The Great American Read @ SPL

Have you heard about The Great American Read?  This eight-part series from PBS explores the power of reading through the viewpoints of America’s Top 100 books.  They examine writer’s perspectives, reader’s receptions, and what these books say about diversity our nation.  At the end of the series, the results from a nationwide survey will be announced of what book wins the title of America’s best-loved book. The aim of the campaign is to get the country reading and talking about books – something we do here every day at the Sewickley Public Library!

We thought it would be fun to have our community vote for their favorite book from the Top 100 list of titles from The Great American Read.  Find the voting station set up in the library’s lobby where you can vote for your favorite book! Will it be Little Women? The DaVinci Code? Gone Girl? War and Peace? Come help us decide by casting your ballot anytime throughout the summer.  Voting will be open through Saturday, August 4th.  We will announce the winner on Monday, August 6th!

You can find more information about The Great American Read on the PBS website.  Or jump straight to the list of all 100 titles.

Happy voting!


April Showers Bring May Flowers

Want some ideas for your garden. Check out some of these new books in Sewickley’s collection.

Container Theme GardensContainer Theme Gardens: 42 Combinations, Each Using 5 Perfectly Matched Plants by Nancy J. Ondra

Simple and foolproof! Enjoy beautiful container plantings with no stress or fuss. Container Theme Gardens offers 42 plans for container arrangements, each using just five specific plants that you can find at your local garden center. There’s something here for every setting and every style, including a meadow in a box, a pond in a pot, a simple salad garden, and a combination that will attract hummingbirds. Each plan includes photographs of what the full planting will look like, as well as a handy shopping list so you know exactly what you need.

The Culinary Herbal: Growing & Preserving 97 Flavorful Herbs by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker

The Culinary Herbal highlights 97 delicious varieties—like black cumin, fenugreek, lemon balm, and sassafras—that every food lover will want to add to their kitchen garden. In this gorgeously photographed guide, home cooks will learn which herbs offer the most flavor, how to grow them at home, and how to put them to use. Plant profiles are organized alphabetically by herb type and include basic growing information, flavor notes, and culinary uses. Additional information includes step-by-step instructions for harvesting, preserving, and storing, along with techniques for making pastes, syrups, vinegars, and butters.

Bee-Friendly GardenThe Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard that Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees. No matter how small or large your space, and regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, just a few simple changes to your garden can fight the effects of colony collapse disorder and the worldwide decline in bee population that threatens our global food chain.

A Wilder Life: A Season-by-Season Guide to Getting in Touch with Nature by Celestine Maddy and Abbye Churchill 

In our technology-driven, workaday world, connecting with nature has never before been more essential. A Wilder Life, a beautiful oversized lifestyle book by the team behind the popular Wilder Quarterly, gives readers indispensable ideas for interacting with the great outdoors. Learn to plant a night-blooming garden, navigate by reading the stars, build an outdoor shelter, make dry shampoo, identify insects, cultivate butterflies in a backyard, or tint your clothes with natural dyes.

Garden DesignGarden Design: a Book of Ideas by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus

In Garden Design: A Book of Ideas, she and Heidi Howcroft have created a stunning guide to designing gardens of all types. Ideal for all gardeners and landscape architects this book inspires and encourages while giving practical advice and clear instruction for creating a beautiful garden in any setting.

The New Shade Garden
 by Ken Druse

There is a new generation of gardeners who are planting gardens not only for their visual beauty but also for their ability to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In The New Shade Garden, Ken Druse provides this generation with a comprehensive guide to creating a shade garden with an emphasis on the adjustments necessary for our changing climate.

Celebrate Fat Tuesday!

Celebrate Fat Tuesday!

fattuesdaysplGet in the mood for Mardi Gras with these books and DVDs!

American Horror Story: Coven  (DVD)
The exceptional young witches at Miss Robichaux’s Academy are under assault by forces of ignorance and hate. Caught in the turmoil is new arrival, Zoe, who harbors a terrifying secret of her own. Fiona, a Supreme Witch with unimaginable powers, is determined to protect the Coven, but her obsessive quest for immortality will lead her to cross paths with a formidable voodoo queen and a murderous slave owner cursed with eternal life.

