Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Something To Leave You With

We will be closed for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, December 20th through January 2nd. But we'll be back with doors open at the regular time on Thursday, January 3rd. That's 2008, you know. And we'll have another hard time dating our checks right for a while. Well, those of us who still use checks, anyhow.
So, I wanted to leave you today with something I've been thinking about.
Do you remember the time people talked about wanting a "kinder and gentler" world? Wasn't the first President Bush one of the people who talked about that? Well, that's what I want to talk about today.
For some reason, when I thought of Christmas and the beginning of a new year and a kinder, gentler world, the word gratitude popped into my head. I looked up the word gratitude online. I found that Wikipedia says, "Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive."
On another website, I read: "The art of cultivating gratitude -- it's not just about making a list." And that's the line that grabbed my attention.
At this particular Christmas-time, my children are all off in their own areas of the big United States; some married and some not, some with children and some not, some apart from each other for a time-being. They are like me, just doing the best they can. And it's because of this that I feel thankful they are doing all right in their lives. Just as I am. So, at this Christmas-time, I am cultivating my art of gratitude by thanking the Lord that He has blessed me so greatly in 2007 and, I know, will continue to bless me in 2008.
That brings us to the new year. Like the earlier saying said: It's not just about making a list. But I've decided I want to make a list! Oh, not the same old kind of list I usually make; that "resolution" list 1) to lose weight, 2) clean out my closets, 3) write to my brother more, etc., etc., etc. No, when New Year's Day comes, I will be sitting at my table, pen in hand, writing down what I'm thankful for.
Of course, I'm always glad I have this job. It's pure joy! And I'm glad my old car continues to run and I have my health, and my family is doing all right, etc., etc., etc. On one website I read this is called a Level 1 Gratitude.
But I really wanted to leave you with something more to think about. I wanted to move us to a Level 2, which encompasses everything in Level 1, but goes beyond that to include being grateful for things like 1) our lives, 2) our problems, challenges and hardships (yes! even those!), 3) the people who treat us unkindly or unfairly, 4) our freedom of choice, etc., etc., etc.
As I thought about that last item and the feeling of how wonderful it is to exist, I remembered our Armed Forces; those great men and women all around the world who are making it possible for us to have a freedom of choice. Then I also thought of all those kind and wondeful people who give up their Christmas and New Year's time with friends and family right here in the United States -- the firemen/women and policemen/women and hospital workers, etc., etc., etc., who are there for us at times when we fear we have lost our freedom of choice.
There's lots more to say a prayer of gratitude for, such as 1) time and space, 2) thoughts and emotions, 3) ideas and concepts, and 4) the whole universe.
I guess that's one reason why I'm writing this. To tell you I have something to leave you with: I'm so thankful you are in my universe and that you're here to read this blog. Thankful that you've taken the time to read about our fabulous library and the staff members who work here. Out there in cyberspace, where my words fly around, I often think of you reading this blog. Sometimes I hear you laugh. Sometimes I feel you scratch your head in wonder at what I'm talking about. But always I feel your presence.
And with that gratitude, I wish you a merry Christmas, happy holiday season, and a prosperous new year. All of us here at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library do.
Won't 2008 be great??? Let's make it a kinder, gentler world. It's our freedom of choice, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's 2:15 P.M. And All's Well

Occasionally my curiosity gets the best of me and I just have to take a little tour around the library and see what's going on.

At 2:15 in the afternoon one cold, dreary December day, you'd expect people to either be Christmas shopping or home taking a nap. I figured it'd be really quiet around here, but not so in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library. My tour proved it. With pen and paper in hand, I locked the office door and took my little stroll. Here's what I found.

  • There are 20 Dell computers in the computer area and 14 people were working at them.
  • Three staff members were working in the back workroom.
  • Another one was at the circulation counter, helping a patron.
  • There was one staff member at the intra-library loan area and one in the reference area.
  • A patron sat reading a newspaper in one of our new reading area chairs.
  • A young mother carried her small child in another part of the reading area and looked at the covers of magazines on the racks.
  • A patron stood at the magazine rack, reading to himself as he held a magazine close to his face.
  • There was a boy of about 8 in the children's library, walking the aisles and looking at books.
  • Two staff members in the children's library were practicing for a special children's program.
  • And there were four people working in the genealogy library, along with one staff member.

And I nearly forgot about the two staff members in the Bookmobile area, and the two working in Information Services. Also, the three patrons sitting in the auditorium.

Now, how's that for an afternoon at the library? I thought it was surprisingly busy. In fact, I was really delighted that many people wanted to be at the library at a time when I would have been home taking a nap!

