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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Retire to Your Library

Every year around the start of football season, I see a lot of people new to Stillwater who have decided to retire to the community. Some loved the community so much while they were in college that they decided to return, while others simply chose Stillwater as an ideal place to live. I don’t disagree and I hope that our library is one of the reasons people like Stillwater so much. For those who have just retired here and for anyone who is retired and just didn’t know, the library has tons of opportunities to enrich your after-work life. Here are just a few taking place this month:

·         Making the Most of Retirement - Making the Most of Retirement is a monthly program from the OSU Emeriti that meets the third Wednesday of the month with speakers on a variety of retirement related topics. All area retirees and those preparing for retirement are invited to this free series.

This Wednesday at 1:30, Making the Most of Retirement will host Cristy Morrison, President/CEO of Visit Stillwater, will discuss reasons why Stillwater is a great place to retire. On Oct. 18, armchair travelers will take a journey with Stan and Barbara Grogg who will present “Cruising from Cape Town South Africa to Singapore." The Nov. 15 program features Laura Payne who will be discussing volunteer opportunities at the OSU Botanic Garden.

·         Payne County Genealogical Society (PCGS) – PCGS has really stepped up its activities over the last couple of months with dedicated program topics at their monthly meetings and more opportunities to get help from PCGS experts. The group meets the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. At the Sept. meeting, taking place this Thursday, they will introduce the website Family Search, give tips on using it, and providing info on what the site gives that you cannot get on other genealogy pages. Beginners can get help on how to start their genealogy and people with more experience can get help from PCGS members on most any search problem.

·         Friends of the Library (And the Booksale!) – Friends of the Library (FOL) is the organization that raises funds for library programming, books and equipment by holding a bi-annual sale. It just so happens that the latest sale starts THIS Thursday with the FOL members’ preview (anyone can become a member at the door for $10) and continues through Sunday’s $1 per bag sale. FOL spends the year sorting through donated books, categorizing them and preparing them for the sale. New members who would like to help with sorting or with future sales are always very welcomed. Give us a holler at the Help Desk to find out more.

·         Bookclubs – The library hosts many community book clubs and has three clubs of its own. Two of the clubs are currently full but there are several openings in the club that meets the First Friday of the month at Noon. Book clubs are a great place to meet new people who share a love of reading and a way to make yourself continue reading challenging books. If you are interested in joining this club, send an email to

To see other available programs, visit our website at or call the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Wanted: artifacts from Stillwater’s old library by Robin Cornwell, Library Board President

Did you know that the first meeting of the Stillwater Library Association took place in May, 1922?  Forty-eight people signed the membership roll at that meeting, and Stillwater’s first “free” library opened in rented rooms at the United Brethren Church parsonage in January, 1923.  Later that year, Mrs. Harriet Woodring was hired as “Keeper of the Library” at a salary of $25 per month.  The library was open 3 hours each day, except Sunday.  From humble beginnings, the Stillwater Public Library has grown to become a bustling center of activity for the whole community!
I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering at the Stillwater Public Library for several years, and I’m currently working with Adult Services Librarian Stacy Delano to produce a permanent display about the history of the Stillwater Public Library.   Over the past year, I’ve spent many hours leafing through scrapbooks and library board minutes, taking notes and searching for highlights and meaningful tidbits of information.   

The library has lots of good historical data, but not very many artifacts. Might you have materials relating to the old library at the corner of 6th Avenue and Husband Street?  If you have an old library card, “date due” slip, library program flyer, poster, bookmark, or any library artifact from before 1994, we’d love to see it!  

To share your historical library item, please get in touch with Stacy at , or 405-372-3633, extension 8124, or bring your item to the library during regular open hours.

Being a library volunteer is fun and rewarding. I encourage anyone with an interest in books and reading to support the community by volunteering at the library.  There are a few special events coming up this fall, like LexiCon on Sept. 9 and the Fall Used Book Sale Sept. 21-24, so become a library volunteer, and be a part of the most happening place in town! 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Old World Puppetry at the library next week

Next week marks the halfway point of Stillwater Public Library’s “Summer @ Your Library” program with weekly programs, reading challenges, prizes and much more. You still have plenty of time to get enrolled, just visit to get started. Programs next week include:

Tuesday, June 27, a new program debuts featuring Richard Elsenpeter’s Marionettes in a retelling of “Tom Sawyer” at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and at the special new all-family friendly program time at 6:30 p.m.  Elsenpeter is a strong believer in fantasy. Without fantasy, he feels children miss a vital part of their development. 

"The fantasy world is as necessary to the development of the mind as crawling is to walking,” said Elsenpeter. “If a child is denied the freedom to pursue a fantasy, he is deprived. It serves
a very important purpose."

