Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Special Website that Helps Turn Kids into Readers

Wouldn't you like your children to read more? Wouldn´t you like to motivate them to enter the wonderful world of literature? If the answer to those questions is Yes, then you have to check out Book Adventure This is the ultimate reading site.

Book Adventure, sponsored by Sylvan Learning Centers, is a FREE Web based reading motivation program that encourages students in grades K-8 to read more often, for longer periods of time, and with greater understanding. Book Adventure is organized so that even the youngest child can easily navigate through the site. Registration is required, and participants need parental or teacher approval to collect prizes.

Parents and teachers looking for ways of motivating youngsters to read will find Book Adventure a wonderful resource. Students can read books, take quizzes on them, and earn points for correct answers on the quizzes. There is also the possibility for them to manage their own list by adding the books they read or they like to read. Kids can redeem accumulated points for prizes.

There is a database of quizzes on more than 7,000 popular children's titles. Using Book Finder, readers can search the titles by author, title, grade level, or interests. Book Finder will then create a reading list that can be printed and used at the library.

After reading a book, children go to Quiz-O-Matic to take the corresponding quiz. Quizzes have from five to ten questions, depending on grade level.

Teachers or parents can register their children and select literature at the appropriate grade level. You can check the list of the Top 10 Quizzed books to know what kids are reading at the time, and you´ll find in that list, for example, the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There is also a mechanism for keeping track of children's scores and points earned. Teachers or parents can generate reports.

Please remember that this site IS NOT to be associated with the Accelerated Reading test that children take at school. This site will, however, help them to be better prepared for that test. Think of it as a pre-test where you and the child can see what they know before the actual test is to be taken!

So, wait no longer and turn your children onto the fantastic world of book adventure. Put this safe, child friendly site for improving reading comprehension at the top of your list.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Answers to Questions about Christmas Symbols

Not long after Thanksgiving the phone at my reference desk began to ring and my email box began to fill with questions about the symbols of Christmas. What's a busy librarian to do? Go check out a reference book about Holidays and Traditions, and thats just what I did and here is what I found. By the way these are actual questions.
Q: Is Santa Claus the same person as St. Nicholas?
A: Yes and no. The original Santa Claus was Nicholas, the legendary saint who was bishop of Myra (Turkey) in the fourth century. He was usually shown wearing the fur-trimmed robes of a cleric, with a beehive (symbolizing industry) and a bulldog (fidelity) at his side. He was a gift giver but also a disciplinarian, bringing switches and rods for children who misbehaved. December 6 was his feast day, and in many countries, it is on this day, not Christmas Eve that St. Nicholas arrives to hand out his presents and punishments. It wasn't until the December of 1823 when Clement Moore's wrote the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" that the American Santa Claus was transformed from a tall, slim bishop to a jolly, overweight fellow who wore a red suit and entered the house via the chimney.
Q: Are reindeer for real and can they really fly?
A: Again, yes and no. More than 600 years after the death of St. Nicholas, Russians carried his legend back from Constantinople, and he became Russia's patron saint. From there his story spread to Lapland, home of the reindeer, which may explain why the modern Santa lives at the North Pole and gets around in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. It was again Clement Moore's poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" that popularized the names of Santa's reindeer: Now Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. On Comet, Cupid, Doner and Blitzen! Rudolph is a whole other question!
Q: Are Luminarias more than just a pretty way to light your path?
A: Yes, Luminarias mean "lights" or "illuminations" in Spanish. The word also refers to the small bonfires that illuminate the dark nights of the Christmas season throughout the American Southwest. These bonfires are made from pinon pine logs that have been stacked in log cabin style to form a box about three feet in height. Some believe that luminarias can be traced back to the fires that warmed the shepards to whom the birth of Jesus was announced. Today luminarias acn be seen on Christmas Eve in front of churches, homes, and public plazas.
Q: What is the history of the Christmas carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"?
A: This popular secular 16th century English carol is from West Country of England. It is one of the few traditional holiday carols that make mention of the New Year's celebration. This song actually reflects the Christmas tradition of showering gifts on the people who wandered from house to house (known today as carolers), singing these Christmas songs to please the wealthy people of the community.
Q: Why do we send Christmas cards?
A: In Ancient Rome, it was the custom to exchange greetings and gifts on the first day of January. With the advent of Christianity , the giving and receiving of such tokens continued in some European countries, often taking the form of New Year cards. These contained no reference to Christmas and were sent out after December 25 so they would arive on New Year's Day. The first printed Christmas card was produced in England in 1843. Designed by John Calcott Horsley, it sold for a shilling and looked like a postcard. It wasn't until the 1880s that cards became folders of four, eight, or more pages. Cards became more elaborate throughout the Victorian period, with "frosted" surfaces, fancy cut edges, layers of lace-paper, and other forms of decoration. Now, in the twenty-first century the christmas card is still out there, I saw them in Walgreens. There were religious ones and some with cute little penguins and little forest friends dancing around the decorated christmas tree. There were even some for those who enjoy a little "wicked" fun. I love Christmas cards. To me, it's more special whem someone sends me a hand written card with a scene that warms my spirit. After looking at ten different designs and still not making up my mind as to what I wanted I decided to rebel against my own tradition and send everyone a Christmas E-Card... So now you know a little bit about some of our more famous Christmas traditions
HoHoHo...Happy Holidays to All!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Bestsellers for December


Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. After a disastrous vacation in Hawaii, Stephanie Plum becomes the target of an international killer.

11/22/63 by Stephen King. An English teacher travels back to 1958 by way of a time portal in a Maine diner. His assignment is to stop Lee Harvey Oswald.

Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson. Alex Cross investigates when the President's children are kidnapped, but the FBI and CIA. stand in his way.

The Litigators by John Grisham. Partners in a small law firm take on a big case after a fast track burnout joins them.

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. Pursuing a shoplifter, Kinsey Millhone discovers that retail crime is run by organized gangs.

Micro by Michael Crichton. Seven graduate students from Cambridge travel to Hawaii, where they are miniaturized by an evil entrepreneur. They escape to the rain forest, where only six inches tall, they do battle with insects. Crichton completed part of this novel before his death in 2008.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Twenty five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.

Zero Day by David Baldacci. A military investigator uncovers a conspiracy.

Devil's Gate by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. In the ninth NUMA Files novel, Kurt Austin and his crew uncover a plan to blackmail major nations.

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo. A widow keeps the identity of the new man she is about to marry a secret.

The Snow Angel by Glenn Beck. A woman re-evaluates her life.

A Dance with Dragons by George Martin. After a colossal battle, the Seven Kingdoms face new threats; Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire.


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. A biography of the recently deceased entrepreneur, based on 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years.

Catherine the Great by Robert Massie. The author of Nicholas and Alexandra provides a sweeping narrative of the life of the minor 18th Century German princess who, thanks to ambition, luck, wiles, and a strategic marriage, became Empress of All the Russias.


Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull. At the end of the school year. Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures where their grandfather is caretaker. The Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power, is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Time is running out.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. As the Council attempts to strip Charlotte of her power, sixteen year old orphaned shapechanger Tessa Gray works with the London Shadowhunters to find the Magister and destroy his clockwork army, learning the secret of her own identity while investigating his past.

Everlasting by Alyson Noel. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends, and their own worst fears in the hope of being together forever, but something threatens to tear them apart.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tour of Homes Preview: Stratton Chapel (Refreshment Center)

The Friends of the Library annual Christmas Tour of Homes is Sunday, December 4, 2 - 5 pm. Admission is $15 for one ticket or $25 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Armstrong Library, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, or at any of the homes the day of the event. You can tour four beautiful homes in any order and have refreshments at Stratton Chapel. This is the final preview of the Tour of Homes. Two homes were previewed last week, and the two more were previewed earlier this week.

Stratton Chapel
(Refreshment Center)
405 State Street
Located in the First Presbyterian Church

Located behind the Federal style First Presbyterian Church downtown and across from City Hall is an outstanding collection of photographs taken from as early as 1840 and offering a grand depiction of life in Natchez over the course of its early history. The collection boasts over 500 photographs of steamboat activities along the river, the families and homes of Natchez, and downtown Natchez as it once looked in the days of old. The collection for viewing is made possible through the generosity of the late Dr Thomas Gandy and his wife Joan who spent many years restoring the photographic works of Henry and Earl Norman.

Refreshments will be served to the accompaniment of organ music.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tour of Homes Preview: Staniforth House

The Friends of the Library annual Christmas Tour of Homes is Sunday, December 4, 2 - 5 pm. Admission is $15 for one ticket or $25 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Armstrong Library, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, or at any of the homes the day of the event. You can tour four beautiful homes in any order and have refreshments at Stratton Chapel. This is final preview of one of the homes. The first two homes were previewed last week, and the third was previewed earlier this week. Later this week, we'll preview Stratton Chapel, where the Refreshment Center will be.

Staniforth House
315 North Rankin Street
Home of Kirk Bondurant & Bruce Zabov

Built in 1852, the Staniforth House is a classic Greek revival brick cottage. Thomas Staniforth, its builder, was a Natchez contractor/builder who lavished extra attention on what was a comparatively modest house for the time and neighborhood, probably because it served to advertise his business. Original casings highlight the large windows across the front, and fireplaces grace several rooms.

