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Sari Mauro from the Congregational Library and Archives Kicks Off the Winter/Spring Local and Family History Lecture Series

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by BPL News in General

Sari MauroSari Mauro, Digital Archivist for the Congregational Library and Archives (CLA), paid a visit to the Central Library in Copley Square on Wednesday night to share tips on navigating the CLA’s records for the audience of amateur genealogists and researchers.

The CLA, located at 14 Beacon Street, was established in 1853 and houses materials documenting the history and records of the Congregational Church, a religious tradition descended from Puritanism. However, the CLA’s collections are not just for those seeking information on the history of New England’s churches; as Mauro noted, because colonial churches kept track of all town business, the CLA is a great resource for genealogists trying to track down an ancestor’s birth, death, or marriage dates as well as property and tax information.

To help the audience with their research, Mauro provided tips for navigating the CLA’s archives, both online and in-person. She reviewed key denominational search terms and examined how to best use those terms when locating materials. She also explored digital resources that genealogists can access remotely, including the CLA catalog, over 18,000 digitized church records as part of the New England’s Hidden Histories project, the obituary database, and more. Mauro also pointed audiences to a digitized Spider-Man comic book, in which the super hero travels back in time to fight Puritan and Salem witch trial judge Cotton Mather.

The Local and Family History Lecture Series runs through May and features lectures of interest to both amateur genealogists and local historians. See the full schedule via

Boston Public Library February Literary Events and Programs at Branch Locations Across the City

Posted on January 26th, 2016 by BPL News in Media Releases
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Feb talksFebruary programming at Boston Public Library locations include music, crafts, celebrations, and literary events for all. Below are highlights of the upcoming month, for a full listing visit the BPL Calendar of Events.

  • The West End Branch celebrates 120 years of library service on Thursday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. with a lecture by historian Anthony Sammarco, who will detail both the histories of the West End and that of the branch.
  • Children 8+ learn about the United States through stories and crafts on Friday, February 5, at 3:30 p.m. in the Children’s Library at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • The Adams Street and Fields Corner Branches honor the Vietnamese New Year with Tết celebrations with crafts, food, and fun for people of all ages on Saturday, February 6, at 11 a.m. (Fields Corner) and on Saturday, February 6, at 2 p.m. (Adams Street Branch).
  • Teen Central at the Central Library in Copley Square hosts career discovery lectures on Monday, February 8, at 4 p.m. and on Monday, February 22, at 4 p.m., located at 700 Boylston Street. Teens will learn about potential careers and how to prepare for applying to them.
  • Anthony  Sammarco discusses his forthcoming history of Boston’s first department store, Jordan Marsh, on Monday, February 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Adams Street Branch, located at 690 Adams Street in Dorchester.
  • Boston Globe Spotlight reporter Stephen Kurkjian will read from his book Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters who Pulled Off the Greatest Art Heist on Tuesday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the South End Branch, located at 685 Tremont Street.
  • Charles R. Gallagher describes a covert British operation in Boston and discusses the consequences of both Nazi and British spying in his talk “Spy Hub: Catholicism, Anti-Semitism, and Secret Intelligence in Wartime Boston” on Wednesday, February 10, at 6 p.m. in in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.  Part of the Local & Family History Series.
  • The West Roxbury Branch hosts the performance “Love Notes” by the Swing Fever Trio on Thursday, February 11, at 2 p.m., featuring the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Duke Ellington and many more. The branch is located at 1961 Centre Street.
  • The South Boston Branch hosts a wintertime book sale on Saturday, February 13, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., with all types of adult, teen, and juvenile books, audio-books, and CDs available at 646 East Broadway Street.
  • Desiree Taylor takes listeners on an investigative journey through story into the Harlem Renaissance on Wednesday, February 17, at 3 p.m. at the Charlestown Branch, located at 179 Main Street.
  • Peter Grinspoon, author of Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction discusses his troubles and road to recover y on Thursday, February 18, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Marta Crilly, Archivist for Reference and Outreach at the Boston City Archives, highlights records available to researchers and offers tips on navigating the Archives’ collections in her talk “History of the Hub: Resources for Local and Family History at the Boston City Archives” on Wednesday, February 24, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.
  • Listen to d’Allegro’s take on classic and inspirational tunes by African American artists on Thursday, February 25, at 6 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.
  • The Grove Hall Branch holds a book sale and open house on Saturday, February 27, at 12 p.m., followed by a Kevin Harris Project jazz concert at 2 p.m. at 41 Geneva Avenue in Dorchester.

Read more »

Tzivia Gover Starts Off the 2016 Author Talk Series with Advice on Obtaining Joy

Posted on January 15th, 2016 by in General
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“Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.” – Lewis Thomas 

TGTzivia Gover opened her author talk Thursday evening with these words from author Lewis Thomas, setting the mood for the audience who filled Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square on a bitter cold winter night.

