes is a few minutes with your hands on the device to tell if it will work for you.  You should be able to intuitively use a tablet within 5 minutes without instruction.  If after 5 minutes it is not an intuitive experience, then the device is probably not for you and I would recommend checking out a different device.

There are so many different devices on the market that there surely one for everybody.

Rob Caluori, Director of Information Technology