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Monday, March 2, 2015

Lost Skills of the Old West by Stacy DeLano

I am so excited about an upcoming “True Grit” program that when I think about it, I feel like a jubilant five year old. When I was little, my family went each summer to Silver Dollar City, an 1880s themed park in the Ozarks. We always started by watching the peanut brittle demonstration where I’d sit up on my dad’s shoulders because I couldn’t see past the big kids. The old-timey lady would smash up the candy and place it in a gingham covered basket for the crowd to take. I really, really wanted to take one of the big chucks, but never worked up my nerves enough to take anything but a little piece.

Next, we’d move on to glass blowing. Now mind you—these were the days before all the rides came. At that time, the park just had “Fire in the Hole,” the Mine ride, and the old Treehouse, so most of the entertainment was in watching the craftsmen demonstrating their 1880s skills-and we loved it!

After glass blowing, we’d wind through the shop where I’d pined for one of the delicate glass hummingbirds and tiny dolphins. I would try to pick up every single mini animal before my mother could catch up and scold me to keep my hands in my pockets.

We’d make our way around the park from demonstration to demonstration until lunchtime when we’d go to the Mine Restaurant and eat what seemed to be an exotically historic meal, but what I now think must have been something like KFC chicken and instant mashed potatoes. But we had been transported to a completely different time and place, so every bite was delicious.

I’ve missed those visits and getting to pretend that we lived in another time. But on Saturday, March 14, the Multi Arts Center is bringing a similar 1880s experience here to Stillwater. It’ll be your best chance to really get the feel of the “True Grit” era. The program, “Lost Skills of the Old West,” will have Dutch-oven cooking, a blacksmithing demonstration and time to try your hand at spinning and candlemaking.

“Lost Skills,” which lasts from 1-5 p.m., is $25, but you’ll be getting a delicious Dutch-oven meal and go home with swag from the candlemaking sessions.

Registration is required, so sign-up by call 405-747-8084 or emailing It is my understanding that they have to have registrations early to ensure the Dutch-oven cooking, so if you plan on going, I would encourage you to call now.

The Old West fun continues March 16 – March 20 at the Wondertorium. Anyone who has a membership or who purchases a regular ticket into the museum will also receive a pass for that day’s Hands-On History activity. Each day from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., a new historic craft will be introduced, including Dreamcatchers on March 16, Cornhusk Dolls on March 17, Sling Shots on March 18, Basket Weaving on March 19 and Quilt Squares on March 20.

For more information, visit the Wondertorium website at or call 405-533-3333.

If you haven’t registered for “True Grit,” then dash over to our website (or the library) to get signed up and have a book held for you. And don’t forget the three performances of “Oklahoma Women with True Grit” coming up this week. The performances will be held Saturday, March 7, at 3 p.m. in the OSU Postal Plaza Gallery; Monday, March 9, at 4 p.m. in the OSU Library; and Tuesday, March 10, at 1 p.m. during the Osher Life Long Learning Town Hall held at Stillwater Public Library.

For more info on the “True Grit” program, visit

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marathons by Andrea

Spring is here (kind of), and with it comes the marathon season!  All over the world races are held, challenging the human body and spirit. The marathon is one of the most storied races of all time. Originally conceived for the 1896 Olympics in Athens, the marathon immediately captured the imagination and hearts of the public. 

Transported to Boston in 1897 by American spectators, the history of the marathon in the new world is almost as long as the history of the marathon itself. To learn more about the origin of this iconic race, come to the library and check out

 “The Complete Book of the Olympics” by David Wallechinsky (796.48 WAL). It is a treasure trove of lore, drama, and anecdotes from 116 years of Olympic history with full descriptions of rules and scoring for every event.

If you are ready to take on the challenge of a marathon, the library has some excellent books with useful guides and tips.

 “Galloway’s Marathon FAQ” by Jeff Galloway (796.425 GAL) has the direct answers to the most frequently asked questions about training for and running a marathon, including nutrition, motivation, female issues, preparing for race day, race issues, recovery, staying injury free and more.

Motivation sometimes comes from reading about others’ experiences.

 “The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance” by Ed Ayres (796.425 AYR) explores the connection between individual endurance and a sustainable society.

Finally, for the bibliophilic poetic runner, take a look at “The Runner’s Literary Companion” (808.8 RUN). It contains great stories and poems about running.

