All About ‘Mohawk’

GLOVERSVILLE – The community is eating up Richard Russo’s book “Mohawk.”

The Gloversville Public Library, local restaurants and other parts of the community are focusing on the novel for the library’s Gloversville Reads! 2014 community reading program throughout this month.

The third annual reading program is offering a variety of events tied in with the book, including “Mohawk Specials” at local restaurants.

The reading program also focuses on the city’s past, present and future.

“I am excited the community chose Richard Russo’s ‘Mohawk’ this year. This title allows us to not only celebrate Gloversville’s historic past but experience its present and talk about its future,” Library Director Barbara Madonna said. “There are a lot of great things happening in our community right now … More community engagement is what we need for Gloversville to realize its full potential, and the Read [program] is another avenue of participation.”

The book by Russo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author from Gloversville who now lives in Maine, draws from his experiences while growing up in Gloversville.

The public selected the novel for the reading program through a vote.

To celebrate the past, Madonna said the library already held a discussion about the history of the Fonda, Johnstown, & Gloversville Railroad as part of the reading program.

She said the library will post a new historical photo each day on the Gloversville Reads! Facebook page and promote a historical self-guided walking tour, which starts at the library and ends at Myers Park, throughout the month.

Madonna said the program is celebrating the present with appearances by local authors, Mohawk Specials at participating restaurants and a Facebook campaign for members of the community to post their favorite pictures of Gloversville. Each photo could be part of the library’s next fundraising calendar.

Some local restaurants have made special dishes for the program such as the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, which is serving the Mohawk Breakfast Special. It includes Adirondack pancakes with Mohawk Valley strawberries or Foothills blueberries. Tegeo’s is offering a Mohawk Special that includes two hot dogs with the works and a soda.

To celebrate the future, the library had a discussion about Google Earth and using a GPS. There also will be a video contest for children about what Gloversville will be like in the future.

Former City Court judge and local author Vince DeSantis will speak Wednesday about Gloversville’s future.

His presentation will include a 27-minute silent film produced by Frank Ambrose Sr. about the process of making gloves in Gloversville, from the animals grazing on pasture land in South America to washing the gloves once they’ve been bought.

No appearance from Russo is planned.

“Mohawk” was Russo’s first novel. It’s a story about a small upstate town similar to Gloversville that has fallen on hard times. The book focuses on the experiences of three characters.

A discussion of “Mohawk” was held at the library Wednesday. Mohawk Valley Library System book discussion leader Mary Cuffe-Perez led a dozen people in the discussion before signing her own books later in the day.

Madonna said the library will honor a fine-free period during the reading program. The library will waive fines for overdue books for patrons who bring in items for local food pantries.

Residents can also listen to radio station WENT-AM for Gloversville and “Mohawk” trivia, as part of the program.

Levi Pascher can be reached at lpascher@leaderherald.com.