February 2010 Archives

March Book Clubs

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To celebrate the Big Read many MPL libraries will be holding book clubs to discuss The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

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Monday, March 8
1:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King

Tuesday, March 9
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10
5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10
6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 16
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 17
6:00 p.m.

Monday, March 22
6:00 p.m.
Villard Avenue

Monday, March 23
6:30 p.m.
Forest Home

Saturday, March 27
1:00 p.m.
Mill Road

Wednesday, March 31
6:30 p.m.
Bay View

Also, the Bay View Library book club will be discussing The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder and the Makings of a Great President by Julie M. Fenster on Wednesday, March 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

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The Freewheelers

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artfairatking.jpg It was King Library manager William Beaudot's visionary interest in 1973 that begat the Freewheelers, a neighborhood arts organization that represented about 30 artists of all ages and mediums---photographers, painters, silver workers, textile artists, and sculptors. Most of the group showed their work at King Library, amateurs rubbing shoulders with professionals. Initially debating the issue of color, the consortium decided to invite any artist who had roots in the community. The Freewheelers didn't have an office; all of the group's business and display scheduling was conducted through Beaudot---which included numerous one-person shows and an annual summer art fair at King Library.

Shows were often critiqued by Milwaukee Journal art critic James Auer, and the Freewheelers included two nationally-recognized artists: Frankie Cole, a photographer, and John W. Clark, a painter who garnered wide acclaim.

freewheelers.jpg Mrs. Venora McKinney (Beaudot's successor at King and MPL's Deputy City Librarian in the 1990's) is pictured second from the left in the front row of this 1980 Freewheeler photo. Do you recognize any of the artists in the photo? Are you in contact with any of the Freewheelers? If you are, we'd love to hear from you!

Both photos are property of the Milwaukee Public Library.

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Happy Birthday, Dear Wilhelm, Happy Birthday to You

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Brothers Grimm.jpgFebruary 24th marks the 224th anniversary of the birth of German academic Wilhelm Grimm, who, along with his brother Jacob, is best known for gathering and publishing folk and fairy tales of his native land. Thanks to these brothers, we have come to know such characters as Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel. Revisiting these classic tales, adults may find themselves surprised by the gory details to be found in their pages. Among the many versions of the tales available at the Milwaukee Public Library are The Annotated Brothers Grimm and Grimms' Grimmest, in case you're interested in the unexpurgated versions.

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Patents 101 @ the Library

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On Monday, February 22, the Central Library is offering the monthly Patents 101 class in the Krikelas Room on the second floor. During the Patents 101 class, a Business Librarian will explain the seven-step strategy for doing a patent search. Learning how to navigate the United States Patent and Trademark Office website is the first step to protecting your idea. The Patents 101 class is held from 1:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. You can contact the Business and Technology desk at (414)286-3051 if you have any further questions.

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Celebrate Dr. Seuss!

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Help MPL celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with stories, music, birthday
treats, games and crafts.

Join us for the kick off event at Central on Saturday, March 6, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m!

dr.seuss2.pngBe sure to check out:

--the Red Fish, Blue Fish pond
--exciting and interesting stories in our story nook
--Yertle the Turtle cookie decorating
--the Seuss-inspired art station with Artists Working in Education.
--our Cat in the Hat face painting artists
--Browser, the library lion, Penworthy Bear, and the Cat in the Hat

Also, you can sing and dance along with musician Ken Baron (30-minute shows at 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00).


Nationally known family entertainer Chris Fascione will bring children's stories to life with his high-spirited and innovative performances (30-minute shows at 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30).

MPL's neighborhood libraries will be hosting Dr. Seuss celebrations throughout the month of March. Come join in the fun!

A Community of Family and Spirit

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You cannot work at King Library for more than one week without hearing lovely stories about that epoch of tenderness at the wee-end of twentieth-century Milwaukee called Bronzeville.


You'll hear recollections from Bronzeville sons and daughters: scat at the Polk-A-Dot; 100-plus black-owned businesses within the geographic boundaries of Bronzeville, and all of the African American entrepeneurs making a good living; Walnut Street as the epicenter of intense friendships and a kinder world. According to community activist and historian Reuben Harpole, nationally-known artists would come to Bronzeville to "get down and boogie" in the thriving nightclub scene. Due to racial segregation in Milwaukee hotels, musicians would often stay in local homes, treated to the renowned Bronzeville hospitality.

