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.”


Sometimes weather can be a pleasure, giving you warm breezes when you’ve plenty of leisure; sometimes weather can give you a fright, like thunder and lightning deep in the night.  In any case, it’s something we all must face, and enjoy as much as we can!  Come share your weather stories with your friends and us at Children’s Storytime in the Erwin Library on Wednesday, February 27th from 9:00-10:00 a.m.  Even if there’s no sun in the sky, there’ll be sunshiny smiles sitting close by.

Exactly ninety years ago this year, halfway between the end of World War I in 1918 and the eve of World War II, the sovereign city state of the Vatican “was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11, 1929.”  Nearly ten years later, on February 10, 1939, the first sovereign of that new city state, Pope Pius XI, died.  Those ten years in Europe, and especially in Italy, were marked by the rise of a fascism to rival Hitler’s in Germany.  As these countries pulled themselves out of the morass of post-war defeat and bitterness, the pull of extreme nationalism lured many into supporting leaders who promised renewed progress and power.

A former Vatican librarian, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, the new Pope, though sometimes demanding and temperamental, was open-minded, an avid mountain climber, and a lover of science and new technologies.  Finally, by 1938, facing the actions of fascists worldwide and Mussolini in particular who introduced anti-Semitic legislation that year, the Pope reached a point of active opposition to the compartmentalizing of people by national, ethnic, or racial origin.  The Pope publicly asked Italy to abstain from adopting a demeaning racist legislation, stating that the term “race” is divisive … The Catholic view would refer to “the unity of human society”, which includes as many differences as music includes intonations. Italy, a civilized country, should not ape the barbarian German legislation.”

Pope Pious XI died before he could publish these ideas more widely, just as Hitler and Mussolini began to help pull the world to pieces.  Books on display in the Erwin Library Circulation Desk exhibit area are there for you to check out and learn more about another rebel fighting racial inequality.

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.