Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Have You Ever Been A Member Of A Book Club?

Our book club held its monthly meeting last night. We meet at a local restaurant in one of their meeting rooms. Some of us come early enough to have supper. Others come early enough to chat before our meeting begins at 7 p.m.
We're a small group, but that's good because it gives us enough time to talk about what we've been reading. Last night eight of us discussed our latest books. I like this time because it's where I learn about new books I want to read.
When our group was first organized, we all tried reading the same book. We met at a local church and each person put into "the hat" the name of a book he'd like the group to read. We soon found that many of us didn't like those deep dark thrillers or the sweet little stories with recipes included. We soon found that each person wanted to read their preference and would be delighted to tell the group about their book. So, that's what we do now.
Our group reads a variety of topics: history, poetry, sci-fi, Southern tales, pet stories, political; lots of everything. And like all good readers when we talk about books, one thing leads to another and before you know it, we have covered a wide range of intellectual stuff, not only books.
Three books that were talked about last night interested me.
The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart tells about an experiment that is leading scientists and readers around the world to test the power of our thoughts to change the physical world.
The Shack by William P. Young is about a man whose youngest daughter was abducted during a family vacation and evidence is found that she may have been murdered in an abandoned shack. Four years later, the father receives a suspicious note inviting him back to that shack. What he finds there changes his world.
And Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. This is a humorous novel (a caper someone called it) set in Florida about a woman who takes revenge on her cheating husband after he tried to murder her. It also revolves around the ongoing project to save the Florida Everglades as a natural habitat.
If you don't belong to a book club, why not think about starting one. It's a great way to learn about books you might want to read, and a great way to share with others what you have read. It's also a great way to meet other people, form friendships, and maybe even share a meal or two.
And just remember...those new books you find you might want to read can be obtained through your local library. They are either on the shelves or can be ordered through the Inter-Library Loan System.
Come check us out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Celebrate The Freedom To Read

Throughout the country, most children are starting a new academic year. Teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird, may not be included in the curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators.
Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 7800 book challenges, including more than 400 in 2007. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in school or school libraries, and one in four is to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.
It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Slaughterhouse Five, the Harry Potter series, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series remain available.
The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children. However, challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best -- their parents!
Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to, or view. Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System and thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read September 27th to October 4th.
The American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores sponsor Banned Books Week. The Library of Contress Center for the Book endorses the observance.
American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people.
Now, more than ever, celebrate the freedom to read @ your library! Celebrate the freedom to read an old favorite or new banned book this week.
(Sources: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/, http://www,ala.org/, http://www.abffe.com/, http://news.yahoo.com/)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life Is a Mystery!

I never was a mystery reader until about a year ago, when I found a series of little mysteries that I could not put down until I'd read every one of the books.
They were titled the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs. And since I'm a tea-drinker from way back, I fell in love with her books; books named Death by Darjeeling, Gunpowder Green, and Shades of Earl Grey. Earl Grey is not only the name of a tea, but the tea shop owner's dog.
Theodosia Browning is the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, and through her books I learned all kinds of interesting things about teas. Her books also have recipes of goodies that are baked in her tea shop. So, I began my own cookbook as I collected recipes for scones, salads, and all sorts of delightful yummies. And each little mystery took you on a tour of Charleston and many of the interesting landmarks in the town.
Laura Childs also writes a Scrapbooking Mysteries series with names such as Photo Finished and Bound for Murder.
Then I found Monica Ferris's Needlework Mysteries series. So far I've read all in the series except the last three books, and today I start Sins and Needles. Other books are Crewel World, Framed in Lace and Unraveled Sleeve. In the back of each book Ferris has a free needlework pattern. Just great for all those who love needlework such as crewel, counted cross stitch or embroidery.
I read about Mary Freeman through the New York Times. She writes a Gardening Mysteries series with names of flowers: Bleeding Heart and Deadly Nightshade just to name two. And there's also Kate Collins who has a Flower Shop Mysteries series: Mum's the Name, Slay It with Flowers, and Dearly Depotted.
There's the author who writes mysteries about carrot cake, cherry cheesecake, and Key Lime Pie. Her name is Joanne Fluke. And she has recipes in her books.
Lillian Jackson Braun writes about The Cat Who Lived High, The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal, and The Cat Who Saw Red. Since I have cats, I'm interested in what her cat is doing.
For a good while I thought only women were writing these little mysteries with recipes and patterns. Then I found a male author! Tim Myers writes Soapmaking Mysteries like Dead Men Don't Lye, as well as a Candlemaking Mysteries series: At Wick's End and Snuffed Out.
And today when I walked past our New Books Section, I saw Tamar Myers' book As the World Churns, A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes. I looked through our PINES Catalog System and found she's also written The Crepes of Wrath and The Hand That Rocks the Ladle, as well as an Antiques Mysteries series: Gilt by Association and Splendor in the Glass.
Now, I have to say again I never was a mystery reader, but, by jove, I have decided there's just too much fun with these little mystery series and I don't want to miss a single one.
And I'm so glad I've found them (not that they were lost!) that I had to tell you about them. I hope you'll check one out and try it. Oh, be sure to get one that has recipes in it! Then try the recipe. What a great way enjoy a good mystery!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Did I Tell You We've Joined "Walk Georgia"?

