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December Issue

December is both cold and cozy, the perfect month to try some new recipes and flavors. This month, we are celebrating everyone’s favorite part of the holidays – food! Pull up a chair and join us for a feast of cookbooks, holiday programs, and a delicious staff spotlight.

Top Titles of 2021

From biographies, mysteries, and graphic novels to blockbuster films and timeless classics, see what Erie has been reading this year! The competition has been fierce, but fifty titles have emerged victorious. Click here to see the Erie County Public Library’s most-circulated items of the year.

Cookbooks

Here at the Erie County Public Library, we don’t just love to read – we love to eat, too! Check out our selection of mouthwatering cookbooks to spice up your next holiday dinner. If you’re feeling industrious, you can even try your hand at some of our favorite recipes. Our staff recommends:
All library locations will be closed:
Friday, December 24
Saturday, December 25
Monday, December 27
Friday, December 31
Saturday, January 1

Staff Spotlight: Cookbooks

This month, we asked our staff for their favorite nonfiction books about food, and they delivered! Sit down with a mug of hot cocoa and a slice of pizza and dig in to these fascinating food reads.
Pizzapedia | Dan Bransfield
This illustrated guide to pizza elevates its subject on the highest, cheesiest pedestal, and as you read you'll agree that it absolutely deserves all of its claim to fame.  Learn about the history of pizza, enjoy celebrity guest appearances like Chuck E. Cheese, Bill Murray, and Joe DiMaggio, and explore pizza technology.  The illustrations really steal the show, and if I ever get pizza tattooed on my body, the rendering will be directly from this book.
Tasting the Past | Kevin Begos
This book explores the history of grapes, ancient wine recipes (very different from today’s!) and the lineage of some of the most common varieties. You’ll learn that French grape varieties actually have a very mixed heritage, and that we’re missing out on unique flavors from around the world by limiting ourselves to chardonnay and pinot noir.
Fifty Foods that Changed the Course of History | Bill Price
50 Foods that Changed the Course of History is a great introduction to food history. The entries are easy to read; it is a quick, fun book, and it’s interesting to learn about how foods we know and love today came to be!
Extra Virginity | Tom Mueller
For good pop-science book on an oil we all know and love, give Extra Virginity a read! Learn about the history of this ubiquitous cooking oil, the criminal underworld of olive oil fraud, and how to buy the best oil (hint: “bottled in Italy” is not necessarily a good indicator of quality).
Consider the Fork | Bee Wilson
Does our silverware change the way our mouths are shaped? Can a gold spoon really make food taste sweeter? And what’s the story behind hyper-specialized forks for eating salad, sardines, ice cream, and even soup? Consider the Fork answers all the questions you never thought to ask about the cutlery and kitchen tools you use every day.
Cook Real Hawai'i | Sheldon Simeon
More than just a collection of recipes, this book explores the melding of cultures in Hawai'i and the influences of both traditional and immigrant cooking styles on the author's tasty treats. The tastes and pictures will warm you right up; it's perfect for a snowy Erie day. 

Special Events

Thursday, December 2, 10 AM - 6 PM
Friday, December 3, 10 AM - 4 PM
Saturday, December 4, 9 AM - 3 PM
 
Mark your calendars – our Holiday Book Sale is right around the corner! The sale will feature an extensive selection of children's books, CDs and DVDs, and holiday fiction. As always, find great bargains on puzzles and gently used paperback books! The sale will be held in the Admiral Room located in Blasco Library's main lobby. This event is sponsored by the Bayfront Bookshelf and the Friends of the Erie County Public Library, and all purchases directly support ECPL programming.
Banned Book Ball
December 11 - December 16

Support your local library during the Erie Regional Library Foundation’s Banned Book Ball!

Now through December 8, visit erlfoundation.org/BannedBookBall and receive your very own Banned Book Tote when you make a $50 donation. Each tote comes with a banned book and local goodies, including flavored popcorn from PopLuck, a cake pop from Icing on the Lake, coffee coupons from Pressed, chocolate from Romolo’s, coupons for Art’s Bakery, and more!
 
Your $50 donation also saves you a slot to test your banned book knowledge and win awesome prizes at our Virtual Banned Book Jeopardy event on Thursday, December 16! This event is family-friendly. Interested in just playing Jeopardy ? Donations of $10 will be accepted at erlfoundation.org.

Featured Programs

Close your year out with music, crafts, poetry, and more! Celebrate this holiday season with one (or ten!) of our exciting December programs.
 
For our safety and yours, State and County Department of Health guidelines will be followed during all programs, and masks are required for all in-person events. Programs are made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Erie County Public Library. All library programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.

