Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween, Hallowe'en...

...also called All Hallows Eve, All Saints' Eve, Samhain (the Celtic holiday), and Hallowed End.
Occasionally, we write about something that is community-related and outside of our library. This is one of those times. But it's still intended to give our readers some interesting information.
Halloween is coming. It's observed by Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Bahamas, the United States, and sometimes Australia, Sweden, and many Latin American countries.
It's called an international holiday.
Some of the activities of Halloween include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting haunted attractions, carving jack-o'-lanterns, reading scary stories, and watching horror movies.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was a celebration at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Traditionally, it was a time when the ancient Gaels took stock of their supplies for winter. They believed that on October 31st, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the alive and the deceased dissolved, and the dead became dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. Costumes and masks were worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate them.
Today we see carved pumpkins lit by a candle inside and never realize this tradition first originated in Europe by carving a turnip or rutabaga. Along the way, we've added black cats, spiders, goblins, skeletons and scarecrows.
Many parents now hold parties at their homes for their children and friends, rather than let them roam the neighborhoods to trick-or-treat. Often if children do go out into the neighborhoods, parents go with them. Sometimes schools open their gyms and hold big community parties for children. Even various organizations hold parties or set up haunted houses.
Everyone attempts to provide a safe environment for small children to enjoy Halloween. And Moultrie is yet another city in the U.S. that attempts this same goal.
On Friday, October 31st, the day of Halloween, the citizens of Moultrie and surrounding areas can bring their children to the downtown area, where they can trick-or-treat with participating merchants from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Then a costume contest will be held at 5:30 p.m. Costume-wearers can sign up for the contest between 4 and 5:30 p.m.
Make your Halloween a safe one while you have fun. Trick-or-treat in the daylight, on the Square in Moultrie, and enjoy the safety of one big party. Make Halloween a fun time for the little ones, and try not to be too upset by the "big" children who still want to be little.
(Source: Wikipedia, Downtown Merchants Association)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm A Sucker For A Great Title

Yesterday I sat in the reading area at one of the long tables and folded some brochures. I watched people come in and out of the library. Some people came to bring books back and stayed long enough to check out a few more. A few people came in to sit on the couch and read or settle down in one of the soft chairs. I folded and watched. No one looked at the sale books.
When I finished with the brochures, I lingered and looked through one of the many magazines we have on the slant-shelves. For some reason, I just knew there was a something in the reading area to tell you about, but I didn't find it until I walked past the discarded books that are for sale.
You know about our sale books, don't you? They're on the other side of the counter where the videos are located in the front lobby. They're on the low shelves that face the reading area. Of course, I had to stop and look. And that's where I found the "something" to tell
I'm a sucker for a great title - doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, movie, or whatever. There are books on those shelves that will make you want to read them simply because of their great titles.
How about My Mother the Arsonist & Other Toasty Tales? It's by Dave Wood, a books editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who also wrote a weekly column for Grit, a 106-year-old family newspaper. Now, doesn't that sound like a fun book?
And they didn't stop there. I found:
* I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead by Artie Shaw
* Thursday, the Rabbi Walked Out by Harry Kemelman (He has other Rabbi books, also.)
* Blue Skies, No Candy by Gael Greene
* Stray Kat Waltz by Karen Kijewski
* Feather on the Moon by Phyllis A. Whitney
* Apple to the Core by Marc Lovell (This is a Crime Club selection.) and --
* Weirdos, Winos and Defrocked Priests by Ludlow Porch, who is a radio talk show host in Atlanta.
The nice part about these books are that they are CHEAP! Maybe I should have said really affordable. You can find a good read among these books for only 25 cents to $1.00! And if these great titles don't make you want to read one, come on up to the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library and scan the shelves for yourself. I just bet you'll find one you like! (Oh, the one I took home was called Sticks and Scones.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's That Season Again