Yep! We did! A whole bunch of us here at the library have joined the "Walk Georgia" campaign.
It is an eight-week program sponsored by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and is designed to increase a person's physical activity in a fun, community-oriented way.
We were told we could participate as individuals or in teams of four. So, we have teams. My team is called (get this!) Movers and Shakers! We have one person on the team who is definitely a mover, while the other three of us are shakers! The object of the campaign is to move more, and enjoy living more!
What we have to do is log our real time exercise virtually at http://www.walkgeorgia.org/. It seems like everything counts...from your aerobics class to walking your dog.
The time when recorded is translated into miles and the website gives you the go-ahead to "move" around the state. Through an online map, you can electronically chart a course as you "walk" Georgia. As you move across the state, you read online about the counties you visit and learn new ways to improve your health. And you're able to see how you compare to other individuals and teams throughout the state.
We have four teams here at the library and we plan to put in the miles. Of course, we're also trying to decide how we're going to celebrate at the end of our walk. You know we are notorious for having lovely shared meals after each of our walks. And since we've already walked to Jekyll Island (our seafood meal) and Las Vegas (our Southwestern meal), I can only happily imagine what we're going to have after walking all over the state! I'm hoping for at least one big piece of peach pie!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When Bibles Were Family Treasures

A phone call came to me the other day. Our local bookstore owner said he'd received a large family Bible and wondered if the library would like to have it. I referred him to Irene, our genealogist in the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library, who I felt would be very interested.
This morning I decided to see if Irene had accepted the Bible. Sure enough, there it was sitting on her desk. A dark cloth-bound Bible, it is 9 inches by 11-1/2 inches with a 2-1/2 inch spine. The first copyright date was 1923 and the last 1936. On the back of the title page is a stamped blue ribbon that states: Awarded the Blue Ribbon at the Texas Centennial Celebration, Dallas, Texas 1936. It is a New Standard Reference Bible.
Someone had filled in the family members' military service records, Domestic and Foreign Service records, as well as Discharge. It has a Family Register with the names of grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren, along with births and deaths filled in.
I sat with the book in front of me. When I touched it, I felt I was touching an actual piece of time and history.
Someone had written loved ones' birthdays on the second page of the inside cover. The third page was a picture of a painting in color titled The Creation of Light - After Dore's Black and White by Max Bihn with a 1912 copyright.
The presentation page read: To Lillie Mathis by her husband Brady Mathis in Moultrie, GA.
As I turned the pages, I realized it was not necessarily a "study" Bible, but a treasure-keeper of family history, as well as the page from a favorite Sunday School lesson, a newspaper clipping of a relative's 60th wedding anniversary, and special bookmarks.
The Bible had ended up at our local bookstore. It made me wonder - was this one of the dearest possessions someone took with them to a nursing home? Or had it been forever on someone's buffet in the dining room? Whose hands were the last hands of a family member to touch it? Why wasn't it with family now? So many questions.
I sat and looked at the frayed cover with thin strings hanging off of it, the spine's binding broken from the front cover, the yellowed pages. I felt as if we should give it a proper burial, but it's such an important piece of history. Someone's family history!
When I asked Irene what she was going to do with it, she said she'd make copies of the family records to place in the Odom Library, then she'd put the Bible in a box in storage along with the two or three others she has.
Maybe someone out there will recognize these names recorded in the Bible: Brady Connie Mathis and Lellie Strawder Mathis, James and Beatrice Ricks, and George Howard Hiers, Jr.
If so, a treasure of your family history is at the Odom Genealogical Library, right here in Moultrie, Georgia.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reading Is For Everyone