Large antique salvaged windows have been added to the kitchen, providing a lovely view across the back gallery and walled garden toward Holy Family Church. Other particularly attractive touches are the decorative painted paneling restored in the dining room and the faux stone walls in the entrance hall. Beautiful cypress cabinets complete the kitchen. The modern and handsomely upgraded baths make this home truly comfortable.

Many Natchezians will remember a previous owner repainting the bricks. An article in the Natchez Democrat in 2001 indicated that he had found photographs in Dr. Thomas Gandy’s collection including one taken by Marshall Gurney in April 1865, showing the front and northwest sides of the house. The walls were brick with a white cornice along the side.

The people staffing the house on the day of the tour include some of the people who did the actual restoration work on the house.

The Staniforth house is the home of Kirk Bondurant and Bruce Zabov. They have restored it carefully. Furnishings include antiques as well as interesting artifacts and memorabilia from years of living in Key West and Costa Rica.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tour of Homes Preview: Maples House

The Friends of the Library annual Christmas Tour of Homes is Sunday, December 4, 2 - 5 pm. Admission is $15 for one ticket or $25 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Armstrong Library, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, or at any of the homes the day of the event. You can tour four beautiful homes in any order and have refreshments at Stratton Chapel. This is the third preview of one of the homes. The first two homes were previewed last week, and the fourth will be previewed later this week.

Maples House
506 Orleans Street
Home of Lisa & Ken Maples

This property has links to several families with long histories in Natchez, including the Pattersons, Reeds, and Brandons. In 1882, James William Henry Patterson and his wife Sarah Love Reed bought the property on Orleans Street from Rachael O’Conley. He borrowed money on the property in July 1885 to build the house. James was owner of Chamberlain & Patterson Dry Goods Company on Main Street with his partner James Chamberlain.

Ken and Lisa Maples acquired the house in 2008. They have updated the swimming pool and added a spa and landscaping to the backyard. They recently restored the front porch to its original period style and are in the process of adding an outdoor kitchen and living space to the rear of the house.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tour of Homes Preview: Doyle House

The Friends of the Library annual Christmas Tour of Homes is Sunday, December 4, 2 - 5 pm. Admission is $15 for one ticket or $25 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Armstrong Library, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, or at any of the homes the day of the event. You can tour four beautiful homes in any order and have refreshments at Stratton Chapel. This is the second preview of one of the homes. The first home was previewed earlier this week, and the last two will be previewed next week.

Doyle House
704 State Street
Home of Chesney & Marc Doyle

One of three, almost identical, two story houses built by J Foggo Dixon in 1880, 704 retains its original front porch and Victorian gingerbread. In 2007, Marc and Chesney Blankenstein Doyle undertook a complete renovation. In Spring 2011, they finally moved in with their twins.

Keeping the original footprint of the house, the Doyles created a three bedroom/three bath home with all modern amenities. Seven roofs were removed to install new architectural shingle. Central air and heat were added for the first time.

The family has been in the home since 1939. Her mother (Kathie Boatner) lived there until she married Rawdon Blankenstein in 1957. Their four children knew 704 as “Gram and Biggie’s house.” Their grandmother and great aunt had always run a tight ship, evidenced by the typewritten “Privileges and Rules of this Playroom” from 1942 that Gram created for Kathie and her playmates, including “P.S. When grown-ups want to use the front gallery please vacate!”

Wednesday was Gram and Biggie Day. Sliding down the banisters was allowed with adult assistance. Wooden blocks tied to socked feet with string were ice skates for sliding across the wool rugs. Gram even convinced the children that wire brushing the mildew off patio bricks was fun!

The dining table, a favorite gathering spot, was on the steamboat Springer when it sank near Rodney. The table was rescued and sold to Chesney’s greatgrandfather, Alfred Vidal Davis of Tacony Plantation in Vidalia.

Tour hostesses include Kathie Boatner Blankenstein’s childhood friends, all of whom were subject to the 1942 Rules.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tour of Homes Preview: Callon House

The Friends of the Library annual Christmas Tour of Homes is Sunday, December 4, 2 - 5 pm. Admission is $15 for one ticket or $25 for two tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the Armstrong Library, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, or at any of the homes the day of the event. You can tour four beautiful homes in any order and have refreshments at Stratton Chapel. This is a preview of one of the homes. Others homes will be previewed in later posts.

