Thursday, July 30, 2009

So Many Books - So Little Money!

Selecting Library books and materials might be considered a boring job to some people. So many books, so little money! A boring job it is not! Librarians consider book and materials selection to be a “perk” of the job!

Remember, as a child, spending days going through the Sears or JC Penney Christmas catalogs? You wanted everything, but you knew your parents could not afford “everything”. And, if you had brothers and/or sisters, you also knew they had a right to want stuff, too, even though you might have thought their choices were stupid, silly, or gross, or that what you wanted was better than what they wanted. So, you would go through the catalogs and slowly, but surely, either scratch things off your list, or underline the things you really didn’t think you could live without! You knew your parents wanted to treat each of you equally and would do their best to give each of you what you wanted and needed. Then, if life was good, on Christmas morning, each and everyone would get exactly what they wanted.

Well, book selection (to a librarian) is kind of like Christmas all year ‘round. Each month catalogs full of beautiful, colorful, interesting-looking books are delivered to the Library. It is the librarians’ job to go through and select the ones that will be exactly what each and everyone wants, while understanding that each and everyone may want something entirely different from the other!

So, how do we do this? Well, like Santa, we rely on people to tell us what they want. No sense wasting money on something nobody wants! Some fiction authors are so popular, that people just want to read everything they write; they don’t care what the book is about. For those people, the Library participates in a plan called “Automatically Yours” and that includes over 700 authors. Librarians go through the list of authors and select the ones whose titles that would automatically be ordered. These author’s titles are delivered as they are published, without a need to manually order them. Other authors and titles are those found and recommended in peer reviewed Library journals.

Fiction books for children and teenagers are selected a bit differently, but with the same thought in mind. Award winners, of course, are ordered along with recommended authors and series.
Nonfiction is selected by subject, as would be expected. Generally, books with medical, science, and technology subjects are weeded (discarded) and replaced with books that provide up-to-date information. Sometimes (and this shocks everyone!), books on certain subjects are not returned, so we must replace them. If a patron requests a book on a subject that the Library does not have any (or current) information on, that book (or subject) is considered for purchase.

Obviously, not every book requested can be purchased, but if several people come in requesting a particular one, it certainly moves up the list of books under consideration.

Our Mission Statement states that “we are a resource for cultural, educational, informational, recreational, and technological needs for the citizens of the City of Natchez, Adams County, Centreville, Woodville, and Wilkinson County through a careful book selection process and technology planning, keeping in mind the heritage of the area and the right to free access to all citizens”. Our book selection process follows that statement. The challenge lies in choosing the right books that satisfy that criteria without going over our budget – just like parents at Christmas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Be Creative @ Your LIbrary

Once again, the annual summer library program has come to a close with outstanding success! The total attendance for Pre-K through 6th grade alone was 2,394! This marks another banner year having broken our previous record of 1,981 participants in 2006. In addition, 465 children registered. Those that registered qualified to pull 1 prize for every 8 books read.

This year’s theme was “Be Creative @ Your Library”. NASA kicked off our summer program on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at the Natchez City Auditorium with 2 programs, 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Mr. Dion Jones of the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Ms. Vicki Bess of the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi and Ms. Eunice Lichtenstein also of the John C. Stennis Space Center stimulated children’s interest in math and science and encouraged students to do their very best. They also educated children about NASA, basic facts on space and on what it’s like to be an astronaut. Mr. Jones is a native of Natchez, Mississippi and former student of North Natchez High School.

We, here at the Judge George W. Armstrong Library, would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to parents, children, community partners, volunteers, local schools, child care centers, and churches that helped this year’s program be a success. We would also like to thank AmeriCorp and Project D.R.E.A.M. for participating in our program this year. We want to extend a special thank you to Mrs. Janet Jones (wife of Mr. Dion Jones), for providing the appropriate contacts at NASA and for volunteering her assistance during the kick-off program, and Ms. Tessa Quaze from John C. Stennis Space Center for helping us to organize the kick-off program.

