Tag Archives: history

The Library of Congress & its Book Festival

The Library of Congress is simply one of my favorite places. President John Adams signed a bill in 1800 establishing a reference library in the new capital city of Washington, DC. The legislation provided that it contain “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress — and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein…”

Photo by Shawn Miller.

Originally, it was housed in the Capitol. During the War of 1812 the British invaded and set fire to the Capitol Building burning most of the collection. Retired President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal collection which he had amassed over 50 years, and which was considered to be one of the finest in America.

I will try to curtail my enthusiasm for the architecture and my personal fondness for the building! However, a little information seems to be in order. The Library is comprised of three buildings, The Thomas Jefferson Building, the john Adams building and the James Madison Building. The Jefferson Building (1897), located next to the Supreme Court and across from the U.S. Capitol, is impressive. If you are interested, take a virtual tour of the building.

But on to books and reading. You have probably heard of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. It was started by then First Lady Laura Bush and the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington with the inaugural event in 2001. This year’s event is scheduled for August.

The Library has been sponsoring an ongoing .. and online!…celebration of the Festival with daily features of videos of the thousands of authors who have appeared at the Festival over the past nearly 20 years. Mondays focus on topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literature; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir, Thursday: popular fiction and Friday: authors who write for children and teens.

Check out the fascinating talks with such authors as Neil Patrick Harris, Colson Whitehead, Patricia Cornwell, Tara Westover, Edmund Morris, and Jacqueline Woodson to name a few of the thousands who have participated.

-posted by Brenda, Reference  Services

A Mini History Course on our “Hometown” President: Theodore Roosevelt

Long Island University’s Theodore Roosevelt Institute is sponsoring a series of four lectures on the 26th President. Tweed Roosevelt will present tales of his great grandfather.

The first lecture will look at the future President’s time in the Badlands of North Dakota. He initially went to hunt buffalo but fell in love with the area, buying a herd of cattle and hiring local men to run the enterprise when he returned to NY. This was not just an economic decision. It also would give him a chance to live the western lifestyle which he had long romanticized. Did you know he hunted down a pair of thieves  who had stolen his boat and marched them back to the Dickinson, ND?

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Register for the virtual lecture series here https://liu.edu/roosevelt. The dates are May 19, June 16, September 15 and October 20 at noon.

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

Presidential Homes…Visit from the Comfort of your Own Home!

Sagamore Hill, The home of President Theodore Roosevelt, has announced that the National Historic site will be totally closed. The House and Museum at Old Orchard haves been closed for several weeks but now the grounds and trails are also closed to the public. May I suggest taking a virtual tour of the collection through Google Arts and Culture at? It is really quite amazing to ‘walk’ through the House and get close to the art and treasures of the House (much closer than on an in person tour).

George Washington was born in the Northern Neck of Virginia. The site is preserved by the National Park Service. Enjoy a virtual tour and see the rural area that was the birthplace of our first President. Then head north to take a virtual tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home which was built around 1734 by his father, Augustine. The site offers livestream tours of the estate, educational resources and in depth looks at the man. You can take a similar Google tour of the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA. Take a look inside the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams as well as the Stone Library which has 12,000 volumes collected by four generations of the Adams family.


Have fun visiting these homes of some of our Presidents!

Take me out to the Ball Game!

Take me out to the Ball game!Isn’t that the sound of spring? Not this year. But it is the sound of promise each year. “We will do better”. “We can’t lose!” “Just look at our lineup!”

Promise is what we need right now so let’s look at some armchair sites:

History…this is a fun place to spend some time. MLB site has a fact-filled history section. The Year in Review feature has mutimedia, team coverage and special features. Consider using the ‘fantasy’ feature: it helps pass the time until the real players can take the field.

Come back every day and see ‘Today in Baseball history’ Actually the site has so many options, just open it and take walks down memory lane. You can see famous players, historic feats, awards and honors, and team histories. This could truly make you the champ of any baseball trivia contest!

Mets vs Yankees…I don’t take a stand here! But I can suggest looking at each team’s website. The Mets site has all the information you would expect. But take a look at the Virtual Vault. It was begun to celebrate the Amazing Mets of 1969 and has memories from that season and other historic team moments. The Yankees site has a selection of video highlights  or you can take a video tour of Yankee stadium.

Every Mickey Mantle or Tom Seaver had to start with a small bat and a backyard (or playground) pitch. Maybe this is a good time to start mentoring the next superstar. Here are some ideas for teaching kids to play baseball. One step is to teach them how to bat. Since I was always terrified of being hit while at bat, I really love the reminder to start with a plastic bat and a SOFT ball!

