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Man Exploring Space

October 23rd, 2014 · Books

I grew up during the early years of manned space exploration, an exciting concept that I regularly followed.  My hometown was also the hometown of an astronaut who flew in the Gemini and Apollo programs.  I went to both of his homecoming parades, the Gemini 12 flight and his Apollo 11 flight.  There was a major difference in the parade size for Buzz Aldrin’s homecoming parades, from a couple of vehicles and few people watching to several vehicles and floats in a long parade with lots of people watching.

New Hampshire also had an important stake in exploring with Alan Shepard (1923 – 1998) being the first American in space.  He flew in 1961 aboard the first manned flight in the Mercury program and later on played some golf on the surface of the moon.  After the single seater Mercury program came the two seater Gemini program which included the first American to walk in space and two spacecraft maneuvering around each other.  The Apollo program followed Gemini, and landed men on the moon.

It was a major competition between the Soviet Union and the United States in the late 1950s and the 1960s, to stake their technological hold on space. The Soviets had a lot of firsts in the early stages of the Space Race, with first satellite (1957 – Sputnik), first man in space, first man to walk in space and first woman in space. However, the United States prevailed by landing men on the moon.

After the race to get to the moon, there were several other programs to learn about living in space.  These included Skylab (American) and Mir (Soviet), which lead to the International Space Station (ISS) which is still occupied today by interchanging astronauts from several nations.  The Space Shuttle was a major factor in building and supplying the International Space Station, and used as an orbiting platform for many space experiments.  Tragically there were two major disasters in this program, which included the lost of New Hampshire’s Christa McAuliffe in 1986.

There are so many stories available about mankind exploring space.  Some of the stories can be found in the 629.4*** section of the Main Floor Non-fiction section, including:

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

A Ball, a Dog and a Monkey: 1957 the Space Race Begins by Michael D’Antonio

Homesteading Space: the Skylab Story by David Hill

Wheels Stop: the Tragedies and Triumphs of the Space Shuttle Program, 1986 – 2011 by Rich Houston

Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon by Alan Shepard

 

 

 

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The Invention of Wings

October 20th, 2014 · Book Group, Books, City Library, Events, Main Branch, News

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This month the Brown Bag Book Club will be reading “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.  This is a very popular book club novel and is on the Oprah Book Club list.  Oprah calls Sue Monk Kidd’s novel a conversation changer.

Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimks, aged 10, is an urban slave in early 19th century Charleston.  The Grimke’s daughter Sarah, is given Handful to be her handmaiden on her 11th birthday.  The book follows their remarkable journey over the next 35 years.  This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved. Plan to join us on October 28th at 12:15 to discuss this wonderful novel and don’t forget to bring your lunch!

For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Information Desk at 624-6550 ext. 320.  See you at the book discussion!

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Sun Salutation and Downward Dog

October 17th, 2014 · Books, City Library, Main Branch, West Branch

downwarddogLike all, once “cutting-edge” and exotic things, yoga has now become as commonplace as an iPhone.  Growing up in the late ‘60s, my first experience with yoga involved my hippie brother’s even hippier girlfriend.  Having stayed overnight at their house we punctuated the following day with a Sun Salutation sequence.  And to a flexible 17 year old, all that bending and stretching with no apparent purpose seemed bizarre. Why did we have to salute the sun anyway?

A couple of decades later and suddenly yoga classes started cropping up here and there. The media touted the health benefits of the practice, especially since studies had proven that yoga was a drug-free way to lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, reduce stress, increase  bone and muscle strength, improve balance etc.  So, what with all the good publicity, I gave it another try…  and I liked it.  I conquered the Downward Dog posture and I even slept better, thanks to the yoga nidra meditation at the end of each session.

Time marches on and I will admit that with age some of the postures become trickier as joints become creakier—Where I once could spring lightly to a standing position after a squat I now need to push myself upright with both hands.  And my crossed legs can not now, nor will they ever, settle down flat into a seated lotus pose.  Aiyyeee!

Ultimately, the time and effort of a yoga practice is worth it.  Apart from discipline, yoga teaches you how to breathe, how to slow down, and how to have compassion for yourself and the less than perfect body that your spirit inhabits.