Just wanted you to know that it's 2:15 p.m. and all's well here at the library.

Remember, we close Wednesday, December 19th at 5:30 p.m. and reopen January 3, 2008 at 8:30 a.m.

Here's Some December Literary Birthdays

I have a nice little website I like to go to when I'm looking for birthdays for the large calendar we put together each month here at the library. Often I put their pictures with their names and scotch tape them to the date of their birthdays. Today I looked to see who was on December 18th and found these people:

Hector Hugh Monro (Saki), Scottish/Burmese journalist, short story writer, born December 18, 1870 and died 14 December 1916. Saki took his pen-name from Omar Khayyam's Rubiayat. He was born in Burma to Scottish parents and lived afterwards in Switzerland, London, Warsaw, and other countries, writing columns for many British newspapers. He was killed by a sniper's bullet in France during World War I.
Besides Saki, there is English playwright Christopher Fry (1907), and
U.S. sci-fi writer Alfred Bester (1913), and
Georgia native, African-American actor, dramatist, screenwriter, and novelist Ossie Davis (1917), who wrote the play Purlie Victorious (1961) and its musical adaptation Purlie (1970), about a Southern black preacher who hopes to establish a racially integrated church, and
U.S. fantasy writer Sterling Lanier (1927), and
English fantasy author Michael Moorcock (1919).

I only knew one of these people, so I guess I will investigate the others to see what made them famous enough to be on that website's list. There's several ways I could go about my search and the library is the perfect place for this hunt. But first I'll try our PINES catalog. If you haven't used the PINES catalog, you're in for a treat. Tells you all kinds of good things. You can check it out by clicking on the large PINES sign on the home page of our website. Just another way we aim to help you. . .

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas Past

While sitting here working, I've been listening to Mannheim Steamroller's new Christmas CD. It's put me in the mood to give you another poem from a Christmas past by Hildred Lewis, who was a library staff member. She would write a poem to deliver at the staff Christmas party that chronicled the events at the library for the year. So, here 'tis for 1971.

The Week Before Christmas 1971

'Tis the week before Christmas and all through the library
The staff is happy, cheerful and merry.
It's the day of the party, an annual event,
And if you've been here before, you know what is meant.

The table is groaning with turkey and the trimmings,
You know what that'll do to the girls who are slimming.
And salads, cakes, pies and rich things like that
Will keep the rest of us happy and fat.

We welcome four staff members who are new,
Hewlette, Loyas, Lynn and Valerie, too.
And we have had weddings galore,
One, two, three and then four.

Mrs. Schinkel will spend Christmas with Emily and the boys,
I know she'll enjoy it inspite of the noise.
I'm happy to report that the McKees
Made their annual visit to look at the leaves.

We had some sadness in the library this year.
We lost Elvera, a friend who was dear.
And Bill Aycock has been indisposed,
But in a family this large, that's how it goes.

The vacation reading club was quite a success,
And moving the Branch was surely a mess.
And to all the Bookmobile girls,
Vacation reading club causes some whirls.

To Elois this would be good news,
If the library would send no more overdues.
I've heard a rumor, I do declare,
Margaret and Amy will get dentures next year.

In spite of Mary's head, Catherine's luck, Hildred's skin,
We're a pretty good group for the shape we're in.
With apologies to Clement C. Moore,
Merry Christmas to all, and many, many more!

Just imagine, that poem is 36 years old and lots of it still applies today to the library staff. We're going to have our staff party this year on the 20th, the day after we close. Wonder who I can find to come up with a poem about 2007's library events? I'd better go check. . .

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007's Ten Best Books By Your Library Staff

