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Learning at the Library

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Today in History: Guggenheim Museum Opens in NYC 

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to house the large contemporary art collection of mining tycoon Solomon Guggenheim, the Guggenheim Museum opened its doors to the awestruck public on October 21, 1959. It was itself considered a work of art, resembling in white concrete a sea shell with a long ramp spiraling up from a large rotunda. …

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Today in History: King Wins Nobel Peace Prize 

On October 14, 1964, Georgian-born Baptist Minister Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial discrimination. Influenced by the philosophies and practices of Mohandas Ghandi, King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first of a series of peaceful protests aimed at ending racial segregation. He donated the …

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Today in History: Tribute to Steve Jobs 

Remember your first Apple product? Maybe it was a computer, device for playing and storing audio, touch screen, or phone? Sleek and sexy technology at the cutting edge. Intuitive, fun, delightful, addictive, always changing.  Or... when the library migrated over from the Dells, becoming beautifully populated with bright new Macs? Our fleet was under command …

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Today in History: Elie Wiesel Is Born 

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent …

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Today in History: Chagall’s Ceiling: Unveiling at the Paris Opera 

Color. Joy. Whimsy. Life. A lyrical poem, marriage of art and music, celebration of light, embrace of vision, dream of humanity, glorious theater. Marc Chagall's stunning masterpiece on the ceiling of the Paris Opera was presented to the public on September 23, 1964 in the presence of thousands of guests. His work, a gift to France, …

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Today in History: Constitution Day 

It's a little like a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird – Scout and Jem peering through the bannisters in awe of their father, Atticus, who bravely defended Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. But it is the Congress, not the courtroom, decades later, and my brothers and I are in Springfield, Illinois, not …

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Today in History: Labor Day 

Influenced by his father who worked as a bus driver and in other vocations, "Factory" by Bruce Springsteen recognizes the common man and shows, along with his other great songs ("Working on the Highway", "Jack of All Trades"), respect for the rights of the working class. It's not surprising that The Boss performs …

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Today in History: Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery Opens 

Forays into pancakes lead to Fannie Farmer's time-tested tips: when the spoonful of batter in the greased skillet is puffed, full of bubbles, and cooked on the edges, it's ready to flip. A first attempt is premature, landing half of my daughter's chocolate chip pancake on the stove top where it sticks, ungainly, to the …

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Today in History: Building the Berlin Wall 

An East European book exchange trip, part of a federal government grant to build our mathematics' education collection, takes us Humboldt University, one of Berlin's oldest universities. It is two years after the Wall's collapse, and we are yet to visit libraries in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria -- countries, like the former East Germany, …

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Today in History: Great Expectations Is Fully Published 

On August 3, 1861, the closing chapters, 58-59, of Great Expectations were published in All the Year Round, a literary circular from Charles Dickens, British writer and social critic. Dickens' popular novel tells the tale of an orphan named named Pip who believes he will inherit a fortune. Narrated in the first person and set in …

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Today in History: WW1 Begins 

Did you know that on July 28, 1914 Austria and Hungary declared war on Serbia? For, one month to the day, the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Yugoslav nationalist, had triggered one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg, and France; …

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Today in History: Monkey Trial Ends 

What is it about the courtroom that lends itself to both theater and education? I note the connections: our foreperson is an actress, on and off Broadway, with a command of audio books; another juror, a TC instructor of English education, specializing in theatrical performance; a third, an acting teacher who conducts workshops throughout the …

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Today in History: E.B. White’s Birthday 

Today is E.B. White's 117th birthday, for he is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of his readers, children through adults. Elwyn Brooks White was born on July 11, 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York; graduated from Cornell University in 1921; worked for The New Yorker magazine; and lived on a farm …

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Today in History: Mark Twain Begins Reporting for Territorial Enterprise 

Remembering my first and only journalism class, I look back and sigh; what seemed easy on the surface was nothing but tough, akin to the teacher that reminded me of an armadillo. He was hard skinned, symbolic of boundaries and shields, and completely in charge. From the minute we stepped into the classroom, the scene was set for …

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Today in History: Robert Louis Stevenson Sets Sail for the South Seas 

I should like to rise and go Where the golden apples grow;- Where below another sky Parrot islands anchored lost, And, watched by cockatoos and goats, Lonely Crusoes building boats.. -- Robert Louis Stevenson, "Travel" A Child's Garden of Verses       High seas, adventure, pirates, desert islands come to mind, but so do …

Posted 9 months ago by

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Today in History: Nixon Signs the Higher Education Act 

Planning our trip to the AAU National Track and Field Championships this July, I find myself wondering how sport and athletics might affect the future of my kids on their educational journey. Will there be opportunities, or impossibilities, due to higher levels of competition amid increasing financial costs? For my eldest, college is a mere …

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Today in History: King John Seals the Magna Carta 

Runnymede is a beautiful, tranquil English meadow on the banks of the Thames between Windsor and Staines – the historic meeting place where the tyrannical, malevolent King John sealed the Magna Carta. Whether or not John of Lackland offered up shrimp to the barons at his tea table while signing the peace treaty "like a …

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Today in History: D-Day: The Normandy Landings 

My travels as an au pair do not take me to the beaches, but rather to the medieval town of Gaillon, south of Rouen, still in the upper Normandy region. I am sure to visit the town's memorial which reads, "Aux Morts/Aux Combattants 1914-1918~1939-1945; La Ville de Gaillon Reconnaissante". While the names are sparse, they …

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Everett Cafe: Lessons from the Gilded Age 

After collective iterations of selections for the new Everett Café book display, Lessons from the Gilded Age, the last thing I expect to find is a small frog in my path. Down the steep hill at the top of the park, I am cycling too fast to stop, but I shift my Schwinn just a …

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Today in History: St Petersburg Is Founded 

The city of St. Petersburg itself was dressed in an ermine robe of snow, its frozen river and canals glittering like the duchesses' diamonds. In the distance the sun shone on the brightly colored domes of the Church of the Resurrection. "Look, Misha, I said, "The domes look like a tumble of crown jewels." (Ch. 1, …

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