A tiny lady with tight, grey curls stopped me in the hall the other day. She reminded me of a little doll in her deep red silk shirt with the Mandarin collar. Her black tote bag was nearly as big as she was.
"Excuse me," she said as she reached for my arm. "Do you have any large print books in this library?"
Her little eyes looked like the eyes of Yoda from Star Wars...all full of wisdom.
"Why, yes, we do."
Before I could say more, she asked, "Could you show me where?"
I said I'd be happy to take her to the Large Print Section. So, with a slow shuffle she walked beside me all the way to the other end of the library -- past the circulation counter, the reading area and the fiction stacks. Our large print books are located at the far side of the Fiction Section and shelved against the front wall of the library.
The little lady was happy to see we have a nice size selection of large print books. She asked if she could sit down in the chair close by and just look at the books on the lower shelves.
When I pulled the chair up to her and said I hoped she would find what she was looking for, she smiled and said, "Oh, they aren't for me. They're for my sister. She's blind and she loves for me to read to her. But, you know, it's getting harder for me to see, even with my
I pulled one of the low library stools close to her and sat down. I told her about the audio books the library has, something they both could enjoy without her having to read. And we talked about the services provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Maybe it's something you need to know also for one of your loved ones. If they are not able to enjoy books or magazines because they can't see well enough to read conventional print or because a physical disability prevents them from handling the printed materials, they may wish to take advantage of a free service from the Library of Congress.
The NLS produces books and magazines, and even music, on cassettes and in Braille, maintains a collection of many books on recorded disc, and loans them to eligible readers in the United States and to eligible U.S. citizens living abroad. You can borrow these materials through a national network of state and local libraries. The books are sent to you and returned to the library by postage-free mail.
You or your loved one can select books from a national collection that includes many kinds of popular and interesting writings, such as bestsellers, classics, mysteries, children's books, etc. Many Braille books are available directly from Internet files. You can also subscribe to recorded and Braille magazines, choosing from more than 70 popular titles.
The books and magazines are recorded at slower than conventional speeds, so you need special playback equipment to use them. NLS loans you the machines for as long as you are using the recorded materials and repairs them as needed free of charge. You can also request accessories like headphones and levers to make it easier for you to use the switches. And if you're hearing impaired, you can borrow an amplifier.
Well, back to the little lady. She was from Thomasville, she had come to Moultrie with a friend who was attending a church meeting, and the friend had dropped her off at the library. She had her library card, but she was not familiar with our library. She had at least an hour to enjoy our facility.
I showed her the brochures we have and gave her two about Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I told her she could call the Bainbridge Subregional Library for the NLS (229-248-2680 or 1-800-795-2680) and talk to them also. And I showed her an application for the free National Library Service in the back of one brochure.
"Well," she said,"I'm certainly all set up, thanks to you. But, I'll go ahead and pick a book or two to take home. My friend is coming back to Moultrie in two weeks, and I'm going to ask to come with her. She can drop me off at your library again. It's nice for a change. And I'll call the Bainbridge Library also."
She thanked me and asked if she'd see me during her next visit. I assured her I'd be delighted to see her again. I told her to just ask for the Bookworm. Someone would find me.
(Source: www.loc.gov/nls, Bainbridge Subregional Library, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Honor Them This Morning

Today is the seventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks on citizens of the United States. It is this day that we remember the victims of September 11th. However, this is not the only day we remember them. Many of us remember them every day of our lives. Some of us only have to look at the skyline of New York to remember. Some of us only have to look at the Pentagon to remember. And some of us only have to hear the name Pennsylvania to remember.
The number of people who died...2,975.
Ceremonies are being held around the country today to mark the anniversary. We are remembering our fellow men and women who died in these attacks.
Please honor them with a moment of silence and prayer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Children's Librarians Are Coming To Visit

