President’s Day…Or Is It?

george washington When I was a child, I learned in school that President’s Day was the Monday in between President Lincoln’s birthday and President Washington’s birthday.  Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12 and George Washington was born on February 22 which usually meant that my sister got a three day weekend for her birthday (which is the 18th).

But according to the Federal Government, the official name of the holiday is George Washington’s Birthday.  On January 31, 1879, Congress declared February 22nd a holiday observed by federal employees in the District of Columbia. In 1885, the holiday was expanded to the whole country. For close to one hundred years, the nation celebrated Washington’s Birthday on the actual day of his birth.  This changed after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 which moved federal holidays to Mondays in an effort to provide people with three day weekends.  George Washington’s Birthday was declared to be the third Monday in the month of February.  Since it fell between Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, some states started calling the day President’s Day.

If you ask most Americans what they know about George Washington they will tell you three things:

  1. He chopped down a cherry tree
  2. Washington was the commanding General during the Revolutionary War
  3. And of course, he was the First President

From what I recall in history class, Washington became President and that was the end of the discussion on him. Of course, there was more to whiskey rebellionthe story. Recently I came across the book The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty by William Hogeland.  When the new Federal Government needed revenue, Congress decided that they needed to tax domestic products. Whiskey was the first American made product to be taxed.  People on the western frontier were outraged and they attacked a tax collector. The new nation was already facing a rebellion. President Washington and Congress had to decide how to react. How much power did this new government have? William Hogeland’s book provides insight to the President that we think we all know and details a forgotten chapter of American history.

Davenport Public Library offers a variety of sources about George Washington. Visit the library today to learn more about our First President.



One Hit Wonders

to kill a mockingbirdOn February 3, 2015, the literary world was shocked to learn that Harper Lee would no longer be a One Hit Wonder. In July 2015, her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, is scheduled to be released.

Go Set a Watchman is the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird and is set twenty years later.  An adult Scout Finch lives in New York and is back visiting her father, Atticus Finch, in Maycomb, Alabama. According to the publisher, Scout “is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.”

While Harper Lee may be leaving the One Hit Wonder Club, that still leaves other authors that will remain in the One Hit Wonder Club forever.


wuthering heights Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights was published in London in 1847 by Ellis Bell.  The passion and violence in the book led people to believe that a man wrote Wuthering Heights.  Emily Bronte died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848 at the age of thirty without knowing how popular her novel would become.


Black Beauty Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

It took Anna six years to write Black Beauty.  She was so sick while she wrote it that she dictated a lot of it to her mother.  Considered a children’s classic, Sewell wrote the book for people that worked with horses.  Sewell died on April 27, 1878 five months after her book had been published.


gwtw Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

It took Margaret Mitchell three years to write her famous novel and it took an additional six years before she showed  it to anybody.  In 1936, Gone With the Wind was published making Mitchell famous.  The movie release in 1939  only heightened her fame. Mitchell did not care for the spotlight which may be the reason she never wrote  a sequel.  In 1949, she was hit by a car and died five days later.


bell jar

 Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath was a published poet when she wrote her semi-autobiographical novel about mental illness.  In January 1963, The Bell Jar was published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.   Plath died less than a month later on February 11, 1963.


catcher in the rye J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger had published several short stories but The Catcher in The Rye made him famous in 1951. The attention made him reclusive and he published his short stories and novellas less frequently. Salinger died of natural causes on January 27, 2010.


ACT Test Preparation at Davenport Library

pencil-testAre you taking the ACT on February 7, 2015?  Do you need help preparing for the ACT? If so, the library can help!

The Davenport Public Library offers a database called Learning Express Library 3.0. This fantastic database offers tutorials on how to take the ACT as well as offer games and flash cards to help boost your skills.  Learning Express Library 3.0 also offers practice tests. As soon as you are done with a section, you can immediately find out your score. Best of all, you can go back and check your answers so you can find out what you missed. If you get an answer wrong, the test will tell you what areas you need to study.  For example, if you were taking the English Test and got an answer wrong, the test would tell you to review “Rhetorical Skills” or “Mechanics”.

Learning Express Library 3.0 can also help you study for the SAT, PSAT, and your AP exams too! So if you have need help studying for your exam, grab your Davenport Public Library card and check out Learning Express Library 3.0 today!

Resolution: Read More Books

book headphonesDid you make a New Year’s Resolution to read more books? Are you already struggling to find time to read to a book?  If so, you might want to try audiobooks.

Many Davenport library users have made comments about how they can listen to audiobooks while doing other things.  Some people listen to them in the car while others say they listen to audiobooks while cleaning the house.

The Davenport Public Library offers different audiobook options. You can come to the library and check out CD or MP3 audiobooks. The library also offers Playaways. Playaways are devices that have an audiobook already recorded on it. All you have to do is plug in your headphones and listen! They are small enough that you can put them in your pocket.

If you don’t have time to come to the library, you can download audiobooks from home. One Click Digital is an online resource that offers eAudiobooks to download. RiverShare Digital Library offers both eAudiobooks and eBooks to download.

To learn more about downloading audiobooks, visit the e-Books & More section of our website.