January Issue

Who took the first ever photograph? Should you place your fork on the right or left side of your plate? What was happening on this day in 1947? Answer all of these questions and more using the library’s reference collection!
A reference collection brings together resources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and more to help you answer questions about a range of topics. Click here to view some of our most popular reference titles!
Please note that reference materials are non-circulating, meaning that they are available for in-house use only and cannot be checked out from the building. If you see something you want to take home with you, double check our catalog for copies listed as “circulating.”
All library locations will be closed on:
Sunday, January 1
Monday, January 2
Sunday, January 15
Monday, January 16

Staff Spotlight

Did you know that the library’s reference collection can teach you about everything from famous firsts to obscure holidays and historic events through the ages? Read on for some reference recommendations from our staff, plus a few fun facts for good measure.
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits | Joel Whitburn
Crack open the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits and take a deep dive into a half-century of popular American music! Look up your favorite artists to see their top 40 hits, plus debut dates, number of weeks charted, and peak position in the charts. You can also check out chronological lists of number one hit singles to reminisce about old favorites or discover before-your-time hits. Did you know? 50 years ago, the first single to top the 1973 charts was “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon.
Chase's Calendar of Events 
Chase’s Calendar is the self-proclaimed “ultimate go-to guide for special days, weeks and months,” and for good reason. It covers everything from widely-celebrated holidays to famous anniversaries to niche monthly observances. Did you know? January 1 isn’t just New Year’s Day; it’s also the 60th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time, Mad Anthony Wayne’s birthday, and the beginning of oatmeal month!
Day by Day | Leonard Thomas, Jeffrey Merritt, Thomas Paker, Ellen Meltzer, and Smita Avasthi
Want to know what was happening on this day in history? Peruse the Day by Day for a daily chronology of world events! Each volume covers a single decade from the 1940s through the 1990s. Click a decade below to view the corresponding Day by Day volumes in our catalog: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s.
Historical Gazetteer of the United States |
Paul Hellmann
This historical gazetteer offers a survey of U.S. history organized city by city and town by town. Try looking up your own city for a breakdown of important events that have taken place there. Did you know? Erie County was formed in 1800, Erie’s first newspaper (the Erie Daily Times) was founded in 1888, and our first public library was built in 1899.
Masterplots Annual
Masterplots is a classic reference series that summarizes the plots of notable books and movies.  While you probably wouldn’t use it to look up the latest New York Times bestseller (the latest edition of Masterplots in the library’s collection was published in 1996), it’s a great way to learn about classic novels through the decades. If you’ve ever wanted to know what critics were saying about The Crying of Lot 49, or The Color Purple in the years they were published, Masterplots is the place to look.
Robertson's Book of Firsts | Patrick Robertson
If you’ve ever been curious about the first of anything – the first microwave oven, the first escalator, the first hypnotist, the first public library - Robertson’s Book of Firsts has you covered. Did you know? The first children’s book, The book of Curtesye, was published as early as 1477. It was packed with useful advice like “comb your head, clean your ears and nose and don’t pick it,” “when you speak to men, look 'em in the face,” and “don’t break wind up or down.”
The focus of this time of year is often about reflection and preparation. The Erie Regional Library Foundation (ERLF) has built a base of trust through our past projects that require the investment of many to provide for the residents of Erie County through our public libraries.  ERLF is poised to embark on major projects that will expand opportunities and fulfill unmet needs.

We hope you will consider a gift to ERLF this year! Gifts to ERLF will provide for dynamic projects and programs that keep our libraries creative, flexible, and ready to serve. Supporting our libraries is the greatest gift you can give to our community. We appreciate and value your support!

You may donate online at, or during your next visit to a branch library.

Thank you for helping to preserve our local libraries! On behalf of the Erie Regional Library Foundation, we wish you health and happiness in the coming year!
Erica Shine                                             
Board President

Featured Programs

Start your 2023 with fun programs and relaxing crafts at the library. For a complete list of library events, visit our online events calendar at

All library programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated. Programs are made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Erie County Public Library.

