Monday, July 17, 2017

July 24 program with Eric Toensmeier

How Crops and Livestock Came to Puerto Rico
Photo by Rob Deza

Monday, July 24
5:30 PM - 7 PM

A presentation by Holyoke author Eric Toensmeier
Free and Open to the Public

Holyoke Public Library
Community Room, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke, MA

Pre-registration is appreciated, but not required.
Call Library at 413-420-8101 or email

Arroz con gandules and other examples of Puerto Rican food will be served.

Learn the history of Puerto Rico through food as we discover the crops and livestock brought to the island by Taino indians, African slave ships, and Spanish galleons. We'll learn to see the history in every bowl of arroz con gandules.

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer.

This event is brought to you by the Friends of the Holyoke Public Library.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mini Golf is coming soon...

A practice "hole" is now on display in the Children's Room.  If you want to practice your putting, please ask the Children's Librarians for the putters and golf ball.

Hole Sponsors are scouting out their spaces and planning what "obstacles" and decorations to add. Angela Callahan, Marketing & Development Specialist, River Valley Counseling Center, is ecstatic about the area assigned to RVCC in the Children's Activity Room.

She and Robert Lafleur, RVCC Director of IT, came on March 24, to plan and to practice...

Don't miss our SECOND ANNUAL Mini Golf in the Library! ¡Minigolf en la Biblioteca! fundraising events:  Friday night April 7 for those over 21, and Saturday April 8 for ALL ages.  For more information, see our mini golf webpage on the Holyoke Public Library website:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Our 18th Hole Sponsor

Conklin Office Furniture is sponsoring the 18th Hole for our Friends of the Library fundraiser "Mini Golf in the Library! ¡Minigolf en la Biblioteca!" on April 7-8, 2017.

Three representatives of the company came to the Library on March 3 to scope out the space in the Teen Room that will become the 18th hole. Conklin owners Franco and Rosemary Arnold and marketing coordinator Mike Morin met with Sandy Ward, chair of the 2017 Mini Golf Planning Committee. Here are photos taken while they putted golf balls into a temporary "practice hole" that Sandy had set up for their visit.

More elaborate greens, in various shapes, will be provided by Library Mini Golf, LLC, in April. Mr. Bolton of LMG will bring a van packed with equipment to create the 18-hole course. Our local Holyoke sponsors are encouraged to bring their own "obstacles" and decorations to enhance their holes, promoting their business.

What will Conklin bring this year? In 2016, for the 2nd Hole, which wended through stacks on Level 4, they added a fabulous chair festooned with bright balloons.

At one point Sandy tried sitting in that Conklin chair, and found it SO COMFORTABLE that she stayed there, relaxing, for a long time...

... long enough to be called a "SANDy Trap" by players trying to navigate that corner!

Meanwhile, a different Conklin chair donated to the 2016 Silent Auction (Friday night in conjunction with the Mini Golf fundraiser) drew many admirers.

People lined up to sit in that deluxe chair valued at over $900. Barbara Freed, right, from Amherst, enjoyed a turn in the Conklin chair during the 2016 auction.

We thank Conklin Office Furniture for such generosity. Funds raised by the Friends of the Holyoke Public Library are used to support and enhance library programs and services.

After visiting the Teen Room Friday, Franco, Rosemary, and Mike explored other parts of the Library. They especially enjoyed meeting Archivist Eileen Crosby and learning from her about resources relevant to their company's history. She pulled out old maps of Holyoke's canals and the mills along them, including the mill building at 56 Canal Street now owned by Conklin.

Photographs in the Holyoke History Room collection document how their building had looked in the past.

Only some of the original mill buildings owned by American Thread Company remain today. Nevertheless, the portion now owned by Conklin is huge – the area the size of "three football fields," says Franco.

Franco expressed particular interest in finding an image or description of the cupola that used to adorn the top of their mill building (formerly American Thread Company, and originally The Hadley Company). Eileen quickly found a small photo, which she offered to scan.

See more photos below. Sandy followed the Conklin officers back to Canal Street and explored not only that building, but their other facility on Appleton Street.

Click on this 1876 image to enlarge

Compare the photos above: 1892, from Picturesque Hampden, Part II, and 2017 (lacking cupola).
The building in the right foreground now belongs to Hadley Printing, another of our Mini Golf sponsors.

56 Canal Street, Holyoke

75 Appleton Street, a huge Conklin building now capped with SOLAR panels.

Conklin is very proud of the extensive array of solar panels recently added to their Appleton building.
If you stand on Bowers Street near Kelly School, on the hill above Sullivan Scrap,
you can catch a glimpse of the solar panel layer on the Conklin roof. 
Conklin is an environmentally-friendly business, recycling and refurbishing office furniture.  See their website for more information:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lobbying for Library Funding

Friends members and library advocates Kate Kruckemeyer and Sandy Ward met with our State Rep Aaron Vega at the annual Library Legislative Breakfast with State Senator Don Humason on January 20, 2017.  It was held in Easthampton, in the Williston Memorial Library.

We listened to speakers representing library users, library directors, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commission (MBLC), as well as legislators from several local towns and cities.  We heard details of the budget shortfalls in library funding, and were advised about strategies for lobbying for increased funding.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thinking of Wanda

Wanda Myslek volunteered her time and talents to many good causes, including the Holyoke Public Library. She was an active member of the Friends of the Library and served as Treasurer for many years. Her name as Treasurer is on the official letter in fall 2009 committing the Friends of the Library to a $100,000 pledge to the Library's Capital Campaign.  (In 2016 we completed payment of that pledge.) We are glad she lived to see the successful expansion and remodeling of the Library.