When I came to work this morning, it was what we consider cold here in South Georgia. And it was cold in the office as I cranked up this little computer.
You know how you think of a word, and that word makes you think of another word. I did that while sitting in my cold office. I know it will warm up a little later, but sitting at the computer with cold fingers caused my chain-reaction of words.
Cold made me think of winter. Winter did not make me think of Christmas. Instead, it made me think of flu. Yep, flu season is upon us. I've already talked with a couple of people who have been "laid low" with the flu, and it's only October.
One of the things we do here at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library is help the public be aware of various opportunities they have available to them in our city, county and state. We have a long counter in front of the Fiction Section covered with pamphlets and brochures that tell about all kinds of help. But the other day when I passed by the counter, I didn't see a single brochure telling about the flu.
As a library here in Georgia, we have a great opportunity to partner with a group called Partnership for Health and Accountability, which also works with the Georgia Hospital Association to publish health facts. So, I went to the PHA/GHA website and obtained some information to make a brochure. Now, our patrons can pick up the brochure titled "What Is The Flu?" A stack of the brochures can be found on a small round table behind the Directional Sign in the front lobby, as well as on the long counter in front of the Fiction
The brochure will tell you what Influenza or "the flu" is, who can get it, and how you can tell if it's really the flu or just a cold. The brochure also names the symptoms, tells you what you should do, and how the doctor treats the flu. And it gives you online resources if you're interested in finding out more about seasonal influenza.
It's our pleasure to be able to provide you with information you need to keep healthy. Please pick up the flu brochure when you're in the library.
I got my flu shot the first week of October. Have you had yours? Protect yourself today! After all, it's that season again.
(Some resources:,,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time For A Few Memories And A Lot Of Laughter

It always amazes me how hard we work to be different from each other. And yet, we prove to ourselves day after day that we are all so much alike.
For instance, the other day some of us were talking about the children who visit, how wide-eyed they are while walking down the long hallway to the Children's Library, how excited they are when they sit down to listen to Miss Norma's stories, and how they act in general. Occasionally, of course, we do have a youngster who wants to be somewhere else, and fast!
That led some of us to talk about things that our mothers never would have let us do as kids. And that gave us a few memories and a lot of laughter.
Just recently, we talked about some of the things our mothers taught us, which reminded me of an email I once received. Maybe your mother taught you some of these things.
My mother taught me about irony. You keep crying, and I'm gonna give you something to cry about.
My mother taught me about the weather. Your room looks like a tornado went through it.
My mother taught me about wisdom. When you get to be my age, you'll understand.
My mother taught me about medical science. If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they're going to stick that way.
My mother taught me about logic. Because I said so...that's why!
She taught me about foresight. Be sure you're wearing clean underwear in case you get in an accident.
She taught me about behavior modification. Stop acting like your father!
She taught me about my roots. Shut that door! You weren't born in a barn.
She taught me about anticipation. Just wait till we get home.
And my mother taught me about stamina. You're going to sit there until you clean your plate.
If she didn't say that, then she said, Shut your mouth and eat your supper. (Really hard to do!)
And she taught me about horror. One of these days you're going to have kids and then you'll know what I had to go through. That'll be my payback.
Now, do you remember your mother saying any of those words to you? Mine certainly did. And I bet your mother did too.
So, see how much we're alike. Not much difference at all.
And I have to admit, my mother was right. There's not a day that I don't wish she was here to see how her payback is working out. I guarantee you, it would be a time for a lot of laughter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Many Libraries Have A Park? We Do!

One of the advantages of working here at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library is being able to walk out the door, cross the parking lot, and enter the gate of Bert Harsh Park. I say advantage, because it's a place where we can take our brown bag lunches, or meals from Fuller's Restaurant across the street, and sit in the sunshine while we eat. There are picnic tables, benches, plenty of shade, and lots of grass. And those of us who work here are close enough to it to enjoy it on a daily basis. Not many people are that lucky!
I drove past the park last Friday and noticed two women and a little girl sitting at one of the tables. Five children of various ages were running around in the fence-enclosed park, tossing a Nerf ball and laughing and hollaring. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and it was just a beautiful day to be in the park. Made me envious!
The park is on the corner of Fifth Street, S.E., and Fourth Avenue. It's not very big, but just big enough for several families, singles, or couples to enjoy. But you know, not many people who come to Bert Harsh Park know about the man it was named for. They also don't know that there are trees in the park named for famous people, such as Jimmy Carter Slash Pine, Julia Gordon Lowe Crepe Myrtle, and Abraham Lincoln oak.
So, let me tell you a little about Bert Harsh. He was a trustee on the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library Board when the new library was built in 1963-64 and served as chairman for two terms from 1978-1984. Then he served a third term when the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library was built in 1988-89.
He was a native of Goshen, IN, but came to Moultrie in 1951, after managing the Pal-Waukee Airport near Chicago, IL. He worked at Spence Field for Hawthorne Aviation in the USAF Pilot Training Program and made Moultrie his home. In 1978, Mr. Harsh was named Moultrie's "Man of the Year" by the Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce.
The park was named after him because he suggested establishing one outside the library. There wasn't anything on that little corner. When the genealogical library wing was finished, Mr. Harsh helped transform the space into a park, and because of his love for trees, it was decided to turn the park into a historic grove.
Trees were purchased from Famous & Historic Trees of Jacksonville, FL, and local groups and individuals sponsored the trees at a cost of about $40 each. Twenty-two trees, offshoots of those with documented historical significance, were planted in the area. Also, in the park is a cast-iron sundial, which has a time capsule scheduled to be opened on February 27, 2093, one hundred years after the dedication of the park. Everything in the park was donated by friends of the library.
By establishing the grove, Moultrie became the first among 300 designated Tree Cities USA to plant one. During the dedication ceremony in February 1993, someone said: "This is a place of learning. This is a place of history. It is dedicated to the people and children of Moultrie for quiet reflection of the past and future of the community." The park has been called "an oasis of green to push away concrete in a world that often seems determined to cover everything with asphalt."
This is the perfect weather to enjoy the library's park. The next time you come to the library or drive by, take a little stroll over to Bert Harsh Park, sit on a picnic bench, feel the sunshine warm your shoulders, smell the sweet breeze, and listen to the birds chirp. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This Is A Place Where People Meet

