Blog: Author: Lily Mysona

Our Maldonian Yearbooks Have Been Digitized!

That’s right, everybody, it has finally happened! Our collection of The Maldonian yearbooks from the Malden High School are now officially digitized and available for free online! We get a lot (and we mean a lot) of people asking to see our yearbooks. While many of them are local we hear from people all over the country and sometimes the world. In fact people have shown so much interest in our collection that we knew what had to be done…



And we did it! Now everyone can access our Maldonian yearbooks from their home, office, or classroom! Simply visit the Internet Archive’s Malden Public Libary page and you’re ready to browse. You can narrow your search by year and you can even search within the yearbooks. Although if you want to flip through them page by page that is always an option and a delightful one at that.


Don’t wait, explore them today!

Derry City: A Book Talk with Margo Shea


Click here for the YouTube live stream.
Derry, Northern Ireland: with a Catholic majority stretching back to the mid-1800s, Derry played an important role in the civil rights movement and the Troubles, a violent conflict with all the characteristics of a civil war. The people of Derry are a living record of the turmoil, triumphs, and everything in between which rocked their community at that time. Whether you know Derry from the hit Netflix show Derry Girls or not at all, the city has a rich history.  Dr. Margo Shea will join the Malden Public library to delve into the historical record (virtually) in her new book Derry City: Memory and Political Struggle in Northern Ireland, exploring the streets and neighborhoods that have become familiar to many through tv, film, and family lore. Come join us on September 3, 2020 and learn about the people and places behind this great city, whether you are just hearing about it from Derry Girls, from your history book, or from your great uncle’s stories of the Troubles.

Book talk will be followed by a brief Q&A with Librarian Lily and Dr. Shea. You can ask your own questions of the author in the comments section on YouTube or in the discussion thread on the Facebook event post.

7:30 – 8:30 PM


About our author, Margo Shea

“I am an educator, researcher and project administrator with experience in reflective participatory research, civic engagement, service-learning, community development, storytelling and all the ways these intersect and intertwine around historical, social and political issues. I am trained in urban studies, public and oral history, qualitative research methods and (some of) the digital humanities. I am the author of a history of community memory in #Derry, Northern Ireland published by University of Notre Dame Press, called Derry City. At the heart of my work is a firm belief that for much too long, most of us have been mere subjects of history instead of actors and writers of our stories. I work in all of my roles to change that. I work to strengthen our individual and collective ability and resolve to listen into the difficult spaces and to create processes for listening to shape our stories and our actions. Collaborative practice, (planning it, facilitating it, organizing it, evaluating it and amplifying it) while honoring individual perspectives and where they come from, is my strength. ”


And if you are interested in learning more or would like to read the book on your own. Check out the link to order a hardcover copy. HINT: go to  the author’s site for discount codes and release information about future trade paperback editions.

“Derry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and has had a Catholic majority since 1850. It was witness to some of the most important events of the civil rights movement and the Troubles. Derry City examines Catholic Derry from the turn of the twentieth century to the end of the 1960s and the start of the Troubles. Plotting the relationships between community memory and historic change, Margo Shea provides a rich and nuanced account of the cultural, political, and social history of Derry using archival research, oral histories, landscape analysis, and public discourse. Looking through the lens of the memories Catholics cultivated and nurtured as well as those they contested, she illuminates Derry’s Catholics’ understandings of themselves and their Irish cultural and political identities through the decades that saw Home Rule, Partition, and four significant political redistricting schemes designed to maintain unionist political majorities in the largely Catholic and nationalist city. Shea weaves local history sources, community folklore, and political discourse together to demonstrate how people maintain their agency in the midst of political and cultural conflict. As a result, the book invites a reconsideration of the genesis of the Troubles and reframes discussions of the “problem” of Irish memory. It will be of interest to anyone interested in Derry and to students and scholars of memory, modern and contemporary British and Irish history, public history, the history of colonization, and popular cultural history.”


Our New How-To Video Series

Have you ever wondered how to search the library catalog more effectively?

As the world continues its monumental shift to adapt to life during a global pandemic, the Malden Public Library continues to do its best to support our patrons (and everyone else! Hello online community!). We know that the changes in our services, particularly the heavy slant toward the virtual landscape, can be overwhelming and confusing and the world is already overwhelming and confusing enough. Whoever said “When it rains it pours” really nailed it 🙄

We want to make the transition to the new normal as smooth and painless as possible. And so we are introducing a new video series published to our Youtube channel: MPL HOW TO. These videos will be quick (five minutes or less) tutorials on how to effectively use library resources. The very first installment is MPL HOW TO: Search for Physical Items in Our Catalog. We hope you find it helpful.


Remember that we are all in this together. By staying safe you help yourself, the people you  know, and those you don’t. We love you.

Harry Potter at Home

Are you wondering how to fill the hours at home with your children while still engaging them? Well we would suggest reading of course and we’re not the only ones! The Wizarding World has assembled a superstar team with J.K. Rowling, Audible, Bloomsbury, OverDrive, Pottermore Publishing, and Scholastic to bring you Harry Potter at Home, a hub that provides access to Harry Potter books and related activities. It’s as easy as 1-2-3: just add magic and subtract boredom. 

What does this all mean? Well for starters you will be able to access the first Harry Potter book through Overdrive in ebook and audiobook format until the end of April. No waitlists, just instant magical gratification! Teachers have been given an open license to read any and all seven Harry Potter books to their students online. There’s plenty more as well, from arts and crafts to articles and puzzles. You can sign up to have a newsletter delivered to your email weekly which will update you on the latest activities or you can just check the website. Registration is required but it’s FREE! With Harry Potter at Home, there’s something for everyone! 

