It's not only in the month of February that we honor and revere the role of African-Americans and all persons of color in American and world history. (The actor Morgan Freeman once famously objected to Black History Month because he didn't want his history relegated to one month a year. "Black history is American history," he noted.) Nevertheless, and especially since Black History Month was founded in Ohio--by the Black United Students of Kent State University in 1970--we are proud to join the celebration with our own special display of books and audiovisual materials on the names, movements, ideas and events that form the broad sweep of African-American history and culture in the United States and around the world. We invite you to come in, browse through these materials and borrow any items that appeal to you. There is so much to learn. For many of us the subject is hazy at best, or even a complete blank space in our understanding of the society we live in. Filling in the gaps in our knowledge is what your library is all about. You can also find displays in our branches in Fredericktown, Danville and Gambier. Incidentally, Ian Fraser Ernsberger included a nice post about the display on his "Nerdy Bookworm" Facebook page. Check it out here: @nerdybookwormIan
It's another festive Christmas Stocking Silent Auction!
Did I mention it's that time of year again? Last year at this time the Friends of the Library came up with a really unique idea for a fundraiser: a Christmas stocking silent auction featuring some very unusual stockings pre-stuffed with all manner of valuable and truly nifty gift items. It was a big hit, so of course they're doing it again this year. You can see the items they're offering in the showcase window just inside the west entry of the Library (or you can look at the picture above, but it's much more vivid in real space). The biggest-ticket item on offer this year is a stocking featuring a night on the town, courtesy of The Grand Hotel. It includes a one-night stay at the hotel, a spa treatment at Aesthetics Spa, a gift certificate from Dean's Jewelry and two certificates for Panera Bread--a total value of over $250. There's also a stocking that offers a birthday party hosted by Gigglenastics, a $200 value. Other stockings are stuffed with a diverse array of items including automotive services and supplies, books autographed by their authors, and assorted gift items from Athens Greek Restaurant, Creative Images and Susan's Boutique. It's a great time to drop by the Library, check out the stockings on display, then put in your own bids on the things that strike your fancy. Bidding is open now until the Library closes on Wednesday, Decemer 16. Winning bidders can pick up their items on December 19 and 20. The Friends will accept cash or checks in payment. Hey, it's Christmas! How much more in the Christmas spirit can you get than picking up a great bargain on a gift for a friend or family member while supporting a good cause at the same time?
It's that time of year again! The annual Friends of the Library Cookbook Silent Auction is under way. Matter of fact, it ends tomorrow, so if you want to take adavantage of some truly great deals in cookbooks of all kinds, you'd better hurry on down to the Library and put in some bids. The Friends have put out 146 top-quality titles in the culinary arts, covering everything from Beer Can Chicken to Four-Ingredient Dinners, and lots more besides. There are specialty cookbooks on pies, cakes and cooking for diabetics (talk about range!). There's a Biggest Loser cookbook, a Weight Watchers cookbook and a Fat Chance Cookbook. They're right there along with "Baking with the Cake Boss," "Italian Desserts and Pastries," and "James McNair's Pie Cookbook." Don't think you have the talent? Try "The Can't Cook Book" (100 recipes for the absolutely terrified). Want something a little over the edge? How about "The Dead Celebrity Cookbook?" Want to cook and read? There's "The Book Club Cook Book." Love to eat and just can't get enough of it? There's "Eat More of What You Love" and "Eat What You Love Every Day," both by Marlene Koch (low fat, low sugar, low calorie recipes so you can eat tons and not feel guilty). Or if you have no guilt, there's the "All Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar Packed Baking Book." If you're going to go overboard, you might as well go all the way, right? But it all ends tomorrow at noon, so come on in now and place your bids. Bon appetit!
After several tense moments of silent pondering, Lisa puts in her bids for some choice cookbooks.
