Tag Archives: women

SAVE THE DATE: History Detectives launching new Youtube Channel

The award-winning History Detectives Grand Rapids program sponsored by local heritage organizations is back! This year, History Detectives will launch their new Youtube Channel on January 22, 2022!

History Detectives 2022 logo

Eight pre-recorded programs ranging from the shores of Lake Michigan through Grand Rapids to the State Library in Lansing. You will be able to view these programs starting January 22, 2022 at whatever time is convenient to you!

Members of the Greater Grand Rapids Womens History Council will be presenting Unearthing an Army of Women: Diversity in Our WWI Women’s Registration Cards. Join Ruth Stevens, GRCC’s own Sophia Brewer, Andrea Riley Mukavetz, and Sue Thoms to learn about the historical nuggets that can be found in an astonishing new resource. Collected in 1918, Kent County’s 23,000 WWI women’s registration cards are available on a searchable database, ready to reveal the diversity of women volunteers who crossed class, religious, racial, and ethnic boundaries to create, inadvertently, a mine of treasures not limited to Grand Rapids. Sociological, historical, and geographic veins remain largely unexplored. The presenters will highlight individuals and clusters of African American, Native American, and working women to illustrate what the cards can provide state- and nation-wide researchers; as well as fascinating tips on searching: “journalist” was not used, but “Indian” was. Tune in to explore the skills, held or desired, of a forgotten front line.

Click the brochure pages below to learn more about other programs premiering that same day.

History Detectives Grand Rapids 2022 brochure page 1
History Detectives Grand Rapids 2022 brochure page 1
History Detectives Grand Rapids 2022 brochure page 2
History Detectives Grand Rapids 2022 brochure page 2

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Filed under Database, Event, General News, Grand Rapids History, Learning Opportunity, Staff News

Women in STEM Rock!

Women in STEMWomen in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)  is the timely theme for this month’s Library’s mini book display. Timely because  one of the famous Women in STEM, Katherine Johnson of NASA, passed away this week at age 101.  You many know Johnson’s story because of the Hidden Figures movie, from Halloween visits from young girls emulating their hero, or from Barbie Inspiring Women fame.

Librarian Paul Ruschmann selected some really good reads! Stop in and check them out!


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Womens Suffrage Anniversary Year Starts

In honor of the year-long 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Librarian Mike Klawitter curated a library display “Illustrated Women in History.”  Come on in to enjoy it up close, and while you’re here, check out a book on the topic.


Illustrated Women in History display

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Muslim Journeys Bookshelf: a book review of The Butterfly Mosque

417xJDO9lNL__SL500_By Marcia Lee
Serials Specialist

Many young American women spend the months and years following their college graduations considering grad school, establishing themselves in the working world, struggling with new found independence and responsibilities.  All this soul searching accumulating into the ultimate contemplation of what the rest of their lives will look like – G. Willow Wilson was no exception.  However, Willow found herself on the other side of the world when seeking the answers to some of life’s hardest questions.  Inevitably, geography, faith and culture greatly impacted the conclusions she came to.

Willow opens her memoir when she is studying Islamic faith, culture and the Arabic language at Boston University.  During this same time she falls quite ill and, although raised atheist, prays during late nights of restlessness to a god she was always told did not exist.  It was during one of these sleepless nights that Willow promised God if he would bring healing upon her body she would convert to Islam.  Flash forward a year or two, after graduation Willow moves to teach at a school in Cairo, Egypt.  The story continues with her experiences as an American woman living in Egypt in a post 9/11 world. Emerging from the plot is a beautiful love story between her and her husband, Omar, a Muslim and Egyptian man – the beauty and the tragedy of their vast differences yet devotion to one another is captured within the glimpses of life together, which she writes about.

Willow chronicles her conversion to becoming Muslim and what it felt like to be torn between two worlds, her family, friends and home back in the United States all too often conflicting with her new life and identity in Egypt.  She writes about feeling as if it would make life easier to be able to choose one culture and world over the other.  At times it seems the world is not ready for her two lives to co-exist, her homes both dealing in different ways with the events of 9/11.  As a journalist and newly converted Muslim, Willow made attempts to bridge the gap between her two worlds, however quickly found neither was fully prepared for this.  The memoir closes as Omar and Willow plan to move to the US.  It is during the weeks leading up to their departure which Willow feels the deepest connection to the city of Cairo, her family there and Islam yet– becoming overjoyed at what the city provided her during her stay, a new identity.

Although I grew up in a somewhat conservative Methodist home and continue to search for my own understanding of the world, I found this story to be one that had me nodding along, agreeing with so much Willow felt throughout her years of self-exploration and transition into adulthood.  It is a coming of age story for a young woman in a world that does not always allow you to have everything you want, sometimes we must choose between worlds, cultures and relationships.  That being said, Willow navigated a much different path, immersing herself in a foreign country and culture.  Her new culture is one in which she will never fully feel accepted, however it was in the Islamic faith which she found truth for her life path, many seek this and never feel as profoundly connected to or guided by faith – so this was not easily given up.  The trials she faced, although from a very different perspective than her peers in the US, are still relatable in terms of finding your own way in this world, building new relationships and making tough decisions as we reach an age of independence.

Willow’s story is beautifully written throughout the pages of The Butterfly Mosque, allowing the reader to see into a world we may not otherwise attempt to understand.  Her and Omar’s love story leaves a feeling of hope, that love can conquer much more than most of us believe.  Perhaps we will see a world where people attempt to understand and respect each other, without passing judgment based on appearance or our prejudices.

Check out The Butterfly Mosque, in addition to several other Muslim Journeys Bookshelf books here at the GRCC Library!

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