If the crowd was there to learn how to start 2016 with a different, more positive mindset, their mission was accomplished, as Gover read tips and tricks from her new book, Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life.

Strategies from the described “life coach in a book” evolved around becoming an active participant in obtaining happiness. Gover described shifting one’s mindset from thinking of happiness and joy as emotions that come from external factors, to a feeling we can find from within. Techniques to make this modification include meditation, taking moments in your busy life to affirm that you are a “divine joy,” and allowing yourself to experience a full range of emotions, including sorrow.

Check out Joy in Every Moment, as well as Gover’s top ten favorite books of inspiration.

Conservation Team Begins Restoration of Treasured Artwork

Posted on January 14th, 2016 by in General
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Pierre Puvis de Chavannes' Philosophy PanelArtist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’ Philosophy panel on the wall of the grand staircase in the McKim building at the Central Library in
Copley Square is undergoing restoration. The panel is one of eight allegorical murals that surround the Central Library’s grand staircase, each panel depicting an academic discipline, including Astronomy, History, Chemistry, Physics, Pastoral Poetry, Dramatic Poetry, and Epic Poetry.

Chavannes’ panels were painted on linen canvas in Paris and adhered to the library walls in 1895-96 using the “marouflage” technique, binding canvas to plaster support with an adhesive paste. Over time, the plaster and adhesive behind Philosophy has weakened, jeopardizing the panel.

Conservators, led by Gianfranco Pocobene, head of conservation at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will stabilize the mural and detach it bit by bit until the entire canvas can be safely removed in one piece for relining onto a stable solid support and re-installation. This ambitious procedure has rarely been attempted on a marouflaged canvas, making the project complex and extraordinary.

The conservation team will work in the McKim building’s Cheverus Room for six to eight weeks to restore the work, addressing any areas of paint loss and lining the canvas with a rigid honeycomb support. The panel is expected to return to its location on the grand staircase in April 2016.

BPL is thrilled to further their commitment to preserve the institution’s treasures for future generations. This masterpiece – like every other artwork in the building and collection – is freely accessible to the public.

Author Picks: Tzivia Gover’s Top Ten Books to Inspire You

Posted on January 8th, 2016 by BPL News in General
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Tzivia Gover Author PicksTzivia Gover is the author of Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life. She appears at the Central Library in Copley Square on Thursday, January 14, at 6 p.m. as part of the Boston Public Library’s Author Talk Series. In anticipation of her visit, we asked her for her picks for top inspirational books for the new year.

It wasn’t easy to come up with my “Ten Favorite Books to Inspire You”—but it was fun to give the question some thought. As a writer I have an entire village of favorite books that inspire me on my shelves. (I live in a relatively small space, otherwise I’d have an entire metropolis of favorites!) But which ones might inspire you as well? To narrow it down, I began by flipping through the pages of Joy in Every Moment, my latest book, which includes quotes from many of the books that have inspired me to live my best life—one moment at a time. Then I added a few more to come up with a highlights list that includes books of poetry, philosophy, self-help, psychology, and fiction. I hope you find something here to inspire you! Enjoy.

  1. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel: The fictional character, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, inspired me to “choose the better story”—a reminder I turn to again and again.
  2. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman: I re-read this book-length poem with a group of friends almost every year on the Fourth of July (the anniversary of the book’s publication). It takes us about two hours to read the entire poem aloud, and each time I feel inspired to try to do my part to live up to Whitman’s vision of true equality and democracy.
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: A psychiatrist imprisoned in a concentration camp comes away recommitted to his belief that we can live positive and purposeful lives filled with meaning—no matter what the circumstances. Now that inspires me.
  4. You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay: As a young woman, this classic self-help book inspired—and empowered—me, to wake up to the role our thoughts play in manifesting our lives.
  5. Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl Jung: My dreams are a constant source of inspiration to me. Jung’s work helps me to explore them, trust them, and find meanings within them.
  6. The Life Changing-Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo: With joy as the organizing principle for getting one’s house in order, this quirky little book inspires me to experience my surroundings in a richer way!
  7. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler: This book inspires me to grab my pen, nearly as soon as I open my eyes in the morning—and start to write.
  8. Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone: I turn to this book again and again when I need to be inspired to live from my heart in a time of great challenges to our magnificent planet.
  9. Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed: Pearls of wisdom wrapped in humor and humility and delivered with gloves-off, gut-wrenching candor—that’s what I call inspiration.
  10. Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chödrön: I have this book in paperback and in an MP3 file on my iPod so I can read or listen to it any time, including at 4 a.m. on nights when I can’t sleep. This book inspires me to face difficult situations and emotions with a loving heart.

May these books inspire you, too. Or better yet, may you be inspired to share with others your ten most inspiring books!