I know for a fact that sometimes it's difficult to find a place for your group or organization to meet. That's why many times, people will come to the library to see if there's a meeting room they can
There are several groups of folks that meet here in the Willcoxon Auditorium during the month. Groups like the Magnolia Garden Club, the Retired Teachers Association, the Girl Scouts, Sunbelt Writers, Pilot Club, and Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
We've even have home schoolers, children's librarians from the Southwest Quadrant, the library boards, and genealogy workshops. And recently, we had a large group for the U.S. Census Testing for 2010.
During tax time, the AARP tax aides keep the Willcoxon Auditorium busy every Tuesday from February until near the middle of April, when everyone's taxes are due.
And occasionally, our classroom is used. The Library Board granted permission to name it the Melody Stinson Jenkins Classroom (after our director), and lately it's been busy, too, even though it is still part storage room. It can hold a small group, but it is available.
There are some rules about using the areas, however...such as,
* making a reservation ahead of time,
* keeping the food (if any) that is served in the room,
* cleaning up and placing trash in trashcans after meeting,
* and letting the circulation desk staff know how many people attended your meeting.
There's no charge for non-profit and education purposes, but meetings for political or religious purposes are not allowed. Questionable meetings are referred to the director for a
There've been times when the library was so busy with meeting groups that we had every available space filled. Once, when the Willcoxon Auditorium was filled with a large group, the Retired Teachers Board met in the classroom, and the Magnolia Garden Club members sat around tables in the reading area.
We're a busy place, that's for sure. And we like it that way. You can always call and ask if space is available for your group to meet.
After all, this is a place where people meet.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

We're Having So Much Fun With "Our Memory Wall"

During our 100-Year Celebration in May, we posted on the wall of the Willcoxon Auditorium a few pictures from an old scrapbook of library events. Everyone had so much fun trying to identify the people in the pictures.
Well, we've put "Our Memory Wall" up again in conjunction with Family History Month. This time it's in the long, white hallway between the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library and the main library. Right out there where everyone can see it!
And we're having so much fun with it!
We hear people chattering as they recognize someone they know. Sometimes we hear people laughing as they remember a person. Often we see a person standing and studying a picture up close, as if to see some really small item in the picture or get a closer look at a face.
Always we thank them for looking at the wall and encourage them to write the name on the picture of a person they can identify.
These are pictures of our library family. These are pictures of:
  • Anne McKee and Hazel Wade at the circulation counter,
  • Lorene Harrell with the Culbertson Head Start,
  • Catherine Bryant, Lucille Dunn, Dorothy Richardson, Elois Matthews, and Hildred Lewis with the Bookmobile.
  • There are pictures of children in the reading area, Bookmobile stops in 1963, a downtown parade, a groundbreaking ceremony, the summer reading club and storytime in 1975, as well as a couple of presentations.
  • Some of the other people identified in the pictures are Lanelle (Gregory) Plaza, Aline McKee, Walter Norman, Barbara Vereen, Mary Jo Stone, Julianne Chambliss, Ann Alderman, and Mayor Willy Withers.