Occasionally I read the New York Times Sunday Book Review. It covers the best sellers and first chapters of many books. But the article about their ten best books of 2007 really caught my eye.
That's when I got the bright idea to create the 10 best books for 2007 by our library staff. I asked them what they'd read during 2007 that really stuck in their minds, really popped up as a "good read." The book didn't have to be a newly published one or even a classic, but it had to be a book they'd read during 2007. So, from your favorite library staff, here are the books they consider the top 10 best of 2007:
  • The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve - A woman discovers after her husband's death that he kept a series of secrets from her and lived a double life.
  • Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard - The story of a Mormon teenager whose life is torn apart when a schizophrenic man murders her two young sisters, and how the event affects her and her family.
  • The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan - Richard Hannay is asked by a freelance spy for help with a German plot to murder the Greek Prime Minister and steal British plans for the outbreak of war. When the spy is murdered, Richard continues the spy's work and his adventure in Scotland begins as he is chased by both police and German spies. Written in 1915, the book was made into movies in 1935, 1959, and 1978.
  • I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark - Psychological thriller involving murder cases, sleepwalking, a whistled song, and how accurate memories are over a period of years.
  • We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates - An incident that is hushed up in town and never spoken of again shatters the fabric of a perfect family with tragic consequences.
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt - A revelation of familial longing and sorrow, the novel tells of a little girl who grows up in the shadow of her brother, who - when she was only a baby - was found hanging dead from a tree in their back yard. His killer is never identified and the family tries to deal with the tragedy.
  • Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin - When paramedics find a malnourished 6-year-old boy near a burning car that holds a dead woman, they wonder who he is - and why he won't talk. A small-town journalist covers the story and unearths long-buried emotions about his own history.
  • Letters for Emily by Camron Wright - While afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and dying, Harry Whitney compiled a book of his poems for his favorite granddaughter. After his death, his book is discovered, as well as the secrets he has hidden in each poem.
  • Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Big shot Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard's life is turning sour. On a road trip to figure out why, he spies on a lonely Colorado highway, a young woman dressed in a beaver suit. Blue Bailey is on a mission to do great harm to her ex. Together the wandering portrait artist and the football star encounter all manner of strange characters and a real life.
  • Up Close and Personal by Fern Michaels - When Trinity learned the dark truth about her parentage, she left her South Carolina family estate and her trust fund. She said she'd never return, but then she wavers. Her childhood friend, now a handsome attorney, tracks her down and she finds out what her future holds for her.

So, that's the top ten! But things got so good, I just couldn't leave out these other four suggestions by the staff:

  • Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky - A novel that asks penetrating questions about race, family and the choices people make in times of crisis - choices that have profound consequences for generations. A novel in which a woman discovers the truth about her past and her husband's heritage and unearths secrets rooted in prejudice and fear.
  • Flirting with Pete by Barbara Delinsky (by a different staff member) - A novel about Casey, a successful counselor, and her quests: to understand her father (who could acknowledge her only in death), to uncover the mystery of Jenny (a compelling case study), to deal with the gradual decline of her mother (who is in a permanent vegetative state), and to bring closure to the past so she can move into the future.
  • Lemony Snicket Series by Daniel Handler - 13 novels about the adventures of three children after the death of their parents in a fire. Film adaptation of first three books released in 2004. While the series' dark humor has won several awards and sold over 55 million copies, it has also been banned in some schools.
  • Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer - Five fantasy novels starring the teenage criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl, a child prodigy, whose main goal is the acquisition of money through a variety of schemes (although his values change towards the 5th book). Movie of first book scheduled for 2008, as well as 6th book to be published.

Well, you have lots to pick from. Or better yet, plan to read all of them in 2008. They're here in our library just waiting for you to come get them. And don't forget to bring your library card!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remembering Catherine Bryant

When I came in this morning, I shoved aside what I'd planned to write and sat thinking about Catherine Bryant. She was a dear little lady with blond hair and sparkling eyes that I met when I came to work here in August of 2003. She had a desk space in the Odom Genealogy Library, and she was in and out on her special schedule all the time.
Catherine M. Bryant, age 86, passed away on Sunday, December 9th, and left a hole in a lot of people's hearts and lives. She had lots of friends all over Moultrie.
I remember reading about her in the book Mrs. Odom wrote, History of the Public Library of Moultrie, Georgia 1906-1965. It said in 1945 Catherine replaced Mrs. Robert Anderson as Bookmobile Librarian. It was Catherine's first paying job with the library. And elsewhere in the book it stated that in July 1947 Mrs. Bryant attended the Bookmobile Institute. Then when the County Board of Education purchased a Ford-Vanette Bookmobile, Catherine and her husband, Ray, drove it to Moultrie in June 1950.
In another part of the book, I read: "No official records of library personnel other than the librarians are on file prior to 1943, when the first report was made to the State Board of Education. This showed three members on staff. From 1945 to 1950 there were five members: librarian, bookmobile assistant, office assistant, clerical assistant, and library assistant." Catherine was one of those people. And the book said in 1964 Catherine was still on staff. In fact, in 2007 Catherine was still on staff.
In her 62 years of employment with the library, Catherine was not only a bookmobile librarian, but she was in charge of the library's film service, the audio-visual equipment and repair, and the Intra-Library Loan service. She began the Veterans History Project and she was also secretary to the Library Board for more than
30 years.
When Catherine was selected Employee of the Month this past September, several staff membes wrote notes about her and I kept them in a file cabinet beside my desk. Today I pulled the notes out and read them. One person said, "There is no one more dedicated! When she sets out to do a project, she's in it 110% with all her heart and soul!" Another person said, "I've worked with Catherine for 45 years. She is one of the most dedicated and sincere persons I have ever known. She gives of herself unconditionally."
I, for one, will remember her best as the caretaker of the Veterans History Project at the library. Earlier this year it was named in her honor. One co-worker said, "Catherine has a love for all Veterans of all the wars. She wants to have the Veterans Project section in the library so all Veterans will be honored and never forgotten." That was the reason library staff members requested in November 2006 that the Library Board approve naming the Veterans History Project in Catherine's honor. And they did.
Today while sitting in front of the computer, I wondered what else we could do to honor Catherine. We'll no longer see her smiling face or hear her sweet voice. But I feel we can honor her each day we walk into this library that she loved so dearly and smile at the patrons or answer their questions, or just be as dedicated in our work as she was, no matter what we do. And I know she will never be forgotten by those of us who are fortunate enough to have known her.
Of course, there are lots of people out there who have had very up close and personal relationships with Catherine. They will undoubtedly miss her even more. So, there's no way anyone is going to forget Catherine M. Bryant. Little as she was in stature, she's big -- very big -- in the hearts and minds of us all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Might Be Able To Have A Library License Plate!

