October 12th, 2015

Attention: Event For Jedi, Time Travelers, and Dragon Trainers

Got Fandom?Fans of “weird stuff” are no longer outcasts. By and large, the sub-culture once considered “underground” is now accepted pop culture. The Big Bang Theory on CBS name drops Tolkien and Doctor Who, you can find Pinterest crochet crafts of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, and Harry Potter is still being plastered on every back-to-school item imaginable. This stuff isn’t just for kids or adolescents either. In fact, once could argue that several generations of people love this stuff precisely because it makes them feel young again. It was nice when we didn’t have to pay bills and we just absorbed imaginative, made-up worlds. I know many adults who clamor over new episodes of Game of Thrones, while others are obsessed over the handsome demon-killing brothers on Supernatural. In part, you could blame reality, which hasn’t been all sunshine and butterflies lately. Can you blame a little escapism now and then?


Every year at CCPL’s “Magic, Space, and Swords!” event, I meet enthusiastic people. When I started this event in 2012, I never imagined it would still be going this strongly. There was a desire in the voices of certain patrons, hungry for a bigger SF/F collection and a book group. But I also thought, why not a mini-convention? The library is uniquely positioned in the community to offer more than just ebooks and internet. We offer resume help, dozens of children’s programs, and extraordinary small business information—all reasons for our recent National Medal win. But the library is also a place to meet others face-to-face in a safe, welcoming environment. We can’t hold Comic Conventions like Baltimore does for 30,000 people, but I promise that the full room of people at “Magic, Space, and Swords!” harnesses that same sense of wonder, community, and excitement.


So dress in a costume—or not. And it doesn’t matter how you feel about Firefly or Star Trek. Nor does it matter if you are “anime” ignorant. You will find warm people who believe in magic and galaxies far, far away. Elkton’s Special Event, “Magic, Space, and Swords!” is Saturday, October 17th from 1:30-4:30pm and will feature trivia, themed food, free books, and board game/card game demonstrations for kids, teens, and adults. This year we also have a live Q and A with special guests from a board game hobby store and a comic book shop. Plus, we will be raffling off life-sized cardboard cut-outs of the Avengers superheroes. See you then!

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October 5th, 2015

Orphan Trains

child on trainI would guess that many of you, like me, had never heard of the orphan trains until the publication of Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Since its publication in 2013 it has been a surprise hit and a book club favorite. It tells a story about a little-known but important part of American history: the Orphan Train Movement.

Founded in 1853 in New York City, the Children’s Aid Society committed itself to the “placing out” of children from the slums of New York City to rural America. Between 1854 and 1930, 150,000 children would ride the so-called orphan trains. The goal was to move destitute children from New York City and other large East coast cities, to the Midwest where it was thought they would enjoy a better way of life. The children boarded the trains carrying all of their possessions in a cardboard suitcase. At each stop the children would disembark where interested citizens would make their choices. If a child was not chosen they were sent on to the next town. Despite the Society’s best efforts, some children suffered. Though they tried to keep siblings together, often brothers and sisters would be separated. Some felt abandoned and lonely and were viewed by their adoptive families and communities as outsiders. In the worst cases they were treated as slave labor and physically abused. But for many it was a blessing and they were adopted by loving families.

On Wednesday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m., award-winning author and member of the National Orphan Train Historical Society, Donna Aviles, will speak at the Perryville Branch Library. As the granddaughter of an orphan train rider, Ms. Aviles has a very personal connection to its history. The presentation will include a discussion of the Orphan Train Movement and a recording of the reminiscences of an Orphan Train rider as he recalls his experience travelling from a New York orphanage to Kansas.

Will you join us on October 14?

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