Beginner Crochet

Saturday, January 7
3:00 PM, Blasco Library

Back by popular demand, Clara Tupitza will instruct teens on basic stitches and techniques of crochet. Get started on a mastering a new craft! Supplies provided. No previous experience necessary. Free for teens age 13-18 years old. Registration is required.

The Story of Tea

Monday, January 9
6:00 PM, Iroquois Branch 

Calling all tea-lovers! Join us for a night of tea-riffic adult learning as we explore the history, geography, culture, drama, and flavors of tea. Registration required. Limited to 14 participants.

Craft Nights

Monday, January 9
6:00 PM, Blasco Library
Join us at the Blasco Library for craft nights one Monday of every month! This month we will be making jewelry. No registration is required. This program is free and open to children of all ages and their families.

Youth Chess Club

Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 PM
Thursday, January 12, 2:00 PM
Edinboro Branch
Youth ages 6–17 are invited for a Chess Club! All skill levels are welcome for this friendly gathering of strategic thinkers and budding tacticians to play low-stakes chess with each other. Players should bring their own chess sets, although the library will have a couple available for use. No registration required.

Crafternoon Class: Visual Art Journaling

Wednesday, January 11
2:30 PM, Lincoln Branch

It’s a new year and time to start a new hobby.  Come relax, visit, and enjoy a Crafternoon. Do you love journaling, doodling, scrapbooking, Smash Journal, Visual Journaling? This class is for you. Join fellow crafters, together we will get creative and share ideas. All materials are provided, just register and show up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Game Night: Mini Book Bingo

Wednesday, January 18
6:00 PM, Blasco Library

Join us for a fun evening of book-themed mini bingo! You'll stamp mini bingo cards with mini stamper markers, win some tiny book prizes, and munch on some snacks! All you need is an ability to read book titles and shout BINGO! For children ages 7-12, must be accompanied by an adult.

Homeschool Happy Hour: The Story of Trash

Thursday, January 19
2:00 PM, Iroquois Branch

Do you know what happens to your trash after it leaves your trash can? Do you know what you can do at home to reduce your "trash footprint"? Join us for an afternoon of learning and fun as we explore the story of trash, learn some practical ways to reduce our trash production, and create a trash-free lunch bag to take home. Registration required for each child (Accompanying adults need not register).
Interested in attending a similar program geared toward adults? Join us for Adult Program: The Story of Trash on Monday, January 23 at 6:00 PM.

Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program

Monday, January 23
6:30 PM, Lincoln Branch

Join Amber Stilwell from Penn State Extension to hear about the Master Watershed Steward Program in Erie, Crawford, and Warren Counties. The new program provides extensive training in watershed management to volunteers who, in turn, help strengthen local capacity for protection of watersheds, streams, and rivers by educating and empowering communities. No registration required, just stop in.

DIY Puppet Workshop

Thursday, January 26
6:30 PM, Blasco Library

Enjoy some classic storytime puppet shows and then make your very own puppet to take home with you! Ages 5-8. Space is limited and registration is required.

Tutors with Tails (Therapy Dogs)

Monday, January 30
6:00 PM, Blasco Library

Join us at the Blasco Library to read to therapy dogs and do a fun craft! No registration is required. This program is free and open to children of all ages and their families. All dogs are certified and friendly. Reading to a therapy dog encourages all readers to gain confidence in a judgement-free zone.

Library Resource Highlight

This database offers a digital version to the classic reference series Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism and Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism. Both the digital and print versions offer modern and historical views on authors and their works across regions, eras, and genres. Click here to use the database, or visit the Blasco Library to access the entire 509-volume series in print.
View All Library Databases

Honorariums & Memorials

Click here to make a donation in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Click here to make a donation in honor or in memory of a loved one.
In Memory of Jack & Mary Baker
Given by Ann Marie Pochedly
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