Erwin Library

Welcome to the Clyde A. Erwin, Jr. Library, located in the Wayne Learning Center, with entrances on the third floor beside the elevators and on the third floor landing of the atrium stairwell. Part of the Community College Libraries in North Carolina (CCLINC) consortium, with a shared online catalog, the Erwin Library collections include over thirty-six thousand print books and a small selection of print periodical and newspaper subscriptions, with thousands more subscribed to electronically for in-library and remote use, 24/7. Accessible through the WCC Single Search discovery service are over eighty thousand streaming videos, as well as hundreds of thousands of electronic books, articles and images from sixty-two research databases in addition to those subscribed to through NC LIVE. Our mission includes providing “the highest standard of professional and friendly service to all patrons, including both individual and classroom instruction in information literacy.”


Even if you arrive with a frown and a smile upside down, by the time you leave from Children’s Storytime in the Erwin Library on Wednesday, May 8th from 9:00-10:00 a.m. you’ll think blue can be beautiful too.  It’s a fact; fun stories and cheerful songs can bring the circle of blue all the way around, from sad and droopy to glad, possibly loopy!

It would be wonderful if history only gave us intriguing, uplifting or even amusing events and people to learn more about, but, sometimes we must clearly understand some of the most destructive events and people, and books can help us. Books do not bombard us with carefully chosen images or music, or clutter our minds with commercials.  Books take us in for the long haul, the in-depth, the complete voyage with no distractions, and, often, we feel more fulfilled after such a dive into our shared, human past.

To that end, books on display for you to check out and read are now in the Erwin Library Circulation Desk exhibit area, focusing on the life and historical influence of Adolf Hitler, born 130 years ago on April 20, 1889 in Austria. A complex character, Hitler could deliver a speech to the common worker that brought his personal charisma and confidence to life.  In this book Mein Kampf, however, this call becomes entangled with extreme nationalism and racism.  A brief look at Hitler’s parents’ influences, the mother a devout Catholic who died long before his rise to power, his father a rabid religion hater of any sort, Adolf’s feeling of rejection as a young man in the face of privilege, makes you think you might see where it all came from.  Still, whatever the possible causes, Hitler chose power fueled by hate, and used all of his considerable persuasive skills to bring the world to his point of view.  Never think it can’t happen again.

Most of us begin January each year with thoughts of, if not full-fledged New Year’s resolutions for, being a better person in some way, perhaps less likely to binge on Twinkies, maybe less apt to succumb to road rage on Wayne Memorial Drive at 5:00 p.m., that sort of thing.  To encourage our better inclinations, it’s always wise to contemplate the fates of individuals who seem to have just resolved to be bad and what will probably come of it.

Case in point:  Alphonse “Al” Capone, born 120 years ago on January 17, 1889 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to an Italian-American immigrant family. As a young man, “Capone rose quickly through the ranks of a violent street gang in the city led by Johnny Torrio, then joined Torrio at his invitation as part of the Colosimo mob in Chicago around 1920.  By 1925, with the serious wounding of Torrio who succeeded Colosimo as mob head, Capone was the new boss, and became extremely effective in disabling or eliminating rival gangs.”

Chicago mobs became especially powerful after the enactment of the disastrous 18th or “Prohibition” Amendment of 1919, outlawing the production, transport and sale of intoxicating liquors. In 1920, the Volstead Act declared consumption of such intoxicants as illegal, or prohibited, inciting over a decade of open violation of the Act by gangs such as Capone’s. Add to that the rampant corruption of Chicago’s public officials, even the police, and it seemed Capone would rule forever.  Capone lived in luxury, even developing a persona of beloved family man and civic leader.  But his time was running out.

To stamp out his rivals, the George “Bugs” Moran gang, once and for all, Al Capone arranged what became called the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, on February 14, 1929.  When photographs of the grisly crime scene with seven victims who had been shot nearly to pieces by machine guns in the hands of Capone gang members in police uniform disguise, public outrage finally gathered momentum to both convict Capone of at least some of his crimes, and clean up public corruption, then, eventually repeal Prohibition under President Franklin Roosevelt. Capone died at the age of 48 of untreated syphilis after serving his prison term, quietly at his Miami home, no longer a feared Chicago mob boss.

Books on display in the Erwin Library Reference area will give you the whole story of Al Capone, the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre, and even more about how Prohibition defined American crime in the early 20th century.

What did WCC students do in 1972? How about those hairdos .. and that’s the faculty! You’ll see it was a slightly different world, but still Goldsboro and still our school as you flip through thirteen newly digitized WCC Yearbooks (Yearbooks link) published between 1964 and 1985, now part of the WCC Historical Archives. You’ll also find the WCC Campus Voice newspaper (See: Newspapers) published between 1968 and 2008, and the WCC Renaissance literary magazine (See: Campus Publications) for 1985 through the present.