It's always exciting to have visitors at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library. This Monday, September 15th, we will have some very special visitors. We will have a house full of children's
The librarians are members of the Children's Services Quadrant, who meet several times a year to review and discuss the most up-to-date services they can provide the children of Georgia. Elaine Black is the head of Children's Services of Georgia.
Monday's meeting will involve approximately 40 people from Macon, Bainbridge, Valdosta, Camilla, Cairo, LaGrange, Columbus, and other cities around the state. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Speaker Pat Carterette will present information about early literacy and WebJunction Georgia. Lunch will be served in the Willcoxon Auditorium and library tours will be given.
Norma McKellar, Moultrie's Children's Librarian, said Georgia was one of the first states to be cohesive in Children's Services. She said one of the first workshops was held in 1978 right here in our library. That was 30 years ago!
It's a great feeling to know that they're still meeting, trying to find bigger and better ways to serve the children of Georgia. They are our leaders with the World of Knowledge that can be found in reading and libraries. We are thankful they have this deep desire to teach our children.
And we say, "Welcome to Moultrie!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Book In The Bag

One of my favorite television shows is Sunday Morning. It covers a wide range of interesting topics. This past Sunday, I especially enjoyed Andy Rooney's segment.
He talked about noticing that everyone now days is carrying a bag of some sort...large tote bag, back pack, huge purse, laptop case, etc. The segment showed people hurrying on city sidewalks, going through business store doors, riding subways or commuter trains, and everyone had some sort of big bag filled with all kinds of stuff.
But the thing that impressed me the most was when Andy Rooney said everyone...everyone they interviewed...had a book in their big bag. It was a book to read while they were either on a work break or while they were traveling. And all agreed they did not read their books during work hours. But it was impressive to me that people are still reading books even when the pollsters say "books are on the way out." Well, paper books, anyhow.
So! What with everyone carrying a huge bag of some sort and me working here at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, it just seemed natural that I should remind you of our book bag.
The Amazing Black Book Bag is 17-1/2 inches long and 12 inches deep with a 4-inch wide bottom. That's a generous size! It has two handles and a side pocket with "Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, Moultrie, Georgia" printed in gold on it. The entire bag is a canvas-like polyester and waterproof inside. And the best part is...
(ta-da!)...it's only $5.00!
Can you imagine what you can stuff in this bag? Not only books to read, but notebooks, your lunch and a bottle of water, pens and pencils and markers, maybe a magazine, your wallet and Blackberry and iPod and cell phone and on and on!!!
All you have to do is ask anyone at the circulation desk and they'll be glad to see you get as many as you want.
Be one of those people seen on the Sunday Morning show. Join the thousands of us who carry a big bag everywhere we go. Stuff a bunch of library books in that bag and show those pollsters that books made of paper are not on the way out!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

She Said She Likes It When I Roam Around...

