Sunday, November 5, 2017

Launch of "Saber es Poder" collection

Thanks to a grant from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice, and matching funds from the Friends of the Library, an important new collection is available at the Holyoke Public Library.  

Saber es poder: Resources on Puerto Rican and Latinx History, Culture, and Social Movements

Dr. Llana Barber, center, with Kate Kruckemeyer, right
On October 20, 2017, in conjunction with Dr. Llana Barber's presentation about her book Latino City, Friends board member Kate Kruckemeyer announced the arrival of relevant books for this new collection, which is intended to encourage and support Holyoke residents’ understanding of the Puerto Rican experience, and celebrate contributions of Latinx peoples to American culture.

The audience was invited to examine the new books, and to borrow any of interest. Julita was delighted to find a perfect book to share with her grandson.

Click on photo to enlarge
More books will be added in the future. A working group of library staff, academics, and local experts from the public sector are collaborating in developing and promoting the collection. 

For more information, or if you are interested in being involved with the planning for this project, please contact, or speak with Rachel Dowd (413-420-8119) at the Library.

Future community events in connection with this project are being planned. This collection is intended to emphasize historic and ongoing struggles to build community, resist oppression, and create social change, in an effort to inspire library patrons of all backgrounds to engage in building a positive future for Holyoke. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bylaws revision passed; new Officers elected

Update from Annual Meeting: The proposed bylaws revision passed, with all present voting in favor.

The following Officers were elected for the 2017-2018 year:

    Karlene Shea, President
    Sarah Page, Vice President
    Kate Kruckemeyer, Secretary
    Scott Meyer, Treasurer

Margaret McCarthy will serve as Membership Chair this year. Sandy Ward will continue as Mini Golf Chair.  Terrence Smith is leading the Comic-Con planning group. Kate is coordinating the Poder es Saber project.

The next Friends board meeting will be Monday October 23, 5:30pm at the Library. (We hope to make it a short meeting, so that people can also get to the Candidates Forum hosted by the Holyoke Youth Task Force that same evening.)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pathway to the Future: 2017 Annual Meeting

All current Friends members will soon receive the above flyer and enclosed proposal (revised bylaws and a summary of the proposed changes).  Copies of these documents and other background information are also available via the Library's website, at this address:

Please come September 25.  Enjoy REFRESHMENTS with Friends. Come hear updates about projects underway for 2017-18, and help us discuss and decide how best to move forward. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sun article about Friends event

Sun Correspondent Sandra Dias wrote an excellent article about Eric Toensmeier's presentation at the Library. See the edition dated August 4-10, 2017, pages 2-3:
 "Puerto Rican cuisine: a blend of foods from other cultures."

Click here for the Archives of the Sun online

Or, go directly to the pdf of August 4th paper, and scroll to page 2:

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!