The next time you're in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, stop by "Our Memory Wall." See if there is anyone you can identify. And if you're old enough, you might find a picture of yourself!!!

October is Family History Month. We're sharing our Library Family and special memories with you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October's Employee of the Month is Elois Matthews

Elois Matthews was surprised when our director, Melody Jenkins, announced the October Employee of the Month. Melody talked about a long-term employee (that's at least 98% of the people working here), "who has done a little bit of everything, and has not only her library job but a full-time job at home."
That's when all of us standing around, waiting to see who it would be, realized it was Elois. We picked her out right away. And I do believe she blushed as she received the flowers Melody handed her.
Elois began with the library in 1962 at the age of 31. Next February she will celebrate her forty-seventh year! In this day and age, it's hard to believe there are still people who have worked at their job longer than three years!
"When you try to think back over 47 years, it's hard," Elois said. "I"ve seen lots of employees come and go, and lots of changes."
Before Elois began with the library, she worked at the Spence Field Hawthorne School of Aeronautics. She left when the base closed and began raising her family.
When Hildred Lewis asked her to work on the library's bookmobile with her, Elois took the job. She said it is the job she's enjoyed the most.
"You know, when you work with people and have a close communication with the patrons, they become like family."
She continued that love of people when she semi-retired from the bookmobile after 32 years and Melody placed her in the library's reference section.
"Melody said she put me in the reference section because I have such an inquisitive mind," Elois said as she laughed. "And I've been in it for 15 years now!" When you put a loving spirit and curiosity together, you have a winning combination for working in the library.
Elois said she's done almost everything in the library: bookmobile, processing, repairing books, circulation. "I'm a jack of all trades," she said. "But the hardest thing for me to learn was using a computer. I just had a hard time with that." This time she didn't laugh.
Elois received a certificate of appreciation and flowers, a gold Georgia library pin and bookmark, and access to the special E.O.M. parking space right in front of the employee entrance.
She's lived in Colquitt County all her life. She said she raised her children, Joey and Debbie, in the library. They live near Elois and her husband, J.E., who will be married 60 years next February.
Long-term employee, loving spirit, inquisitive mind...we have a winner, don't we?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We're Gonna Be "Reaching Back"

If you're a brand new genealogist or need a refresher course, this is a great time to learn the basics of hunting for ancestors. We're going to explore local resources, including the wealth of material available at the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library, as well as using online resources safely.
We're inviting you to join the genealogy study group on Tuesday, October 21st, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library's Willcoxon Auditorium. This will be a videoconferencing session.
Guest speaker will be Pat Richley, known as "Dear Myrtle" in the genealogy world. Dear Myrtle will talk about using the online catalog to prepare for a trip to the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Family History Center, as well as how to order microfilm through your local Family History Center.
In the event you'd like to know more about Dear Myrtle, you can check her out at But I'll give you a little info right now.
Dear Myrtle says Myrtle is the given name of her dad's mother, who lived in Puyallup, Washington. Grandma Myrtle taught little Myrt to play Solitaire, make open-faced tuna fish sandwiches and prepare apricot preserves, among other things. So, naturally Grandma Myrtle was little Myrt's favorite grandma.
Dear Myrtle began her website ten years ago, in 1998, and it really took off in 1999 as a place to archive special columns for access by anyone on the Net. Myrt's The Everything Online Genealogy Book was published in November 2000 and is now in its 4th printing. DearMYRTLE's articles have been published in Heritage Quest Magazine and Everton's Genealogical Helper, as well as various other genealogical publications.
In 2000 she began Internet radio braodcasts. In 2004 the hurricane season put new broadcasts on hold, but she is thinking of starting them up again. In March 2003 she began writing the series of "DearMYRTLE's little books," and is currently working on The Joy of Genealogy: African American Roots with co-author James Rose, Ph.D.
So, if you're inclined to have a curiosity about your ancestors, or what genealogy is all about, come join us as we go "reaching back" into time for answers to questions we all have.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's Things Like This That Keep Me From Reading