Yes, you can find a class to take around town.  But if you prefer to ease into that Sun Salutation in the privacy of your own living room, check out our instructional DVD’s or books. Namaste.

Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion (book)

Yoga For the Rest of Us Step-by-Step Workout (DVD)

Yoga for Stress Relief (book)

Beginner’s Guide to Yoga (book)

Yoga Wisdom at Work-Finding Sanity off the Mat and on the Job (eBook)

 

Mary Orzechowski

special thanks & attribution to Afseen Family on Flickr for super cute photo usage

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Do You Know These Facts About The Carpenter Memorial Library Building?

October 14th, 2014 · 100th Anniversary, Children, City Library, Events, Local History, Main Branch, News, Newsletter, NH Room, Teens, Trustees

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• The current home of the Manchester City Library was built by Frank P. Carpenter in memory of his wife Elenora Blood Carpenter

• The Carpenter Memorial Library took two years to complete, from 1912 to 1914.

• Edward L. Tilton and Edgar Allan Poe Newcomb were the architects selected to build the Carpenter Memorial Library.

• Mr. Carpenter spared no expense in the building of the library. The original cost to build it was approximately $355,000 in 1914 which equates to having spent $8.5 million in today’s dollars.

• The building is constructed of steel beams, granite, marble, brick, and concrete.

• All the woodwork is oak. The original oak tables are still being used by the public in some areas of the building today.

• The library had a central ventilation system at the time it opened.

• The library also had a central vacuuming system.

• The floors in our entrance way and the lower level hallway are made of marble.

• The staircases are steel construction with marble stairs. The front staircase’s balustrade was handmade.

• The walls are all plaster including all the trim work and details in the Rotunda and over the front stairs.

• Mr. Carpenter was a Library Trustee from 1892 to 1937.

• In 1937 Mr. Carpenter installed the bronze railing in the middle of the front steps.

• Mary Carpenter Manning (daughter of Frank and Elenora) was a Library Trustee from 1927 to 1965.

• The two Copper Beech trees were planted in May 1938 and survived the hurricane that fall.

• Aretas Blood Carpenter (son of Frank and Elenora) was a Library Trustee from 1940 to 1965.

• The original elevator worked until 1991 when it was “retired” for a more modern one off the back of the building.

• You can see the thickness of the library’s walls when you walk to the new elevator as they had to cut through the exterior wall to add on the annex.

• There are 173 seats in the library’s auditorium which was originally called the Lecture Hall.

• The children’s room was originally on the south side of the main floor and was one of the first of its kind in a public library.

• The library housed space for the Manchester Historic Association when it first opened in 1914.

• There are three chandeliers hanging in the library front foyer.

• Twelve oversized windows face Pine Street on the main floor.

• In 1986 the children’s room was relocated to the lower level.

• In 1991 the Manchester Garden Club raised funds to beautify the grounds as you see them today.

• The main floor bathroom was converted from a closet and was refinished in 2013 to be more historically in keeping with the rest of the library.

• The current air conditioning system was added in 2005-06.

• The Carpenter Memorial Building was honored with a preservation award from New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for renovations in 2007.

• The Library was featured in the 2007 New Hampshire Living Legacy calendar.

• The Library was also honored with a Manchester Historic Association award in 2007.

• The main part of the roof is flat and has three skylights. The roofline is covered with terracotta tile.

• The desk in the Rotunda is original to the building!

• The library was designed to holds 250,000 volumes of books! Today it holds just under that amount and the collection includes volumes of books, magazines, DVDS, audio books, microfilm, framed prints and many, many computers!

Every day when we come to work we are so grateful to work in such a beautiful and historic building.  We hope that you feel the same way too, and that you will join us as we continue to celebrate our Centennial this November!

 

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Columbus Day!

October 11th, 2014 · Children, City Library, Events, Main Branch, News, NH Room, Trustees

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The library will be closed on Monday, October 13th in observance of Columbus Day.  We will reopen on Tuesday morning at 9:30 and we look forward to serving you then.  We wish you all a safe and happy holiday weekend.