No matter if you read about it or actually compete, Just Do It!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Touring Stillwater’s History by Stacy

If you are as interested in Downtown Stillwater history as I am, then you have a wide variety of resources at your disposal to delve deep into the good old days.  One of my very favorite resources is the Downtown Stillwater walking tour put together by our amazing librarian, Andrea Kane.  Andrea produced a block by block history of Main Street and the adjacent numbered streets that populate Downtown.  She has provided the names of the businesses formerly located on each block, along with photos and anecdotes as she was able to find them.

When we were working on her research for the guide, we had the great pleasure of touring several of the upstairs spaces of many of the oldest buildings.  Getting to see the original tin ceiling covered up for decades and inspecting the layers upon layers of wallpaper dating back to the 1920s was a real treat.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such an enjoyable document based on amazing historians like Newsom, Cunningham, Chapman,Bassler (and Kane!).  It has been quite a few years since we’ve given a Downtown walking tour, so it is definitely time for someone to dust off our guide and head back Downtown! Since we are encouraging the entire community to mob Downtown with us on Friday, why not go ahead and download a copy of the guide to your tablet or print out a paper copy and spend the afternoon celebrating reading, shopping and eating and getting a glimpse of Downtown history.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lives Change by Stacy

National Library Week is coming up next week, but at the library, I think we are pretty much celebrating the whole month.  We have an Edible Book Festival on April 12, a downtown reading flash mob April 18 and the Friends of the Library Used Book Sale April 24-27.

 The theme of this year’s celebration is “Lives Changes @ Your Library.”  We are emphasizing the many ways our library has helped the community and its citizens grow by unleashing an army of paper butterflies.  When you come in, grab a butterfly and tell us how the library has changed your life.  We’ll hang all of the submissions at the front of the library to show just how many caterpillars have changed into beautiful butterflies with the help of the library.

 Since we have butterflies on our minds all month, it is a perfect time to discuss how you can attract many more butterflies to your home and garden.  If you have a child or grandchild, I encourage you to check and read together some of the following books on the world of butterflies:

·         “Butterflies of Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Texas”by John Dole – This identification guide from the adult department will help your family identify the many different butterfly varieties populating the southern plains. 


   “Butterfly Garden” by Margaret McNamara – This fun easy reader story looks at Mrs. Connor's first-grade class as they watch as caterpillars slowly turn into butterflies in the school butterfly garden.

·         “Butterflies” by Seymour Simon - Explore the world of butterflies with fascinating facts and full-color photographs. Learn where to find butterflies and how to plant your very own butterfly garden.

·         “Butterflies in the Garden” by Carol Lerner – Find out how to lure butterflies into your garden with specific flowers they like to eat and plants where they leave their eggs. 

·         “The Butterfly Book: a Kid's Guide to Attracting, Raising, and Keeping Butterflies” by K.R.Hamilton – This fact filled book explains the life stages, body structures, and habits of butterflies. Readers can also learn how to raise, safely handle and house butterflies before returning them to the wild.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Foolin’, the library has the coolest event in Stillwater on April 12! By Naomi

There are a TON of exciting things happening this spring at the library.  One of the events I am really looking forward to is the International Edible Book Festival on April 12.  For this event, participants (including YOU!) can make an edible food creation based on a book or book title.  Judges will award prizes to the best creations and the public will come and give a $5 donation to get bites of the entries.  Now is a great time to start thinking of ideas so you can be ready to participate. 

I am thinking of making an edible creation of my own.  I’m trying to decide whether to make a savory dish or a sweet treat. For inspiration, I am looking through some of the HUNDREDS of cookbooks.  Many of the books are centered on cake decorating and crafting with food, while others are just great to look at for ideas.

If you are thinking about making a dessert, you might try checking out

“Baking with the Cake Boss” by Buddy Valastro to learn techniques you could incorporate into your masterpiece. 

Another book that caught my eye is “Modern Art Desserts” by Caitlin Freeman, which shows you how to make food that relates to iconic works of art.  So, for example, you might make a cake that includes parts of images from a famous painting and pair it with a biography about the artist. 

If you are thinking about carving fruit or vegetables for your entry, take a look at

 “Play with Your Food” by Joost Elffers which contains over one hundred color pictures showing carving techniques.

If you want to work on this project as a family, “Fast Food” by Saxton Freymann is an easy book that the kids will love.

Need more inspiration?  Follow The Stillwater Public Library on Pinterest to view our board called “Edible Book Festival Inspiration.”  It will give you many awesome examples. 

Find more information about the festival and register for the fun on our website at