Bordered by W. State St. and W. North Avenue from N. 4th to N. 7th , Bronzeville is gone--a casualty of urban renewal and the construction of I-43. There are two terrific books (both have prefaces by Mr. Harpole) on the subject: Bronzeville: A Milwaukee Lifestyle by Ivory Abena Black and Milwaukee's Bronzeville:1900-1950 by Paul Geenen. For other resources, check out our African American links on the MPL webpage.

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Prairie Home Companion Debuts

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garrison keillor 2.jpgOn February 17, 1979, the popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion made its national debut as part of National Public Radio's Folk Festival USA. Host Garrison Keillor brought such memorable storylines as Lake Wobegon; Guy Noir, Private Eye; and Lives of the Cowboys to the American radio-listening public. The show has even inspired a feature film. Keillor has also written a number of books, which are available at the Milwaukee Public Library. Check out titles like A Christmas Blizzard, Life Among the Lutherans, and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance.

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The Origins of February

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Did you know that the name "February" originated from the Roman festival Februa or Februatio, which took place on the fifteenth day of the Roman month? In Latin, the word Februare means purifying with water and is associated with the rainy weather ushering in spring. Therefore, the festival of Februa was dedicated to ritual purification. Februa was a time set aside for spring cleaning. In the spirit of this ancient festival, you can find books at the library to assist with your own spring cleaning and ritual purification. If you would prefer to do something a little less strenuous in honor of this festival, you can read about the customs Rome.

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Sharpen Your Computer Skills Online!

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MPL recently added LearningExpress Library Computer Skills Learning Center to our database collection.

It is perfect for anyone wanting to learn how to use popular computer software for both Mac and PC. Study at a basic, intermediate or advanced level, and create your own login to keep building your capabilities.

The database features interactive video, animations, quizzes and sound, and the tutorials include:

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Access 2003 & 2007
Excel 2003, 2007 & 2008
Word 2003, 2007 & 2008
PowerPoint 2003, 2007 & 2008
Photoshop CS3
Flash CS3
Illustrator CS3
Microsoft Project 2007
Outlook 2003 & 2007
Publisher 2007
SharePoint Designer 2007
Visio 2003 & 2007
WordPerfect X3

Operating system tutorials include: Windows XP; Mac OSX Leopard; and Vista Business.

LearningExpress Library Computer Skills Learning Center is available within the library and from your home computer with your City of Milwaukee library card. To access Computer Skills Learning Center within the LearningExpress Library, select "Computer Skills" from the left sidebar that lists the Learning Center options.

The Honorable Vel Phillips

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Vel Phillips' impact on Milwaukee, on Wisconsin, and on the nation is significant. Ms. Phillips was the first woman and the first African American to be elected to the statewide constitutional office of Secretary of State. She became the first African American woman to graduate from the UW - Madison Law School in 1951 and appointed the first woman judge in Milwaukee and the first African American judge in Wisconsin in 1971.

For all of these historic accomplishments, the feat that is most astonishing to me is the tenacity and courage Ms. Phillips displayed as a Milwaukee alderwoman. She labored for six years for council action to
pass the city's first open-housing
ordinance, which was the seminal civil-rights issue in Milwaukee in the 1960's. Ms. Phillips waged a solitary, embattled struggle for the fair housing ordinance from 1960-1967 (each time being voted down 18-1!). In 1967, the council finally passed Phillips' Milwaukee fair housing ordinance, which became the impetus for the Federal Open Housing Law of 1968.

To read more about this Milwaukee heroine, check out The Selma of the North: the Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee by Patrick D. Jones, or take a look at our African American links on the MPL homepage.

Psst: Savvy east-siders know there's a Vel Phillips flavor of frozen custard. It's a blend of chocolate, vanilla and cheesecake and you can get it on Oakland Avenue.

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Alex Haley and Roots

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Alex Haley Coast Guard.pngOn February 10, 1992, American author Alex Haley died at the age of 70. Haley was best known for Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which, combining fact and fiction, described the history of his family beginning in mid-18th century Africa. Haley's fame grew after an eight-part dramatization of the book appeared on television in 1977. That same year, he received the Spingarn Medal, awarded annually by the NAACP for the highest achievement by an American of African descent. If you're inspired to research your own family tree, the Milwaukee Public Library has many books, as well as websites highlighted under Genealogy at the MPL home page's Recommended Links.

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Big Read - Jack London's Call of the Wild

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MPL is once again participating in The Big Read program. The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. It brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

In 2010 Milwaukee will be reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

Events have been scheduled at all Milwaukee Public Libraries and are being planned by additional community partners. The kickoff for The Big Read will be at the Centennial Hall of the Central Library, February 26th starting at 11:00 a.m. MPL is partnering with the Milwaukee Public Museum for the kickoff.

