Manchester City Library

Manchester, NH's Online Library

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What is Going On at the Library?

August 13th, 2014 · 100th Anniversary, Book Sale, Books, City Library, Events, Main Branch, News, Newsletter, NH Room, Teens, Trustees, West Branch

Lots of stuff is going on at the library these days, however there are ways of keeping track of what is happening today and in the future, at both the Main Library and it branch on the West Side. Want to know when the next book sale is happening, what movie(s) are playing in the Auditorium next week, what children’s crafts will be available, whether basic computer classes are available, what events are taking place in connection with the building’s 100th  birthday and so much more.

The Manchester City Library Notes is sent out four times a year, by e-mail.  The next issue is coming out around September 1st and will cover events taking place in September, October and November 2014. By subscribing to the newsletter, you will get the newest issue, hot off the press with tons of events going on at your library. To subscribe go to:

Back issues are available; just follow these steps to read them:

-         go to the homepage

-         look for “Site Navigation” section (left side of home page)

-         click on “About Us”

-         click on “Newsletter”

-         choose which newsletter you want to review

Want to know what is happening at the Main Library or the West Side Branch on a specific day, or sign up for a specific program that requires registration to participate? Our website has monthly calendars available to let you see what events are happening.

To view the calendar or register for an event:

-         go to the homepage

-         click on  “Upcoming Events” (right side of homepage)

-         look for a hand with a pen by the event you want to register for

-         click on the link and enter your name, phone number and e-mail address (optional)

If you have questions, please call us at 624-6550 at the Main Library or 624-6560 at the West Side Branch.

We are looking for ideas on what type of programs that you are interested in seeing.  You can send your suggestions to us at .

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Starry Night, Anyone?

August 10th, 2014 · Children, City Library, Grades 6-12, Main Branch, News, Teens, Trustees, West Branch


Are your walls looking a little drab lately? Wouldn’t a framed copy of Van Gogh’s swirling “Starry Night” liven up your living room? Or maybe the photograph “Big Ears, Baby Elephant” would fit perfectly on your kid’s bedroom wall. Those are just a couple of the latest additions to our popular Framed Print collection. You can browse through the prints in the hallway on the second floor, and with your library card you can check out 2 prints for 2 months at the Circulation Desks on the Main floor or in the Children’s Room. The print collection includes Still Lifes, Portraits, Landscapes, photos, and posters. Think of the artistic & conversational possibilities!


Mary Orzechowski


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A Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend Turns 60

August 7th, 2014 · Books, City Library, Main Branch, Teens, Trustees, West Branch

John Mayer plays one. So do Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. Mike Myers’ character pined for one in the movie Wayne’s World. This writer has owned, broken and rebuilt several.

It’s a Fender Stratocaster, or Strat, and this year the iconic electric guitar turns 60.

Since its release in 1954, Strats have been seen in the hands of some of the most influential guitarists and musicians of the last half century: Buddy Holly, Buddy Guy, the Beach Boys, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robert Cray, to name just a few.

The Strat has also been present at some of rock ‘n’ roll’s most pivotal moments. Bob Dylan boldly took the stage with a Strat at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, and was subsequently booed off the stage. Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. At Woodstock two years later, he used a Strat to play “The Star Spangled Banner.”

But where did the Strat come from? Who made it? Why does it look the way it does? Why is it called a Stratocaster? And why is it so popular? The story begins in Southern California, back in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Stratocaster is the invention of Clarence “Leo” Fender, a self-taught electronics enthusiast and radio repairman from Anaheim, CA. Fender made a name for himself building public address systems and amplification for big band leaders and guitarists, who were using hollow-bodied, arch-top guitars. After World War II, Fender teamed up with musician Clayton Orr “Doc” Kauffman and began building Hawaiian, or lap steel guitars. As musical tastes changed, with big band giving way to other genres like rhythm & blues, western swing and later rock and roll, so too did the demands on musicians and their instruments. Guitars needed to be louder, more affordable, roadworthy instruments that wouldn’t feed back at high volumes because of their hollow bodies. They also needed to survive the abuses of dance halls and roadhouses.

While several companies had produced solid-body electric guitars in the 1930s, Fender was the first to successfully mass-produce and sell such an invention. His first design, eventually named the Telecaster, debuted in 1950 and was popular with western swing musicians. Based on feedback from musicians like Bill Carson, Fender went back to work with steel guitarist and designer Freddie Tavares and associate George Fullerton to address some of the Telecaster’s problems, and produce an even better guitar.

