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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hopeful



One of our librarians made a display called “Hopeful for the Holidays.” People throughout the community have come in and written phrases and quotes about hope, togetherness, inspiration and love. I find myself wandering back over to the display to read the little sticky notes again and again.

It’s been a tough year. Fighting within communities, on television, in families. Cut budgets, fewer books, less time to help people. It is easy to lose hope in the world, in people and in yourself. But with every trip over to the display, reading simple words like, “Carry on,” “Do not let the world make you hard,” and “I still believe people are good at heart,” I remember that I am one of the hopeful ones.

I wasn’t brought up in an optimistic family. Most things were tinged in a veneer of doom and gloom. I remember going to college and being confounded by an item on my sorority sister’s desk. She had a calendar with an inspiring quote for each day. I’d never seen such a thing! But over the years, I came to understand that people put in work to remain hopeful—it doesn’t always just come naturally. They look at corny quotes, surround themselves with positive people and read inspiring books. And somewhere along the way, I became hopeful and it has helped me get though several impossible situations.

I don’t think my family was that different than others, neglecting to teach the important lesson of hopefulness. Wouldn’t it be great if all kids learned this message—to keep working to hold on to hope—at an early age? Perhaps New Year’s Day is a good time to start a new family tradition, one that focuses on hopefulness. There are several wonderful children’s picture books that portray this very message:

  • “The Stars Will Still Shine” by Cynthia Rylant. Rylant reminds children that even in uncertain times, the sun still comes up, the flowers still bloom, and the birds still fly high overhead. It encourages kids to appreciate and take comfort in the simple, reliable pleasures of the world.
  • "Squirrel's New Year's Resolution” by Pat Miller. Squirrel determines to start the New Year afresh with a resolution, but forgets about his project as he goes throughout the community helping other animals that need it. Children will take away the message that actions speak louder than words…or resolutions.
  •  “A Child's Garden: A Story of Hope” by Michael Foreman. Foremen is the master of hopeful children’s books. In this one, a little boy in a war torn country nurtures a vine growing amidst the rubble. When soldiers destroy the vine, it springs up across a fence the boy can’t reach, but he finds that another child has taken up nurturing the vine until it begins growing again. This one gave me the chills! Look also for Foreman’s “Oh! If only….,” “Hello World,” and “Fortunately, Unfortunately” for stories about finding the silver lining.
  • “It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. With cute illustrations and relatable situations, Krosoczka goes through scenarios that typically would be hard on a kid, but shows the good that can come from each of the losses. 
  •  “Hope Is an Open Heart” by Lauren Thompson. The author goes through the everyday aspects of life that can bring us hope. The author’s epilogue is lovely and reminds us that hope is contagious…something that kids can definitely “catch” from their parents.
I hope everyone in our community will have a wonderful year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

American Dream available @ your library



Growing up, I didn’t realize how much I love helping others. I had always worked in libraries and when my education took me out of that sector, it just felt wrong. When I returned, I began to realize that I am drawn to libraries not for the reading, not for the research, but because it lets me help people. Even better, actually, is that it lets me help people to help themselves.

Despite everything that’s occurred since the beginning of the new century, I am still a diehard believer in the American Dream. Seeing the things that happen in a library is a big reason why. From finding jobs researched and applied for with help from a librarian to getting essential health information needed to talk to a doctor, community members will always be able to improve their own lives at the library.
This year, we continue our work “transforming lives through the power of information.” Here are just a few opportunities that will help you help yourselves:

·         Renew Your Health Goals-The library’s new healthy literacy series, Simple Steps to Better Health, through the OK Dept. of Libraries runs Feb. through June. Our partners, Payne County Health Department and Payne County OSU Extension, will be teaching classes on health topics and healthy cooking. Our sponsors, Stillwater Medical Center, Payne County TSET, Stillwater Public Library Trust, Health Care Authority, Food Pyramid, Knight Medical Supply, Magic Touch Massage Therapy and Crepe Myrtle Asian Market, are providing incentives and chances for prizes to help motivate you to complete the simple steps that will you be healthier. Registration begins Jan. 3.

·         Secure Your Identity-If you have a bored houseful of guests during the Christmas break, then put them to work sorting and gathering your shreddable paperwork for the library’s annual shredding event by Shred-Away on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 9-11 a.m. The event is free, but we gladly accept donations to defray the cost. For more information on which items you should shred to keep your household and identity safer, visit the links on our webpage at http://library.stillwater.org/annual_shredding_event.php.

·         Expand Your Skills-The library staff starts its next semester of one on one computer tutoring in Jan. Emily and Amanda take hour long appointments to provide individual instruction on most all computer topics, including beginning use, iPhone and Android use, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other Microsoft products, internet searching, email use, Facebook and much more. Appointments are generally held on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings, but they are very open to adjusting their schedule to meet your needs. Sessions can be made by calling 405-372-3633 x8106 or emailing askalibrarain@stillwater.org.