Elsenpeter’s Marionettes is a professional full-time performing Marionette company which has entertained millions of school children. The Elsenpeter’s Marionettes tradition of puppetry started in Elen, Germany approximately 139 years ago, by Elsenpeter's great grandfather. Their traditional form of puppetry has been handed down through four generations and is described as "old world style of puppetry." It is rarely seen any more in America because of its technical difficulties.

Each program is especially written for the Marionettes theatre, and every detail has been carefully designed to achieve a perfect dramatic production in miniature. Elsenpeter’s skillful manipulation of the Marionettes transforms the two foot tall, hand carved, wooden dolls into living characters with definite personalities.
The Elsenpeter program delights the young and the young-at-heart while stressing the importance of education and reading. His goal is to give children an outlet for their fantasies while making a lasting impression on them.

As an early reminder, the library will be closed Tuesday, July 4, so no programs on that day.

On Wednesday, June 28, 2:30-4:30 p.m., young adults in 6-12 grades will be growing a better world with OSU Payne County Extension. Inside, attendees will make seed bombs, learn about plants and explore plant pathogens. Outside, teens will tour several blocks near the library, identifying plants and learning more about botany in Oklahoma. Participants are advised to wear shoes comfortable for walking and clothing appropriate for being outside.

On Thursday, June 29, “Summer Cinema” features “Secret Life of Pets” at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The hilarious PG film uncovers the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. Max, a terrier, has his favorite-pet status turned upside-down when his owner takes in a stray named Duke. Popcorn will be provided. Please bring a water bottle.

Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. is the second program in the “Let’s Talk About It” series featuring Dr. Harbor Winn and the short poetry book, Native Guard” by Natasha Tretheway. The program includes Dr. Winn’s presentation, small group discussions and refreshments from the Civil War era.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

He shoots! He scores! He's fouled!

Hurray! We’re headed back to the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament! And though we’ve made it quite a few times in the last years, it feels like the first in a very long time. I went to the OSU-Kansas game with hub last week. The first time in many years. While we did lose, it felt like we won. The arena was packed; my ears were buzzing; and at the end of the game my throat was so sore I couldn’t talk.

It took me right back to the days when we didn’t always win, but always seemed to get significantly better. Back to feeling that we always had a shot to make it all the way.  Back to the frenzy of being on the sidelines when Big Country made his infamous half-court shot against Missouri (Jason Sutherland is still the player I most despise, though at this point I couldn’t even tell you why). Back to the excitement of camping out all night to get tickets to the Final Four in Seattle (and later learning that the ticket office wasn’t supposed to sell us those tickets and wanted them back!).

Back to the deafening roars of the Cincinnati game in the new arena (probably I remember this one so clearly not so much because it was the very loudest time I’ve ever been in GIA, but because everyone who attended got sparkly silver pom-poms). Back to those Sunday afternoons, driving home from Kansas City, listening to the tournament selection show, hoping superstitiously to get put into an East Rutherford, NJ, region.

And that is what watching this team feels like—hopeful. If you want to brush up on the historic Cowboy Basketball tradition, come by for these titles:

·         “Oklahoma State University: history-making basketball” by Michael McKenzie. Read about the events and people who created the tradition of Cowboy basketball. The book starts pre-Iba and follows the program through Kurland, Haskins, Hartman, Hansen, Hamilton, Starks and Houston up to the beginning of the Sutton era.

·         “Mr. Iba: Basketball's Aggie Iron Duke” by John Paula Bischoff. Bischoff relays Iba’s career in Stillwater as a national championship winning coach and athletic director. Included are discussions of his innovative basketball plays that are still in use today.

·         Track 8 of “Voices of Oklahoma” where you can hear a 1972 interview of Coach Iba discussing Olympic strategy. He sounds tough, just like his teams were.

A few titles have either been retired due to condition or not ordered for the library, so if you have a copy of the following books, please consider donating them to the library:

·         “He Got It! My Life with Bill Teegins” by Janis Teegins and Bob Burke
·         “Living My Dreams: 1965 OSU Cowboy’s Big Eight Basketball Champions” by Gene Johnson
·         “Tournament Town Kansas City: Where the Basketball Madness Began”  by Blair Kerkhoff

See you in Phoenix! (I have just knocked on both a piece of real wood and my head, so I am allowed to say that. However, this does also take me back to the one downside of OSU basketball fanaticism—the rigorous and detailed actions hub and I had to take during each and every game and the words we were and were not allowed to say during the season, so as not to tempt fate. OH! And the hoarding! Didn’t like my frenetic hoarding of every scrap of OSU basketball memorabilia. This hopeful feeling is still worth it, though!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


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.