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.”


We don’t know that there’ll be snow, but kids love to plan for delights to pursue during future “snow days,” so our Children’s Storytime in the Erwin Library on Wednesday, January 23rd from 9:00-10:00 a.m. will include lots of stories about all that fluffy, frozen fun.  Join us (and keep your mittens handy)!

Kids may see snow as a joy, but, unfortunately, adults often shiver in dread at the thought of scraping windshields and shoveling walkways.  Still, we do like our books to provide some occasional chills and shivers, and who better to look to than the American writer, Edgar Allan Poe?  Two hundred and ten years ago “on January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe’s father and mother, both professional actors, died before the poet was three years old, and John and Frances Allan raised him as a foster child in Richmond, Virginia.”

“In 1826 Poe left Richmond to attend the University of Virginia, where he excelled in his classes but accumulated considerable debt. The miserly Allan had sent Poe to college with less than a third of the funds he needed, and Poe soon took up gambling to raise money to pay his expenses. By the end of his first term Poe was so desperately poor that he burned his furniture to keep warm. Humiliated by his poverty and furious with Allan, Poe was forced to drop out of school and return to Richmond. However, matters continued to worsen. He visited the home of his fiancée, Elmira Royster, only to discover that she had become engaged to another man.”

Thus, Poe started life with a lot against him, yet despite continuing poverty, depression and alcoholism, leading to his early death at forty, he managed to write poetry, short stories and a novel, many based on his own life, that not only brought on shivers of gothic dread, but practically created the American short story as we know it today.  “Poe’s work as an editor, a poet, and a critic had a profound impact on American and international literature. His stories mark him as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. Many anthologies credit him as the ‘architect’ of the modern short story.”  His influence reached to French writers such as Mallarmé, Rimbaud and Baudelaire, as well as Jules Verne.  Books on display in the Erwin Library Circulation Desk exhibit area provide biography, poetry and short stories by this mysterious, brilliant, haunted man.

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.