Callon House
400 South Pearl Street
Home of Katherine & Lindsey Callon

This Greek Revival cottage was built for Thomas and Elizabeth Mackin. The construction and cost are documented in an 1852 lawsuit. A deposition filed by the Mackins states they built a "Dwelling House" valued at $3,000 and "Fencing & Out Houses" valued at $1,000, after buying the property at a sheriff's sale in 1841. Andrew Brown Sawmill Papers record sales of building materials, including a large amount of interior plastering lath, indicating that the house was completed in 1843.

The 1850 census shows both Thomas and Elizabeth were born in Ireland. The quality of Mackin's house indicates that he was probably a levee contractor who boarded his levee workers on the property. Levee building was a common profession for Irish immigrants in river towns.

In 1858, the Mackin’s sold their residence to Ansel H Kendrick for $3,200 who sold to Cade L Holden in 1877, and it remained in the family until 1901. It was last the property of Eulalie Holden Reed and husband Richard F Reed, who published the pamphlet, The Natchez country; from the settlement by the French to the admission of Mississippi as a state.

The house sold frequently until Lindsey and Katherine Callon bought the house in 2009 and created the attractive historic cottage. Its restrained Grecian simplicity features a simple portico sheltering the doorway set within sidelights and transom. Well detailed dormers light the upper half story. An original two room dependency was later relocated to the rear of Pleasant Hill.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why should you be a Friend (of the Library, that is!)?

What do the Friends of the Library do? Well, for one thing, they raise money for the Library! Each year the Friends of the Library hosts an Annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Homes on this tour are not open to the public during Pilgrimage. These are private homes, whose owners agree to decorate for Christmas (early) and open their doors to the public for one reason only – they recognize the importance of the Library. They are Library users and are happy to help in a way that benefits the Library! This year’s Tour information may be found here on the Library's website.

The goal for this year is to raise enough funding to get the (much needed) exterior repairs – let’s just say, SHUTTERS – and painting of the Library completed. In addition, the Friends of the Library also pay for our subscription to Ancestry Library Edition, a much-used database genealogy advocates just love! They also help provide funding for programs, such as our Summer Library Program for Children, Teens, and Adults. They help with book purchases, as well as lots of other extras!

The Friends is a wonderful support group, without whom we would not be able to provide many of the services people just take for granted. So, if you are NOT a Friend, please be a Friend (of the Library)! And join us for this year’s Library Tour of Homes, Sunday, December 4, from 2-5 pm. And, if you ARE a Friend, thanks!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Thanksgiving! (almost)

When the Pilgrims
first gathered to share
with their Indian friends
in the mild autumn air,
they lifted their voices
in jubilant praise
for the bread on the table,
the berries and maize,
for field and for forest,
for turkey and deer,
for the bountiful crops
they were blessed with that year.
They were thankful for these
as they feasted away,
and as they were thankful,
we're thankful today
-Jack Prelutsky, Children's Poet Laureate

Ho-Ho-Ho MERRY, Thanksgiving?? Wait, that can't be right! That's for Christmas! I always seem to be one step ahead!
We all know that Thanksgiving is about giving back, spending time with family and friends, food, and overall just giving thanks for the many things that we have been blessed with! But, how do we explain things like this to litte children in a way that they will remember - in a fun, simple way that lets them know that there is a reason that we stuff them like little pigs in a blanket, and all the family gathers together when it's not even anyone's birthday, on that one special day? How do you simplify the meaning of "Turkey Day"? Here is a list of books to help you bring the magic of Thanksgiving to life while teaching young minds and entertaining a crowd of rowdy little ones on that big day.
Books for learning about Thanksgiving
(click on the link to go to our online catalog and reserve the book)

It's Thanksgiving! by Jack Prelutsky, Children's Poet Laureate
Thanksgiving by Brenda Haugen
Pilgrims in America by Melinda Lilly
Why We Have Thanksgiving by Margaret Hillert
There are also a lot of books about Thanksgiving for pure entertainment! Books for those times when you volunteer to help out at your child's, grandchild's, or niece's/nephew's school, or when the church is having a children's program. Enjoy these titles.

