Thursday, April 25, 2013


     Before I went to lunch today, I watched a small portion on a Yahoo! live feed of the dedication of the Bush Presidential Library  (for the last President Bush).  There was a running dialog box on the lefthand side of the screen.
     One person stated: "Libraries are so 1950s.  Couldn't we just make him a website and save a ton of taxpayer money?"
     Another person responded:  "Shame on you.  Libraries are the greatest gifts to us and should not and will not be replaced entirely by websites."
     How do you feel about that?  Are libraries so 1950s?  Should we replace them and save the taxpayers a ton of money?  How about..."should not and will not be replaced entirely by websites?"  I thought about that word "entirely."
     I feel a little biased working in a library.  And this is my second library.  I don't believe I could answer those questions without taking into consideration all of my feelings about libraries.  Or websites, for that matter.  It might take me a long time to write it all down.
     But I did wonder if you have an opinion on this subject and are willing to share it with us.  If so, please leave a comment here. 
     We'd love to hear from at our library and on our website.
     Thanks in advance.


     I know you can click on May in the Children's Library on our website home page, but you know what?  I think it's worth talking about right here also.
     We have such outstanding events for children at our library.  Michele Croft, our Children's Librarian, and her assistant, Nancy Ibarra, work so hard to make the children's library a really special place for children of all ages.
     In a way, May is not really a special month for children at our library, because every month is special.  It's just that during May this year, we have great special events that not only children but adults will want to be part of.  And if you think May is going to be great, wait until you hear about June!!!
     Our May children's events actually started on April 22nd, when children were encouraged to stop by the children's library and pick up a coloring sheet to enter the "Fancy Nancy Coloring Contest."  The contest is for ages 4 to 7 and 8 to 10 years.  The children pick up their coloring sheet, do their thing with it, and bring it back before May 18th when it will be judged.  (I'll not tell who the judge(s) will be.)  And the winners will receive a Scholastic Book Pack, a bookmark, and a great pencil.  So, encourage all your little ones to get busy and finish those coloring sheets and bring them in before the 18th.
     Of course, we know that May 1st is right around the corner.  That's the day when children can come to the children's library and look for the jar with the bookworms in it.  Once found, they should guess how many bookworms are in the jar and submit their answer.  The winner will receive a prize at the end of the month.  Just think!   Two good events with winners!
     Clifford the Big Red Dog has visited our library before, but he's going to be here again.  On May 14th at 4:00 p.m. children will enjoy a story, a sing-along, and then Clifford!  He'll come out to say hello and pose for photos with the children.  Everyone loves to have their picture taken with Clifford and this is the perfect opportunity for a really great one!!!  No registration.  Just show up!
     May 18th is also "Eric Carle Story Time."  The event will be at 11 a.m. and no registration is required for it either.  The event is open to all ages, but it's best suited for ages 3 to 6 years.  Eric Carle stories are aimed for early childhood.  And...a real treat...light refreshments will be served!
    We're always glad to have local authors join us and on May 25th at 11 a.m. Gary Hardy will read from his book about the adventures of "PJ The Water Breathing Dragon."  If you don't know this story, adults and children alike will enjoy it.  It lets everyone know it's all right to be different.  And Gary's book will be available to purchase for your child or to give as a special gift.
     I know you're thinking, WOW!, that's a lot of stuff going on at the children's library, but that's not all.  The Summer Reading Club will begin registration on May 1st and continue through June.  Michele Croft has a line-up of programs you won't believe!  The Big Kid Band, a comedy magic show, Clifford the Big Red Dog again, storytellers, a ventriloquist, puppets, and animals from Chehaw Park.
     There's lots more to tell you about.  But I have to save some for next time.  Till then...put these May dates on your calendar for a month of fun at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