History Happy Half-Hour: The History of Holiday Lights

Wednesday, December 1
4:30 PM, virtual

Put on your favorite holiday sweater, make a cup of hot cocoa, and cozy up with a blanket as we come together for the History Happy Half-Hour this month! Join us on Facebook to learn about the history of different holiday celebrations and their use of lights. This History Happy Half-Hour is great for the entire family, and is just in time to celebrate National Christmas Lights Day!

True Colors

Every Thursday
6:00 PM, Blasco Memorial Library

True Colors is an inclusive and welcoming space to talk about the things that matter to you. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, not sure, or just trying to figure things out? Each week, we will answer your questions about healthy relationships. Come hang out, meet some new friends, do some arts & crafts, talk, all in a safe space. Free for teens age 13-18 years old. Registration is preferred. Program presented by NAMI of Erie County.

Monday Makers: Photo Meet Up

Monday, December 6
6:00 PM, Blasco Idea Lab

Calling all photo enthusiasts! Come to chat about photography and share tips and tricks. Each meeting will focus on a selected topic.

At the end of each meeting, we will give out a photo challenge to try for the next meeting. Photographers of all experience levels are welcome to this group! Meeting topic: landscapes.

Poetry Live: HOMES with Moheb Soliman

Monday, December 6
6:00 PM, Blasco Memorial Library

Poet Moheb Soliman's Great Lakes book tour comes to Erie! Join us at the Blasco Library for a special Poetry Live event featuring poet Moheb Soliman and his debut book HOMES. HOMES (Coffee House Press, 2021) explores nature, modernity, identity, belonging, and sublimity through the site of the Great Lakes bioregion/borderland. His reading will be accompanied by local poet Chuck Joy and followed by a Q&A. The reading will close with an open mic with all members of the community invited to participate.

Live Music

Gannon University Jazz Ensemble
Wednesday, December 8
6:00 PM, Blasco Memorial Library

Gem City Concert Series
Saturday, December 18
1:00 PM, Blasco Memorial Library

Celebrate the holidays with some festive jazz music performed by Gannon University’s Jazz Ensemble. This concert will take place in the Hirt Auditorium on December 8. Still not enough jazz? Stop back in for our Gem City Concert Series on December 18!
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Bullet Journals

Saturday, December 11
11:00 AM, Blasco Memorial Library

Do you want to learn how to plan, track and keep a record of activities in a fun and unique way? Bullet journals can help you do just that. This is a hands-on workshop to get you started. We will supply the materials, demonstrate key concepts and help you create. Each participant will get a journal, pens, stencils, and stickers to keep. Free for teens age 13-18 years old. Registration is required.

Monday Makers: Make a Holiday Card

Monday, December 13
6:00 PM, Blasco Idea Lab

Drop in to create your own card. We have a variety of supplies for you to use when constructing your card. Want to up your card making game? Try out the Cricut to add a little pizzazz to your card!

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Crafting Paper Orbs

Monday, December 13
6:30 PM, Edinboro Branch Library

Join us for a relaxing evening of crafting a twenty-sided paper orb. All materials are provided. Class size is limited to 10 and registration is required. This program is free and open to the public.
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Resource Showcase

Scranton Public Library – Community and Church Cookbooks from Northeastern PA
 
Dig in to these digitized church cookbooks from Northeastern PA! Dating mostly from the 1960’s and 70’s, this collection includes recipes that showcase Pennsylvania Dutch, Polish, and Jewish cooking. Whether you’re looking for hidden gems or forgotten casseroles, these digital cookbooks offer a delicious slice of PA history. To view this collection, visit our PA Photos and Docs database and select “culinary arts.”
View All Library Databases

External Resource Spotlight

Ever wanted to try your hand at home canning, but without all the salmonella and botulism? The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers plenty of in-depth, research-based guides on how to can, freeze, dry, cure, smoke, ferment, and pickle safely. Armed with your new food safety know-how, why not check out the Idea Lab’s Erie Makes video series for a few pickling pro tips from local maker Brandon Levesque?

Honorariums & Memorials

In Memory of
Florence Rutkowski Adameck
Given by John & Patrice Berchtold

In Memory of Faye Pitonyak
Given by Mr. & Mrs. Keith Eller

In Memory of Faye Pitonyak
Given by Charles & Christine Graw

In Honor of Dena Ritter
Given by Kathy & Tom Shruers
In Memory of Esther Malaspina
Given by Edward & Linda Bolla

In Memory of Faye Pitonyak
Given by James & Anna Knauff

In Honor of Betsy Shruers
Given by Kathy & Tom Shruers

In Honor of Gayle Morris
Given by Kathy & Tom Shruers

In Honor of Wendy Baker
Given by Kathy & Tom Shruers
Make a Donation in Honor or Memory of a Loved One
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