Abortion

To begin our series highlighting library resources addressing topics of crisis, we present a collection of books and podcasts on the topic of abortion. The descriptive text below is all from the publishers, edited for length. All of the titles below are available through the North Country Library System, and most of these are on the shelf at the Potsdam Public Library.

Medical and Counseling Resources

Planned Parenthood Learning Resource Page

All-Options Hotline: All-Options has a free confidential hotline to discuss decisions about a pregnancy.

Abortions Welcome: Abortions Welcome has written and interactive resources help with decisions about pregnancy, including a compassionate clergy counseling line.

Reachout of St. Lawrence County: Reachout is a free crisis hotline that can help connect you with other community resources.

Non-fiction

As women’s reproductive rights are increasingly under attack, a minister and ethicist weighs in on the abortion debate, offering a stirring argument that “the best arbiter of a woman’s reproductive destiny is herself” (Cecile Richards, former President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America). Trust Women skillfully interweaves political analysis, sociology, ancient and modern philosophy, Christian tradition, and medical history, and grounds its analysis in the material reality of women’s lives and their decisions about sexuality, abortion, and child-bearing.

Our bodies, ourselves

Hailed by The New York Times as a “feminist classic,” and “America’s bestselling book on women’s health,” the comprehensive guide to all aspects of women’s health and sexuality, including menopause, birth control, childbirth, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health and general well-being.

The girls who went away : the hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade

The astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade.

In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open for the first time the hidden social history of adoption before Roe v. Wade – and its lasting legacy.

Few Supreme Court decisions have stirred up as much controversy, vitriolic debate, and even violence as Roe v. Wade in 1973. Four decades later, it remains a touchstone for the culture wars in the United States and a pivot upon which much of our politics turns.

This book details the case’s historical background; highlights Roe v. Wade’s core issues, essential personalities, and key precedents; tracks the case’s path through the courts; clarifies the jurisprudence behind the Court’s ruling in Roe; assesses the impact of the presidential elections of George W. Bush and Barack Obama along with the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and gauges the case’s impact on American society and subsequent challenges to it in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and Gonzales v. Carhart (2007).

Despite her famous pseudonym, no one knows the truth about ‘Jane Roe,’ Norma McCorvey (1947-2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1970 opened a great fracture in American life. Journalist Joshua Prager spent years with Norma, discovered her personal papers, a previously unseen trove, and witnessed her final moments.

Bad feminist : essays

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched cultural observers of her generation

In these funny and insightful essays, Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Cosmic constitutional theory : why Americans are losing their inalienable right to self-governance

American constitutional law has undergone a transformation. Issues once left to the people have increasingly become the province of the courts. Subjects as diverse as abortion rights and firearms regulations, health care reform and counterterrorism efforts, not to mention a millennial presidential election, are more and more the domain of judges. Wilkinson argues they will slowly erode the role of representative institutions in America and leave our children bereft of democratic liberty.

The Choices we made : 25 women and men speak out about abortion

Every day in America, abortion providers and the women who need them are in danger. First published ten years ago, this collection of 25 powerful stories from contributors both famous and ordinary, privileged and poor, provides often harrowing insights into what happens when women are denied the right to choose. Testimonials from teenagers, college students, overloaded young mothers, and even a retired male Marine put a human face on one of this country’s most controversial issues and offer passionate arguments for access to legal and safe abortions.

Life’s work : from the trenches, a moral argument for choice

In this “vivid and companionable memoir of a remarkable life” (The New Yorker), an outspoken, Christian reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider reveals his personal and professional journeys in an effort to seize the moral high ground on the question of choice and reproductive justice. In Life’s Work, Dr. Willie Parker tells a deeply personal and thought-provoking narrative that illuminates the complex societal, political, religious, and personal realities of abortion in the United States from the unique perspective of someone who performs them and defends the right to do so every day.

My life on the road

Gloria Steinem–writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader–now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change.

When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road–by which I mean letting the road take you–changed who I thought I was. The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories–in short, out of our heads and into our hearts.

Fiction

In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.

In her moving, insightful portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely-but with great empathy-confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society.

The handmaid’s tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

A spark of light : a novel

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center–a women’s reproductive health services clinic–its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

The mothers : a novel

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance–and the subsequent cover-up–will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

Red clocks : a novel

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo.

Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

Red Clocks is at once a riveting drama, whose mysteries unfold with magnetic energy, and a shattering novel of ideas. In the vein of Margaret Atwood and Eileen Myles, Leni Zumas fearlessly explores the contours of female experience, evoking The Handmaid’s Tale for a new millennium. This is a story of resilience, transformation, and hope in tumultuous — even frightening — times.

Poor your soul

This vivid memoir tells of an unexpected pregnancy, ultimately welcomed, then threatened by birth defects that preclude life outside the womb. Far more than her personal story of abortion, Ptacin’s brutally honest account incorporates her own mother’s tragic loss of a child. 

When she woke

Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan’s provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed–their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes–and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.

In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

Help Yourself

I hope that when you think about the library, you think about having fun; maybe nostalgic childhood memories of reading with a family member, discovering a great series to keep you entertained for a whole summer, or attending an inspiring workshop that sparks a new hobby. Maybe the library has been a place to escape to, a bright spot in an otherwise dark time, somewhere to be when you don’t know what to do with yourself.

A lot of what we do centers around entertainment, and recreational growth like learning crafts or outdoor skills, but what about when you’re experiencing a serious crisis that 350+ Crochet Tips will not mend? The Grumpy Gardener cannot dig you out of this one. What if you have nobody to confide in and have to help yourself? In this series I want to highlight some of the ways that the library can support you in times of crisis.

The library is a safe space, free of judgment. We welcome everyone, and celebrate diversity of every kind. Everyone who works at the library is here because we truly enjoy helping people. We’re also good at figuring things out, whether it’s how to use your ipad, how to sign up for healthcare, or where to find the forms to DIY your divorce.

Your privacy is protected at the library. Your parents, your spouse, your neighbor, your teachers, even the police, cannot access your library records without a court order. We actually can’t even tell you your own borrowing history because we do not keep that information, except for what’s currently checked out to you.

When you check out a book, a staff member will see what the book is, but we promise we don’t judge. Remember, WE bought all those books! We added them to the collection because we thought they should be here and that they should be checked out. Do you feel a little embarrassed buying tampons at the grocery store? I promise, the cashier doesn’t even think about it. Are you a grown woman reading YA fiction and comic books? Well, so are we. And as for the serious topics, our staff members have collectively been through a wide variety of hard times and have found some of the best help in books. We want that for you, too. Despite that, if you need an extra measure of anonymity, place your books on hold and then email info@potsdamlibrary.org and we will work out a solution that suits your needs.

Over the course of several posts, we’re going to highlight topics such as addiction, homelessness, poverty, discrimination, incarceration, child abuse, domestic abuse/violence, spiritual abuse, grief, depression and mental illness, suicide, medical issues, and legal issues. We’ll recommend a few books on those topics, and where applicable, we will link you to articles, podcasts, community services, etc.

In closing, here is a list of call numbers for “difficult topics” in our non-fiction section. Adult non-fiction is located upstairs.

Abortion ~ 363.46
Alzheimer’s ~ 616.831
Cancer ~ 616.994
HIV / AIDS ~ 616.9792
Infertility – 616.692 or 618.39
Miscarriage ~ 618.392
Pregnancy ~ 618.2
Puberty ~ 613.043 or 612.66
Sexual Health ~ 613 or 306.7
Bipolar Disorder ~ 616.895
Bullying ~ 303.69
Child Abuse ~ 362.76
Depression ~ 616.8527
Domestic Violence ~ 362.82
Loss of a Child ~ 155.9
Loss of a Parent ~ 306.874 or 155.9
Mental Illness ~ 616.89
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ~ 616.8521
Sexual Abuse ~ 362.7
Substance Abuse ~ 362.29 or 616.86
Suicide ~ 362.28
Adoption ~ 362.734
Bankruptcy ~ 346.7307
Child Custody ~ 343.7301
Divorce ~ 306.89 or 346.7
Estate Planning and Living Will ~ 346.7305
Foreclosure ~ 346.73
Hospice Care ~ 362.1
Personal Finance ~ 332

Podcast Studio

We have everything you need to make a professional-quality sound recording in our new Podcast Studio! Book a session by emailing tech@potsdamlibrary.org. The studio is ideal for recording podcasts with two hosts.