Wanda helped us with many projects, including several Future Begins Here fundraisers at the Holyoke Mall.  This photo of Wanda with Anne Gorman and María Pagán was taken at FBH in 2011:

Today many friends (and Friends of the Library) gathered at the funeral home to pay respects to Wanda.  Anne Gorman and María Pagán were there, as well as Friends President Karlene Shea and Past-President Sandy Ward.   (Wanda's Obituary is on Masslive.)

 R.I.P. Wanda    We miss your smile! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sponsors for 2017 Mini Golf in the Library

Click on image to enlarge it

On December 28, 2016, The Republican published this story about our upcoming Mini Golf fundraiser and our request for sponsors for 2017: "Tee off to help library"
(See also the MassLive version posted the next day.)

We are pleased that many of last year's sponsors wish to sponsor again. We thank in particular two sponsors who have DOUBLED their level of sponsorship and sent us their checks promptly:
  • Ross Insurance Agency
  • Conklin Office Furniture
Ross Insurance Agency became our first Event Sponsor for 2017, sponsoring at the Gold Level.

Conklin Office Furniture is the first of our Hole Sponsors for 2017. They have chosen to sponsor one of the premium holes: the 18th Hole.  On our Friends Facebook page Conklin Office Furniture commented,
"Something to look forward to in 2017! A fun time and such a great cause! Thanks for all the work you do Friends of the Holyoke Public Library."
For more information about our April 2017 fundraiser and how to become a sponsor, visit this Mini Golf page on the HPL website:

We'll update this page as additional sponsorships come in.

December 30: We are happy to welcome a NEW sponsor for 2017: Racing Mart Fuels, 330 Main Street, Holyoke. Racing Mart is an Event Sponsor at the Bronze level.

A sponsorship check from Marcotte Ford, 1025 Main Street, Holyoke, arrived in our mailbox in early January. We welcome Marcotte Ford as an Event Sponsor at the Bronze level.

On January 10, CareerPoint returned as a sponsor, increasing their contribution to become an Event Sponsor at the Silver level this year. Thank you!

Aaron's, 740 High Street, will sponsor the 1st Hole. This is their second year of sponsoring a Premium Hole at the $500 level. Much appreciated!  Store Manager Rob Lopez presented the Aaron's check to Sandy Ward, Mini Golf chair, on Friday January 27.

Mount Holyoke College has become an Event Sponsor at the Bronze level, thanks to Kevin McCaffrey, MHC Director of Government and Community Relations.

HAP Housing will again be a Sponsor in 2017, this time as an Event Sponsor at the Bronze Level.

Daniel Deschaine, owner of Reliable Computer, presented a check to Sandy on February 22. Last year he decorated Hole #14 with a variety of computer parts and creative signs. He's eager to return as sponsor of that same section of the course, which weaves through the book stacks on Level 1. A reliable Hole Sponsor!

River Valley Counseling Center will return as a Hole Sponsor. Angela Callahan enjoyed hosting Hole #17 last year in the Teen Room. This year she will be at Hole #11, in the Children's Activity Room on Level 2.

Hole #18 will be in the Teen Room for 2017.

Conklin Office Furniture is the proud sponsor of the 18th Hole. On March 3, Mike Morin (marketing coordinator) and owners Franco and Rosemary Arnold came to scope out the space and practice some mini golf. Fun! They also enjoyed a tour of the Library including the Holyoke History Room. For more photos, see 3/5/17 blog entry.

Holyoke Gas & Electric is an Event Sponsor at the Gold Level. We are delighted to have HG&E's support again this year.

Witman Properties, 121 Main St, Holyoke, joins us as a new Event Sponsor, at the Bronze Level.

Open Square returns as a Hole Sponsor for 2017.

State Representative Aaron Vega is a Hole Sponsor for the second year in a row. What obstacle will he bring this year?  Last spring a copy of the thick Massachusetts Budget was in our way.

Homewood Suites by Hilton returns not only as a Hole Sponsor, but also as donor of one night of free lodging (to be auctioned off during our Swing into Spring Cocktail Party April 7).

Mass. Surgical Supply will again be a Hole Sponsor.

Logos of all the sponsors listed above were incorporated into the design of the 2017 Scorecard to be given to each player.  Hadley Printing completed and delivered the beautiful scorecards in late March.

Positronic Farms, a very new enterprise in Holyoke, joined us as a new Event Sponsor a few days after the scorecard was finished. We were able to add Positronic Farms to the "Thanking our Sponsors" sign March 30, just before printing at the Holyoke Creative Arts Center print shop.

The next day HAP Housing announced a name change to Way Finder. We are grateful for their support, regardless of name.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ornaments on sale at Library

This is the latest addition (2016) to the Friends series of ornaments depicting historic Holyoke buildings and scenes.  It is a 21st Century view of our public library showing the new addition and entrance facing Chestnut Street.    (Scroll below for additional photos of this one.)

You can buy this lovely new ornament at the Library Circulation Desk; the price is $20.  Other ornaments, including the Maple Street view of the 1902 Library, are also available.