     It was announced in the last meeting of the library's adult reading club...a new reading season is coming!
     We just finished Between the Covers with various themes that kept some of us reading until the wee hours of the morning. 
     Each month we read our choice of books for the monthly genre.  For instance, last June we were reading "Books That Keep You Up All Night."  Those were the thrillers and survival stories.  We also read "Tall Tales" (bios and memoirs), "Night Time Adventures" (mysteries and detectives), and "Moon Madness" (in October with "moon" in the titles).  I'm sure you get the idea.
     Now, a new reading season is upon us and this time the title is Beneath the Surface.
     As we discussed this topic here at work, I must admit we got a little carried away with things beneath the surface.  And it was fun!  We thought of what was beneath the surface of the ground and water, what was beneath the surface of our skin or our clothes,   what was beneath the surface of...well, most anything.  That's what made it fun!  We came up with all kinds of beneath-the-surface ideas.
     For some of our months this coming season, however, we have deviated a little because of an important event during the month.  For instance in July, we really wanted to read books where we could celebrate America.  We decided to read about real and legendary heroes and heroines, or revisit classic songs or places, or follow the adventures of travelers across the United States.  We'll have an opportunity to "delve beneath the surface" of people or events or things in order to find something deeper than the obvious.
    In August we're going to read "Cold Books for Hot Weather."  That will be a great challenge! There  undoubtedly will be a surface in those books that we need to find and go beneath.
    September will be one of the months we have a special event to read about.  The last of September is "Banned Books Week" and our topic will be "Books That Break the Rules."
    Then in October we're back to Beneath the Surface with "Digging into the Past," a time for us to look at local history and genealogy.  There's no telling what we'll dig up!
     For the rest of the season, we'll be reading "Unexpected Blessings" for November, "Going Underground" for January (could include topics for underground rail services and Black History Month), "Women Who Rock" in February (early for Women's History Month in March), "Green Reads" for March, and " Shoots and Roots, Buckets and Boots" for April.
     So, there you have it.  Our list of challenging reads for our new book club season.
     Oh, for this coming June our suggested theme is "Color It Coastal."  We'll have a little brochure on the bookshelf near the 7-Day Loans that you can pick up.  It ties right in with you getting ready for a trip to the beach.  But if you can't get to a place with sand and sea, you can go by book!  The brochure has a list of great beach reads, such as "Beach Girls" by Luanne Rice, "Murder in Palm Beach" by Cat Lyons, and "The Beach House" by three different authors: James Patterson, Jane Green, and Sally John.
     Join us as we explore a different theme each month.  You can read any book of your choice, although we do have a selected group focus.
     We meet the second Tuesday of each month, except May and December, at 6:30 p.m. in the library auditorium.  We share what we've read as well as light refreshments...a little plate of something by each member and coffee/tea furnished by the library.
     June will be the beginning of our third year!  We must be doing something right!  Come see what it is!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


     Someone dropped off a few magazines the other day.  Of course, I always have to plow (yes, that's the way I want to spell it) through them to see if there are any I would like to look at closer.  Sure enough, there were.  It's not often I walk away without one or two.
     Today I walked away with the May/June 1996 issue of "Reminisce, the Magazine That Brings Back the Good Times."  I also had a copy of "Country, For Those Who Live In Or Long For The Country," dated April/May 2001. 
     And I wondered what I would say in my 25 minutes of writing.  Time is short today.
     Things have really been rough lately all across our nation.  Too many shootings and bombings and things like that.  Makes me wonder how far away I am from putting my head in the sand and holding my breath.  But I just can't give up, give in, give away the freedoms I have.
     As I thumbed through "Reminisce," I saw black and white pictures of vintage cars, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert (she looked like my mother) in the movie It Happened One Night, and a woman standing in front of her brand-new fridge.  There was a story about "Grandma's Greatest Gift," a quilt that had seen some rough years; a story about learning to drive a 1919 Model T; and letters from readers who wrote about military memories.  There were color photos of a billy goat, Burma-Shave signs, tractors, iron toys, old phonographs, horses, and recipes.  There are always recipes in such magazines...creamed sweet peas, pan-fried trout, lemon bars, things like that.
     The "Country" magazine gave color photos of farms in the distance that you saw from a hill-top; a whole section about Pennsylvania (they called it God's Country); a column titled "Timely Homesteader Tips," which included ways to kill dandelions, ways to speed the spouting of hard-coated seeds; and how to get rid of woodpeckers.  A colorful two-page spread showed a blooming alpine meadow and the caption asked you to guess where the photo was taken.  There were fields of poppies, a little cowboy climbing up a fence, and horses rolling around in a bluegrass field.  And there were recipes:  salmon stuffed peppers, easy rhubarb dessert, and homemade Cajun seasoning.
     I sat and stared at the pictures and wished I could be there, in the beauty and peacefulness of a mountain lake or the hillside looking down on the patchwork of a green field.  And I was glad I picked up these magazines, so I could remember things I'd forgotten.  I was glad I had a time to reminisce and not forget my roots, my family's past, and remember that I still have all of that.  I still have all of those places in those magazines.  I still have recipes just like those in the magazines.'re probably asking how I'm going to tie this in to our library.
     Well, those magazines are sitting out there on our "free magazines" shelf.  All you have to do is pick a few up and take them home.  We have free magazines lots of times.  Just look for them.  It's just another service we provide for you here at our library.  And you won't find much free stuff in the world now days.  That's something to reminisce about also.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


