Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dartmouth Professor Relates Struggles and Triumphs of African American Couple in Pre-Civil War New England

NB: This program has been rescheduled to Sunday, March 9, at 2:00 PM.

Brooks is the site of another incredible lecture on history, and its about a courageous African American couple who lived a few miles south of us in the mid-18th century.

Author Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina will tell the story of Lucy Terry and Abijah Prince, an accomplished African American couple in pre-Civil War New England, in a talk at Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro on February 6. The talk, “Mr. and Mrs. Prince,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and takes place at 7:00 p.m.

Pursuing what would become the cornerstone of the American Dream, Lucy Terry and Abijah Prince stood their ground in the face of bigoted neighbors. Dr. Gerzina will tell their story and explain how their lives contained the paradoxes of slavery in our region.

Dr. Gerzina is Chair of the English Department at Dartmouth College. She hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, The Book Show, and is the author of Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary 18th-Century Family Moved out of Slavery and into Legend. She has appeared frequently as a radio guest in both England and America, as well as in several British television documentaries.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays Brattleboro series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Upcoming Brattleboro talks include “Remembering Angelica: the Life and Times of an 18th Century Artist” with author Angela Rosenthal on March 5; “Witnesses at the Gate,” an exploration of stories of death and loss, with author Marjorie Ryerson on April 2; and “Don Quixote: The Greatest Novel Ever,” with Amherst College Professor Ilan Stavans on May 7.

First Wednesdays is supported in part by the Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries. Brooks Memorial Library is sponsored by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, Entergy-Vermont, Friends of Brooks Memorial Library, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., and Trustees of Brooks Memorial Library.

For more information, contact Brooks Memorial Library at 802.254.5290 or For all library events, see the library’s calendar at

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Library friend, Castle Freeman, Jr., reads from newest novel, Go With Me

Brooks Memorial Library's friend, Castle Freeman, Jr., of Newfane, will read from his highly acclaimed novel, Go With Me, on Sunday, January 27, 2008, at 2:00 PM in the Library’s main reading room. Read Deborah Luskin's review here.

Howard Frank Mosher says, “Go with Me is the most suspenseful, frightening, memorable and best-written novel about backwoods America since Deliverance. It’s the book Castle Freeman was born to write.

The characters seem as real and human as my next door neighbors. I sat down and read Go with Me straight through. Then I went and got a beer, came back and read it again. Now that’s a novel.”

Castle gets rave reviews from other writers such as, Reeve Lindberg, Jeffery Lent, and Craig Nova. Publishers Weekly says, Go With Me has “dialogue rich with humor, philosophic depth and a near-mythic sensibility.” A starred review in Kirkus, the book [is] “a small masterpiece of black comedy and suspense about a trio of backwoods heroes who embark upon a modern-day quest.... If all novels were this good, Americans would read more." —

The program is free an open to the public.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Today at the Dover Free Library

Today I am at the Dover Free Library talking with Windham
County Librarians about blogs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vermont Underground Railroad subject of discussion


On Wednesday January 23, 2008, at 7:00 PM, Brooks Memorial Library will host Norwich University history professor Ray Zirblis who will speak on FRIENDS OF FREEDOM: VERMONT AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. The talk will take place in the library’s meeting room.

The Underground Railroad is a shadowy direct-action movement that helped fugitive slaves to escape to Canada before the Civil War. Fugitives were passed from safe-house to safe-house, often sheltered and transported in secret. Little is known today about the "Underground" in the Green Mountains. Who were the fugitives? What motivated Vermonters to aid them? Why did others riot against the anti-slavery movement? This talk explores fact and folklore through letters and other documents that let participants of this stirring time speak for themselves.

A member of the Center for Research on Vermont, Ray Zirblis received an M.S. in history and historic preservation, at the University of Vermont in 1986. He worked as a field historian for the state in the 1980s, and edited The Green Mountaineer, the Vermont Historical Society's magazine for children 1989-93. He is the author of the 1996 study Friends of Freedom: The Vermont Underground Railroad Survey Report, considered a model for state UR research by the National Park Service. Zirblis has presented widely on the Vermont abolition movement and the lives of Black Vermonters in the colonial and ante-bellum periods. He lives with his wife in Northfield, Vermont.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Advanced Directive--What is it?

On January 16, at 7:00 PM, Brooks Memorial Library will host a discussion on Advanced Directive planning with Dr. Ray Walker of Guilford and Dr. Maggie Newton.

In 2005, as a result of leadership from an Attorney General’s Task Force on End of Life Care, the statutes in Vermont relating to Advance Directives were dramatically expanded and updated to provide Vermonters with a greater voice in care they receive in critical health care situations.

Act 55 has combined elements of Vermont’s previous documents, the so-called “Living Will” or Terminal Care Document and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, into one comprehensive Advance Directive for Health Care. The Advance Directive workshop will examine the reasons why having an Advance Directive is important to assist patients and their loved ones in communicating personal wishes about the type and kinds of health care one wants, particularly near life’s end. New guidelines will help assure that these wishes are honored.For more information about this service, visit the Health Department website:

The booklet Taking Steps: Planning for Critical Health Care Decisions (April, 2006 edition) is available through the Vermont Ethics Network. For ordering information, visit our website, or call (802) 828-2909. Copies will be distributed at the workshop. John Campbell has been the executive director of the Vermont Ethics Network since 1996. For the previous ten years he was the executive director of the Southwestern Vermont Area Agency on Aging, serving Bennington and Rutland Counties. He lives in North Chittenden, VT.

For more information contact John Campbell at (802) 828-2909

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

History of Libraries series leads January events at Brooks

The History of Libraries --click for a printable schedule--lecture series by Dr. Christina Gibbons should attract bibliophiles from the area. To begin on Wednesday at noon in the Library's meeting room, the series will begin with the talk, IMPERIAL AND RESEARCH LIBRARIES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD. According to the series description,

In the five thousand years that humans have been reading and writing, libraries have exemplified the value placed upon literacy. A history of the library collections of mankind helps us understand why and how reading has been important and also raises questions about where literacy is headed in the 21st century. January 9th. Lecture 1: Imperial and Research Libraries of the Ancient World. January 23rd. Lecture 2: Sacred and Secular Libraries of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. February 6th. Lecture 3: Private and Public Libraries of the 18th and 19th Centuries. February 20th. Lecture 4: National and International Libraries of the 18th -21st Centuries Snow Date: March 5th

Christina Gibbons has a Ph.D. from UMass Amherst in English Literature. She has led writing classes and writing groups for many years in the Brattleboro area. Her recent interest in the history of reading, writing, and libraries is an effort to understand the shift from page to screen that has occurred since she was a bookish child circa 1950.