Some lines from the movies stay with me a long, long time. Case in point, from Ghostbusters (1984): "Ray Stantz: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947. Peter Venkman: You're right, no HUMAN BEING would stack books like this." For some reason, in the depths of my memory, Venkman's words have been transmuted to "no NORMAL human being would stack books like this." Fast forward to 2016. We're not "NORMAL" human beings, so we do stack books like this. And we turn them into cool, festive characters and objects for the holiday season. So if you drop by the Library (see our map below) you can take a look at our handiwork. Yes, they're real library books, and yes, they'll go back onto the shelves as soon as we're done playing with them. Kudos to Cindy Dean, who did the Elf and Reindeer bookstacks. She says, "Our inspiration usually comes from Pinerest," which is where they found the Reindeer, but the little elf lived somewhere inside Cindy's head. His forerunner was the little Pilgrim bookstack they had up for Thanksgiving, and he was transformed into the Elf. Ian Ernsberger designed and built the Christmas tree bookstack. It took him a total of five hours over the course of three days. Not only can you enjoy simply looking at this tree, but you can also have a chance to win a gift card by guessing how many books are incorporated into it. Come on in and give it a try!
Guess the number of books in Ian Ernsberger's Christmas tree creation and you might win a gift card!
The Elf was transmuted from its predecessor, the Pilgrim. It's the product of Cindy Dean's lively imagination.
Cindy's inspiration for the Reindeer came from Pinterest. I have to admit, when I first looked at it, I had no idea what it was. Then I got it.
Not to be left out of all the social media fun to be had on the Internet these days, we now have our own app! You can get it free at Google Play and the Apple App Store. Be sure the app you download shows our classy logo. (Some people have asked: "What the heck is that?" It's the top of a book, with a bookmark sticking out of it and our initials--PLMVKC, for Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County--underneath.) The app downloads quickly onto your cell phone or other mobile device and gives you one-tap access to our website, along with some other neat features. There's a "Call Us" icon at the bottom of the screen, to the right of the "Home" icon, that brings up your dialer with our phone number already punched in. To the right of the "Call Us" icon there are icons for our Facebook and Twitter pages. The "List" icon at the upper left corner of the screen (which is part of our mobile website) gives you quick access to all the other pages on our website. And don't forget that quick access to all the other pages on our website also means quick access to dozens of incredible, free services and resources like Hoopla (downloadable audiobooks, music, movies and TV shows--free!), Select Reads, New Book Alert, Author Check, Zinio (the worlds's largest online newsstand--free!), and lots more. You're just going to love this.
Last fall the Library took on the responsibility of sponsoring the first county-wide Battle of the Books, a quiz-style competition for avid young readers in the fifth grade. In so doing, we were reviving (and attempting to amplify) a program that had existed only in the Mount Vernon City Schools from 1993 to 2012. Peggy Mavis, who was Elementary Library Coordinator for the Mount Vernon City School District at the time, initiated the program and developed it into a robust annual event that drew large crowds of parents, teachers and children. Each of the city schools, plus St. Vincent School, had one team of seven kids, but the program's influence and impact went well beyond just that small group. It spurred an interest in reading and literature for their own sake and drew hundreds of kids--including third and fourth graders--into the excitement. After Mrs. Mavis's retirement, the program was continued a few more years but was then abandoned.
When we started working on the new county-wide Battle of the Books last fall, there was a lot of initial interest, but not every school was able to field a team. Even so, there will be seven teams competing in our first program this Tuesday evening, March 22, at Memorial Theater, starting at 6 p.m. Two schools--Columbia and St. Vincent--will each have two teams in the competition, while Centerburg, Columbia and Danville each have one team. Admission is, of course, free. The kids and their coaches have been working hard to get themselves ready, and we expect this to be a lively, fun and entertaining event. It's our hope that in succeeding years more and more schools will be able to join us, and like its Mount Vernon-only predecessor, the new Knox County Battle of the Books will become bigger and better and more enthusiastically received each year. Please join us for the program. We're all looking forward to it with great anticipation.
