This Month on Martine


News from the White Plains Public Library
2017 Foundation Fall Gala
Saturday, October 21st

In the past month at the Library, you could have explored virtual reality, taken a workshop on app development, or learned about robotics (personally, I’m waiting till they can iron my shirts).

All fun stuff! But as much as we love discovering where technology can take us, we also value the worlds that books reveal, and the empathy that reading fosters. Which is why I’m pleased that we have three book discussion groups returning this fall.

First up is Book ‘Em, a monthly mystery book group that explores the best in recent crime fiction. I facilitate this group, and I spent a wonderful summer selecting a diverse group of novels (from amateur detectives to police procedurals, from Victorian England to contemporary Canada) to read over the next ten months. The first meeting is Wednesday, September 20 at 2:30 p.m. when we will discuss Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, in which Jane Eyre is reimagined as a gutsy, heroic serial killer.

Slow Reading is a discussion group that focuses on one short piece of fiction at each meeting, appreciating more fully what goes into the making of a masterpiece. Led by Ellen Lambert, PhD—a member of the Dalton high school English department for over 25 years—authors will include Chekhov, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Lahiri. The first meeting will be Monday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. when Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” will be discussed. All stories can be found in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th edition. Copies of the book are available for loan, and a copy is kept at the reference desk.

Librarian Barbara Wenglin will reprise her popular Short-Story Discussion Series with selections from a new anthology: Shaken & Stirred: Intoxicating Stories. The series will get underway on Thursday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m. with a discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Cut-Glass Bowl.” Copies of the book are available for loan, and a copy is kept at the reference desk. Please register once for this series, either by calling the Library or through our website. This program is made possible with support of the Friends of the White Plains Library.

Refreshments are served at all discussion groups. For additional information, pick up a flyer next time you’re in the Library or visit our calendar.

Brian Kenney

Meet Kristen Thornton-De Stafeno

The next time you visit the Library, you might see a new face sitting at one of our public service desks.  Kristen joined the Library team in mid-July as an Adult Services and Marketing Librarian.  She will be responsible for creating our newsletters, flyers, social media posts, and other marketing/outreach efforts.  I sat down with her last week to learn a little bit more about her.

Thornton-De Stafeno grew up along the East Coast: New York to Florida and then on to North Carolina before returning to Orange County, NY to attend high school. After graduating, she attended Dutchess County Community College where she graduated with her Associate degree in Liberal Arts & Humanities before transferring to Binghamton University to double major in English and History.

After getting her Bachelor’s, Thornton-De Stafeno worked as a freelance reporter and calendar curator for the Hyde Park Observer, and part-time as a circulation clerk at the Pleasant Valley Free Library in the Mid-Hudson Library System where she worked for two and a half years before deciding to attend the University at Albany to earn a M.S. in Information Science. While in Albany, she worked at UAlbany’s Dewey Graduate Library where she created a walkable tour of the library’s historic murals and stained glass windows. She also interned at Albany Public Library’s Washington Ave. Branch in the Youth Services Department where she designed displays and created programming for their Teen Lab.

In her spare time, Thornton-De Stafeno enjoys hiking around the Hudson Valley, attending as many concerts as possible, and petting every dog that she encounters.

For a good historical read, Thornton-De Stafeno recommends Helen Rappaport’s Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge, which pieces together newspaper articles and journal entries of foreigners and journalists staying in Petrograd when the Russian Revolution began. For fans of the supernatural, she suggests checking out YA novelist, Maggie Stiefvater’s series, The Raven Cycle.

Please join me in welcoming Kristen to the Library and to the White Plains Community.

Chess Club Comes to the Trove

Chess teaches us to think, visualize, problem solve, strategize and take risks. Play the game that spans cultures and generations. By learning chess, one of the oldest and most fascinating of games, you can make a friend and learn a little sportsmanship. The Chess Club meets Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. in the Trove. Ages 7 and up—teens, adults and grand masters—are welcome. No registration required.