     Hear ye!  Hear ye!  All ye book-lovers!  (And there are a ton of you out there, I know!)
     We are having a great big book sale at our library the first weekend in May. 
     Did you hear what I said?
     Yes, indeedy!  A great big book sale!  Our Friends of the Library will be holding their annual book sale soon.  The sale funds will support library programs, books, and materials that the library always has a hard time funding, especially in this day and time when there have been so many cut-backs in library funds.
     But, I have to say, the best part of the sale is that the price you pay for items will just blow your mind away!   I can't say cheap, but I can say very reasonably priced.  In fact, really low-priced!
     For only 25 cents to $2.00, you will be able to purchase gently-used (also called pre-owned) hardback books, paperback books, movies (both DVD and VHS), and children's books.  There are also some lovely coffee-table books...the kind with lovely pictures.  We have mysteries, poetry, fiction, biographies, any genre' you would like.
     And for all of you who don't know about our Amazing Big Black Book Bag, which is waterproof canvas and has a good-size outside pocket, we will have those on sale also for only $5.00.
     So, you need to put these dates on your calendar and plan to be here and load up.

  • Friday, May 3 - Friends' members-only sale from 4 to 6:30 p.m.  Then it's open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Memberships are open to anyone and available at the library during operating hours, as well as during the sale.
  • Saturday, May 4 - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 5 - 1 to 5 p.m.   A Bag Sale will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. for the remaining items for only $4.00 per bag.  Shoppers are to use the large grocery bags that will be provided by the Friends of the Library.
     All the wonderful volunteers that have helped pull together this sale are to be congratulated for their hard work.  Angie Patteson is the Book Sale Chairperson and she can certainly tell you who her helpers have been.
     We hope you'll join us on these sale days.  All books, even those that we feel we cannot keep, have great value.  They need to have a home.  Come and fill up a bag with wonderful reads.  Or two or three bags.  All books need a home.
     See you there!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