Fat Tuesday By Brown, Sandra (Print Book)
It’s Mardi Gras week in the French Quarter, a perfect time for narcotics cop Burke Basile to avenge the acquittal of his partner’s murderer by kidnapping the defense attorney’s sheltered wife. So begins Sandra Brown’s riveting story of corruption in the Big Easy. As the crisis reaches a fevered pitch, the line between saint and sinner blurs. Who will find redemption as the clock ticks toward midnight on Fat Tuesday?

Keepsake crimes By Childs, Laura (eBook)
New Orleans scrapbooking shop owner Carmela Bertrand delights her customers with the sophisticated looks she achieves with their scrapbooks. But among her client’s keepsakes she finds a tip of her own-about a murder

Paper crafts for Mardi Gras By McGee, Randel (Print Book)
Dress up as a jester or a king or queen and lead a Mardi Gras parade! Follow storyteller Randel McGee as he explores the history and symbols of Mardi Gras in PAPER CRAFTS FOR MARDI GRAS. Create a Columbina mask, paper bead throw necklace, a gold doubloon necklace, a rhythm maker, and more!

Treme, the Complete First Season (DVD)
Amid the ruins of New Orleans, ordinary people–musicians, chefs, residents–find themselves clinging to a unique culture and wondering if the city that gave birth to that culture still has a future.

Health and Wellness Programs in January

Interested in taking charge of your health in the new year? This week Sewickley Public Library is offering a variety of health and wellness events.

Tuesday, January 14:

HealthyWorks of Pennsylvania Winter Wellness Event, 10AM-1PM – Are you on the track to better health this winter? Find out with the following free interactive screenings: Blood Pressure Checks, Weight-Loss, Posture Checks, and Body Mass Index Readings. In the Community Room. No registration required.

Nutritional Healing, 7PM-8:30PM – Gain the knowledge you need to get off to a great start this year with Susie Weiss of Young Living Essential Oils. Susie will give a presentation on Nutritional Healing. In the Community Room. Please register – spots still available!

Wednesday, January 15:

Arthritis Foundation Classes – Tai Chi – Wednesdays @ 10AM starting January 15 – This ancient practice will help to reduce stress and fatigue. Meditation in Motion. Exercise – Wednesdays @ 11:15AM starting January 15 – This safe and simple exercise program will help to reduce pain and stiffness, increase muscle strength, maintain joint mobility, and improve balance. Please register at Reference Desk – space still available in Exercise, watch for the next session of Tai Chi.

Reiki Healing Exchange, 6:30PM-8:30PM – Learn more about Therapeutic Touch and experience a relaxing, peaceful evening. A $5.00 donation for the library is requested. No registration required.

Saturday, January 18:

Sahaja Meditation, 11AM-12:30PM – Every Saturday @ 11AM – Enjoy the silence, peace, and stress release that is always free. No registration required.

Remember to take a look at the Library’s Event Calendar to stay up to date with all of our programmatic offerings as well as register for the above events, and Do Something @ Sewickley Public Library!

Pi Day Pie Baking Contest (THIRD ANNUAL!!)

The Third Annual Pi Day Pie Baking Contest is Thursday, March 14th @ 6PM!!

March 14th is Pi Day (3.14) and in celebration of this mathematical day, we will be holding a Pie Baking Contest. Bring in a pie that you’ve made and we’ll have an “expert” panel of guest judges pick the best one. Apple, blueberry, or bacon; all pie varieties are welcome! The winner will get bragging rights and a special pi(e) prize. This contest is open to All Ages. Please Register if you want to bake a pie as there are a limited number of spots available!


After Hours at the Library with Pittsburgh Paranormal Research

After Hours at the Library with Pittsburgh Paranormal Research – Friday, October 19 @ 7PM – Join us for a spooky evening with Scott Delledonne and Jeff Gettman of Pittsburgh Paranormal Research (P.P.R.) Participants will learn about some of the theories behind paranormal activity, view evidence from past research sessions, learn about the monitoring equipment, and ask questions about their own experiences with the paranormal. This program will take place in the middle of the Reference Area. Light refreshments will be provided. Ages 14 and Up. Library Doors will open at 6:45 and stay open until 7:10PM. Please Register (<Click to Register.)

“PPR is a non-profit organization dedicated to the scientific investigation of ghosts, classic hauntings, poltergeists and other paranormal phenomena.” (

Location: Reference Area

2000s – History and SPL Programs

Check out our 2000s Board on Pinterest to be taken back in time!


