20 Years Later: Reflections on the Terror Attacks of September 11, 2001

Artist Registration Invitation

The events of September 11, 2001 left an indelible mark on both U.S. and world history.

To honor those whose lives were lost, to respect those who lost family, friends and colleagues in the attacks on New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, we invite area artists to contribute to this month-long display at Allentown Public Library.

All artists must REGISTER HERE. (Other details and instruction below.)

Our intent is to acknowledge the day through art, and to teach future generations both what we remember and what we have learned.

Thirty people from the state of Pennsylvania died in the attacks on September 11, 2001, including Alan Merdinger of Allentown, PA.

  1. Bane, Michael Andrew – 33 – Yardley – Deceased WTC
  2. Baxter, Jasper – 45 – Philadelphia – Deceased WTC
  3. Berger, James Patrick – 44 – Lower Makefield – Deceased WTC
  4. Blanding Jr., Harry – 38 – Blakeslee – Deceased WTC
  5. Bowser, Kevin L. – 45 – Philadelphia – Deceased WTC
  6. Calandrillo, Joseph – 49 – Hawley – Deceased WTC
  7. Chirchirillo, Peter A. – 47 – Langhorne – Deceased WTC
  8. Clarke, Christopher Robert – 34 – Philadelphia – Deceased WTC
  9. Coale, Jeffrey – 31 – Souderton – Deceased WTC
  10. Flounders, Joseph W. – 46 – East Stroudsburg – Deceased WTC
  11. Havlish Jr., Donald G. – 53 – Yardley – Deceased WTC
  12. Horrocks, Michael R. – 38 – Glen Mills – On United 175
  13. Jones, Donald W. – 43 – Fairless Hills – Deceased WTC
  14. Kim, Lawrence Donald – 31 – Blue Bell – Deceased WTC
  15. Lopez, George – 40 – Stroudsburg – Deceased WTC
  16. Lostrangio, Joseph – 48 – Langhorne – Deceased WTC
  17. McNeil, Walter Arthur – 53 – East Stroudsburg – Deceased Emergency/Rescue
  18. Melendez, Mary – 44 – Stroudsburg – Deceased WTC
  19. Merdinger, Alan H. – 47 – Allentown – Deceased WTC
  20. Nacke, Louis J. – 42 – New Hope – On United 93
  21. O’Sullivan, Timothy F. – 68 – Albrightsville – Deceased WTC
  22. Panik, Jonas Martin – 26 – Mingoville – Deceased Pentagon
  23. Ragonese-Snik, Laura Marie – 41 – Bangor – Deceased WTC
  24. Romero Sr., Efrain Franco – 57 – Hazleton – Deceased WTC
  25. Saracini, Victor J. – 51 – Lower Makefield Township – On United 175
  26. Senko, Larry John – 34 – Yardley – Deceased WTC
  27. Sigmund, Johanna – 25 – Syndmoor – Deceased WTC
  28. Smith, George Eric – 38 – West Chester – Deceased WTC
  29. Steiner, WIlliam R. – 56 – New Hope – Deceased WTC
  30. Wright, Sandra – 57 – Langhorne – Deceased WTC

Beach Reads

Beach Reads

Summer is here in force so we asked our staff what they are bringing to the beach with them. Here are their answers:

Beach Read
by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters. Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. But as the summer stretches on, January discovers a gaping plot hole in the story she’s been telling herself about her own life, and begins to wonder what other things she might have gotten wrong, including her ideas about the man next door.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook

The Unhoneymooners
by Christina Lauren

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime–maybe even love. Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion–she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas. Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo. Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is, Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
Book (at Easton)/Overdrive eBook

Leave the World Behind
by Rumaan Alam

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. 
Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook/Hoopla Audiobook

The Truly Devious
by Maureen Johnson

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth-century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.” In 1936, shortly after the school opened, Ellingham’s wife and daughter, Iris and Alice, were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great crimes of American history. Something like that could never happen again, of course. Years later, true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
Book/Overdrive Audiobook/Hoopla eBook/Hoopla Audiobook

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic
by Emily Croy Barker

During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, eager to forget about her disastrous breakup and stalled dissertation, Nora Fischer wanders off and somehow finds herself in another realm. There, she meets glamorous Ilissa—who introduces Nora to a decadent new world—and her gorgeous son Raclin. But when the elegant veneer of this dreamland shatters, Nora finds herself in a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. And the only way she can survive is by learning real magic herself.
Book