We also have a top-notch video blogging set-up including access to professional lighting, backdrops, a green screen, and a teleprompter. Come on in and record a make-up tutorial or unbox your new Lego set on camera.

The equipment below was selected for our studio after careful research and consultation with recording professionals and purchased with a grant from the Northern New York Library Network for which we are very grateful.

  • Set of two Electro-Voice RE20 Mics
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface
  • Sony MDR7506 MDR-7506 Headphones
  • MacBook Pro with Logic and Final Cut (and iMovie and Garage Band for the casual user)
  • iPad
  • Canon EOS 70D with camera-mounted external mic
  • Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
  • Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder
  • Green Screen
  • Teleprompter
  • and lots of foam panels

Shelfies

“Shelfies”  are small caches of FREE books located in 60 different businesses around St. Lawrence County.

Don’t forget to share a selfie with your shelfie! #shelfieselfie #potpublibrary

If you’d like to donate your gently used books to the Shelfie program, please email us.

Seed Lending Library

Growing and Sharing

This seed library exists to help people learn to garden and save seeds, and participate in growing and sharing seeds, food, and knowledge.

Check Out Seeds

Peruse our seed book and select up to 5 varieties you’d like to grow. Bring a variety card with you to the front desk and a staff member will give you a packet of seeds.

Classes and Events

Check the library’s calendar, Facebook page, or email newsletter to find out about classes on gardening, and events like seed and plant swaps.

Preserving Our Heritage

Saving seed used to be a type of knowledge that was passed down through generations. This knowledge and production has largely been taken over by seed companies and many varieties have been lost forever.  Seed saving is a skill that provides a community with a resilience and food security. It is a way to push against the loss of genetic diversity within our food system, a way to connect with our community and often our cultural heritage.

Adopt a Seed

Choose a variety according to your level of skill at seed saving and sign up to be a “seed steward” for that variety so we can ensure a supply for lending next year. To sign up, put your name next to your variety and take a seed return form with you. When you bring in your saved seeds, be sure to bring along this form.

“Seed stewards” who successfully save and return 1 variety of seed get to choose 2 new varieties to add to the seed library for the next year!  A Seed Savers Exchange catalog will be out for perusal February through March along with wish list for your selections.

Difficulty Ratings

Green for beginner – For those who are new to gardening and seed saving, these are mostly self-pollinating varieties with minimal required isolation distances.

Yellow for intermediate – For individuals with some prior experience gardening, varieties may require specific isolation distances or may cross with other plants that belong to the same species.

Red for advanced – These varieties are difficult to obtain true seed from or require very specific practices for growing plants to produce seed.

Not Quite Ready to Save Seeds?

Not ready to save seeds but still want to grow something? You can still make a difference by donating to help cover costs.

Museum Passes

Discover the natural wonders and history of the Adirondacks or explore a shipwreck without getting wet! Our Museum Passes are here!

We have passes to The Wild Center, the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum) in Blue Mountain Lake and The Maritime Museum in Lake Champlain.

  • The Wild Center Pass admits 2 adults at a 50% discount ($10) and free admission for all children age 17 & under.
  • The ADK Pass provides a 50% discount on up to 4 adults ($10) OR 2 adults for $10 & all children under ages 6-17 for $6 each. Children 5 & under are free.
  • Our pass to the Maritime Museum provides free admission for an entire family.

Passes are on a first-come, first-served basis and may be borrowed for up to 3 days at no charge with your library card.

Graphic Novels

Located in the front of the library, you can’t miss this section bursting with action and color with dynamic stories for all ages, from comics to sophisticated and complex novels, and an assortment of manga series.

Graphic Novels are not a genre; they are a format, and that format has a little bit of something for everyone. Are there classics that you’ve thought about tackling only to be daunted by prose from another era? Add pictures to stories like the Odyssey or Beowulf and these tales practically read themselves.

For that retro comic feel, we’ve got titles like Dick Tracy that have had multiple issues bound into a larger novel-like format.

Based on Japanese graphic novels, our manga section includes Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, Fruits Basket and many more. One of the most popular titles, Naruto, started out as a serial comic in the monthly Shonen Jump, but was so popular it was turned into a manga-style graphic novel and then an anime TV series.

Owly is a fabulous series for our youngest readers, written without words, but with simple symbols that beginning readers will recognize. Symbols combined with great illustrations create a story that is accessible to all.