The Malden Public Library and The Wizarding World know that reading, drawing, doing word searches, and other activities are more than just fun distractions. Reading can transport you to another world when you need a break from this one. It teaches you to think critically and empathize. It improves your language and listening skills and can lengthen short attention spans. It helps expand your imagination which is something to nurture rather than grow out of. You get these same benefits from listening to a book as you do from reading one. When parents read or listen to a book with their children they are helping to engage and prepare their children for the world while creating a shared experience that bonds them. So add a little magic to your home today and remember that with books you can go anywhere you want


The 2018 Olympic Games

It’s time again for the Olympic Games! The 2018 Winter Olympics are being hosted by South Korea in PyeongChang. The games will begin on the 9th of February and end on the 25th. If you want more information about this year’s Olympics, the history of the Olympics, and Olympic traditions, read on!


How long have Olympic Games been held? 

We break the Games into two periods: ancient Olympics and modern Olympics. There was a long gap between the last ancient and the first modern Games. When you think of chariot racing and olive branch victory wreaths, you are thinking of the ancient Games, which took place in Greece. You can read a history of the ancient Olympics here. The modern Olympics started in 1896. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French historian, is credited with reviving the Games.

Why do we have the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies?

What’s an international event without some pomp and circumstance? The opening ceremony is a chance for the host country to share with the world its values and history. You can read more about the tradition and see past opening ceremonies here. The closing ceremony is a celebration of the now concluded Games and is meant to symbolize unity among the participants. You can read more about the tradition and see past closing ceremonies here.

Where can I find the 2018 schedule of events?

You can find the schedule right on the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics website!

Do the Olympic medals look the same now as they did at the first modern Games?

No! The medals are redesigned each Olympic year. You can see the 2018 medals here and past medals here.

Where did the Olympic torch and cauldron tradition come from?

The Olympic flame can be traced back to the ancient Games. The Greeks considered fire to be a symbol of purity, and those values were carried over to the modern Games. Read the history here.

What does the 2018 Olympic torch look like?

See the 2018 Olympic torch and read more about it here.

Where is the Olympic torch now?

Follow the torch’s path here.

What are the Olympic rings?

They are the symbol for the Olympics! Pierre de Coubertin designed the original symbol, and it hasn’t changed much over time. Each represents one of the participating continents. Read more here.

How are host countries chosen?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), formed in 1894, oversees the selection of host countries. You can read about the election process here.

When and where are the next Olympics?

The next Winter Games will be in Beijing, China in 2022. The next Summer Games will be in Tokyo, Japan in 2020. To see a full list of host countries and years for the Summer and Winter Games, follow the links.

Where were the last Winter Olympics?

The last Winter Olympics were in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Where were the last Summer Olympics?

The last Summer Olympics were in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 2016.

Which sports are included in the Olympics?

Winter sports include alpine and cross country skiing, curling, hockey and more. For a full list of Summer and Winter Olympic sports, click here.

Is there a mascot for the Olympics?

There is a mascot for every Olympics! The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang. For a full list of past mascots, click here.

For books and movies about

  • The history and economics of the Olympics
  • Specific Games such as the 1936 and 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany
  • Specific teams such as the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team
  • Specific Olympic athletes such as Jesse Owens, Michael Phelps, and Esther Williams
  • Sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and basketball
  • Fictionalized accounts of the Games

stop by the library today and check out our Olympics display!

By the way, did you know the Olympics has its own library? Check it out here!

A Holiday Hiccup

We all know that iconic scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie, certain that his wish for a Red Ryder B.B. gun has gone unanswered, finds that final package hidden behind the desk which turns his dismay into utter delight. Now imagine yourself on Christmas morning as a child, hoping against hope for the baby doll you’d seen in a catalog. You find it under the tree. Gleeful, you pick up the doll and give it a hug, only to have it growl in your ear, “I’m Smokey the Bear.”

That’s probably not where you thought this story was headed, but that’s the shock Christmas day of 1955 had in story for little boys and girls. On Thursday, 22 December 1955, the Malden Evening News reported a creepy voice box mix-up in an Atlanta, Georgia toy factory that assembled talking dolls. Talk about a nightmare before Christmas! Read on for the full scoop.

“Doll Factory Error To Startle Some Girl Christmas Day

ATLANTA, (UP)—A toyshop mixup threatened today to ruin some little girl’s Christmas because a dainty doll that is supposed to say a goodnight prayer will instead growl a fire prevention rhyme in a bear-voice.

The mixup occurred in a toy factory commissioned to manufacture talking models of Smokey, the bear used on posters by the U.S. Forestry Service in its fire prevention campaign.

The same factory also makes a petite little doll equipped with a voicebox that says gently:

‘Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
God bless Mommy,
God bless Daddy,

The prayer and the voice are much different from the sounds created for Smokey, the forest service teddy bear.

It growls in a gruff voice:

‘I’m Smokey the Bear, I’m the Smokey the Bear.
‘Running and looking for smoke in the air.
‘I warn careless people and tell them “take care.”
‘Please prevent forest fires, says Smokey the Bear.’

The South Carolina Forestry Commission ordered 96 of the stuffed bears for use in its fire prevention campaign. The first of the 96 Smokey Bears to arrive in the commission office was immediately tested. It created pandemonium by uttering in a childish voice:

‘Now I lay me down…’

Regional employes [sic] speculated that the toyshop mixed the voice boxes earmarked for the Smokey Bear and the dolls.

One of the bearlike voice boxes was sure to end up in one of the dainty ‘praying’ dolls, they calculated.”


After some research, it seems that the two dolls mentioned in the story were manufactured by the now-defunct
Ideal Toys. The praying doll was probably Ideal’s Patti Prays doll.