Yep! Surprised me too! Melody was telling us about it. She said the goal is to have 1,000 people sign up for the license plate before December 31, 2008, so it can be produced.
Currently, the state lists 30 people as having signed up. That's a long way to go (970) by the end of December 2008. But we need to be positive in our thinking. The first year cost will be $70 plus the regular tag fee. Thereafter, it's only $45 plus the regular tag fee.
To some people that might seem like a lot of money, but think about what it will mean to support Georgia's public libraries. All the books and reading and sources of knowledge...and on and on!
In case you didn't notice, you can see the license plate on our website's home page. It is just under where you clicked on the Bookworm blog. There's a picture of a child sitting under a tree, reading a book. The words around the oval picture are: Georgia Center for the Book. Under that, the words are: Support Georgia's Public Libraries.
We were told you could sign up for the license plate at the local tag office. In Moultrie, that's right down town in the Courthouse Annex. Look for the Colquitt County Tax Commissioner's office on the first floor. Most everyone in town knows where the office is, so just ask if you get lost.
If you go to the Georgia Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division's website, you can pull up an Application for a Special Interest License Plate. The box you need to check says: Georgia Center for the Book. Be sure to retain your receipt when you get it. When the manufacturing requirements have been met (1,000 paid requests), you will need the receipt to register your vehicle with this license plate.
And while I have your attention, let me tell you about the Georgia Center for the Book. This organization is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Center, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008, has a mission of supporting libraries, literacy and literature, particularly Georgia's rich literary heritage. There are centers in each of the 50 states. The Georgia Center was chartered in early 1998 with the DeKalb County Public Library serving as the host site.
William (Bill) W. Starr, a native of Atlanta, has been executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book since 2003. He is assisted by an advisory council of distinguished authors, librarians, publishers, scholars and journalists from around the state of Georgia.
The Georgia Center is now the largest non-commercial literary presenting organization in the South and one of the largest in the nation. Its free public programs reached nearly 90,000 people throughout Georgia in 2006 and drew more than 160 authors to the state.
If you'd like to know more about the Georgia Center for the Book, check out their website at
And don't forget to sign up for one of the library license plates. It will be well worth your money.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Brings Back Wonderful Memories

I got an email from our director, Melody, the other day. She said she was going through her desk drawer and ran across a diskette that contained some interesting files she thought I might use for the blog. It was poems that Hildred Lewis wrote. Hildred had been a bookmobile driver and processing clerk. Each year for the staff Christmas party, she would write a poem that chronicled the events at the library for the year.
Well, Melody was right; there was some blog material. This is a poem Hildred wrote for 1964. Maybe some of you out there reading this blog will remember a few of the good people mentioned. Hildred called this poem That Was The Year That Was 1964.