A New Millennium

At midnight on January 1, 2000, the clock ticked over into not only a new decade but also a new millennium, and the world wondered what lay in store for this new age. During the 1990s, new trends in business and entertainment had emerged to feed America’s unprecedented prosperity. The first decade of the 2000s would see continual development of these trends to the point that they exerted a major—and in some cases, negative—influence on people’s lives. Though the end of the Cold War (1945–91) had left the United States as the world’s only superpower, the decade would also see a new threat—foreign terrorism—emerge in place of communism.

On September 11, 2001, the real bogeymen of the decade emerged, and they were all too human. A group of nineteen religious extremists, acting on plans masterminded by al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden (1957–2011), hijacked four domestic passenger planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field. The events of 9/11, as that dark day came to be called, scarred America and its allies deeply. Within days of the attacks, President George W. Bush (1946–) had announced a new War on Terror, an international effort to wipe out terrorism.

Domestically, the trend towards globalizing business operations that had begun in the 1990s continued at a rapid pace. The Internet came into its own during the first decade of the 2000s, speeding the process of globalization as it no longer became necessary for employees to gather together in the same location in order to conduct business. China and India in particular benefited from the outsourcing of American business overseas, and it soon became commonplace to hear an Indian accent on the phone when calling a corporation’s technical support or customer service phone number—there was even a TV show, Outsourced (2010–11), based on the premise.

The rise of the Internet also heralded massive changes in the ways Americans sought their entertainment and even communicated with one another. E-retailers like and the Apple iTunes Store offered consumers the ability to shop from the comfort of their home. In the case of digital music, book, and movie downloads, consumers could even enjoy instant access to their purchases. Digital music, in particular, had a major impact on the music industry and how people listened to music. With the ability to download selected songs individually, the age of the album came to a close. MP3 players allowed people to carry around libraries of thousands of songs in their pockets. Up-and-coming artists case of digital music, book, and movie downloads, consumers could even enjoy instant access to their purchases. Digital music, in particular, had a major impact on the music industry and how people listened to music. With the ability to download selected songs individually, the age of the album came to a close. MP3 players allowed people to carry around libraries of thousands of songs in their pockets. Up-and-coming artists also no longer needed to resort to seeking out the support of major labels in order to get their music heard.

Similarly, the advent of blogging sites and micro-blogs like Twitter gave people the ability to quickly and easily post their thoughts to the Internet with little to no knowledge of computer code required. As with the music and book industries, the world of journalism was rocked by this new technology. Suddenly amateur bloggers were scooping veteran reporters and helping to drive the news cycle.

These new technological changes may have made life easier for the consumer, but they heralded difficult times for the businesses that found their models suddenly outdated. Newspapers, book and music stores, and even major publishers and record labels could see that they needed to adapt rapidly to the new ways or perish. By giving everyone a voice, it ironically became harder to get noticed among the other competing writers, artists, musicians, and bloggers. The rise of social networking sites like Facebook, which was founded in 2004, provided central meeting places online for people to interact and share bits of their personal lives. Social networking, blogging, and web shopping, though convenient, led some critics to wonder if Americans were becoming too disconnected and decadent.

Matters did not improve when the world slipped into its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression at the end of the decade. Costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unregulated speculation in the housing market, and a variety of other factors combined to plunge the United States into economic crisis in 2008. Although Europe had been making strides towards a stronger economy, notably with the introduction of a continental currency called the Euro, the crisis hit certain countries like Greece and Iceland particularly hard. As if all the economic worries were not enough, the last years of the first decade of the 2000s also played host to intensified debate over the cause of and solution to the problem of climate change, popularly known as global warming. As the decade came to a close, many Americans began to question the impact their way of life was having on the world and started looking for ways to cut spending and living beyond their means.

Source Citation: “2000s.” Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th- and 21st-Century America. Ed. Cynthia Johnson and Lawrence W. Baker. 2nd ed. Vol. 6: 2000-2009. Detroit: U*X*L, 2012. 1461-1467. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 7 Aug. 2012.

 Join us for our Last Decades Programs of the Summer!

Decades Documentaries – Hurricane Katrina: The Storm that Drowned a City (2000s) – Tuesday, August 7 @ 2PM – On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, killing at least 1,300, destroying over 600,000 houses, and turning downtown New Orleans into an uninhabitable swamp. In a compelling hour-by-hour reconstruction of the ferocious storm, NOVA exposes crucial failures in preparation and engineering that led to the worst disaster in U.S. history.