The Community Partners included the following: Bluff City Veterinary Hospital, WTYJ 97.7 FM/ WMIS 1240 AM, Adams County Health Department, J R & K Tropical Treat Sno-Balls, Alderman Ricky Gray, Shoney’s Restaurant, Sonic Drive-In (Natchez), Bluff City Post Newspaper, Mr. David Dreyer, Cable One Inc., Kings Fisherman’s Bass Club, Sports Center, Natchez Collision Center, Zion Chapel AME Church, Natchez Regional Medical Center, Biscuits & Blues, Natchez Bank Association, Greater Faith Tabernacle, Greater Faith Child Care & Development Center, First Class Limo, The Markets, McDonalds of Natchez & Vidalia, Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Retired Education Personnel of Mississippi, Natchez Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Ja’Nels Flowers & Gifts, Concordia Bank & Trust Company, Natchez Building Inspection Department, Natchez Public Works Department, Uptown Grocery, Mr. Gene Battieste, Big Lots, Lehmann Cash & Carry, Natchez Firefighters Association, and Wal-Mart Supercenter.

This program has been an increasing success over the last several years, and I am convinced that it will continue to be successful with the help and support of everyone in the community.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Teens Express Themselves @ the Library

For the past six weeks teens have been coming to the library for the summer reading program and learning about all the neat ways they can express themselves. They used the Graffiti Wall in the downstairs foyer to express themselves through art and poetry, even the general public got into it and added their own thoughts. We toured the ArtNatchez Gallery, completed a scavenger hunt involving the various works at the gallery and later had a quick Manga (Japanese cartooning) lesson from one of our own local artist, Patricia Knight. The kids had a great time and loved spending time with Ms Knight.

Teens expressed themselves through crafts. They created their own bookmarks by melting crayon shavings on cardstock. They also made magnet marbles and painted suncatchers. They also learned how to create their own computer game with the help of our summer employee, Leonard Lucas.

The last day party consisted of pizza and cold drinks while challenging each other to games of baseball, tennis, and bowling on the Wii. Some of the girls got creative with Karaoke and music CDs.

All in all it was a great six weeks and the best part was the sixteen member group read 305 books total. Congratulations to them, and lets meet again next summer!

Be on the look out for information about Teen Read Week coming in October.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yummy Culinary Mysteries

Culinary mysteries feature stories where food is a major ingredient. The sleuth is usually a nonprofessional crime fighter who works as a caterer or restaurateur. These mysteries often feature quaint or exotic settings. Here are some you can find right here in your Library.

Childs, Laura

The Tea Shop Mysteries feature amateur sleuth and tea shop owner Theodosia Browning. Set in quaint Charleston, these mysteries show that people in small towns often hide secrets that can lead to murder.

Crawford, Isis

When Berandette Simmons goes to work for her sister at Libby's catering business in New York, it's a recipe for disaster as the two find themselves in the midst of a murder mystery they can really sink their teeth into. Includes seven recipes.

Davidson, Diane Mott

Meet the caterer who whipped up the multimillion copy mystery series - as Goldy solves her first murder. Davidson's winning recipe of first class suspense and five star fare has won her - and caterer Goldy - raves and a regular place on major bestseller lists across the country.

Farmer, Jerrilyn

Jerrilyn Farmer's background as a comedy writer in Hollywood gives her award winning mysteries an insider's view of the Hollywood lifestyle. Party planner Madeline Bean caters fabulous parties with humor and verve, but somehow always ends up involved in murder.

Fluke, Joanne

When Hannah Swenson, amateur sleuth and owner of the Cookie Jar Bakery in Lake Eden Minnesota, gets on the trail of a murder, watch out. Off the wall characters along with great recipes make these mysteries delicious.

McKevett, G. A.

A very feisty Southern heroine, Detective Sergeant Savannah Reid, devours the most delectable-sounding cheesecakes and gooey sweet things while solving murder mysteries.

Myers, Tamar

In Tamar Myers' Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes Series, narrator Magdalena Yoder, a mean-spirited innkeeper, exploits her Mennonite heritage to run the Penn Dutch Inn. Life is anything but dull at the Inn. You never know when murder and mayhem will be served with evening meals. Magdalena finds herself playing amateur sleuth time and time again in order to protect the reputation of her beloved inn.