It's not just any small to medium sized public library in the U.S. that can claim to have been the cover story on a national magazine. We're not just any library. And our name isn't actually on the cover of the February issue of School Library Journal (except for the mailing label on the copy that came to us). But we are most definitely the subject of the cover story, specifically our MakerSpace. Karen Jensen's article, "Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space," has put us in the national spotlight. Karen is our teen services librarian and the creator of the Teen Librarian Toolbox, a blog which is also nationally known and within recent memory was elevated to prominence as one of School Library Journal's regular online features. One of Karen's specialties is Big Ideas, one of which was the conversion of our young adult area into our MakerSpace, a place where teens and adults and sometimes even pre-teens with the right supervision can dabble in all kinds of things, such as digital photo editing, stop-motion animation, button-making, cutting out letters and shapes on paper or vinyl with our Silhouette Cameo machine, Lego creations and making robotic and electronic gizmos with Raspberry Pi and Makey Makey. Yes, I don't really know that much about any of these things, but that's the point: You come to the library to learn about them, and our talented, dedicated staff will guide you along the way. So, check out Karen's article (click the title above--it's a hyperlink) and her Teen Librarian Toolbox (ditto), and come on in to the library to check out our MakerSpace. We're not the first to have done it, nor the biggest and probably not even the best-equipped (yet), but we are definitely the only library MakerSpace in the world to have been conceived and established by the creator of Teen Librarian Toolbox. In my book, that's something worth a moment of national notoriety.
The diminutive but useful green screen in our MakerSpace makes stop-motion animation come to life.
Appraiser Andy Richmond begins his evaluation of "Silence."
One of the Library's most prized possessions is a marble statue titled "Silence," sculpted by former Mount Vernon resident Joseph Mozier in Rome in 1859. Fifty years after it was created it was donated to the Library by Mrs. Maria Butler of New York, who had also grown up in Mount Vernon. We were recently asked to consider the possibility of lending the statue to the Ohio History Connection for display at the Ohio State House. One of the first steps in that negotiation is to have the artwork appraised, so we called on a former Library employee, Andy Richmond, who now owns his own appraisal business, Wipiak Consulting & Appraisals. Andy came and spent several hours examining "Silence" and three other objects of artistic, historical and cultural interest that belong to the Library. Most prominent among them is an impressive bronze casting of a piece by Hermon Atkins MacNeil entitled "A Chief of the Multnomah Tribe." The last two objects are less prominent but equally interesting: a hand-drawn watercolor map of the original plat of Mount Vernon from the early 19th century and a ticket to the hanging of Will Bergin on December 7, 1877, the only execution that ever took place in Knox County. Care to guess what any of these items is worth? Stay tuned. We'll be sharing more facts and trivia about each of them in future blog posts. Each one has its own unique and fascinating story, and they all have connections with times, places and people far removed from the present-day Mount Vernon/Knox County community. We'll explore some of these stories in more detail as we continue to probe the histories of the artifacts in our collections.
Back in October our Office Manager, Lisa Blaisdell, embarked on a new adventure in library services and programming: "Sewing with Lisa." The second Monday of every month (which means the next one is February 8!) at either 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. (attendees' choice), people can come in, bring a yard or two of fabric with them, and get expert instruction on how to create wonderful things. This month, naturally, it's a heart pillow. We provide supplies and sewing machines. Lisa provides the expertise and a winning way with people. The program is oriented toward adults, but we've had some youthful attendees, and they've had a great time. So (or should that be "sew"?), if you've ever wanted to learn sewing or master the intricacies of the modern techno-marvel known as the sewing machine, Lisa's your person and the second Monday of every month is your time slot.
There's always something new happening at the Library. As far back as I can remember, the Friends of the Library have never done a holiday-themed silent auction, but this year they decided to give it a try. You can see what they came up with in the display case (and just to the right of it) on our main floor. Eleven of our local benefactors dug into their bags of goodies and came up with some really cool stuff for this project. Thanks to our good friends at The Alcove, Athens Greek Restaurant, Black Walnut Holler, DQ Grill & Chill, Down Home Leather, Farley & Moore Antiques, Kudos, Susan's Boutique, Walmart and Roy Glaser and Timothy Zahn, we have 11 stuffed stockings and three hand-crafted items that will go to the highest bidders as of the end of the day on Wednesday, December 16. The stockings include a wide variety of choice items such as gift certificates, books, jewelry, music CDs, ornaments, matchbox cars and lots of other great stuff. The handcrafted items include a cutting board, lazy susan and a framed wooden angel. Come on in and take a look, then enter your bid!