Decades Movies: Juno (2000s) – Friday, August 10 @ 2PM – Ellen Page, Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney. An unplanned pregnancy propels a confident, charming teen into one of life’s many detours, where she sets her sights on her ideal adoptive parents: an affluent couple longing to adopt their first child. (2007, 96min, PG-13)

1990s – History and Programs


Time justified its choice of Albert Einstein as “Person of the Century” with a quotation from Einstein himself, “Politics is for the moment. An equation is for eternity.” However, the technological innovations that bore fruit in the 1990s, such as the Internet, the proliferation of personal computers, and genetic engineering, were all the products of long, painstaking work on the part of thousands of scientists and engineers who measured progress in the smallest of increments and who built on ground broken decades earlier. The changes were, nonetheless, momentous. At the beginning of the Gulf War, reporters for the Cable News Network (CNN) reported live from Baghdad. That reporters could cover the action live already seemed to be taken for granted, but never before had virtually instant coverage of developing events become so crucial and even so expected. Also, though the Internet had existed for decades as a way for computers to communicate with each other, the development of the World Wide Web and easy to use operating systems and programs as well as substantially cheaper, faster, and more powerful computers, gave millions of Americans a way to send e-mail, download music, and buy books “on-line.” The purpose and function of computers had changed: no longer were they used just to compute, but to communicate, advertise, and sell things. People could stay in touch more readily—e-mail seemed less intrusive than a phone call, and neither as formal nor as much trouble as writing a letter—-but in so doing, they became increasingly isolated from their real neighbors. Computers became more powerful, not just in what they enabled people to do, but in the ways their use shaped human behavior and made people dependent on them. The Y2K Bug demonstrated the power and the vulnerability of a digital society. The programming glitch that threatened to crash computers world-wide as their internal clocks turned from “99” to “00” caused doomsday scenarios to seem realistic and even sober people bought electric generators and stored away a few weeks of groceries just in case the electrical and commercial infrastructures failed at the stroke of midnight.

Read More Here.

Source: McConnell, Tandy. “Introduction.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 10: 1990-1999. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 30 July 2012.

Join us this week for these “Between the Decades” Programs.

Decades Documentaries Modern Marvels: 90’s Tech, Tuesday, July 31 @ 2PM – It was the dot com decade that opened up the information superhighway. For the first time you could shop search and surf online with the click of a mouse. “Modern Marvels: 90s Tech” will take you way back to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of today’s trendy technologies. From DVDs to TIVO to GPS we’ll see how the gadgets we can’t live without all started in the 90s. At an Amazon distribution center we’ll follow millions of goods as they are packaged and shipped out. And at Google we’ll learn about the science of creating a search engine. We’ll explore how virtual pet toys were born and how the Furby even created a national security scare. In an interview with two-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion George Foreman we’ll show you how to “knock the fat out” with one of the best-selling appliances of the decade. And we’ll take you back to the original first-person shooter gaming experience of Wolfenstein 3D.- So chill as Modern Marvels explores the technologies of the 90s.

Decades Movies: Clueless (1990s) – Friday, August 3 @ 2PM – Alicia Silverstone won everyone over with her portrayal of a Beverly Hills teen, Cher, whose penchant for helping others with their relationships and self-esteem is a cover for her own loneliness. Director Amy Heckerling (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) made a smart, funny variation on Jane Austen’s novel “Emma”, sweetly romantic and gently satirical of “90210” social manners. The cast is unbeatable: Dan Hedaya as Cher’s rock-solid dad, Wallace Shawn as a geeky teacher, Paul Rudd as the boy who has always been Cher’s surrogate brother–and the true holder of her most secret wishes. (1995, 97min, PG-13

