Friday, May 27th

librarybenchGood news for Scarsdale. … the Scarsdale Public Library will receive an $111,280 library construction grant for improvements of the library’s HVAC system. The grant monies are from the $14 million in capital funds that were made available for public library construction in the 2010 State Budget.

“I strongly supported the Library’s request for a construction grant,” said Senator Oppenheimer, who wrote to the NYS Library System on behalf of Scarsdale’s grant application. “The heating/cooling roof top unit that services a portion of the library has well exceeded its life expectancy of 25 years. I was stunned to learn that when the unit fails, which it does with some frequency, a library staff member is required to climb onto the roof to restart the unit manually. This library construction grant will be instrumental in creating a more energy efficient, comfortable and productive space for library patrons and staff members,” said the Senator.

The Scarsdale Public Library ranks second in circulation per capita and third in circulation per hours opened in the Westchester Library System (WLS). The library is open to residents (population 17,800) and non-residents alike, and like many other public libraries has experienced increased usage in the current economic environment. Students, job seekers and residents from Scarsdale and surrounding communities visit the library to access books and other research materials and to use the library’s technology services.

“New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading,” observed Senator Oppenheimer. “With public library usage at an all-time high, existing library facilities in my district have been stretched to the breaking point.”


librarybenchHow I Ended This Summer, an acclaimed film written and directed by Alexei Popogrebsky will be shown at The Scarsdale Public Library on Wednesday, May 11, at 6:30 pm as part of the library’s monthly Adult Independent Film Series. The film is in Russian with English subtitles.

It tells the story of two meteorologists working on a weather station in the brutally cold Artic Circle. One of the men, Mr. Puskepalis who is in his 50s, is experienced in his position and resents his younger counterpart Pavel Danilov, a recent university graduate. The movie follows their relationship and Mr. Puskepalis’ disapproval of the way Pavel acts. Their relationship represents the tension between Old Russia and New Russia. Like other past meteorologists working in the Arctic Circle, Pavel is driven to insanity by the silence of his surroundings and the isolation he feels.

The actors playing the two main characters (Grigory Dobrygin and Sergei Gulybin) received best actor awards at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival. There is no admission fee.



cathleenschineAuthor Cathleen Schine will speak at the Scarsdale Public Library on Saturday April 30th at 4 pm in an event sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Her best-selling novel, The Three Weissman’s of Westport is a local favorite in Scarsdale, set in a neighboring town and peppered with people you could know.

Dominique Browning, who reviewed the book for the NY Times, says, “Schine’s homage to Jane Austen has it all…A sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious, and deeply affecting new novel, her best yet.”

In the book, Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband’s mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Annie, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. Impulsive Miranda is a literary agent entangled in a series of scandals, and the more pragmatic sister. Annie, is a library director who feels compelled to move in and watch over her capricious mother and sister.

Schine’s witty, wonderful novel “is simply full of pleasure: the pleasure of reading, the pleasure of Austen, and the pleasure that theweissmansofwestportcharacters so rightly and humorously pursue… An absolute triumph” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Schine’s newest novel, To the Birdhouse was published in February, 2011 and she also wrote The New Yorkers and The Love Letter. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The New York Times Magazine.


heybooTo Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most beloved and influential novels of the 20th century. The portrait of a race and prejudice in the Deep South as seen through a child’s eyes resonates with readers as much today as it did over 50 years ago. The Pulitzer Prize winner was Harper Lee’s first and only novel.

The story of how the novel came to be is also one of remarkable achievement. That is the subject of a new documentary, “Hey Boo, Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird” out in select cities-including New York-- beginning May 13. Filmmaker Mary Murphy shared a sneak peak of the film this past Monday night at the Scarsdale Public Library.

It was a joy to watch even just a few minutes of this film. Murphy gained access to people close to Harper Lee that few in her position ever have, including the novelist’s sister and the Smiths, a New York couple who lent Lee money allowing her to write To Kill a Mockingbird.

The documentary has an All Star line up of fans to talk about the novel. Wally Lamb, Anna Quindlen and James Patterson are among several best selling authors who spoke of influence To Kill a Mockingbird had on their lives. In the film, Tom Brokaw recounted relating to Harper Lee’s picture of small town America as a young man. And America’s most well-known reader, Oprah herself is interviewed, telling how much the book means to her.

Mary Murphy calls To Kill a Mockingbird the original social network, as it’s influence is so wide and the themes are so universal. Each person interviewed in the film offers a unique perspective on the novel and how it shaped their view of the world. Each anecdote is touching. The scenes of students talking about the book in class after reading it for the first time shows the power of this novel even today.

That night at the library much of the audience was captivated by the life of Harper Lee, which is also covered in the film. While she initially did press when the book first came out, Harper Lee retreated from public life early on in her career and never did an interview again. She also never wrote another novel.

Murphy worked hard forming strong relationships in order to gain access to people so close to the reclusive author. She tells funny anecdotes of what it was like to interview Harper Lee’s sister, who is well into her 90’s and still practicing law.

Nelle Harper Lee, (her full name) lingers like a mystery in the film and Murphy’s accompanying book leaving the viewer wanting to know more about this woman and her life.

While not shown on Monday night, Murphy says that the documentary also explores the friendship between Harper Lee and Truman Capote who were childhood friends and next-door neighbors growing up in Alabama.

In her fast-moving, nearly lyrical film, Mary Murphy makes the viewer nearly as interested in the making of the novel as the story itself. Without realizing it, Murphy may have stumbled on to a whole new TV series, Behind the Music for the literary set. Judging by the response on Monday night, there will certainly be an audience.

If you want to find out where the film is playing or about Murphy’s book check out her website .

gellerr150Jen is a freelance journalist who has covered the economy and markets for over a decade at a major financial news outlet. She lives in Scarsdale with her husband and 2 children. Jen has yet to bake a successful batch of cookies.



ipodThe Scarsdale Public Library now offers free downloadable eBooks and Audio books. The library is adding many new and popular titles exclusively for Scarsdale Library cardholders, through OverDrive Advantage, a digital distribution service.

Books, from bestsellers, popular fiction and non-fiction to classics, are available for downloading to variety of popular eReaders, including the Nook and Nook Color, Kobo, Sony Reader, Iphones, Ipads and portable devices and smartphones. Due to digital licensing limitations and incompatible formats, OverDrive titles currently cannot be downloaded to Kindles. Audio books can be downloaded to MP3 players, IPods, and other mobile devices. Titles are available for downloading to desktop PCs and Macs as well. The loan period is up to two weeks and the best news is that if you have a library card you can download the books at home.

“It has never been easier to borrow electronic books – at no cost – and use them on some of the most popular portable devices,” said Beth Bermel, library director. “While electronic books are available across the Westchester Library System, we have acquired additional copies of some of the newest books that can only be loaned to Scarsdale Library cardholders. We’re delighted to offer this new expanded service to our patrons.”

To download the materials, go to, and click on the OverDrive Advantage link. Login and follow instructions to download required software or apps and you’re ready to select your titles. For more information, please call the Scarsdale Public Library Reference Desk at (914) 722-1300.



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