Summer on the Bluffs
by Sunny Hostin

The exclusive beach community of Oak Bluffs is a mecca for the crème de la crème of black society. Thirty years ago Amelia Vaux Tanner and her husband built Chateau Laveau, a house high on the bluffs. Ama’s favorite guests have always been her three “goddaughters:” Esperanza “Perry” Soto, a talented Afro-Latina lawyer; Olivia Jones, a Wall Street analyst; and Billie Hayden, a marine biologist. This summer Ama, now nearing seventy-one, is moving to the south of France to reunite with her college sweetheart. She has invited Perry, Olivia, and Billy to spend one last golden summer together with her the way they did when they were kids. And when fall comes, she is going to give the house to one of them. And each wants the house. Desperately.
Book/Overdrive eBook

Beach Road
by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in America’s wealthiest resort town: legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll. Very Expensive: Then a friend of Tom’s is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star’s mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century. Very Exclusive: Tom recruits Manhattan super-lawyer Kate Costello to help. She’s a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend, but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer, and what emerges is staggering. Very Explosive: The final scenes of this audio book unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.
Book/Large Print/Audiobook CD/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla Audiobook

Nights in Rodanthe
by Nicholas Sparks

At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne’s perfect getaway will be ruined, until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort, and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
Book

Running With Scissors
by Augusten Burroughs

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
Book

Honeymoon with My Brother
by Franz Wisner

This is the true story of Franz Wisner, a man who thought he had it all- a high profile career and the fiancée of his dreams- when suddenly, his life turned upside down. Just days before they were to be married, his fiancée called off the wedding. Luckily, his large support network of family and friends wouldn’t let him succumb to his misery. They decided Franz should have a wedding and a honeymoon anyway- there just wouldn’t be a bride at the ceremony, and Franz’ travel companion would be his brother, Kurt.

During the “honeymoon,” Franz reconnected with his brother and began to look at his life with newfound perspective. The brothers decided to leave their old lives behind them. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions, and traveled around the world, visiting fifty-three countries for the next two years. In Honeymoon With My Brother, Franz recounts this remarkable journey, during which he turned his heartbreak into an opportunity to learn about himself, the world, and the brother he hardly knew
Book

Things You Save in a Fire
by Katherine Center

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla Audiobook

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Hoopla eBook/Hoopla Audiobook

Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Overdrive Audiobook

New Museum Passes

Need something to do this summer? Get the kids out to experience some of the cultural offerings of the area? The library is now offering passes to the following regional museums to be checked out by Allentown residents.

  • Allentown Art Museum
  • America on Wheels
  • Da Vinci Science Center
  • Elmwood Park Zoo
  • Independence Seaport Museum
  • Liberty Bell Museum
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • Mütter Museum
  • National Liberty Museum
  • Philadelphia Magic Gardens
  • Reading Public Museum

Visit the Museum Pass Information page to learn more

Kids Eat Free

Grab and Go lunches

for any child under the age of 18

are distributed

Monday through Friday

from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Stop by with your kids !

Lunches are distributed on the front lawn of the library.

In case of bad weather, the lunches will be distributed in the Community Room.

Your Story: Allentown in Quarantine

YOU CAN BECOME PART OF HISTORY

What is this?

The Allentown Public Library is collecting stories from individuals on how the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine and mandates have affected their lives.

Why?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine is historically significant and continues to affect our society in monumental ways. However, it may be difficult for future generations to fully understand how our lives and daily experiences have been changed. This is why the library is collecting those individual stories and storing them in our archives to be accessed by those future generations.

How Can You Share Your Story?

Fill out the form on this page. A librarian will then contact you about how to record your own story or schedule an interview.

Staff Picks: Books to Movies

Staff Picks: Books to Movies

Summer is prime time for film adaptations of books and this summer is no exception. “The book is better than the movie” is a truism but we asked our staff for some of the movie adaptations of books they’ve enjoyed.

The African Queen
by C.S. Forester

As World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle, Charlie Allnutt and Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader and an English spinster missionary, find themselves thrown together by circumstance. Fighting time, heat, malaria, and bullets, they make their escape on the rickety steamboat The African Queen…and hatch their own outrageous military plan. This book was made into a movie in 1951 starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Humphrey Bogart won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Book/DVD

Bridget Jones’s Diary
by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR. This book was made into a movie starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth.
Book/Hoopla Audiobook/DVD

The Color Purple
By Alice Walker

The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience.  It was made into a movie in 1985 and featured many stars including Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey. It was nominated for 11 Oscars.
Book/eBook (Hoopla and Overdrive)/DVD

The Devil Wears Prada
by Lauren Weisberger

A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.
Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of “Runway “magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts “Prada! Armani! Versace!” at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child. This book was made into a movie in 2006 and starred Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.
Book/Audiobook CD/Overdrive eBook/DVD

