Ahoy there! Exciting things are underway at the new library. Among my favorites are our wonderful areas for exhibitions and displays. Although we’ve always had such spaces, the new building lends itself well to showcasing a wider range of art and historic artifacts in more prominent locations. For example, one of the display cases flanking the entrance to our Local History, Genealogy, and Post Reading Room wing contained a special display from our May opening through July. Thanks to the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, we exhibited five historic artifacts from their collection recovered from the Titanic: an asparagus plate, a plate, two wine glasses, and a water pitcher. Yes, that Titanic! It was exciting to see such artifacts in our library. Equally exciting is that the museum donated nearly 30 Titanic-related books, including fiction, nonfiction, and storybooks, to our library’s adult, teen, and children’s collections. Unable to choose only one title to discuss, I offer impressions of four—bon voyage!

882 ½ Amazing Answers to your Questions about the Titanic by Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter. This title makes for an excellent maiden voyage for all-ages interested in discovering the Titanic. Surprisingly detailed for its short question and answer format, this book takes readers on a journey from the idea of the Titanic through its realization, unfortunate fate, and the real-world aftermath. Indeed, 882 ½ answers are delivered to as many questions and interestingly so. Where did they build the Titanic? Was anyone on board celebrating a birthday that day? Could you get your laundry done? How cold was the water? What are “rusticles”? and many more. Also included is a true/false section, glossary, and suggestions for further reading.

The Story of the Unsinkable Titanic by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton. Combining writings, newspaper clippings, photographs, and paper ephemera, this title admirably tells the ship’s story, as well as that of her passengers. Following a brief introduction, readers set sail with newspaper articles published on Monday, April 15, 1912, travel through July 1912, and eventually land amidst the 1985 discovery of Titanic’s wreckage. The authors’ writings are alongside photographs and historic newspaper clippings, which makes for a visually appealing, more unique reading experience. The book concludes with “Lost Souls of the Titanic,” which lists the names and titles of all crew members, as well as the names of all passengers, who tragically lost their lives.

Captain of the Carpathia by Eric L. Clements. As its title suggests, this book is more about the man who led the Carpathia to the rescue and less about the sinking of the Titanic. Born on May 14, 1869 in north-western England, Arthur Henry Rostron was destined to become one of the most famous ship’s captains in the world, if not the most famous. To the dismay of his parents, Rostron desired a seafaring life from an early age. After receiving a solid classical education, Rostron was, at age 15, enrolled aboard a marine school ship, the HMS Conway. Thus, began his lifetime at sea. Rostron had a long career full of success.

Upon completion of 25 years at sea (February 1912), Rostron was appointed Captain of the Carpathia. Built as a two-class ship meant for second- and third- class passengers, Carpathia was a significant upgrade for third-class passengers. Unlike other ships of her day, Carpathia offered comfortable accommodations, men’s smoking and ladies’ sitting rooms, a wood-paneled dining room, improved meals, and a large covered promenade for so-called steerage passengers. Rostron ordered Carpathia to leave New York for Gibralter a few hours after the majestic Titanic left Queenstown for her first Atlantic crossing. Little did they know….

Due to a shift change, Carpathia did not receive Titanic’s first distress call. It wasn’t until about ten minutes later that those aboard Carpathia learned of Titanic’s trouble, when the operator contacted her regarding another matter. Immediately, Rostron set Carpathia in action, changing course to come to Titanic’s aid. He utilized the hours it would take to reach Titanic to expertly prepare for the rescue in a manner that best provided for safety and comfort for both Carpathia’s passengers and those Titanic survivors who were soon to board. Amazingly, it was a very well organized and successful rescue. Rostron became well-known and well-celebrated for his actions. But I shan’t share further details—you’ll have to check it out for yourself!

RMS Titanic: Owners’ Workshop Manual by David F. Hutchings and Richard de Kerbrech. If you’re more interested in technical information, then this is the book for you. Although the authors discuss the ship’s history and the book is interspersed with short bios and other tidbits, it’s primary concern is the anatomy and mechanics of the ship itself. Through detailed text, renderings, photographs, plans, cutaways, and more, readers may discover the workings of the ship from one end to the other and everything in between. Though interesting, especially the visuals, not my preferred cup of tea.

Again, these are but four of the nearly 30 Titanic-related books recently donated to the library. Not to mention numerous others in our collection. From storybook to concise history, the library can help keep you on course with all-things-Titanic.