The result was the Fender Stratocaster, which debuted in the spring of 1954. It looked like something right out of both the space age and the golden age of hot rods and custom cars, and indeed it was. Yet, its flashy innovations: horns that looked like car fins, a contoured body that fit like a shirt, a complicated vibrato system and bridge, and multiple tone and volume controls, all served a purpose: a better guitar that was more comfortable and easy to play, and met the needs of contemporary musicians. Sixty years later, with only a few minor adjustments, Stratocasters, and even Telecasters, are still doing that today.

To learn more, follow the links above to books, music CDs and DVDs available at your local library. You can also visit

Question: Fender named his first guitar the Telecaster in 1950, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the new medium of television. What was going on back in 1954 that might have led him to name his second guitar the Stratocaster?

–Steve Viggiano

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Ice Cream Celebration

August 4th, 2014 · Ages 0-2, Ages 2-3, Ages 4-5, Children, City Library, Grades 3-5, Grades K-2, Main Branch

Picture1It’s creamy, cool, and delicious, so why not celebrate with ice cream during this hot time in the city. This yummy treat will set the stage for sensational stories, fantastic fun, games, and of course, ice cream! This program will be a scream! Come on in on August 18th at 10:00 AM to celebrate summer and yummy ice cream. Children ages 2 to 5 are invited and registration is required. For more information or to register please call the children’s room at 624-6550 Ext. 328.

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The Summer Triangle

August 2nd, 2014 · Ages 0-2, Ages 2-3, Ages 4-5, Ages 6-13, Children, City Library, Events, Grades 3-5, Grades K-2, Main Branch


When I was growing up, especially in my teenage years, I spent a lot of time stargazing. I imagine that if I had been better at math then I might have tried to become an astronaut or a professional astronomer.  On many a hot summer evening I would head out to the back field armed with bug spray, a blanket, my star charts, binoculars and a special flashlight with a red light bulb affixed to it for easier chart reading.  Granted, I did brashly foray outside to star gaze in the winter time as well, but summer nights are very pleasant for star gazing. The heat of the day has waned, and you can comfortably stay outdoors for as long as you wish.  Add some fireflies to the canopy of jeweled stars and under this spell you will fall into the filmy gauze of Milky Way Galaxy, and you are off, lost in the beauty of the night.  So set up your star gazing spot, apply some mosquito repellant, and look to the east.  By late evening, the Summer Triangle has risen well above the horizon and dominates the Eastern sky with it’s brilliantly bright stars. The Summer Triangle is comprised of three very bright stars: Vega, Altair, and Deneb. They are the 5th, 12th, and 20th brightest stars in the night sky and this is one of the easiest constellations to locate. Perfect for beginners and experienced stargazers alike!

A neat bonus in late July and early August is the legendary Perseid meteor shower.  The Perseid meteors will appear to “rain” into the atmosphere from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast in mid-summer. The Perseids are the oldest and brightest of the meteor showers that fall on and past the earth as she makes her orbital dance around the sun.  We know this because early Chinese writings dating as far back as 36 AD note the beauty of the Perseids. The shower is visible from mid-July and August of each year, with the peak in activity between the 9th and 14th of August, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors can reach 60 or more per hour and they can be seen shooting across the night sky.

Whether your goal is to view some meteors or locate the summer constellations, you can be sure that there are plenty of books available for your stargazing needs here at the Manchester City Library, AND we also have a telescope that you can borrow, too!

So when you venture out in the evenings this summer, look up at the night sky and enjoy the summer stars.



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The Majestic Theatre Presents the Frog Prince

July 31st, 2014 · Ages 0-2, Ages 2-3, Ages 4-5, Ages 6-13, Children, City Library, Grades 3-5, Grades K-2, Main Branch

frogprince.jpgAdapted from the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, The Frog Prince combines song, dance and comedy with the story of a young prince who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. Add to the cast of characters a young princess whom no one can understand because she, too, lives under a witch’s spell, three singing frogs, a pet snake who has a taste for frogs, a solemn king and a silly court jester. Songs range from the haunting ballad, ‘How I Became A Frog,’ to the rousing finale, ‘Happy Ending.’ With a basic set and colorful costumes, The Frog Prince is enjoyable for everyone.  For more information contact the Children’s Room at 624-6550 ext. 328

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Happy 49th Birthday, Medicare!

July 27th, 2014 · Books, Children, City Library, Main Branch, West Branch

July 30th, 2014 marks the 49th anniversary of the signing into law of the Social Security Act.  The law contains what is known today as Medicare, the law that guarantees healthcare to all Americans 65 and older.


