Little Free Libraries

A Mother’s Journey: Mini Series

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Last Sunday, Aug. 13, The Learning Hub, in partnership with Action! Worcester, launched a much-requested campaign: Little Free Libraries.

One of the most successful ways to improve the reading achievement of children is to increase their access to books, especially at home, according to a 2010 study from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen. However, according to the U.S. Department of Education, up to 61 percent of low-income families do not have books for children at home.

In Massachusetts, where 43 percent of children are not reading where they should be by the third grade, the concept of literacy accessibility should be a priority. This is especially true in Worcester, where a lack of proficiency in literacy is coupled with financial hardship, language barriers and a lack of cultural services.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The sincerest form of thievery, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Worcester Weekly: Battle of Badges, Party for ALS + more, Aug. 13-19

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Aug. 13 — Civil War Movie Series: “Glory,” 4-6 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Nothing like a light-hearted, fun summer flick to help you forget August is half over already. Or you could go the other way, and immerse yourself in the harrowing, humbling experiences and selfless heroics of one of America’s most historically significant Army regiments. (Then again, watching Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes try to act like soldiers is kind of funny.)

The Final Chapter for Worcester Public Libraries: 193-year-old institution being razed

Wondering what the future could hold for city libraries and the books that line their walls? Find out with author BJ Hill in the Sun’s serial glimpse into the fantastic (and mostly fictional) possibilities of a not-so distant tomorrow.

WORCESTER, July 19, 2052 — Scores of people gathered on the Worcester Common throughout the day Friday to witness the demolition of the Worcester Public Library Main Branch. Aside from the college campus depositories, the building, built in 1964, was the last standing public library in the city and the largest library in Central Massachusetts. The teardown is part of Beacon Hill’s cost-cutting plan to close and consolidate libraries across the Commonwealth.

Sun Serials | Ray Mariano | Free to Read

Begun in 2040, the “10-year plan” aggregates local libraries’ physical materials into four regional centers: Whately, Worcester, Waltham and Wellfleet. Samples of books, including works of local history and genealogy, have been reviewed, categorized and transferred to the Region C Information Distribution Center, formerly the Greendale Mall. Relocation and storage fees are being paid for by Amazon.com, which, in 2041, initiated its ambitious plan to purchase every copy of every known paper-based volume in existence.

Of the old C/W MARS regional consortium, which at one time included more than 149 libraries in Central and Western Mass., only eight buildings remain open to the public: Pittsfield, Leominster, Leicester, West Brookfield, Shrewsbury, Wales, Williamstown and Lenox. All eight are set to close within the next 12 months.

“I understand that it’s sad to see the old libraries go, but we need to start thinking about space in Worcester,” said state Sen. Edward Rodrigues, who voted for the plan. “This move eliminates on building upkeep costs, saves on librarian salaries and benefits, and all but cuts out book purchases. We’ve outsourced all of that — almost for free — and now we can put that prime CitySquare land back on the tax rolls for a new tenant.

In fact, proponents say CitySquare, the sprawling downtown development project, will finally be completed in the next few years.

More What if … Worcester: Gardens and gargoyles: Dilapidated churches grow into urban farms

Worcester Weekly: Helping refugees, Canal District veggies + more, July 23-29

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Road trip!

Sunday, July 23 — 2017 DockDogs Day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Klem’s, 117 W. Main St., Spencer  Tommy used to work on the docks. Guess you could say, he’s been down on his luck — especially since the union went on strike. And without Tommy — or Bon Jovi — around the docks, well, they’ve gone to the dogs. It’s tough.

Baker’s budget vetoes hit Worcester hard

Worcester’s four members of the state House of Representatives last week issued a statement trumpeting a number of spending priorities they were able to include in what was to be the state’s first $40 billion budget.

“I am very pleased with the budget put forth by the House this year, which demonstrates our commitment to exercising fiscal responsibility while making meaningful investments in programs and services that our constituents rely on most,” Rep. Dan Donahue said in the July 12 press release.

By the time Gov. Charlie Baker was through cutting more than $320 million and adjusting tax revenue projections Monday, the Legislature’s proposed $40.2 billion plan had been reined in to a $39.4 billion package — and eight of the 14 “budget priorities” totaling $535,000 in funds highlighted by the city’s delegation were among the vetoes, according to Erik Mayberg, chief of staff for Rep. John Mahoney.

Among the cuts were allocations to community center programs in a trio of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, plus earmarks for UMass Memorial Medical Center and the Worcester Public Library’s bookmobile program.

Worcester Weekly: Canal District Wagon Tours, Bravehearts + more, July 9-15

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, July 9 — Meet the Authors: “Massachusetts Calling” anthology, 1-3 p.m., Annie’s Book Stop, 65 James St.  The Sutton Writing Group is no joke. Many of its members are published authors, including coordinator Lisa Shea, who has published more than 300 novels, novellas, short stories and other works. Shea was the editor of “Massachusetts Calling,” which brings together 15 local writers to share their unique and varied perspectives through poetry, essays, histories, even recipes.

At Annie’s, Shea is expected to be joined by S.M. Nevermore (author of “A Demon’s Game”), Kevin Saleeba (a former Milford Daily News reporter) and Christine Beauchaine (“Lost and Found at the Bowl-O-Drome”). Free and open to the public. All proceeds from sales of “Massachusetts Calling” benefit local shelters and food pantries.

Inbox [July 2-8]: News and notes from Zipcar, South High, Armory Business Center, Worcester Public Library, WPS, POW! WOW! Worcester

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Zipcar launches in Worcester

Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, announced a partnership with the city of Worcester to bring its “wheels when you want them” membership service to area residents, businesses, visitors and students.

Six Zipcars are available for reservation by the hour or by the day in easily accessible locations downtown. The vehicles are parked in designated spots for convenient pickup and drop-off and can be reserved on Zipcar’s mobile app, online or over the phone.

The Zipcar Worcester fleet features a variety of makes and models. Each reservation includes gas, insurance and 180 miles of driving per day.

“We’re excited to bring Zipcar to Worcester as part of the city’s growing transportation network,” said Chris Moulding, Zipcar regional community marketing manager.

Inbox [June 28]: News and notes from Worcester Regional Airport, city of Worcester, Anna Maria and Worcester Public Library

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Airport gains Worcester-Cape Cod flights

Rectrix Aviation announced the launch of a Worcester-to-Hyannis passenger flight with a ribbon cutting at Worcester Regional Airport.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Massport CEO Thomas Glynn and Rectrix CEO Richard Cawley were on hand to mark the expansion of the Rectrix Cape Cod shuttle. They were joined by Worcester Airport Director Andy Davis, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Timothy P. Murray.

The shuttle service debuts tomorrow afternoon with the maiden flight arriving in Worcester at approximately 3:30 p.m. with Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr as its first passenger.