Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snapshot Day 2011

Did you visit a Hamden Library on April 13th? If you did, you were among 1,143 people who were counted during library’s second annual “Snapshot Day”. On that day 1,463 items were checked out, 15 new cards issued and 154 reference questions answered. 131 people used the library’s free computers, 335 people accessed the library’s website and 112 people attended programs.

Download the special Snapshot Day Edition of our Library Newsletter!
On Snapshot Day library users were also asked to respond to a survey to record the purpose of their visit for the day. From those surveys it was determined that 78% of visitors came to the library to check out materials, 29% to use computers, 27% for quiet study, 19% for research, and 10% to attend a program. Users also provided a variety of comments about the library. John M. said “I couldn’t survive without the library.” Cheri B. said, “The library helped me decide where to buy my home.” Meagan J. said, “It’s a place of peace to read,” while Chelsea N. said, “It’s a place where you can engage with people from all walks of life who live in our community.”

For further information about Snapshot Day results statewide and to see photos taken in many libraries, including Hamden, go to For further information about Snapshot day in Hamden, call 287-2680.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things to do during National Poetry Month: Poem In Your Pocket Day

Today is national Poem In Your Pocket Day! According to the Poem In Your Pocket Day page on, "The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends."

If you're still looking for a poem for your pocket, may I first suggest our librarian Phil's poetry display on the main floor, or our new books section? If you don't find something there, you can look in the children's section or up on our third floor.

For those of you who won't be in today, there's also the poetry and poets search on Poets. org, as well as the Poetry Foundation's archive.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Poets in Hamden Libraries: Amber Tamblyn

No, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and House actress Amber Tamblyn is not scheduling a trip to Miller Memorial Library, but she is a published poet. You can find one of her collections, Free Stallion in the Young Adult area of Miller Library.

From her blog bio:
Amber Tamblyn was born and raised in Venice, California and is a 3rd generation Californian. She has been a writer and actress since the age of 9. She has been nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award for her work in television and film. In 2007 she won the Berlin Film Festival award for Best Actress for “Stephanie Daley”, in which starred opposite actress Tilda Swinton... Amber is most recognized for her work as Joan on the CBS television program “Joan of Arcadia”.

Tamblyn is also one of many writers for Blog: Harriet, a feature on The Poetry Foundation's website. The Poetry Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) foundation and the publisher of the oldest monthly publication dedicated to poetry.

The above photo was taken by T. Carrigan onMay 16, 2010, and found here, through Flickr. It is protected by a Creative Commons copyright license.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Civil War

April 12 marks the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War:

"The War started on April 12, 1861, when Confederate Troops fired on Fort Sumter, a U.S. military post in Charleston, South Carolina. It ended four years later. On April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattax Court house, a small Virginia settlement." (quotation from World Book Encyclopedia)

Events in CT

Library materials on the Civil War divided by specific subject headings

DVDs on the Civil War in our library

Talking books on the Civil War in our library

Music CDs on the Civil War in our library

VHS cassettes on the Civil War in our library

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, iCONN has prepared a web page with links to rich resources.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Performance Poetry: Slam

Poetry slam is conventionally defined as the art of competitive performance poetry. Invented in the 1980s by a Chicago construction worker named Marc Smith, slam is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Performers use all the tricks of storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up comedy, and cold hard poetry to wheedle points out of the judges from 0.0 (terrible) to 10.0 (perfect!).

(from the "What is poetry slam?" page of this year's National Poetry Slam website)

If you've seen the HBO series "Def Poetry Jam" or the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, you know what slam poetry sounds like, but have you ever seen it performed? Did you know that Connecticut has its own Youth Slam Poetry team? The team competes in national youth poetry slams, including the first one in Hartford, CT, in 1998. You can learn more about them at Upwords, "a resource for young poets".

Below is a recording of Connecticut Youth Slam alumnae Alexandra Hart and Emily Oliver performing their collaborative poem during the Providence Slam in 2006.

(Please note that the poets slam about eating disorders and self-harm. If these issues trigger you, watch at your own discretion.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Things to do during National Poetry Month: Memorize a poem

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.
What is the rest of that poem? Have you read the remaining four quatrains? Do you remember them?

I don't, but I think I might like to learn how to remember them. has a site with tips for memorizing any poem, not just one by Emily Dickinson, or one that rhymes. Just make sure it's a favorite! That tends to help.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

National Poetry Writing Month

Unlike National Poetry Month, National Poetry Writing Month ("NaPoWriMo") is not a celebration officially recognized by any state or US governmental office. Instead, it's a challenge to those who want to write poetry: finish 30 poems in 30 days.

NaPoWriMo was unofficially "started" by poet Maureen Thorson, of Washington, DC, back in 2003. She wrote 30 poems over the 30 days of April, and posted them on her blog. When other people wrote poems, she'd link to them. After a few years, the community grew so large that Thorson decided to create a website just for NaPoWriMo. You can go there and click on the Participants' sites link to read poems by people participating this year, or submit your site if you want to accept the challenge and publish your poems for others to see.

NaPoWriMo is not affiliated with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or National Script Writing Month, but it is still a non-profit endeavor.

The above photo was taken by Steve McLauglin and found here, through Flickr. The photo is protected by a Creative Commons copyright.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poets in Connecticut: Poet Laureate Dick Allen

Did you know that Connecticut has its own Poet Laureate? I didn't, but we do! The position was created in 1985, and according to the state's Culture and Tourism page about the position, the role of the Poet Laureate is to serve "as an advocate for poetry and [promote] the appreciation of and participation in poetry and literary arts activities among Connecticut citizens".

Dick Allen has been our Poet Laureate since 2010, and will continue to fill the position until 2015. You can read more about him on his website, his publisher's website or the Connecticut Culture and Tourism page about the Poet Laureate.

You can also check out one of Mr. Allen's poetry collections, Present Vanishing, from Miller Memorial Library.

Friday, April 1, 2011

National Poetry Month 2011

It's National Poetry Month again!

National Poetry month, first established in 1996, is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.

Read Jessica's post about last year's National Poetry Month, or visit the site for information during this year's National Poetry Month, including their calendar of events. Additionally, find out about the Connecticut Poetry Society (which meets here at Hamden Library!) or check out some chapbooks or books about poetry from Miller or our branches.

This year's Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 14, 2011.