I took myself to Taco Bell the other day, knowing that I would get my three crunchy tacos and big drink and park my car at the end of the parking lot and read my new mystery book by Monica Ferris called "Sins and Needles." I'd been waiting for that book for a week. I'd ordered it through the Inter-Library Loan System and it had finally come in.
So...there I was, eating and reading. Just as happy as could be. I looked up as I took a bite and saw a man at the nearby service station, trying to open a window on the driver's side of a white Jeep. He had a flat metal bar stuck in the window. Right away I knew someone had locked their car keys inside. Sure enough, a little lady in a gold T-shirt and black skirt walked up to the man. Together, they looked inside the Jeep, and then he went back to using his metal bar. And I went back to reading.
In a couple of minutes, my curiosity got the best of me and I looked at the man again. This time he had moved to the back of the car and with a screwdriver was prying the back window out of the Jeep. It was one of those vehicles with a tailgate and window that opens into the "up" position. I watched until he had the glass out and had carefully propped it against the side of the car. Good, I thought, now he can crawl in. I went back to reading.
The next time I looked up, the man had taken a long metal pole (the one that you see men use to dip into the underground gasoline tank) and was poking it through where the back window had been. He poked it all the way over the back seat and past the front seat, but all that poking did not unlock the driver's door. I watched him poke until I got tired and went back to reading.
I actually read for about five minutes and then absentmindedly looked over at the man as I took another bite of taco. By this time there was a medium-size tool box on the ground beside the Jeep, as well as a fishing rod and reel. He was lifting the car jack out the back window's opening. Apparently, he couldn't get the tailgate down. Then he took out the spare tire. After that, he tried to pull out of the window opening a red-handled thing shaped like a large upside down "U" with a cord wrapped around it. I never figured out what that was. Finally I got tired of watching and went back to
When I looked up in a little while, the man had crawled into the back of the Jeep (the red-handled thing was still inside!) and was stretched on his stomach over the back seat as he reached over the front seat and attempted to open the driver's door. I think he made it.
I watched as he crawled backwards, with great difficulty, until he had all of himself out of the Jeep except for his left leg, which was hung inside the tailgate. Realizing his leg was not going to come out of the Jeep, the man climbed up onto the back bumper and with both hands pulled his leg, with great difficulty, over the tailgate until his foot was on the bumper with the other one, and then he stepped down to the ground. I was greatly relieved! I was afraid he would fall to the ground on his you-know-what!
As you can see, I just gave up reading. I watched the man open the tailgate (why didn't he do that before he climbed out?), pull the back window frame down and put the glass in with his screwdriver. He checked it thoroughly before he raised it back up. Then he began putting everything back inside the Jeep -- the spare tire, the jack, fishing rod and reel, and the tool box.
I had eaten my lunch, but I didn't get much reading done.
It's things like this that keep me from reading. And I have to admit, this one was just too great to miss!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October Is Family History Month

We're celebrating Family History Month during October at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library and the Doerun Municipal
On Thursday, October 2nd, a genealogy workshop will be held at the Doerun library, 10 a.m. till noon. And on October 23rd at 10 a.m., an "Online Genealogy" workshop will be held. Aileen McNair will be the instructor at both sessions, which are free to the
On Saturday, October 11th, an "Online Genealogy Resources" workshop will be held at the Moultrie library's Willcoxon Auditorium, 1 to 4 p.m. And a Genealogy User Group with "Dear Myrtle" will be held on Tuesday, October 21st, same place, 6 to 7 p.m. Again, both sessions are free and Aileen McNair will be the instructor.
In addition to the free workshops, you might consider these ten ways to celebrate Family History Month:

  1. Get started tracing your family tree. Join us at one of the workshops and learn more.
  2. Create a family cookbook. Contact your relatives and ask them to send you a few of their favorite family recipes.
  3. Record family stories. Use an audiotape, videotape, or legacy journal to record events, personalities, and traditions.
  4. Uncover your family health history. Tracing your family health history is not only fun, but what you learn now could potentially save a family member's life tomorrow.
  5. Scrapbook your family history. Document your family's history and create a lasting gift for future generations.
  6. Take a trip back in time. Visit sites of importance to your family or take a trip to a historical museum, battlefield, or re-enactment event that relates to your family.
  7. Play detective. Start your children or grandchildren on a lifelong journey of discovery by introducing them to genealogy.
  8. Craft a heritage gift. Make picture frame Christmas ornments with family pictures or create a lap quilt of old pants, shirts, skirts, or ties. Handmade gifts are favorites.
  9. Have a year of family pictures. Make a family calendar of current photos or ancestor's pictures. Add family birthdays, marriage dates, etc.
  10. Start a family web site. This allows you and your kids to share family photos, favorite recipes, funny stories, and even your family tree research.

Make some time during Family History Month to enjoy your family and heritage!