Sue Alderman was always on the run,
From early morn' 'till her full day was done.
When she took time to play,
We've never heard her say
If it's really true that blondes have more fun.
Myrtle Aycock sat at her desk all day,
And while the sun shone she made lots of hay.
No job she ever shirked,
She just sat there and worked,
Whistling while she busily typed away.
Catherine Bryant was always hurrying,
And at times she was even scurrying.
As a person she's swell, she does everything well,
And she holds a world's record for worrying!
Janet Clark donated blood, sweat and tears
To the biggest job we've tackled in years --
The moving ordeal;
For her part we feel
She deserved many loud and hearty cheers.
Vivian Cooper typed pages and pages
Without often flying into rages;
But the staff would prefer
To pin a rose on her
For her job of writing checks for their wages.
Amy Crapps was as busy as a bee,
That she's good at her job we all agree.
Each staff member feels
She should be on wheels,
And what we'd do without her we don't see.
Lucille Dunn as in past years was great,
And always did a job that was first rate.
Though she must often be
Thinking of Bruce and Lee,
On her works she seems to concentrate.

Well, that's about one-third of the poem. There are many more names to mention. The verses about friends and staff members bring back wonderful memories. And that's part of what Christmas is all about. Next time I'll tell you about Hildred's poem The Week Before Christmas 1971. It's even better. . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Be One Of A Million To See The River Of Words

Once again you're going to have a chance to see the River of Words display. The exhibit is located in the reading area of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library and may be viewed December 4th through December 15th. This is the fourth year the library has hosted the event.
I imagine you're wondering what River of Words is, especially if you've never heard about it.
It is a California-based non-profit organization that has conducted training workshops for teachers, park naturalists, grassroots groups, state resource agencies, librarians and others since 1995, and helps them incorporate observation-based nature exploration and the arts into their work with young people. In addition to helping improve children's literacy - and cognitive skills like investigation and critical thinking - River of Words nurtures students' creative voices as well, through instruction and practice in art and poetry.
That was a lot of words, I know. So, you'll just have to come to the library and view some of the poems and artwork created by children from right here in our big state of Georgia. Most of the works come from children around the Atlanta area, but there are also pictures and poems by children from other areas such as Savannah, Statesboro, Milledgeville and Martinez. They are children in grades K through 12. The entire grouping represents State Winners, National Merit winners, and National Finalists.
These extraordinary works, created by children around the world, were submitted to River of Words' free, annual environmental poetry and art contest, conducted in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book. The contest theme is watersheds, a meaningful, scalable way of looking at the whole of nature. Through the universal language of art - paintings, drawings, and photography - and poetry, students learn not only about their own home grounds but, in sharing their works with each other, about other bioregions and cultures as well.
The watershed art and poetry submitted to River of Words is exhibited around the globe and is seen by millions of people each year, both in person, and reprinted in magazines, books, annual reports and other media. Every painting, every poem contributes to an informed appreciation of the natural world and the interconnectedness of all beings.
You can learn more about River of Words at their website: , but best of all, you can come to the library and see for yourself the wonderful pictures and poetry on display. We're located at 204 Fifth Street, Southeast in Moultrie, Georgia.
Please support the children of the world, and especially Georgia, with your interest. Be one of the millions to see the River of Words. And be sure to sign their traveling guest book when you see the display.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Chris Newton Chosen As December EOM

He's quiet, but inquisitive. He's friendly, but reflective. He's busy, but takes time to help if you need him. That's what the staff and patrons know about Chris Newton, who has been a shelver with the library since March 11, 1993. That's for 14-1/2 years, nearly half
of his age.
I first met Chris through his mother, Jean, who worked as the bookkeeper for the library. She and her son would come to work every morning and go home together. Like his mother, Chris is a person everyone likes. Just kind, sweet, friendly folk. Both always with smiles on their faces. Then Jean retired, but she continued to drive Chris to and from work.
There's many a time on the days Chris works that he will stick his head in our office door to say hello. And we often drop what we are doing to find out how his dogs are or what he has been doing lately. Chris will tell you his favorite interests are his two dogs, Mickey and Lucky, and singing in the choir at his church.
When Chris came to work the afternoon of November 28th, our director called the staff into the workroom, saying she had an announcement to make. Chris followed her into the room and waited patiently with the rest of us.
Melody said she was going to present the December Employee of the Month to a person who is always friendly and helpful, a person who has made her feel better on days when she would be down, and a person who's been a dedicated worker at the library. It was then she announced that Chris was the Employee of the Month.
Needless to say, Chris was surprised when Melody handed him a certificate of appreciation and a gold peach-designed Georgia Libraries bookmark. Then she pinned the boutonniere on his jacket and he got the biggest smile on his face. But the best part was when he said, "I bet Mama will be surprised."
The December EOM appreciation could not have gone to a better person. And for that reason, we say congratulations to Chris Newton. We're so glad to know you.