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March 2020

Volume 10, Issue 3

A Newsletter of the Blue Mountain Community Library

Join us for the 5th Annual AUTHOR LUNCHEON featuring Karen Katchur on Thursday, April 30 at Grace United Methodist Church, Pen Argyl.

Doors open at 11:30 AM

Luncheon at 12:00 PM

Tickets are $12 and will go on sale March 16.

Books will be available for purchase.


Thank you to the CAFÉ ON BROADWAY and those who dined there on February 19 to support the library!



Thank you to those who participated in the recent food drive for St. Elizabeth’s Ministry.


Preschool Storytime

Wednesday mornings @ 10:30am


Adult book discussion group

March 17, 6:30 PM – Cold Woods by Karen Katchur

(Also buy your ticket for the luncheon with her on April 30!)

April 21 – The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

May 19 – Spilled Milk by K.L. Randis


March Book Nook Special:  Buy 1 DVD, get 1 free!


Winter weather policy:

The BMCL will be closed when the Pen Argyl Area School District is closed due to inclement weather.

Please check for listings and updates.


Adult volunteers are needed for evening shifts 6-8pm & Saturday morning shifts 10AM –noon


Book review:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

book by Erik Larson

review by Katy Albanese

In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair, opened, and this country has never been the same. America’s view of cities, of architecture, of landscaping changed when The White City came into existence. The success of the fair influenced the way people thought about cities, not just as dark, dangerous and dirty places but as clean, beautiful, well-lit inviting places. The gleaming white stucco buildings of the fair contrasted sharply with the dark, smoky, buildings and streets of the rest of Chicago. Ever after, Americans have striven to make their cities into pleasant places to live, not just places to exist.

After the World’s Fair was held in Paris in 1889, wealthy businessmen in America decided that the United States must host an exposition that would highlight the achievements of this great country. They pledged money, along with the federal government, and Chicago won the bid to host this extravagant event. This exposition would commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery in 1492 of the New World.

Daniel Burnham, one of Chicago’s leading architects, was chosen to lead the design and execution of such an ambitious project. The fair would encompass one square mile or 690 acres of land, with 200 buildings, and exhibits from 46 countries. Controversies, disputes, accidents, unusually harsh weather, unexpected deaths, all hampered the construction but the fair opened as scheduled on May 1 and entertained 27 million visitors before closing on October 30.

At the same time, Chicago was transforming itself into a world class destination, a young doctor took up residence in the city and began to carry out macabre and horrifying acts of violence against innocent women and children. Thousands of people traveled to the city to take advantage of the many jobs which were suddenly available. Men came to work on the buildings at the fair and women came to take positions as secretaries and clerks and housekeepers and seamstresses. Dr. H. H. Holmes used the huge influx of people converging upon Chicago to his advantage and was able to hide himself and his heinous crimes.

This exposition showcased the best and the worst in people. Beauty and ingenuity emerged from this great exposition. The Ferris wheel made its debut, as well as items we take for granted-the zipper, the automatic dishwasher, chewing gum and Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix. Elias Disney worked on the White City and influenced the creativity of his son Walt in future years. L. Frank Baum visited the fair, then wrote The Wizard of Oz, modeled after what he saw. Washington, D. C. and New York City hired Daniel Burnham to design buildings and layouts to beautify their cities. But the dark side of humanity also emerged, the urban serial killer who carried out his crimes in the middle of the madness and mayhem of the times. That both could exist at the same time makes for quite a study of human nature.


Book review:

Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

book by Julie Kibler

review by Judy Piper

Lizzie and Mattie meet at the Berachah Industrial Home for erring and outcast girls in the early 1900’s. The Home was founded by the Upchurches to help young girls who have been evicted from their homes for being pregnant, heroin addicts, prostitutes, or “loose women.” This facility was different than others in that it believed that the women should keep their children. All had to agree to follow the rules and stay for a year. Some stayed until it closed.

Lizzie’s husband deserted her, leaving her with a child. After an incident at her mother’s home, she knows she has to leave if she is going to have a better life for her and her daughter, Dolcie. Mattie sees a flyer for the Home and does all she can to get there with her son who is very sick. Both stay beyond the first year and play an important part in many of the new girls entering the Home.

Cate is a librarian for the University of Texas at Arlington and comes across materials relating to the Home. After the Home had closed its doors, family members gave the University the records from the Home. The University had bought the property which included a cemetery from that time. Cate is drawn to the cemetery where she meets Laurel, a student, and offers her a job to help her in the library. Both of them are drawn to the story of the Home. Both Cate and Laurel have issues of their own which resonate with their findings.

Make sure to read the author’s notes where you will find that this home did exist.