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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September 21st, 2015

Our Award-Winning Library

IMLS Ceremony WH - Davis, Cousar, Obama - 2You may have already seen this photograph of me and community member, US Army Veteran Thomas Cousar, accepting that National Medal at the White House in May 2015.

While a picture may be worth a thousand words, the reasons why we should celebrate the National Medal take many thousands more! The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for library service, bestowed upon libraries that both know their communities and are having a powerful effect on the communities they serve.  CCPL’s winning application was exemplified by these areas of library service:

• Small Business Information Services
• Job Seekers and Career Changers
Year-Round Out-of-School Learning
• Summer reading and combating summer learning loss
Service to veterans

We are proud of these achievements but we want to thank you, the people of Cecil County for your continued support and usage of our community spaces, high-speed Wifi, digital courses and services, cultural classes and educational materials. You enroll your children and students in our classes because we make learning fun. You come to us for solutions and for the right answers – the information you can’t just “google.” You come to us because we don’t just find an answer we find solutions and you know we care deeply about community and individual success.

Therefore it is my honor to invite you to our Community Celebration on Saturday, September 26 at the Perryville Branch Library from 11am-2pm. We’ll have Kona Ice and family activities, balloon animals and crafts and live music with Take 2. It’s an open-house style event, so come as you are and bring along your family.

We’ll have a few welcome remarks at noon and we’ll unveil our new library card design!

Will you join us?

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