Who Celebrated the “First Thanksgiving”?


A Detail of a Photographic Reproduction of J.L.G. Ferris’s Early-20th Century Painting, “First Thanksgiving.”

If you guessed “Plymouth Colonists,” You might be surprised…

In May 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and 1,500 men celebrated at the Palo Dur Canyon — located in the modern-day Texas Panhandle — after their expedition from Mexico City in search of gold. In 1959 the Texas Society Daughters of the American Colonists commemorated the event as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Another “first Thanksgiving” occurred on June 30, 1564, when French Huguenot colonists celebrated in a settlement near Jacksonville, Florida. This “first Thanksgiving,” was later commemorated at the Fort Carolina Memorial on the St. Johns River in eastern Jacksonville.

The harsh winter of 1609-1610 generated a famine that caused the deaths of 430 of the 490 settlers. In the spring of 1610, colonists in Jamestown, Virginia, enjoyed a Thanksgiving service after English supply ships arrived with food. This colonial celebration has also been considered the “first Thanksgiving.”

Learn more about these early Thanksgiving celebrations in the Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541-2001.

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From the Archives: The Fears of White Men

LossofPowerCurrently in the Archives & Special Collections is The Fears of White Men by Tate Foley, 2010.

Letterpress printed on Mohawk Superfine, this art book takes a heavily satirical look at the irrational fears of the white American raWeLostce. Ranging from political to socio economical to racial concerns (plus a few extras), it provides some interesting food for thought.

Drop in to see this or other items from the Archives & Special Collections, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 1:00pm-3:00pm, second floor of the Library.





By Morgan Ford

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Just in the Popular Collection: “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler

YesPleaseYou may know her from her roles as Pawnee’s delusional director of Parks and Recreation Department, or perhaps as former first lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; whatever the case, comedian, actress, and writer Amy Poehler has become one of the most recognizable faces in comedy today.

In her highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, Poehler is her usual hilarious self when sharing intimate stories about her childhood, career, and personal relationships. However, she manages to carefully sprinkle some sage pieces of real-life advice in the pages. Yes Please is both funny and wise, serving ultimately as an inspiration to those who read it.

Don’t miss this title and many others in the Popular Collection!

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6 Must-Reads To Finish In The Last Six Weeks Of The Year

6ReadsPlenty of people read books long after they’re out but just as many want to tackle a new book just as it’s brand-new in the world. Our editors are already thinking about the books that will be published early next year (Edith Pearlman’s story collection Honeydew, comedian Patton Oswalt’s Silver Screen Fiend and Marcus Sedgwick’s young adult novel The Ghosts of Heaven are a few of the early 2015 books they’re most excited about) but before the new year arrives, here are a few books published recently that deserve your time. Six weeks are left in 2014, so here’s six great books to spend time with before a whole new crop of books arrives in 2015.

Read more of the HuffPost article, 6 Must-Reads To Finish In The Last Six Weeks Of The Year

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Coming Soon to the Westport Library – Humanoid Robots


Connecticut’s Westport Library recently acquired two robots, Vincent and Nancy, that will be used to help teach coding and computer-programming skills. Photo: Danny Ghitis

They Can Speak in 19 Languages and Even Do Tai Chi

WESTPORT, Conn.—They have blinking eyes and an unnerving way of looking quizzically in the direction of whoever is speaking. They walk, dance and can talk in 19 different languages. About the height of a toddler, they look like bigger, better-dressed cousins of Buzz Lightyear.

And soon, “Vincent” and “Nancy” will be buzzing around the Westport Library, where officials next week will announce the recent acquisition of the pair of humanoid “NAO Evolution” robots. Their primary purpose: to teach the kind of coding and computer-programming skills required to animate such machines.

While it isn’t unusual for public libraries to offer instruction in programming or robotics, Westport is the first in the nation to do it with sophisticated humanoid bots made by the French robotics firm Aldebaran. In a brief demonstration last week, Alex Giannini, the library’s digital-experience manager, had Vincent kicking a small soccer ball, doing tai chi and taking bows.

Maxine Bleiweis, director of the Westport Library in Connecticut, interacts with Vincent the robot, which will help teach coding and programming. Danny Ghitis for The Wall Street Journal

“Robotics is the next disruptive technology coming into our lives and we felt it was important to make it accessible to people so they could learn about it,” said Maxine Bleiweis, executive director of the Westport Library. “From an economic-development perspective and job- and career-development perspective, it’s so important.”

Under Ms. Bleiweis’s leadership, Westport has made it a priority to provide public access to innovative new technology. For example, Westport was among the first public libraries in Connecticut to acquire a 3-D printer three years ago, and to create a “maker” space, an area where patrons of all ages can try out equipment, dabble in computer coding or work individually, or collaboratively, to create DIY technology.

Westport isn’t the only public library with robots. In May, the Chicago Public Library, in partnership with Google Inc., made 500 “Finch” robots available to patrons at six of its branches. The dot-eyed, half-domed machines, the size of dinner plate on wheels, are also used to teach computer programming and coding.

Aldebaran said it has sold about 6,000 robots world-wide, mostly to museums and schools. At nearly $8,000 a machine, the NAO Evolution models, which were acquired by Westport with private funds, cost considerably more than the Finch machines, which run $99 each.

But the Aldebaran robots are also more complex—equipped with two cameras, four microphones, motion sensors and sonar to detect walls.

Alex Giannini, the manager of digital experience at the Westport Library in Connecticut with robots Vincent, left, and Nancy. Danny Ghitis for The Wall Street Journal

Vincent and Nancy can recognize faces and detect where sound is coming from. They have a “fall manager” that helps them right themselves after a tumble just as a human might, grunts and all. They can even “touch” and “feel” with the help of tactile and pressure sensors.

