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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why I Love the Library by Amanda Early

Congratulations to Amanda Early who is the winner of our National Library Week writing contest!  Our judges agreed that Amanda's entry strongly exemplified the role of the library as a constant, stable and timeless resource to be treasured throughout our lives.  Her experiences were those felt by so many of us who went to the library as a child, who hung out at the library as a teen and who rely upon the library as adults.

Thank you to all of the people who submitted such lovely entries in our contest!

Why I Love the Library
As I walk in the doorway the cool air hits my face and I am surrounded by the unique and soothing smell of books. The atmosphere is quiet and calm. Stepping through those doors makes me feel as if I am stepping into another world, away from the stress and pressures of everyday life.
Even as a child one of my favorite places to go was the library. I grew up in Muskogee and the library there was a large one. On the first floor was where the children’s books were located. They had a small area where they had puppet shows for the kids and I remember there being a fountain where we could throw pennies and make a wish.  I begged my mother to take me almost every time we made a trip to town.

One of my favorite library memories is when I was finally able to go upstairs and check out books from the “grownup books”. Going up those stairs was the most wonderful feeling and opened up a whole new world of books to lose myself into. As I got older my mom would run errands in town and I would stay at the library to find books to check out until she was done and came back to get me. It always seemed that even if I had been there for hours I would still never have enough time!
When I was in high school, one of my favorite places to go between classes was to the school library. I was such a favorite of the school librarians that they would even let me borrow books they had at home. I remember being thrilled to be a library aide. It was my favorite time of the day!

I moved to Stillwater when I started college at OSU and have lived here ever since. I remember the overwhelming feeling of walking into Edmon Low library for the first time. I had never seen so many books under one roof! As with most college students, that library became my home away from home.

In the years since I have moved to Stillwater the Stillwater Public Library has become one of my favorite refuges to escape from the worries of my day. I love the feeling I get when I discover a new author I haven’t read before and try to catch up on all the books that I missed, or rediscover an old favorite that I read years ago and had forgotten about. I adore attending programs that the library holds about things that I find interesting and I eagerly count down the days until the library sale each Fall and Spring!

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. Since my childhood the library has been a constant in my life and I cannot imagine existing without it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The best parts of being your librarian by Stacy

This week is National Library Week and while we have been asking all of you to tell us what you like best about the Stillwater Public Library, I’m taking this opportunity to say what I like best about being your librarian.

·             I love books, so there is no way around it—my favorite thing is when you come in and tell me that you loved a book I suggested.  But even better is when I get to tell you that I loved a book you suggested.  Then, I get to tell everyone else.  It’s a wonderful, powerful, living network of literary knowledge. 

·             Monday mornings can start off pretty hectically.  There are lots of weekend phone calls and emails to answer and everyone is generally in another manic Monday mode.  Then, storytime lets out.  All our tiny visitors stream out with one arm thrown around a little buddy and the other arm clutching a book.  They’ve got a crown on their head or a chick hatching from its egg or one of the million other little crafts that they’ve learned to make.  Every Monday morning, I get to remember all over again the love, warmth, and awe that come from a trip to the library.

·             A reference librarian in a mid-sized, non-research library is most definitely a "Jack of all trades and a master of none."  I don’t know much about any particular topic (other than librarianship), but I know a little about a ton of topics because I’ve had a chance to look up all of your questions.  I am astonished by the diversity of your interests and your endless curiosity.  It keeps my mind fresh and agile.  Keep your questions coming, because reference librarians live for them!

·             I love that I get to see so many different people of all different ages and from all different areas of the town.  From the newborn whose mother is bringing him in for his first visit (and for her first chance to get out of the house!) to the Goth-dressed kids with hearts of gold to the gentlemen who recount their days during World War II, librarians get to meet them all.

·             What we all love the most is your support.  It’s no secret that we’ve obviously had a rough couple weeks here at the library, but your support tells us that all of our work is worth it. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pioneer Woman by Dana

 If you have not heard about Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, you might just want to go to her website, She has also written her biography, “The Pioneer Woman: black heels to tractor wheels” and a cookbook, “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: recipes from an accidental country girl.”

Drummond is a married mother of four who started a blog that has grown into a website full of information. She has also been on many shows cooking and has been busy traveling for book signings.

In her biography, Drummond relates the real life story of how she met and married her “Marlboro Man.”  It is filled with stories about her husband, family and country living and tells a colorful story about life on an Oklahoma ranch.

In her cookbook, Drummond describes the isolation and peculiarities of an Oklahoman ranch life, from “chasing beavers out of the pond and saddling horses, to cooking for a man who believes the sun rises and sets in a steak and baked potato.”  It includes mouthwatering Oklahoma recipes like cowboy calzones, pioneer woman’s rib eye steaks, cheese grits, fresh blackberry cobbler, pico de gallo and Iny’s prune cake.

I have personally made the chicken spaghetti and it is delicious! I met her at a book signing and was able to watch the way she interacted with all the people who wanted to meet her and take a picture with her.  It was refreshing to see how much time she took with each person and how special she made them feel.  And, the way she shares her life on numerous topics on her website makes you feel like you know her and bring a smile to your face.

So if you haven’t heard about her, do yourself a favor and check out her books and website.

A New Pet for Your Home by Brenna

Pet adoption can be an overwhelming experience.  Are you a cat or dog person?  Do you go to a breeder or a rescue center?  Will you adopt a young animal or an older one?  Which breed is right for you?  When you also take in to account your living space, how much time you have to offer for play and exercise?  It can almost seem like too much!  

Fortunately there are books and organizations to help you in your search for a satisfying companion. 

 Books such as “New Dog: Choosing Wisely and Ensuring a Happily Ever After” by Dr. Bruce Fogle and “Essential Cat: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Cat” by Caroline Davis can help greatly in your selection process.  These books include the particular needs of each breed such as exercise requirements, grooming, and common health problems.  The library also has tons of books specific to certain breeds.  Armed with this information, selecting the right friend for you and your family will be much easier. 

Organizations such as Animal Welfare, the Humane Society and Tiny Paws Kitten Rescue will also have information on choosing the right pet for you.  Animals from rescue centers will also come with information on their needs as well.  Most organizations will be able to tell you if the pet prefers a quiet home without other animals or if it plays well with other pets and children.

Which ever you choose, whether it’s a little guy from a breeder or an adorable mutt from the shelter (remember! shelters also have many pure-bred pets), I hope you find much happiness with your new family member and them with you.