My friend in Thomasville said she reads the Bookworm Blog. She said she gets good information from it about our library, what to read, events we hold, etc.
But she said what she likes best is when I roam around and tell what's going on at the library on a particular day at a certain time. She said that doesn't necessarily mean she's nosy, but that it's interesting to read about what people do at the library. So, today, to please my friend, I took another little roam around the place at 2:45 p.m. and here's what I found.
I was surprised to find two young ladies sitting in the reading area, working on their laptops; one at a table and the other in a comfy chair next to the sofa. Laptopers are usually sitting in the reference section. You know we have wireless access to the Internet now. That means people can come in with their laptops and work in various areas of the library. Kinda cool, I think.
There was a boy of about ten working a giant puzzle in the Children's Library. His grandmother sat on one of the primary-colored couches, reading her book.
And a middle-aged man was sitting at a table near the magazine racks, reading a newspaper.
As I walked from the Children's Library toward the circulation counter, I saw four people in the nonfiction stacks, peering at books on the shelves. Then I noticed a woman using her laptop (which was plugged in) in the reference section. That's the area I like to use because it's really quiet, not many people, and just the right place to study.
As I walked past the circulation counter, I saw ten people working at the bank of Dell computers. That surprised me, because usually all twenty computers are busy.
There were four people being helped at the circulation counter, one person looking at books in the new fiction section, and two people walking toward me in the long, white hallway.
As I entered the foyer on my way to the Odom Genealogy Library, I saw a woman sitting on one of the three benches in the foyer, with another woman coming in the library door from outside.
In the Genealogy Library, three people were working in the workroom; a man and woman with heads bent toward each other as they poured over records, and a woman using one of the five public computers.
I thought that was a nice number of people to be in the library on a Wednesday afternoon around 2:45.
Now, yesterday was a different story, and I'm glad I didn't try to count the people in the library during the morning hours. The Willcoxon Auditorium was filled with homeschooled children and their teachers. The Melody Jenkins Conference room held the board meeting for retired teachers, and the back half of the public reading area was filled with members of the Magnolia Garden Club, who were holding their monthly meeting.
I can honestly say I've never seen a day when the library has not been busy.
My neighbor said her teenage son asked her one day when they were driving by, "Who still goes to the library?" Of course, he has Internet at home, and television, and games to keep him busy. Made me wonder how much he reads...like a good mystery or teen fiction or a book about sports. I wish I could have been there to invite him to come visit our library. On just any day! We always have gobs of stuff going on here. He might be amazed at what he would find.
You, too! Come visit us. The more, the merrier! This is an exciting place.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How To Feed The World With Words

When my son told me about this website, I didn't think at first that it would be appropriate for the library blog. But then, after talking about it with a friend, I had to agree it is a website about words, and our library is a building full of words. And our library is about learning. So, it made sense that telling you about this website could help you learn more about words.
But that's not only what this website is about. It's also about helping to feed the world. And that made it even more interesting to pass on to you.
It's called FreeRice. The website is http://www.freerice.com/ and it's a fun website. It helps feed the world and build your vocabulary at the same time. For every correct word you get, 20 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program. One right word equals 20 grains; five right words equals 100 grains. Yesterday 92,963,720 grains of rice were donated. Over 42 billion grains have been donated to date.
FreeRice gives you a word and four meanings to choose from. And it also gives you a warning: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance, etc. FreeRice has a custom database of over 12,000 words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are 60 levels in all, but it is rare (they say) for people to get above level 50. (Now, that's a challenge if I've ever heard one!)
You can hear the word pronounced also. Whenever you get a word wrong, it will be repeated a few turns later to give you another chance to learn it. And there are other subjects, such as math, science, geography, art history, other languages, and more.
The rice is paid for by sponsors, who have banners listed on the bottom of the FreeRice screen. The money generated by these banners is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for rice donated to hungry people.
It's a two-fold website: good for you and good for the world.
Check out the website and learn more about words, free rice, and the UN World Food Program.
(Source: FreeRice website)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's "Smart Card" Time Again!

Once again it is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Every September is the designated month. This is the time when we want everyone who does not have a library card to get one. It's been determined that if you have a library card, you are among the two-thirds of Americans that carry the smartest card of all -- a library card.
To get your "free" library card, all you have to do is fill out an application, show that you are a resident of this county (bring your electric bill or phone bill) and you will have your card in just a couple of minutes.
Your card is free because public libraries today acquire the bulk of their funding from local property taxes. So, the local economy pays a major role in your library's budgetary success or failure. Local taxes help pay for your library card.
Maybe you think all you can do is check out books with your library card and you don't feel that is enough. Let me tell you, your library card is the key to opportunity! Come to the library and pick up one of our flyers that tells 52 ways you can use your library card, such as:
  • Ordering a book from the Inter-Library Loan Service,
  • Using a computer to update your MySpace page, learn about candidates for office, or find a list of childcare centers in your area,
  • Learning how to use a genealogy database or the PINES Online Catalog,
  • Checking out a DVD or video,
  • and, of course, checking out a new novel to read.

There are other things you can do in the library also. You can read a newspaper from another city, research your term paper or job opportunities, bring your children to story hour, hold a meeting in one of our meeting rooms, find out about your ancestors in the genealogy library, or use your laptop in our wireless library.

So, you see, you really need to come get a library card. Make sure every member in your family has one. Afterall, it's the key to their opportunities also. Sign-up for the "Smart Card" now!!!