1980s – History and SPL Programs



In one sense nothing distinguished the 1980s as a decade; instead, its cultural preoccupations and political symbols were borrowed from other decades. Little during the time was original or new: almost universally the art and literature of the period required some sense of precedent in order to be under-stood; politics and culture seemed locked into agendas set prior to the decade. The dominant political figure of the era, President Ronald Reagan, expressed an economic philosophy derived from the 1920s (or, perhaps, from the 1890s), a populist rhetoric borrowed from the 1930s, the can-do optimism of the 1940s, and an anticommunism straight out of the 1950s. His political opponents at-tacked him via the liberalism of the 1930s and 1940s or through the social radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s. The arts and fashion in the 1980s were dominated by stylistic borrowings: Art Deco from the 1930s, Abstract Expressionism and film noir from the 1940s, commercial kitsch from the 1950s, rock music and countercultural experimentalism from the 1960s. American lifestyle during the decade witnessed a continuing clash between the Reagan generation, who derived their sense of the “normal” or “natural” from the 1940s and 1950s, and the baby boomers, who challenged these norms in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1980s, in other words, contained the volatile historical forces and cultural conflicts of much of twentieth-century America. –Read More Here.

Source: “Introduction.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 9: 1980-1989. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 23 July 2012.

Join us this week for these “Between the Decades” Programs.

Decades Documentaries – Ronald Reagan: An American Journey (1980s)- Tuesday, July 24 @ 2PM – Experience the astonishing political career of one of the most influential and popular political figures of the past three decades with this in-depth look at Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Now you can relive the historical milestones that shaped him including his early political career as governor, his debates with Carter and Mondale, the assassination attempt, his trailblazing relations with major international leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev, and his relationship with his wife, Nancy. This remarkable, feature-length look at Reagan’s achievements is packed with incredible archival footage including highlights and news coverage from his groundbreaking speeches and debates as well as the major world events he faced in office. From his early political career to his eight years leading his country, Reagan changed the face of modern American politics and became immediately recognized as a statesman and speaker like no other, and now his legacy continues with this essential portrait of one of America’s most important leaders.

Decades Movies: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1980) – Friday, July 27 @ 2PM – “Bueller? Bueller??” Sorry, not here! Instead, high-schooler Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick), his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara), and his best bud Cameron (Alan Ruck) are off on the spontaneous romp through Chicago known as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (1986, 107min, PG-13)


1970s – History and SPL Programs


It is easy to dismiss the 1970s as the decade that never happened. The political and cultural trends of the 1960s continued to dominate life in the United States at least until President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974; the political and cultural trends of the 1980s were manifested with increasing visibility for the remainder of the decade. Feminism, drugs, progressive education, busing, pornography, exotic religions, paranoia, welfare, ethnic politics, long hair, blue jeans, platform shoes, and amphetamines lingered from the 1960s. Conservativism, cowboys, televangelists, flag-waving, energy saving, rising cost of living, teen moms, pickup trucks, overseas investments, Sun Belt shift, cocaine, sound bites, and acid rain anticipated the 1980s. The 1970s, it seems, have little to define them except, perhaps, their nothingness. Peter Carroll, one of the earliest historians of the age, even titled his study It Seemed Like Nothing Happened (1982). Historical events, of course, occurred. The Kent State shootings, the Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the resignation of Nixon, the energy crisis, and the Iran hostage crisis all transpired during the course of the decade, but they are events identified with the spirit of the revolutionary 1960s or the avaricious 1980s.–Read More Here.

Source: “Introduction.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 8: 1970-1979. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 16 July 2012.

Join us this week for these “Between the Decades” Programs.

Decades Documentaries – Tupperware (1970s) – Tuesday, July 17 @ 2PM – Charting the invention and subsequent phenomenon surrounding the exciting new plastic containers that became a gigantic hit with American housewives, TUPPERWARE! is a humorous, informative documentary featuring some classic historical stock footage.

Decade Dancing: 1970’s! – Thursday, July 19 @ 6:30PM – Let’s get Disco Fever! Learn the dances of the decades and join us for an evening of music and movement! All Ages. Please register.

Decades Movies: Jesus Christ Superstar (1970s) – Friday, July 20 @ 2PM – Rock opera musical version of the last days of Christ. (1973, 107min, G)

Sewickley Antique Roadshow – Saturday, July 21 @ 1:30PM – Carol Foster, Accredited Senior Appraiser, will evaluate antiques that are hand-carried to this event. Each person may bring two items. Items such as dolls, toys, glassware, paintings, vintage clothing and silver are accepted. Jewelry, stamps and coins are not included. Registration is required as space is limited. The charge is $5.00 per item, and part of the proceeds will be donated to the library. Photos of your item may be submitted before the event to enable preliminary research. Please email photos to or drop them off at the Reference Desk. Please register.