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?

Tags: , , , ,

August 17th, 2015

One Maryland, One Book


Do you find that when you discuss a book, you get so much more out of it compared to when you read it by yourself? I know that every time I talk about a book over dinner with friends or in the break room at work, I find myself surprised at how I missed something. The other person will have a great point or insight into the plot that I completely overlooked. Reading books by yourself can be great, but when you discuss as a group, there is so much more to learn! In addition to our monthly book discussions, here at the library, we have an additional opportunity coming up for you to delve deep into a book.

One Maryland One Book is an initiative of the Maryland Humanities Council designed to bring people together, across the state, to share in the experience of reading the same book. Every year, they choose a book based on a certain theme and in its eighth year, the selection is: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

I cannot wait to take part in this discussion with other people from Cecil County. Each person that comes to this book discussion will bring perspective from different walks of life, so I’m sure the conversation will be rich and full of new insights for me. Six of our seven branches are offering book discussions, on different nights, with free books available on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last. You can also download the e-book using OverDrive or the e-audiobook using OneClickDigital.

Will you join the conversation?

Tags: , , ,