     Can you imagine what it would be like to stand on a two-lane country road in the hot sun and wait for a bus to come along?  Not just any bus, but a bus decorated all around its outside in bright colors and pictures.  Can you imagine how excited your little six-year-old self would be as you see it coming toward you, knowing that as soon as it stops and you climb up the steps, you'll be entering a world of pictures and color and stories?  Can you feel your heart pound with anticipation?  That bus you would be waiting for is The Bookmobile.
     Next week libraries all across the nation will be celebrating National Library Week, April 14 through 20.  Today we want to tell you about bookmobiles and specifically our bookmobile, because Thursday, April 17, is dedicated as National Bookmobile Day.
     Many bookmobiles are not staying around in this day and age.  Some have been turned into labs, complete with satellite Internet access to provide computer training classes.  Some have been turned into traveling museums of local history.  Some library systems are using bookmobiles to expand their children's services with traveling programs.
     An article in a recent edition of the Georgia Public Library Service News stated that Thomas County was home to the first Georgia bookmobile.  In The History of the Public Library of Moultrie, GA, 1906-1965 by Ellen Payne Odom, it was noted that there was a "traveling librarian in 1936."
     Our Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System still uses its bookmobile, which actually began service in 1942.  The bus that is presently being driven was "born" in 1990 and has spent its 23 years traveling a good many back roads.  We have two bookmobile assistants: Sheila, who has been with the bookmobile for 15 years, and Amanda, since 2012.  They cover all of Colquitt County, which includes twelve communities, and travel approximately 375 miles per each route rotation.  The bookmobile serves eight schools, some private schools, and many homeschoolers.  The ladies also take books into homes where patrons are homebound and unable to come out to the bookmobile.
     The bookmobile carries fiction and nonfiction books for adults, audio books (which are checked out from the main library for patrons, as well as large print books), magazines, teen books, and a wide variety of children's books.  Adult readers seem to enjoy fiction, biographies, fantasy, and Christian fiction.  The children love dinosaur and tractor books, nonfiction animal books, and fun craft books.  They not only like the classics like Mother Goose, Curious George, and Clifford the Big Red Dog, but they also like Goosebumps, Junie B. Jones, and Magic Tree House.
     Other services the bookmobile provides include Sheila and Amanda calling patrons to remind them when the bookmobile will travel their route.  Patrons are encouraged to request any material they would like to have delivered to them.  Some patrons are also able to take advantage of their PINES interlibrary loan privileges at that time.
     Also, patrons are able to obtain library cards from the bookmobile.  If they have a card with the main library, it has to be cleared with no fines.  The bookmobile keeps its patrons' cards on the bookmobile, making check-out for its readers more convenient.  It's hoped that in the future the bookmobile will be set up with a Wi-Fi hot spot so they can connect with the main library to check out books or sign up new patrons right in the bookmobile.
     When asked if they had any funny stories to tell about driving the bookmobile, Amanda said, "Learning the bookmobile's turning radius was the most challenging.  And after turning on an incline once and dumping the books from the shelves, I learned quickly to turn wide!"  Sheila's story was a little more intense.  She said, "One time I turned out of a patron's driveway and hit his small ditch.  But at least it was at a farmer's house, so he could come get us out....  Then I had to come in and tell the director about it."  For both ladies, such events have created a special bond between them.
     Now you know what rolls on four wheels, has a wrapper on it, and is filled with paper.  Oh, about that wrapper...Amanda said, "It's interesting to see the expressions from other drivers and their passengers.  The children especially seem to be the most impressed with the graphics."
     Well, I guess if I were a little six-year-old, I would be impressed, too!
     We invite you to visit our library next week, during National Library Week, and say hello to our staff.  Let them know how glad you are that the library is here for you and that you appreciate their help.  They would love to hear from you.
     And the next time you see The Bookmobile on the road, be sure to give the ladies a big wave and smile!  I bet they'll wave back at you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


     Some startling facts hit my desk earlier this week.  It came to me in the form of a newsletter, "Did You Know...? Facts About Public Libraries," from the American Library Associaiton's Office for Research & Statistics, Georgia Public Library Statistics FY2012, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Consumer Electronics Association, OCLS, and the ReferenceUSA Business and Residential Directory.  I'm going to pick off a few of their facts to tell you about.  Such as:
  • 80 percent of Americans say borrowing books is a "very important" service libraries provide.
  • 80 percent say reference librarians are a "very important" service of libraries.
  • 77 percent say free access to computers and the Internet is a "very important" service of libraries.   (All of the above from a 2012-2013 survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.)
     Of those patrons who visited a library or bookmobile in person in the past 12 months:
  • 73 percent visited to browse the shelves for books or media.
  • 73 percent visited to borrow print books.
  • 66 percent of those who used the Internet at a library in the past 12 months did research for school or work.
  • 50 percent visited to get help from a librarian.
  • 46 percent visited to use a research database.
  • 41 percent visited government websites or got information about government services.
  • 36 percent looked for jobs or applied for jobs online.
  • 16 percent took an online class or completed an online certification program.  (All of the above information from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.)
     Well, let's narrow that down to Georgia now.
     Georgians value the benefits their public library cards provide.
  • Georgia population: 10.5 million
  • Georgians with library cards: 4.5 million
  • Georgians with PINES cards: 2.8 million
     Public libraries are accessible to virtually every community.  In Georgia, there are:
  • 400 public library branches and service outlets
  • 212 communities with a public golf course
  • 207 Starbucks stores
  • 180 Publix grocery stores
  • 133 Walmart stores
  • 63 state parks
  • 60 Holiday Inn hotels
     Did you know that the 33.4 million annual visitors to Georgia's public libraries in FY2012 far exceed the number of visitors to many of the state's other attractions - combined!  Did you know there are 2,757 Georgians working in public libraries?  Did you know that more than 2,500+ Georgians volunteer with public libraries, either directly or as members of local "Friends" organizations?  Did you know that nearly 2,000 Georgians serve as trustees for their local public libraries?
     This month libraries all across our nation will be celebrating National Library Week, April 14 through 20.  The theme for this year's celebration is "Communities Matter @ Your Library."
     Come visit us.  We know you need us, and we are here to let you know we need you.  Communities matter to matter to us.  We're delighted to be here for you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