The robots come equipped with programming software, but embedded within that software are compatible programming languages, such as Python, that can be used to expand the capabilities of the NAO bots. Aldebaran also has a large development community continuously adding new behavior apps that facilitate everything from high-five gestures to a “wake-up” routine including yawning and stretching.

“They look like Sharper Image playthings, but they’re insanely complicated,” said Mr. Giannini.

The library plans to debut the robots Oct. 11 and begin programs and workshops soon after that will introduce participants to the software, said Bill Derry, the library’s assistant director for innovation. After that, he said, he is planning a series of competitive programming challenges requiring contestants to have the robots recite a poem, give a speech and do a dance, among other things. Winners in each category will compete in a final competition at a maker fair in April.

“What we’re counting on is that there is great capacity for growth that will give patrons a chance to play with something resembling artificial intelligence,” said Mr. Derry. “Our goal is to push it as far as we can and shed light on people who are thinking, experimenting and producing to inspire them to go even farther.”

A pair of robots named Nancy, blue, and Vincent, orange, demonstrate tai chi at the Westport Library. Danny Ghitis for The Wall Street Journal

While some have speculated that the Internet would render public libraries irrelevant, librarians say the proliferation of technology and digitized information has had the opposite effect. According to a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans say public libraries provide services they would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

The growing emphasis in schools on science, technology, engineering and math gives library-based robots added relevance.

“3-D printing and robotics are very visceral and really speak to what’s possible in the future,” said Matt Latham, program and maker-space coordinator at the Hoboken, N.J. public library. “It spurs creative wonder about what we can do with technology.”

Mr. Giannini envisions the robots being programmed for “practical stuff” as well, such as helping patrons locate books or greeting elementary-school groups that visit the library.

“I don’t know what the coolest functionality is going to be,” said Mr. Giannini. “Someone coming in off the street is probably going to teach us that.”

From Wall Street Journal online article:  Coming Soon to the Library: Humanoid Robots


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Theatre Department performing Suzan-Lori Parks’ work, “365 Days/365 Plays” in November

365The Theatre Department is performing scenes from Suzan-Lori Parks’ work, 365 Days/365 Plays in November. To learn more about the play and the author, review the library’s web guide.

About the title:

“With 365 – it just rhymed: 365 Days/365 Plays. That was why I thought a play a day would be so fun: the title rhymed. That kind of stuff is like the heartbeat. It’s there and it’s stron but most of us don’t have to think about it much.”

Source: Wetmore, Kevin J.,. Suzan-Lori Parks : A Casebook. London ; New York: Routledge, 2007. p. 129


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Music in the Library – 4 Harpists: Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, 3:30 p.m.

4-HarpistsMusic in the Library: 4 Harpists
Friday, Nov. 21, 2014
3:30-3:50 p.m.
Collins Library Reading Room

Performance by:
Frances Welsh, Lauren Eklund, Rosalie Boyle and Christina Sumprer.

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From the Archives: Always Eating

speidelIt can easily be assumed that food is one of the most important parts of our life here at Puget Sound. We walk into the sub and we are faced with many options. Some days there are a wide verity of satisfying food, other days we revert back to cereal. Yet, whatever is on the menu we continue to eat.

Now, there is not a book that tells us what is good in the SUB for the day. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was one? If you are planning a trip to Seattle head up to the Archives and Special Collections room in the Library. There you will find a book that outlines the best places to eat in Seattle. This book will also tell you what is unique or great about each place. Unfortunately this book was written in 1955 so some of the restaurants are not around, but some places such as Bush Garden, Canlis, The Cloud Room, and El Gaucho are still up and running. If you do not want to take the trouble of going up to the city, you can find a recipe for each restaurant in the book and make their most popular dish at home.

So if the SUB is not curing your ever growing foodie needs, check out You Can’t Eat Mount Rainier by William C. Speidel, jr. in the Archives. It will be sure to expand your eating options.

By Sierra Scott

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Food for Fines, Nov. 17– Dec. 14, 2014

“Food for Fines”

November 17th – December 14th

FoodforFinesThis fall, Collins Memorial Library and Backpacks of Hope are co-sponsoring Food for Fines.
Pay off your library fines with food instead of cash, November 17th – December 14th. Donate to a worthy cause AND clean up your library debt at the same time.

Bring in 1 can of food and we will waive $1.00 of your library fines (for returned items). That’s right! $1 per can! No limit! 

  • One – 6 ounce can or larger = $1.00 of fines. (Unlimited waived
  • Canned food accepted for fines on returned items only, not for replacement fees of lost items.
  • Bring cans to the Circulation Desk on the main floor of the library.
  • Only non-perishable, un-dented, and labeled cans will be accepted.
    o  Additional donations are welcome.
    o Please, no jars/glass containers. Thank you. 
  •  All canned food will be donated to the St. Leo Food Connection.


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Popular Reading: “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932″

ChameleonClubLovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932
By Francine Prose

The scene is 1920’s Paris: a city of spellbinding ambition, love, art, and discovery. Places like the Chameleon Club serve as oases for the various expats, artists, and libertines that traverse the city. Among others who find refuge at the Chameleon Club is Lou Villars, a phenomenal athlete and cross-dressing lesbian. As the years pass, both the characters that inhibited this vagrant dwelling and the world around them transform-for better or worse.

Told from various perspectives, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 pays homage to this vibrant city. Check it out in the Popular Collection, located in the Media Room.

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