Brooks Memorial Library

Friends of Brooks Memorial Library

The Poetics of Girlhood and Womanhood in America

Presenters: Diana Whitney, Shanta Lee Gander, Christal Brown
Time: April 6, 7:00pm
Place: Brooks Memorial Library (in person)

Poets and writers Diana Whitney and Shanta Lee Gander join Christal Brown, associate professor of Dance at Middlebury College, in a conversation that explores how girlhood and womanhood in America are manifested across the boundaries of poetry, dance, and lived experience.

Diana Whitney’s edited work “You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves” ranges across intersectional, intergenerational, and gender-fluid voices.

In “GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues” Shanta Lee Gander navigates between formal and vernacular styles to examine butterflies and female sexuality, vulnerability, classical Greek myths, and more.

Christal Brown’s original dance piece “The Opulence of Integrity” was inspired by the public life and inner searching of Muhammad Ali, boxing’s outspoken superstar.

Dear friend,

(The letterhead PDF version of the following letter is available here.)

Back when the internet became omnipresent, many thought the age of books — and by definition, libraries — was over. Forbes even dared to hypothesize that public libraries were unnecessary. Why pay taxes to keep a bricks-and-mortar library going? they reasoned. Why not privatize? Why not buy books at Amazon, read them at Starbucks and watch movie choices on Netflix?

The article elicited so much outrage that Forbes immediately removed it from its website. We could have told them. People are passionate about their libraries. Last year at this time, Brooks was so full it was hard to book a meeting space. Downstairs, you could browse the shelves, read magazines, play chess, check your email, listen to a lecture, make photocopies, have Jeanne help you with research, have Matt help you with a tech problem, peruse the latest display put together by Courtney, fill out a job application, trade book recommendations with Ellen, Klara, Lorena, and Sarah, search your family’s ancestry or exchange gossip with a friend while getting checked out. Free yoga classes, writers’ workshops, Scrabble games and serious lectures competed for space. The Children’s Room was often filled with children playing, dancing, listening to stories with Lindsay or making art and checking in with their pals Jeni, John, Judy and Julia. Chloe enriched and honored the teen experience with her interactions in the Spicy Lime. You could take out snowshoes in the winter and enjoy hours of warmth catching up on the latest magazines processed by Maria. Jenn could get the most esoteric texts through interlibrary loan, and Leslie and Marybeth kept the new books flowing. Brooks was truly the center of our community.

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First Wednesdays are Back!

The Friends of Brooks Memorial Library are pleased to bring you this season’s First Wednesdays lecture series, to be held online for at least the first three months. The season runs from October through May, with all talks beginning at 7:00 pm. Advance reservations are needed for the online talks.

Click on the links below to read topic descriptions and, for the online talks, to reserve a “seat”!

Oct. 7:  Merely Bystanders: The Psychology of Courage and Inaction
Nov. 4: 
Atlantic is a Sea of Bones
Dec. 2:  The Legacy of Nicholas Black Elk
Jan. 6:  Meeting Men through Imagination
Feb. 3:  Female Husbands and Their Wives
Mar. 3:  How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish
Apr. 7:  Eating While Fat
May 5:  This is Not That: A Brief Introduction to the Black Death

The full season flyer is available here.

First Wednesdays is organized by the Vermont Humanities Council and brought to Brattleboro by the Friends of Brooks Memorial Library. The series is underwritten locally by Chroma Technology Corp. and statewide by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries.


  • Libraries are for everyone.

Our Mission

The mission of the Friends is to support the Brooks Library through advocacy, public relations, and fundraising in order to provide the highest quality library services to the community.

All material on this website © 2015-2017 to the Friends of the Brooks Memorial Library or to its respective creators with rights reserved.

Friends of Brooks Memorial Library

224 Main Street
Brattleboro, VT  05301