This one is for the beginner. I really like it because it emphasizes the fun part of the sport  It includes practice plans for 8-12 year olds. More basic ideas are in the coaching tips section where the fundamentals of catching and throwing are presented with fun drills. Here are some basic tips for the older kids.

Remember to keep social distance -but have some fun!

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

Next Week’s Title Swap

Excited to hear about our favorite books? Join the Readers’ Services Department next Tuesday afternoon for a fun and lively presentation of all History and Historical Fiction books we can’t stop talking about.  Visit the Live Streaming page of our website for access.

Leave with a list of great reads!

No registration required. 

See you there!

-posted by Donna, Readers’ Services

March is Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. With all that is happening, this celebration was neglected. But I don’t think it should be forgotten. Since the library is closed, there’s no access to the book display celebrating the month. So, look at some of these resources from the comfort of home.

The designation of a month to acknowledge women was a long road: from labor movements, to local celebrations, to presidential proclamations.

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week:

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.

As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, ‘Women’s History is Women’s Right.’– It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision. I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality – – Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.”

Finally, in 1987, March was designated as Women’s History Month.

This year’s theme marked the struggle for the right to vote and the passage of the amendment 100 years ago. Did you know that women first got the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869?

Gaining the right to vote was a long struggle. The movement was linked to the anti-slavery movement of the early 1800s. Many abolitionists were women who had no voice in government and when they tried to express their opinions, they were ignored. The idea of women’s suffrage was a controversial topic at the Seneca Falls convention (1848). Some participants argued that the condition of society and the state of their immediate communities were of equal concern to women as to as men. And that women should have an equal say in how such matters were governed.

The Library of Congress has some of its exhibits available online. Take a look at “Rosa Parks In Her Own Words” to see her struggle for Civil and Women’s rights.

The New York Historical Society’s “Women and the American Story”  is an ongoing project spotlighting women’s contributions which you can discover by theme or time period. The Smithsonian Institution’s  online contribution to the topic is “Because of Her Story”. You can peruse the collections by themes such as Work, Health & Wellness and Activism. There are videos to complement some of the artifacts. The Smithsonian also offers some musical aspects of the movement for women’s rights.

The Music Division of The Library of Congress has selections of sheet music about the women’s suffrage movement covering the years 1838-1923. If you have the time, try them out on your piano or other musical instruments!


Time magazine offers brief biographies of some remarkable women who we should, but might not, know. Time also presents possible covers of overlooked women had might have been selected as “Person of the Year”.

We all have more time inside. Check out some of these sites. And when the library reopens, we will help you find the perfect book to expand your knowledge or satisfy your curiosity.

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

Evening Book Discussion

In Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s Death

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
7:30 PM

with Jackie Ranaldo, Head of Readers’ Services

A timeless story that stands without peer, this definitive edition brings to life the world of a brilliant young girl who, for a time, survived the worst horrors the modern world has ever seen and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

This program is free. No registration required.

Teens welcome!

Books  are available at the Circulation Desk.

Photographs and videos taken during library programs may be used for library publicity.

-posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services

February’s Book Displays

In Remembrance Mary Higgins Clarkthe Queen of Suspense (12/24/1927-1/13/2020), sadly, is the theme for our first main floor book display. She was an international and New York Times best-selling author of over 50 suspense novels. The beloved author was known as the Queen of Suspense for over 40 years.

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Our second main floor display is Around the World a great selection of books for the armchair traveler – they might help you decide your next trip. There is nothing like broadening your horizons and learning about far off places.

Our two mini displays* are:

Celebrating Black History

60 Best Romance Novels of All Timefrom the editors of Reader’s Digest.

*Mini-displays are subject to change during the month.*

On the third floor, the health librarian’s display is Take Care of Your Heart for February is Heart Health Awareness Month. The books cover subjects including heart healthy diets, exercise programs, advice on lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. Lots of handouts are available, as usual.

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Love, in honor of Valentine’s Day, is the theme of the next third floor display. Some of the topics covered in this display are advice for dating over fifty, love songs, great lovers, laws of attraction, wedding etiquette and tips for a happy marriage.

Just a reminder: The Evening Book Discussion will be on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 7:30 PM.  We will be talking about the book, The Lido by Libby Page. All are welcome.

The Syosset Public Library for your reading pleasure and more!

-posted by Betty, Reference Services