     It seems we just cannot stay away from the outside, what with all kinds of plants and flowers popping up everywhere.
     This morning Elois, our reference librarian, and I walked out to the community garden, which is in the Bert Harsh Park adjacent to the library.  We decided we'd go peek at the garden and see if we could identify what has been planted.  Now, I say "we," but I really meant Elois.  I've been told I can't tell an honest flower from a weed.  I thought if I took Elois with me, maybe she could tell me what is in the garden.
     The community garden is located on the southside of the park with Fifth Street Southeast to the east and Fourth Avenue to the south.  It's a plot of ground that holds seven, long, raised beds.  At the north end of the raised beds are five, huge, black plastic flower pots.  When I looked in the flower pots, I didn't see anything planted, except in one someone had stuck a very large feather.  Elois said it might have been from a buzzard.  Goodness knows, we have lots of those birds around here!
     We decided we'd check each raised bed to see what we (meaning Elois, really) could identify.
     We called the beds by number, with number one being the closest to the west fence, and we started checking bed seven first.
     That bed had been planted much earlier with collards, and it was obvious that someone had already been through and picked off the lower leaves.  We knew it wasn't that Easter bunny that visited us, so we imagined maybe the garden caretakers were involved with harvesting as well as planting.
     Bed six was covered with tiny little green leaves, each plant with one leaf on each side of the stem.  Elois said she thought that was squash, maybe yellow squash.  Down the center of the raised bed we saw, spaced wide apart, taller green plants that Elois said might be eggplant.
     Moving to bed five, Elois said that bed looked like it was planted with squash also, but she wasn't sure what kind.  Or maybe zuchinni, she said.
     Bed four had nothing but long rows dug in the rich, dark dirt.  It was obvious there were plenty of nutrients in the soil.  Even good enough for lovely, long earthworms.  We'll check for them later also.
     We didn't see anything planted in bed three either, but we feel something will be there eventually, unless it's hiding way down deep where we couldn't see it.
     Elois checked bed two and decided that some little green plants she saw had to be volunteer running butter beans from last year.  And she felt they had planted radishes also.
     But when we got to bed one, where wide-square fencing wire hangs on rebar poles, Elois was sure the running butter beans were set to grow and climb.  And she hoped, really hoped, that she saw the beginnings of beets.  Even as we walked away, she said again she sure hoped those were beets.
     Our last effort was to look around the sign on the southside of the fence to read what is printed.  And I quote:  "Community Garden, partnership with Healthy Colquitt Coalition and Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  Built, planted and cared for by Mike Floyd, Jim Milsap, Charles Sims, Bryan Gordon, David Russell, Doug Turner, Terry Leverton, Jacob Russell, and Mark Wise."
     As Elois and I walked back to the library, we decided that every two or three weeks we are going to come back to the community garden and see how things are growing.  Maybe our puzzle will be solved when tiny little plants are big enough for us to really identify.  And we might take a plastic sack each and see what we can harvest.  Elois said the carrots she harvested last year were the sweetest carrots she'd ever eaten; she put them in her stew, she said. 
     I wonder if I'll harvest something this year.  Just being able to visit the garden will be the highlight of my day.  I bet that's what our little Easter bunny would have said, too.