Archive for January 31, 2010

Join us for Snapshot Day!

Thursday, February 18, 2010 is Snapshot Day in Connecticut Libraries throughout the state. It is a joint project lead by the Connecticut Library Association, the Connecticut State Library and the Connecticut Library Consortium, and the purpose of Snapshot Day is to “capture the impact that Connecticut libraries have on their communities on a typical day.” We hope you’ll visit the library on this day and show your support! While you are here, please fill out a very quick survey to let us know why you visited the library and why Danbury Library is important to you. If you can’t make it in, you can fill out our survey available online.
For more information on Snapshot Day, you can visit the Connecticut Library Consortium’s Snapshot website, or visit our own page on the Danbury Library website.

Free Tax Assistance

Free tax assistance is available from the following groups. You must call for an appointment.
Community Action Center (VITA), 66 North St. • 744-4700 • Starts Jan. 23
Western CT State University (VITA), 181 White St., Warner Hall, Room 103 • Starts February 3 • 797-4511
AARP (TCE, seniors age 60+), 10 Elmwood Pl. • 797-4686 • Starts Feb. 1

Stieg Larsson

The number seven book on Amazon’s Best Books of 2009 is The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. Mr. Larsson was the second best-selling author in the world during 2008. His fame as an author rests on the Millenium Trilogy of crime novels of which The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second installment (the first is The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo). These books have been wildly successful but Mr. Larsson unfortunately did not live to enjoy this success. He had a varied career before he became a novelist. He was a journalist in Sweden, a science fiction devotee and a crusader against right-wing extremism and neo-Nazis in Sweden. He had received many death threats from right-wing extremists in Sweden. He died in November of 2004 from a massive heart attack. The eagerly anticipated third entry in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest will be published in the United States on May 25, 2010. Curiously for a writer of a crime series, Larsson cited as one of his major influences Pippi Longstocking!

Famous Danbury Guests

A recent article about former Boston Mayor James Curley remided me of the fact that in 1947 Curley served part of his last term as mayor while an inmate at the correctional facility in Danbury (he had been convicted of mail fraud but was pardoned by President Truman after serving five months). Other famous residents include the Berrigan brothers: Daniel and Philip, both priests who served time in the early 70′s for their anti-war activities. The Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration brought G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt to Danbury also in the 70′s, both convicted for their part in the break-in of Democratic National Committee headquarters among other charges–all committed in a plan to get Nixon re-elected.
Opened in 1940 as an all male facility, in 1988 the correctional facility transitioned to all women. New York hotelier Leona Helmsley served time for tax evasion in the early 90′s. Martha Stewart wanted to serve her time for stock fraud here but was sent to a Pennsylvania facility instead.

A. C. Gilbert

A. C. Gilbert (1884-1961) is known today primarily as an inventor. However in his youth he was an outstanding athlete. He excelled at gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, track and field and football. In the 1912 Olympics he tied for first place in the pole vault. He obtained a medical degre from Yale University in 1909. But he never practiced medicine and his intention was to become an athletic director. He had earned money while a student by learning magic tricks. He and a partner started the Mysto Manufacturing Company which initially produced kits for magicians. While Gilbert was visiting New York City he became fascinated by the construction of power lines for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Watching crews assemble girders to support trolley lines gave him the idea for the invention of the Erector Set. The toy was manufactured in New Haven and became a huge hit. One of the children who played with the Erector Set was Donald Bailey in the United Kingdom. He later became a member of the Royal Engineers and made a working model of a portable bridge with his Erector Set. This became the basis for the Bailey Bridge which General Eisenhower cited as one of the key technological advances of World War Two along with heavy bombers and radar.