Foundation Receives Grant for Teens


Thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation for Good Starts in the Edge, during the coming school year, teens will be able to explore a range of innovative programming during the coming school year. The grant helps us provide even more opportunities for teens to participate in community service projects and attend hands-on workshops focused on creating media using STEM skills.  We’ll also launch a series of informal talks featuring experts such as media artists and technology professionals with the goal of introducing young people to interesting vocations and careers. Experts will share real-world job experience that relates to library programs in coding, video game development, 3D printing, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and more.

“We’re thrilled about the new grant. It allows us to sustain the outpouring of creative energy that blossomed during the summer,” said Josh Carlson, Manager of Youth Services. “The Edge staff is excited about responding to teens increasing interest in jobs of the future and in giving back to their communities through service. The Library is an ideal place for them to share ideas, explore our resources, and collaborate with each other.”  For details about upcoming programs, please check the Teen Calendar at

"Today’s youth face a more complex, economically challenging and globally connected world than ever before. Through partnerships with organizations like The White Plains Library Foundation, The Allstate Foundation’s Good Starts Young programming aims to help young people thrive not just as students, but also as leaders, dreamers, entrepreneurs and citizens,” said Kayla Taylor, New York Allstate Foundation Spokesperson.  “We’re proud to partner with The White Plains Library Foundation to empower youth to reach their full potential and make the world a better place through its Good Starts in the Edge programming.”


What’s Happening in the Edge?

If you know the day of the week, then you know what’s going on in the Edge. Regularly scheduled programs make it easy for teens to drop in after school knowing what to expect. For programming in the Edge, check the calendar for exact times.

Monday: On “Must-See Movie Mondays,” watch classic and not so classic films in the Edge Living Room. Teens are encouraged to generate movie ideas for future screenings.

Tuesdays: Teens attending “Tabletop Game Tuesdays” will learn to play different board and card games each week. Board and card games are having a renaissance and people of all ages are finding enjoyment in face-to-face to play. Forget Candyland, Clue and Monopoly!  There are more varied types of games that encourage social interaction and critical thinking as participants vanquish monsters, solve mysteries, build cities, explore islands, cure diseases, and have fun. 

Wednesday: “Which Craft Wednesdays” draws a regular crowd of creative kids who enjoy a variety of arts and crafts,  including learning how to sew, making jewelry and collages, and painting watercolors. This fall, teens will sew a fully-lined slouchy bag, decorate small fresh pumpkins, and color for fun and relaxation. You can make things for yourself or earn community service credit for creating items for local charities. Registration is required for sewing classes.

Thursdays: Come into the Edge Media Lab on “Tech Thursdays” to master the latest technologies. Create a design in Minecraft and export it for 3D Printing to take home. Explore your musical prowess as you learn to create and edit audio tracks or find out how to use a simple electronics board to create a robot.

Fridays: On “Fellowship Fridays,” different clubs meet such as the “Comic Book Club” that meets on the first Friday of every month (Be sure not to miss November 3rd when local artist Alex Conte will discuss new titles and teach drawing and sketching techniques. Pizza will be served.)

Popular DVDs Coming this Fall

You’ll want to reserve these titles A.S.A.P.  Just click on the cover to place a hold. 

THE BIG SICK   September
A stand-up comic (Kumail Nanjiani)  is heckled by a grad student (Zoe Kazan).  They date, their parents object, she falls into a coma, and comedy ensues in this charming and enjoyable romantic film based on real events in Nanjani's life.

A breakneck whiz-kid getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) yearns to leave the life of crime and spend time with his true love (Lily James), but his crime boss (Kevin Spacey) has other plans for him.  Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm play Baby's partners in crime.  Epic car chases, great acting, and a cool soundtrack—what's not to like?  

Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Queen Latifah team up in this bubbly, entertaining comic farce set in New Orleans that features female-bonding and wacky escapist fun at its best.

Is this a refined period drama set on a remote 19th century English estate, complete with a young woman sold into marriage who has an affair with her hot groomsman?  Or is it a tense carnal thriller that explores depraved and murderous impulses? Lead actress Florence Pugh has been heralded for her break-out performance.

A self-proclaimed psychic medium (Kristen Stewart), by day a personal assistant to a movie star, goes to a decrepit home that belonged to her recently deceased twin brother in the hope of contacting his spirit.  A spellbinding tale of suspense, which offers a fresh take on the traditional ghost story.


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