Graphic Works of the American 30’s


Today’s library find caught my eye with its bold green-on-white spine title, set in one of those stylish 30’s typefaces that’s impossible not to adore. The curves of the S’s curl beguilingly, and the bars of the H’s wave like the sea a Deco travel poster.

It’s only fitting that my interest in this book should have come, at first blush, from its graphic qualities. The book itself is a collection of prints showcasing everyday life in the 30’s, preceded by a few well-written pages on printmaking. (If you need a brief yet thorough reference on the difference between woodcuts and wood engravings, this is your book.)

The beauty of this book comes not only from its collection of incredibly detailed print work, but in the glimpses it offers into an era familiar yet distant from our own. A time of intense social and political change, poverty, and a restless hope for a better future. Just as many of us today use our work to voice our outrage at the social injustices we see around us, or to memorialize those moments of beautiful stillness and contemplation within that world of unrest, these artists depict the truth of the time they lived in- its violence, and its beauty.





Check it Out!

Mary J. Wilson




With Love


Valentine’s Day may be over, but with spring approaching (as soon as it stops raining, of course!), the season of budding flowers and feverish new love is only beginning. Soon we’ll see the birds courting one another again, and the world burst into bloom.

Inside the covers of this crimson tome, you’ll find photos and handwritten letters between artists and their loved ones. Many could be considered works of art themselves, with illustrations, collages, and calligraphy so lovely it could make a penmanship teacher feel faint (not that those exist anymore).

So if you find yourself feeling dreamy, curl up in a rare patch of sunlight with this book and swoon over the many winsome ways that love can be put into language, such as this piece of a letter from Elliot Orr to his wife Elizabeth:

“The artist loves the storm, but he loves the star lit sky too. To love is to understand a little better.”

Art history geek bonus: on page 53 you can see a lipstick kiss from Frida Kahlo.





Check It Out!

Mary J. Wilson

The Pocket Paper Engineer


Want to make a pop-up book? Who doesn’t? But understanding how to fold and cut your paper to get the right effect can be befuddling, even to a seasoned book artist. Luckily, we’ve got The Pocket Paper Engineer to help us out on that front.

Unlike many picture-based pop-up how-to books, this one has pages that fold out to show you exactly what needs to happen from the front and back of the pop-out in order to make it work. If you’re a tactile learner, this is your pop-up paradise.

Pop-ups make great additions to holiday cards too, so even if you’re not usually the sort to get all in a flutter over folding paper, this could be a fun foray into something new.





Check it Out!

Mary J. Wilson

Zines: Coming to a Library Near You!

Specifically, this one.

If you’re a punk rocker, art school kid, or some other genre-defying cool person, you probably already know what a zine is.

For the rest of you losers (just kidding), here’s the skinny:


Zines are handmade mini-magazines (the term is an abbreviation of fanzine) that feature content curated by their makers. This could be original poetry, a collection of photographs, a comic you wrote about this one weird thing that happened to you, once… anything, really. And that’s the beauty of zines. They can be about whatever one deems zine-worthy, and anyone with basic photocopy machine prowess and a stapler can make them. Truly, zines keep the public in publication.

So in order to support this democratic form of publishing, as well as celebrate and promote the work of our creative community, the library will be hosting an opening reception showcasing zines created by this fall’s Writer’s Craft students.

The reception will be held Thursday, December 15th from 12-1PM, right here in the library.

So come enjoy some light refreshments and see what these cool cats are passionate about. Who knows, maybe you’ll finally meet someone who shares your burning love for Trompe L’ Oeil or your deep-rooted vendetta against Trump L’President. (Although, let’s be honest, the latter ain’t really all that hard to find, around here.)

Check it Out!

Mary J. Wilson

“Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds”

According to a new Stanford study, students are having a difficult time differentiating fact from fiction as they are constantly barraged with media from varying sources, The Wall Street Journal reports here.  Furthermore, the Media Insight Group reveals in their 2015 study that by the age of 18, as many as 88% of their survey respondents regularly get new from Facebook and other social media sources.

So, there is a lot of misinformation out there, as we all know. And being “information literate” or “media literate” requires us to be vigilant in fact checking and vetting our sources.

Luckily, there are some resources you can consult to give you a hand. For example, Melissa Zimdar, Ph.D., an assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College is compiling a list of “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and Satirical “News” Sources” that you can review here (it’s a work in progress). This page also includes some tips for analyzing news sources which is very helpful.

For more reading on this topic, check out this list compiled by a group of librarians: fake-news-bad-news-evaluation-resources of articles about the issue.  And as ever, feel free to talk to your librarian, Elsa, who is always happy to commiserate and help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of the news.

Below is a link to a video put out by a Swedish fact-checking organization called Viral Examiner, or Viralgranskaren about a false news article about the reason for a Christmas light ban. It’s an example of viral outrage in response to misinformation.



Smocking and Fine Sewing



Ever spent an afternoon at your grandmother’s house or some vintage store, looking through all the old linens and wondering how to make all those pretty old stitches that you just don’t see anymore?

Chances are, if you’re a Fibers major, you have. And if you have, then this is the book for you.

Complete with beautiful 19th Century illustrations, Smocking and Fine Sewing isn’t just a how-to guide on technique. Sure, there are step-by-step instructions with helpful pictures showing you exactly where to put the needle in order to create perfect hand-sewn hems, but really it’s the variety of examples that make this book exquisite.

There are smocked purses, jeweled embroidery, and so many variations of hem stitching that you could sew an entire collection of clothing and never use the same hem twice. And don’t even get me started on the examples of embroidered letters. It’s enough to make me wish I had about a hundred hours to spare, to make a set of monogrammed robes fit for a lord and lady.

So, nostalgiaphiles rejoice: the good old days may be gone, but at least you can still stitch yourself some old-time finery while enjoying a bracing cup of tea, put a record on the phonograph, and keep the dream alive.






Check It Out!

Mary J. Wilson

Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy

Three of my favorite words. As an ex-Catholic-schoolgirl, I delight in everything forbidden. Admittedly, I picked this book off of the shelf this morning because the title made me snicker. But this book is so much more than a taboo title to giggle at- it’s an in-depth look into the ongoing battle between artists/writers/musicians/etc and our collective archenemy: those conservative business-types on Capital Hill who think they have the right to censor us “for the greater good.”

So, if you’ve ever wondered why you can’t make, say, or do whatever the bleep you want even though we live in a purportedly free country, this is the book for you.






Check it out!

Mary J Wilson