Sunday, July 13, 2014

Women who are a cut(out) above the rest

March 10. 2013 11:27PM

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WEST PITTSTON — Hillary Clinton, Michele Obama, Kate Middleton and other famous women — dead and alive — will be at the West Pittston Library two Saturdays later this month.

To honor Women’s History Month, Stephen Taren, the owner of Wet Paint Inc. and based in Wilkes-Barre, has agreed to lend the library his collection of life-size cardboard cutouts of 31 women who made their mark in world history.

Interactive displays will be created allowing visitors to learn more about the women and books related to each of them will be laid out with each display so those who want to learn even more can check them out.

Library Director Anne Bramblett Barr said that for some women the library did not have as many or as updated books in its collection as she wanted, so a portion of this year’s book-purchasing budget was spent resolving that shortcoming.

Barr said the success of the library’s 2011 exhibit of the “World’s Only Presidential Life-Sized Cardboard Cutout Collection” was a driving force behind a new collaboration with Taren’s company. The plan to display famous women was set for last year, but the 2011 flood that inundated the library and many Susquehanna River communities not protected by a levee put those plans on the backburner.

As the community rebuilt and the library moved back into its home at 200 Exeter Ave., the idea was resurrected.

The cutouts will be on display during two special free open houses at the library. The first will be on Saturday, March 16 from 1-5 p.m. and the displays will be back on display on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Participants can spend time learning little-known facts about these fascinating women, such as who was accused of stealing a diamond necklace, who was married to her brother for a short time, who wore only white clothes, who grew up in foster homes, who was nicknamed “Little Sure Shot” and whose research papers are so radioactive they are considered too dangerous to handle.

Those tidbits of information make learning about these famous women fun.

“One of my favorite parts about creating this display is the research that goes into discovering memorable details of these women’s lives,” said Summer Belles, youth services coordinator at the library. She also did the research for the presidents’ display in February of 2011.

“We may know that Harriet Tubman was instrumental in leading hundreds of slaves to freedom in the North through the Underground Railroad. However, we may not know that she sustained a severe head wound while she was a slave and later in life underwent brain surgery without anesthesia, choosing instead to bite down on a bullet like she had seen Civil War soldiers do on the battlefield,” Belles said.

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