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Secret History

October 7th, 2014 · Book Group, Books, City Library, Events, News

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Our Thursday evening book discussion group will be reading “Secret History” by Donna Tartt.  In this suspense thriller six brilliant college students are involved in two murders, one supposedly accidental and one deliberate, which leads to the disintegration of the group.  Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another…a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life…and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning…  Join us on Thursday, October 9th at 7:00 PM for a lively discussion of this fun novel.  For more information please contact Sarah at 624-6560.

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Afternoon at the Movies: Spider-Man

October 5th, 2014 · City Library, Events, Main Branch, Movies

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Our afternoon at the movies series continues with a showing of Spider-Man on Wednesday, October 8th at 1:00 PM in the library auditorium. Bring your spidey sense and a friend and join us as we screen this classic super hero movie.

Orphaned at an early age, Peter Parker lives in Queens, New York with his beloved Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Peter leads the life of a normal student, working as a photographer at the school paper, pining after the beautiful Mary Jane Watson and hanging out with buddy Harry Osborn. On a school trip, during which Peter and his classmates are given a science demonstration on arachnids, Peter is bitten by a genetically-altered spider. Soon after, he discovers that he has unusual powers: he is endowed with the strength and agility of a spider along with a keen, ESP-like ‘spider-sense.

For more information please contact Ruth Watts at 624-6550 ext. 307. 121 minutes

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Tea—Part 2

October 2nd, 2014 · 100th Anniversary, Books, Main Branch, West Branch

Fortune02By 1800, tea had become the most popular drink in England.  Almost all the tea in the world came from China and the British were unable to control the quality or the price.  Around 1850, a group of British businessmen set out to create a tea industry in India.

This task required a botanist.  Enter Robert Fortune, young, Scottish by birth, botanist.  What he   became in doing this task, was a botanist, a plant hunter, a thief and a spy.  In 1845, Robert Fortune, when he was thirty, took a two year trip to China in search of new plants.  When he returned to England, to help pay for his trip, he published a travelogue of his adventures.  He had been attacked by pirates and bandits.  He had encountered disease and severe storms.   Once dressed in disguise as a wealthy Chinese merchant, he was allowed to see the tea gardens.

Robert Fortune’s travelogue changed his life.   He was approached by a representative of the East India Trading Company.  This representative asks Robert Fortune to return to China, to smuggle tea plants out of China and into India

Robert Fortune agreed to the undertaking.  To jump start production in the East India Trading Company’s tea gardens he brought back living plants.  He returned with 2,000 plants, 17,000 seeds, plus specialized techniques of Chinese tea growing and manufacturing.  He somehow persuaded Chinese tea workers to leave their homes and accompany him to India.  This entire undertaking took two years.

After this undertaking Robert Fortune was employed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and in his later years at the Horticultural Society of London.  Robert Fortune died in 1880.  Little is known of his final years because his wife Jane Fortune burned his papers and letters, shortly before she died.

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Holiday ornament to feature the library

September 28th, 2014 · 100th Anniversary, Children, City Library, Events, Local History, Main Branch, News, NH Room, Teens, Trustees

2014 OrnamentEach year the Manchester Historic Association produces an original, limited edition brass-plated ornament that celebrates Manchester’s history. These unique, detailed ornaments are handcrafted in the United States by the same company that makes the annual White House holiday ornament. The 2014 ornament will feature the Carpenter Memorial Library in honor of the building’s centennial celebration, and will be available for purchase at the library beginning in October! Stop by and pick one up while supplies last.

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Tell us what you want!

September 24th, 2014 · Books, Children, City Library, E-Books, Foundation, Local History, Main Branch, News, NH Room, Teens, Trustees, West Branch

New Picture

Here at the library, we read through hundreds of reviews to choose books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other items to purchase. Given the vast amount of titles published every month, it’s a tough job to select only a portion and also have enough variety for different reading and watching preferences.

But I’m curious…as a library user, what do you do when you can’t find a title in our catalog? Do you purchase it? Forget about it? Or put in a request, which we will either purchase or get from another library? This last option is probably the one that benefits us the most because it helps determine what you, our users, would like to see in your library.

So let us know what you think we’re missing, whether it’s a particular title, author, new format, or anything else.

Email Sarah St. Martin at  ssmartin@manchesternh.gov

I’ll look forward to your suggestions!

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