Happy Birthday Rosa Parks!!

February is Black History Month, and while we all take time to recognize and reflect upon our nation’s history, present, and future, we can also make Black History Month come alive thanks to the Library of Congress.  Today (February 4) would have been Rosa Parks’ 102nd birthday, and surely not by coincidence, an exhibit of her letters and photographs opens at the Library of Congress.

Selections from the 10,000 item collection will be available for public viewing on the first floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building from March 2 – 30, and then will be included in the current exhibition The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle For Freedom, which is open through September 12, 2015 on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.  Both exhibits are open Monday – Saturday from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.

Pictures of some of the items are available here from The Guardian (full article here) and just from these few pictures, the breadth of the collection is astonishing: there are images of poll tax receipts, a Presidential Medal of Honor, a pancake recipe, and even a letter complaining about not being allowed in the library.  Rosa Parks’ act of refusing to give up her seat on the bus is well-known throughout our country – it is rightfully regarded as a seminal moment in not only the civil rights movement, but the whole of U.S. history.  To be able to see her thoughts and words in her own handwriting provides a stark perspective of what led her to strike one of the first blows against Jim Crow.  Looking at and reading these documents allows us to appreciate the immense significance and courage of her actions – not just on that day in December 1955, but in the ensuing decades until her passing in 2005.

If you can’t make it up to D.C. to view the exhibit, fear not – the Library of Congress will be posting some of the collection online later this year.  And you can always check out some of the SMCM Library’s materials about Rosa Parks and the larger U.S. civil rights movement.


Get Your Public Library Card Today

September is Library Card Sign-up Month and here in St. Mary’s county we celebrate with a library card sign-up swap. For two weeks in September the college library and the public library have a registration swap. Students, faculty and staff at SMCM can sign up for a library card for the St. Mary’s Public Library on campus at the library circulation desk. St. Mary’s County residents can sign up for a SMCM library card at their local branch library.

What do you get with a public library card? Access to COSMOS the gateway to the libraries of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties print and online materials. That’s a lot of popular reading material, newly released movies and online tools like Mángo Languages. Now you can practice Spanish from your bedroom with a St. Mary’s County Public Library Card.

Library Summer Reading. Read Books. Win Prizes.

Mystery 2013BwebThe Library at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Summer Reading Program will begin on June 3 and end on August 16, 2013.

The Summer Reading program is open to all members of the SMCM Library community including students, staff, faculty, alumni and residents of the Tri-County area (St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties.) Any book is eligible as long as a copy is available in the SMCM library catalog, the local public library (COSMOS) catalog, or the USMAI catalog. The books don’t need to be checked out from the library. To get points, you must post a review on the blog.

New this year is the preview round. Staring on May 28 you can rate or review the books the St. Mary’s Staff Book Club read this Spring. The more books you review the more chances you have to win.

For more information, visit the Summer Reading Program Blog.

Ender’s Game

endersgame3The staff book club has selected Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card for May. This Nebula and Hugo Award winning novel is the first in Card’s Ender’s Game series and is considered by many to be a classic in the science fiction genre.


Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battleschool. Among elite recruits, Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses.”

Looking for more than a blurb? Check out the SparkNotes.

At this time you are more likely to find reviews of the film trailer as it is about to become a major motion picture. There is a lot of enthusiasm from fans eagerly anticipating the film’s opening in November as well as concerns about bad press related to Orson Scott Card’s politics.

The book club will meet on May 30 at 12pm in the Library Boardroom. You can also participate online by rating or reviewing the book, attendance is not required.

Want to check it out? The library has copies of the book on the library’s Kindles and in print. You can also borrow it from the St. Mary’s County Library.

— Pamela Mann

The Likeness

The-LikenessThe staff book club has selected Tana French’s The Likeness for April. In The Likeness Detective Cassie Maddox goes undercover as a graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin. Her cover, a murder victim who looks just like her. Even her new housemates think she’s the victim. The novel is more psychological thriller than police procedural. It’s the relationships and tensions between the characters that drive the book. Kate Ward of EW is impressed with “the author’s ability to convey the distinct eccentricities of Lexie’s literature-loving roommates, particularly Rafe, a messy, musically inclined, heavy-drinking rageaholic calmed only by a good joke.” NPR likes French’s “snappy dialogue and crisp prose.”

Although The Likeness is the second in French’s murder squad mystery series, don’t worry if you haven’t read the first, In the Woods. Despite what the New York Times says, each title in the series works as a stand-alone. The Likeness was the first one I read and I was blissfully unaware it was a sequel. Each book in the series focuses on a different member of the squad so you don’t need to read them in order.

The book club will meet on April 25 at 12pm in the Library Boardroom. You can also participate online by rating or reviewing the book, attendance is not required.

Want to check it out? The library has copies of the book on the library’s Kindles and a print copy is on order. You can also borrow it from the St. Mary’s County Library.

–Pamela Mann

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe staff book club has selected John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars for its March book. This YA (young adult) title about teens with cancer has adults crying across the country. According to Time Magazine, The Boston Globe, and the Atlantic Wire, who rated it Most Worthy of Our Tears, it is one of the Best Books of 2012. St. Mary’s alum, Jordan Gaines, highly recommended it last year for readers “looking for a quick, unique, and moving read,” in her review on the library’s summer reading blog.

The book club will meet on Thursday, March 28 at 12pm in the Library Boardroom. You can also participate online by rating or reviewing the book, attendance is not required.

Want to check it out? The library has copies of the book in print and on the Kindle.

-Pamela Mann

St. Mary’s Staff Book Club

Staff Book Club SP 2013 lrgWelcome to the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Staff Book Club. Organized by the staff and open to everyone on campus. The book club meets in person on the last Thursday of the month at 12:00pm in the Library Boardroom. You can also participate online by rating or reviewing a book, attendance is not required.


The Dog Stars

On February 28 the book club will discuss Peter Heller’s, The Dog Stars described by The San Francisco Chronicle as a “ravishing doomsday novel.”  This post-apocalyptic novel centers around Hig, one of the few survivors of a superflu that wiped out most of the United States. According to The Boston Globe, “Peter Heller serves up an insightful account of physical, mental, and spiritual survival unfolded in dramatic and often lyrical prose, a difficult tale in which unexpected hope persistently flickers amid darkness.”

I hope you will read with us, if not in person – online.

— Pamela Mann