The Exorcist
by William Peter Blatty

 A desperate mother and two priests fight to free the soul of a little girl from a supernatural entity of pure malevolence. This book was made into a movie in 1973 and quickly became a classic horror film.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Audiobook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/DVD

Fight Club
by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club’s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret after-hours boxing matches in the basement of bars. There, two men fight “as long as they have to.” This is a gloriously original work that exposes the darkness at the core of our modern world. Made into a movie in 1999 starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Audiobook CD/Audiobook Hoopla/DVD

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. First made into a movie in Sweden in 2009.
Book/Overdrive eBook/Audiobook CD/Overdrive Audiobook/Hoopla Comic/Hoopla Movie

North and South
by John Jakes

Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations. Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation. This book was made into a TV miniseries in 1985 starring Kirstie Alley.
Book/eBook Hoopla/DVD/Hoopla Movie

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck

An intimate portrait of two men who cherish the slim bond between them and the dream they share in a world marred by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own—a couple of acres and a few pigs, chickens, and rabbits back in Hill Country where land is cheap. But after they come to work on a ranch in the fertile Salinas Valley of California, their hopes, like “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,” begin to go awry. This has been in made into a movie multiple times and the 1939 version can be found in the Lehigh Valley Library System.
Book/Audiobook CD/Overdrive Audiobook/DVD

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. Its humor lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the Regency era in England. This also has been made into movies many times but we particularly like the 1995 version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
Book/eBook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/Audiobook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/DVD

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

 William Goldman reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” of the fictional novel by S. Morgenstern to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere. What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex. This book was made into an all time great movie in 1987 with an all star cast.
Book/eBook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/DVD

The Shining
by Stephen King

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. This was made into a very creep movie in 1980 directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson.
Overdrive eBook/Audiobook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/DVD

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook
by Ben Mezrich

The high-energy tale of how two socially awkward Ivy Leaguers, trying to increase their chances with the opposite sex, ended up creating Facebook. This was adapted into a movie called “The Social Network” in 2010 starring Jesse Eisenberg.
Book/DVD

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. The book was made into an classic academy award winning movie in 1962 starring Gregory Peck.
Book/ebook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/Audiobook CD/Audiobook (Overdrive and Hoopla)/DVD

Café Wrap: Justice vs. Vengeance

Question: Does justice equate with vengeance and does mercy equate with forgiveness?

At the latest Socrates Café meetup we addressed this timely question. Though it’s two questions merged into one, the feeling (according to the one who submitted it) is that this question reflects two sides of the same coin.

Initially, one participant suggested that when feeling that one has been wronged, vengeance is individualized. If you are wronged, vengeance says, “You cannot treat me this way!” The reward for enacted vengeance may be that the actor is then feared or even respected. On the other hand, justice must be enforced by the state as it says, “You may not treat anyone this way.”

Justice is supposed to give power to the powerless, though one expressed the concern that sometimes justice is twisted to the point that it becomes vengeance. Laws are designed to maintain civil society, though the laws themselves depend on the culture in which you live; a democracy, an aristocracy, dictatorship or another form of government. Democracies, it was pointed out, have been instituted to usurp powers of kings and emperors.

We looked at mercy and forgiveness as being different from justice or vengeance. If you are a reasonable person responsible for a child, you might mete out justice by punishing a child to discourage the child from repeating the offense. But you should be merciful in that endeavor, ensuring that the punishment fits the infraction.

Juries serve justice by declaring guilty one who has been proven criminally responsible and we rely on them to do so. Likewise, we then expect the court to sentence the person accordingly. Ideally, an imprisoned criminal would be shown mercy out of respect for both the person’s humanity and feelings. We acknowledge that cases of crimes against persons rather than crimes involving property present the heaviest burdens when it comes to mercy or forgiveness.

One patron mentioned the idea that justice and mercy are often institutionalized as in hospitals and in prisons.

An individual can show mercy but feel unable to forgive, or they may show both forgiveness and mercy. Justice is meant to be proportionate to the crime and bring repentance or repair so that a person can become a productive member of society. On the other hand, if the criminal is deemed too dangerous to society as a whole, some believe the ideal punishment would keep the person humanely incarcerated until such time as that is no longer the case, while others believe capital punishment would suffice. We acknowledge the many inequities that can occur when laws are ambiguously written or applied unequally.

There are always diverse and interesting points of view offered at the Socrates Café about the question of the day. We welcome anyone who enjoys listening to others’ point of view and sharing their own from time to time.