To learn more about the kickoff and other events related to The Big Read, check out MPL's website.

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Quilting Bee in the Style of Gee's Bend Quilters

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For the month of February, several of the neighborhood libraries are hosting an arts and crafts program inspired by the women of Gee's Bend and their famous quilts. Children will create their own quilt pattern using cut paper and other art supplies while they learn about these famous women and the historical significance of their quilts. This program is for children ages 5-12. Advanced registration is not necessary. Children and their parents may simply come into any of the participating libraries to create works of art based on the beautiful quilts of Gee's Bend.

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WISCareers Database

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WISCareers.jpgLooking for a new job? Wanting to change careers? About to finish school and wondering what to do next?

The WISCareers database is here to help you. It is a fun and easy tool that lets you explore your career development options.

Through WISCareers you can investigate more than 700 occupations and 4,000 schools of interest by taking on-line assessments and inventories. Information on careers includes job requirements, education path, salaries, outlook, and more.

You can also find financial aid, scholarship, and budgeting information, or research potential employers or apprenticeships throughout Wisconsin and the U.S.

This database also features a Resume Maker and a Cover Letter Writer that can help all job seekers.

Access WISCareers by going to MPL's Web site, select Research Resources, then All Library Databases. You can also access WISCareers from home with your City of Milwaukee library card.

Read the true story I'm about to tell you and then visit a historical marker placed upon hallowed ground, just east of Johnsons Park at N. 17th St. and W. Fond du Lac Avenue. The marker refers to a farmhouse owned by the brave Milwaukee abolitionist Rev. Samuel Brown that was used as a safe haven by runaway slaves, the first of whom being Caroline Quarrells, one of my favorite heroines of all time.

As the story goes, Caroline was fifteen or sixteen years old in the summer of 1842, six years before Wisconsin became a state. She sewed and embroidered while waiting on her demanding St. Louis mistress hand and foot. One day in a capricious fit of pique, the mistress decided to cut off all of Caroline's beautiful long hair. As any self-respecting female can imagine, this was adequate motivation to get the heck out of town. Somehow this illiterate plucky teenager saved $100, threw a bundle of her clothes out of the window, and took off for the Mississippi to board a steamboat for Alton, Illinois. From there, abolitionists snuck her on a stagecoach bound for Milwaukee.

Caroline Quarrells, as I imagine her:


Constantly pursued by bounty hunters, Caroline was hidden by the courageous Rev. Brown in Milwaukee and then spirited away to Pewaukee, Waukesha, Spring Prairie, and parts north. In early September of 1842, Caroline crossed safely to freedom in a town established by escaped slaves called Sandwich, Ontario. After her crossing, Caroline began to cry, asking if it was possible that she had been tricked and taken back to Missouri because it appeared to her as if she were on the banks of the Mississippi, opposite St. Louis. Eventually she was convinced that she was indeed safe and free. She settled in and learned how to read, married happily three years later, and was instrumental in building the first black Baptist church in Sandwich.

Want to read more about the plucky Caroline? Check out Black Pioneers: An Untold Story by William Loren Katz or any number of other MPL titles about the Underground Railroad.

Celebrate Black History Month--it's all around you.

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The Day the Music Died

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buddy holly.jpg On February 3, 1959, musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed when their chartered plane crashed a few minutes after takeoff on a flight from Mason City to Moorehead, Minnesota. Peggy Sue, Chantilly Lace, and La Bamba were some of the songs that went down in history that day, along with the ill-fated flight. In 1972, singer Don McClean memorialized the trio in "American Pie." To learn more about this chapter in American music history, check out The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.

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2010 Oscar nominations

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oscar.jpgThe Oscar nominations for 2010 have been released. While there are still 33 days to go before the award winners will be announced, now is a good time to get acquainted with the movies on the list.

Check out CountyCat to see which of the movies on the list are currently available and place a hold to get a copy as soon as possible!

Which movies, actors, actresses, etc. do you think have the best shots of winning their categories?

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Celebrate Black History Month @ the Library!

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February is Black History Month! Did you know that Black History Month is celebrated in February to honor the births Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass? Celebrate Black History Month by following Milwaukee Public Library's chronology of important people, events and resources of African-American history. You can check the chronology daily though February 28. Also, check out the library catalog to find more books and DVDs about the history of African Americans.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

March 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.