·         Read More-More and more studies are showing the health, emotional and cognitive wellbeing that reading provides. Need help reading more? Join one of the library’s Winter Reading programs and read to earn incentives and chances into prize drawings. Adults are reading for a chance to win a $100 giftcard from the 1907 Meat Co., an Ancestry DNA test and many other great prizes. Visit our webpage at http://library.stillwater.org/index.php to get started.

For more help transforming your life, visit the library!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Fiction



I love reading Christmas books. They are happy, inspirational and really get you in the mood for the season. But reading Christmas books can be a tricky proposition. This is really the only time of the year you can read Christmas fiction. Not because they aren’t available, but because most people find it disorienting to read books about Christmas at any other time of the year.

At the same time, if there is one time of the year that people have less time to read, it the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year. The interesting thing I’ve noticed about Christmas fiction, though, is that the books are all about half the size of normal books. I guess publishers know that people don’t have a lot of time to read and are helping us readers out.

At any rate, now is the time to start your Christmas reading. Here are three of my top picks, though we have hundreds more in paper, eBook and audio:

·         Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley – One of my very favorite series of eccentric village characters, this volume of the Harmony series will be enjoyable even if you have not read the other books. Always looking for a way to increase the church's profit margins, Quaker church member Dale Hinshaw brainstorms a progressive nativity scene that will involve the whole town, against the wishes of Pastor Sam and the other members. Meanwhile, Pastor Sam has his own concerns: he's having his annual argument with his wife, and he's worried that the four-slotted toaster he bought for her may be too lavish a gift.

·         Dashing through the Snow by Debbie Macomber – This sweet book, now a Hallmark Channel film, follows student Ashley and former Army officer Dashiell, as they try to get from San Francisco to Seattle before Christmas. Sharing a car after being unable to book flights, the two get mixed up in trouble and maybe even fall in love.

·         The Christmas Chronicles: the legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slover -  A 14th-century woodworker dedicates his life to making children happy, but when age and infirmity catches up with him, he is made a saint and moves north to make children happy forever.
If you would like to provide a gift to the library this season, there are several ways you can help us. Due to mid-year budget cuts, we currently are only able to purchase the highest demand books. Your gifts will go toward purchasing reading material.

·         Make a year-end tax deductible donation. The donation can be made on the library’s webpage at http://library.stillwater.org  via PayPal or by a check mailed to Lynda Reynolds, Library Director at 1107 S. Duck, Stillwater, OK.  

·         Use the library’s Amazon link when shopping. If you are going to shop online, please consider using our link. Amazon gives the library a percentage of the sale at no cost to you. Anything you purchase at Amazon, not just books, count.

·         Purchase a gift for family or friends by buying a $3 book tote or a Friends of the Library book sale gift certificate up at the checkout desk. Visit the business office to make a book purchase in the name of your loved one.

For more information, contact the Help Desk at 405-372-3633 x8106

Monday, November 21, 2016

Stillwater's African American History Project



In last week’s column, we announced our digital archiving program taking place Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Spaces have been filling up, so if you are interested in having your family history material digitized, be sure to call or email soon at 405-372-3633 x8106 or askalibrarian@stillwater.org.

I also mentioned our African American genealogy program on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 6:30 p.m. It is part of the archiving project, as we will be digitizing material for attendees of the program as it is taking place.

The genealogy program is also part of a bigger project we have been working on here at the library, which is gathering the history of Stillwater’s African American community members. Mrs. Gloria Bailey, who grew up in Stillwater and attended Washington School, and her family have been working with me on documenting information about families, businesses, organizations and events that she recalls from her childhood.

The main reason we started the project is because not very much information about Stillwater’s African American community was included in compiled histories, which makes it difficult to answer our patrons’ history questions. If everyone with a little bit of information will come together to share what they have, then all of us will have access to as much more data.

During the project, Mrs. Bailey and I have been meeting so that I can ask her an array of questions about growing up in Stillwater. I knew about some of the information she provided, but have been thrilled and surprised with how much information she has been able to fill in.

A big part of the project has been identifying long-time community members we hope to interview with the gracious assistance of OSU’s Oral History Project. The hardest part of preparing for the interviews has been pulling together a list of questions we’d like to see asked. It’s hard to narrow down which questions to ask because there is so much we don’t know. Every time we meet, Mrs. Bailey recalls a new fascinating piece of Stillwater history.

For example, did you know there was a Black Chamber of Commerce? That there was a sit-in at one of Stillwater’s diners during the Civil Right era? That there used to be a park near 15th street? That people might be deemed a Lowlander or a Highlander based on where their home was located during Stillwater’s many floods?

Mrs. Bailey is a font of information, but where we really lack is in printed material. Hopefully, many more of our community members have information to share. We ask that anyone with documents, photos, diaries, letters, annuals and other pieces of history about Stillwater’s African American community please come and sign-up for a digitization session, and then consider sharing a copy of your documents with the library. We are excited to see what we can pull together, together!