Tag Archives: hoboken public library

Was Your Great Grandmother a Hoboken Library Patron?: Historic Library Ledgers

11 Sep

Before I started working here a little over a year ago, during renovations, staff had found some old ledgers that had been tucked away in the library office. Upon further examination, these ledgers contained a register of the library’s earliest patrons (and their addresses and occupations) and the original staff rosters with hours worked. They weren’t in the best condition due to being stored somewhere warm and dry, and it was evident that they were valuable to the history collection and the library itself and needed some preservation and restoration work. My predecessor brought them to the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, and they’ve been lovingly preserving and cleaning the ledgers a few at a time. When I came on board, we’d had three finished already, and before long I went down to Philly to pick up the next batch. Since then, I’ve been down twice more to pick up two more sets, and I’ll likely be retrieving the final two ledgers within the next few months, effectively completing the project.

These ledgers are unique in that they don’t really have any financial value. Their value is entirely historical; you just can’t put a price tag on the information they contain. As mentioned above, one of them is a full staff roster with their hours worked, allowing us a glimpse, however small, of our predecessors who worked here over 100 years ago. Our mission is the same as theirs was – to provide the Hoboken public with books, information, and other media and help with any inquiries they might have. We’ve grown in scope and size since those early days and offer so much more – e-resources, a Makerspace, music, gaming, and DVD rentals, and all sorts of varied programming for both children and adults, but it’s important to never forget where you started from. Our co-workers of the past worked just as hard as we did to make the people of Hoboken happy and answer their questions, and now we can put names to them.

Ledger Image One

The majority of the eleven ledgers are registers of the patrons who used the library in its earliest days. These are a particularly potent genealogical resource for people with ancestors from Hoboken – they provide names, addresses, and in many cases careers. (Sometimes those careers are simply “student,” “schoolboy,” or “schoolgirl,” proof that children have been patrons of the library since the very beginning too! And not every child was in school, either – some errand boys and errand girls came to the library, as well!) If anyone reading this post had ancestors in Hoboken around 1890 up through the early 1910s and is having trouble finding them, perhaps those ancestors made their way to the library at some point on intellectual quests of their own.

Ledger Image Two

If you’re interested in seeing the ledgers currently completed and returned to the library, there’s a few ways to do so. Firstly, you can visit the library and use the local history computer to view the digitized versions of them if you’re nervous to handle them physically. If you’re more of a hands-on person or you’re interesting in experiencing history more up close and personal, then make an appointment with the reference department to come in and view the ledgers themselves! The history librarian (hint: that’s me!) will be super excited to show them to you and talk with you about them!

If you have any other inquiries about Hoboken history, the collection awaits you! I also highly recommend a visit to the Hoboken Historical Museum for some more in-depth exhibits and their amazing collections to further your research or sate your hunger for Hoboken history.

Written By:
Steph Diorio
Local History Librarian/Archivist at the Hoboken Public Library

Cat Fiction and Nonfiction for Feline Fanciers

28 Feb

You may remember I wrote a post about service dog’s for National Guide Dog Month, which is in September, but my heart truly belongs to another furry beast, the cat.  My beloved fur baby Vlad passed away recently and in his honor I wanted to look at some fun feline fiction and nonfiction available from BCCLS Libraries for all the cat ladies (and cat guys) out there.

The Cat Who Series by Lilian Jackson Braun

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I once read that mystery books with cats on the cover tend to sell more.   The charming story of retired journalist Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum who solve crimes is probably my favorite in the cozy/cat genre.  The first in the series The Cat Who Could Read Backwards was published in 1968, but the majority of the books were published between the late 1980’s to mid 2000’s.  The last novel was set to be published in 2008, but The Cat Who Smelled Smoke remains a mystery due to being first postponed due to the author’s failing health and then her passing in 2011.  Although this left certain plot lines unresolved, the previous 29 books are perfect for curling up with some cocoa on a chilly winter evening.  The series was so popular, there was even a parody written by Robert Kaplow, The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun published in 2003.

Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown

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Another mystery series doesn’t just feature a cat protagonist, it also was “co-written” by a feline author, Sneaky Pie Brown, who along with his human companion Rita Mae Brown have created a 26 book series with 27 (Probable Claws) scheduled to come out in May.

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat by Kaori Tsutaya and translated from the Japanese by Amy Hirschman

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If your cat is too busy taking naps in sun beams to write a bestselling mystery series, they can still assist you in creativity with Kaori Tsutaya’s Crafting with Cat Hair which allows you to make cat hair finger puppets and appliques from the piles of cat hair that you have left behind post brushing.  As someone who once was the owner of a herd of three shedding Persians, I was greatly amused by this book and Tsutaya creativity.

Dinner Pawsible: A Cookbook of Nutritious, Homemade Meals for Cats and Dogs by Cathy Alinovi

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I have been guilty of occasionally splurging and treating my furry friends to gourmet food, but with Dinner Pawsible you can create your own yummy well balanced meal for your furbabies that can be healthier and less expensive than what you buy at the store.  The sixty recipes for cat and dog food were created by a veterinarian certified in food therapy and an advocate for pet food safety and are based on the National Research Council requirements for dogs and cats, but still always check in with your own vet, especially if your pet has special dietary restrictions before changing their diets.

Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself by Carin Oliver

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If the winter’s chill is keeping you in and has you looking for fun projects than check out Carin Oliver’s Cat Castles.  Included are instructions for making cardboard trains, ships, food trucks, rockets, and other hideaways for your feline friends along with information for scratching pads that can divert sharp claws away from your furniture.  Let other plebian cats curl up in shoe boxes, your cat can lounge and play in style with these easy to assemble and inexpensive crafts.

James Dean’s Pete the Cat Picture Book Series

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Our Hoboken Public Library Patrons may remember Pete the Cat won the library’s election that our Children’s Department ran for kid’s pick for Story Book Characters for President race.  For those not familiar with our first kitty pick, Pete the Cat is a cartoon cat with a talent for the guitar. Originally a self-published work, the books in the Pete the Cat series have sold more than seven million copies and have spent a combined 230 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list according to a 2014 Publisher Weekly article; that is a lot of feline fans!

The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter

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Older children (ages 10 and up), may want to instead check out Erin Hunter’s imaginative fantasy series which debuted with the novel Into the Wild and features a world shared by four tribal cat clans.  Hunter takes typical cat behaviors and creates an elaborate mythology and social structure around them.

Let us know about some of your feline favorites in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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