Where I’m Bound: African Americans and Migration in Art and Life

Click here to view Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series in the SPL catalogIt began with a poem! Reading the Langston Hughes poem One-Way Ticket inspired Jacob Lawrence to make a sketch of a train station waiting room filled with travelers, travelers like the ones seeking The Warmth of Other Suns. As a boy who became an artist, he knew about traveling. Lawrence moved from city to city and house to house until his mother, finally, found a place in Harlem for them to call home.

I was part of the migration,“ he says “as was my family… I was only
about 10, 11, or 12. I didn’t realize that we were even a part of that….I didn’t
realize what was happening until the middle of the 1930s, and that’s
when the Migration series began to take form in my mind.” 

In 1941, at the age of 23, Lawrence began painting works in a series that would become known as The Migration Series. Bookended by World War I and World War II, the work portrays an exodus, at once sweeping and, yet, singular in its focus. Long before his wet brush met a dry canvas, Lawrence had steeped himself in the works of writers and intellectuals focused on the Black migration and the role of the artist in art and culture. Where did he do so? At the library! The New York Public Library’s Division of Negro History, Literature and Prints, now known as The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, was instrumental in the artist’s development and formation of the work.  Continue reading

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2017 Books You’ll Want to Put on Hold Now

The Seattle Public Library offers a huge selection of materials to the public, and we are constantly adding new titles. How can you stay on top of what’s new at the Library? Shelf Talk is a good place to find recommendations, but there’s a very easy way to see what the Library is getting. When visiting the Library’s catalog search page, click on the “Explore” tab to find “New Titles.” Once there, you can either see what we’ve just gotten in or what we’ve put on order in books, movies and music. Here are a few titles that are sure to be big in the early part of 2017. Get yourselves on the hold list early!

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There is a certain satisfaction in reading deeply on one topic, which is why I love microhistories. For our purposes, microhistories are nonfiction books which view history and its larger themes through the examination of a singular object, event or idea. Here are a few recent titles to get you started – see a list of 25 such titles in our Library catalog.

pit-bullPit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey
Dickey set out to understand why pit bulls are so maligned in our culture, and seven years later ended up with a book that covers both the science and the emotion behind the perception of pit bulls. Along the way she covers everything from the creation of the breed and genetics, to how dog bites are recorded, breed panics, and the 24-hour news cycle. Continue reading

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The World Ends Today at 12:05

We’ve had hundreds of murders, scores of heists and scams, repeated instances of paranormal activity, and even a bit of cannibalism. Yet is rare that we’ll destroy an entire planet. But during Thrilling Tales: A Storytime for Grown Ups starting at noon today, we just might manage it. In world-end-cropH.G. Wells’ 1897 story The Star, a mysterious mass from outer space crashes into the planet Neptune, gradually unleashing a chain reaction that at first dazzles, and then terrifies a waiting world. Will all mankind perish in a cataclysmic fireball? You’ll have to stop by the Central library today at noon to find out!

Now in its twelfth year, Thrilling Tales typically happens two Mondays a month at the Central Library. Continue reading

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Born in January

January marks the start of a new year for most of us, but for these famous people it also marked the beginning of an eventful and impactful life! Click on any name below to discover a list of nonfiction books that explore the lives and works of some of the world’s more influential January babies. Continue reading

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Begin Bold, End Inspired: Ideas and Inspiration for the Artistically Inclined

Break open this beginning like the seed that it is! A New Year’s cold, hard exterior is full of all the necessary nutrients to carry you through to a nourishing end. Why not begin by cracking open a book, eyeing a DVD, lending your ear to a CD or eBook, anything to propel you towards that daunting dream. We all need a push sometimes, a firm hand at our back, a pull through that impossible door or one pushing us firmly down into the seat of our fear. Continue reading

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Publishing new book round-up – January 2017

Looking for something new? Here’s a selection of books being published this month. Continue reading

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