President Lyndon Johnson signs the bill into law with Harry S. Truman seated next to him. President Truman’s participation in the signing recognized his effort while in office to establish a national health insurance program. Others present were Lady Bird Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Bess Truman.   July 30, 1965. Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives

President Truman and former first lady, Bess Truman, received Medicare registration cards numbers one and two.  This is the Medicare card believed to have been given to Harry Truman by President Johnson at the signing of the Social Security Act of 1965 in Independence, Missouri.  Photo courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, U.S. National Archives.


Today, Medicare provides healthcare to 50 million Americans.  Check out for more information on this excellent program.  Happy Birthday Medicare!


Amy H.

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Portsmouth then and now

July 23rd, 2014 · Books, City Library, Local History, Main Branch, Teens, West Branch

“What else can I get you my darling girl? How about another piece of cake?” I can still hear my grandmother’s attentive voice. Every summer my younger brother and I would spend two precious weeks at my grandmother’s house in Portsmouth. It was an utter treat to be waited on–a far cry from home where we whined about having to set the table and wipe the dishes every night. To entertain us my grandmother planned little excursions…sometimes we’d take the boat to Star Island for a picnic, or we would walk to the Old North Cemetery, passing through the train yard where my grandfather once worked as a B & M baggage handler. Other times we would tour old houses like the John Paul Jones house or the Rundlet-May house. Or we would walk the narrow streets down to the water to see the tugboats. A walk around Portsmouth then revealed a city in all its un-gentrified glory. The old port area had a shabby quality about it that made it a candidate for federal urban renewal projects. And in a zealous desire to build parking lots and new office buildings many dilapidated but historic buildings were torn down. Fortunately some of the long-neglected houses were moved across town and restored and are now part of the Strawbery Banke museum. You can borrow one of the library’s museum passes to see some of the city’s early architectural history. Or if you want to learn about some of the city’s more colorful characters, download an eBook copy of Portsmouth Women to your device.

Portsmouth nowadays, like any respectable tourist destination, is filled with high end restaurants, bakeries and specialty shops. Charming still, but I sometimes wish I could go back in time, step into Woolworth’s on Congress Street and order a coke at the lunch counter with my grandmother sitting by my side.

Mary Orzechowski

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“Milestones of Flight”

July 19th, 2014 · Children, City Library, Main Branch, Museum Passes, West Branch

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Forty-five years ago this summer, over 500 million people around the world heard Neil Armstrong utter those immortal words and watched as he became the first person to walk on the moon.  When he, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin returned to earth on July 24, 1969, they had fulfilled President Kennedy’s goal stated eight years later to Congress: “before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

Everyone watched as they planted an American flag in the lunar surface, but the U.S. is not the only country represented on the moon.  Among other items the astronauts left was a recording of messages from the leaders of 73 countries around the world as well as commemorative medallions bearing the names Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who was the first person to orbit the earth, in 1961; Vladimir Komarov, the first cosmonaut to fly into space more than once, and who died when his capsule crash landed in April 1967; and Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, the three Apollo 1 astronauts killed when their Command Module caught fire during a trial launch on January 27, 1967.

And in a nod to the history of flight, among the personal mementos that Neil Armstrong carried with him was a piece of propeller from the airplane flown in 1903 by Orville and Wilbur Wright.  That same piece of wood is on display at the Wright Brothers National Museum in Kitty Hawk, NC, while the Apollo 11 Command Module flown in by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins is in the “Milestones of Flight” exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

For more information on the history of flight and New Hampshire astronaut Alan Shepard, take a visit to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord.  And don’t forget that the library has a museum pass for there that you can borrow!

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It’s time for Family Fare!

July 13th, 2014 · Ages 0-2, Ages 2-3, Ages 4-5, Ages 6-13, Children, City Library, Events, Family Fare, Grades 3-5, Grades K-2, Main Branch

Our Family Fare series has been sponsored by the community and the Library Trustees for the past 18 years. This series is for families to come and enjoy entertainment for several weeks during the summer. This year’s programs are sure to please all ages. All programs will be held on the Library South Lawn, and in the event of rain will be held in the Library’s Auditorium.

Dan Grady and His Marvelous Marionettes July 17th at 6 PM
Wildlife Encounters – Global Encounters July 24th at 6 PM
Steve Blunt – July 31st at 6:00 PM
Critters ‘N Creatures – August 7th at 6:00PM

We hope that you will plan to join us at our annual Family Fare Series this summer.

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