Books for enjoying Thanksgiving
(click on the link to go to our online catalog and reserve the book)
I Am The Turkey by Michele Sobel Spirn
Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
Happy Thanksgiving by Margaret McNamara
All of these (plus many more) are great books for the upcoming holiday and great books for teaching or entertaining a younger crowd! And they're all in the Library for you to enjoy with your children for free. Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Get into the Spirit of the Holidays

Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you blink too fast, Christmas will soon be knocking at the door. I am always just slightly behind in my quest to create that "perfect" holiday celebration so this year I'm starting early. Here is a list of books and websites to help you create your own perfect holiday season for you and your family.
A few good books to put you in the turkey mood:
A Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
A Fatal Feast: A Murder She Wrote Mystery by Donald Bain
Undead and Unfinished by Mary Jane Davidson
A Catered Thanksgiving by Iris Crawford

New Books for Christmas have just arrived:
The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson
A Christmas Homecoming by Anne Perry
The Snow Angel by Thomas Kinkade
Lost December by Richard Paul Evans

What do you do when the kids are under your feet, the turkey is half stuffed, and your family is about to ring the doorbell? Check out these helpful websites:
  • - A great site for whole family fun. Activities and games for kids as well as tips and recipes for the cook in the kitchen.
  • - A terrific site for teachers, homeschoolers, librarians, and parents looking for lesson plans, stories, and activities.
If you're looking for holiday decorating guides and cooking tips, try these web sites:
  • Whole Foods Market has some great ideas for food.
  •  The Butterball turkey people have recipies, cooking ideas, tips, and how tos, including video instructions.
  •  The Food Network is a favorite of foodies everywhere.
  • - The Barbeque University is for the die hard grillers out there!
  • - National Turkey Federation provides valuable information about poultry and instructions for deep frying your bird.
So there you have it, all types of ways to get you into the upcoming holiday season!

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Books for October:


The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Twenty-five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Three Brown graduates in the early 1980s wrestle with love, religion, and coming of age.

Snuff by Terry Pratchett. In this Discworld fantasy, the commander of Ankh Morpork’s City Watch solves a crime while on vacation in the country.

The Affair by Lee Child. For Jack Reacher, an elite military police officer, it all started in 1997. A lonely railroad track. A crime scene. A cover up.

Shock Wave by John Sandford. Virgil Flowers investigates several bombings of a superstore chain that seeks to open a store in a Minnesota river town.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Two young rivals at a magical circus become collaborators as they fall in love.

A Dance with Dragons by George Martin. After a colossal battle, the Seven Kingdoms face new threats; Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Lethal by Sandra Brown. A woman, her daughter, and a man accused of murder evade the authorities as they search for her dead husband’s secrets.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. The lives of four women intersect during the siege of Masada in 70 AD.

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber. Puppies and an ex husband loom large in the last installment of the Cedar Cove series.

Heat Rises by Richard Castle. An NYPD homicide detective uncovers a conspiracy that reaches the department’s highest levels.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, narrates this novel set in Paris.

Neverwinter by R A Salvatore. The second book in a fantasy series featuring Drizzt Du‘Orden.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier. When a young woman inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, her solitary life becomes filled with mystery and action.


Boomerang by Michael Lewis. A look at some of the places — Greece, Ireland, Iceland — hardest hit by the financial collapse of 2008, and at how it happened.

That Used to be Us by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. How America fell behind in the world it invented, and how it can come back.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. William Dodd, the US Ambassador to Germany, and his daughter, Martha, in 1930s Berlin.

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind. President Obama and his advisers, often at odds with one another, respond to the economic crisis.


Destined by P C Cast. Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet - which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on rephaim, and through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together - if he can trully walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow...But there are new forces at work at the House of Night.

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devasting storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand and control the impact of Lena's claiming, which is even causing her family members' abilities to dangerously misfire.


Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not So Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell. Fourteen year old Nikki Maxwell writes in her diary of her struggle to be popluar at her exclusive new private school, then of finding her place after she gives up on being part of the elite group.

Kid vs Squid by Greg Van Eekhout. Spending the summer after sixth grade at his great uncle's oceanside museum, Thatcher and local girl Trudy team up to help Shoal, one of the people of Atlantis cursed by a witch whose head still survives and who has an army of monstrous creatures helping her.

Picnic at Camp Shalom by Jaqueline Jules. At summer camp, Carly and Sara quickly bond over a love of singing and other shared interests, but Sara mistakes Carly's excitement over her surname as teasing, not knowing that it gives them something else in common.

I Want a Party! by Tony Ross. Little Princess discovers that she can have a lovely party with just one guest.

Mudkin by Stephen Gammell. While playing outside on a rainy day, a little girl peers into a puddle and sees Mudkin, who invites her to become the queen.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall into Learning

School is in! School's been in! Have you fallen into the spirit yet?
Fall is finally here. School buses are roaring down the highway, cars are whizzing to and from schools, and leaves are changing colors! All the while, students are at school learning a load of exciting new things, the Children's Services Assistant is here at Armstrong library and in the community interacting and reading about new, exciting things!
We hold story time here at the Library every Wednsday beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m. We are available for special story time on most any day. Many teachers take advantage of this opportunity, using it as a learning experience for children who don't know much about a library and the neat things it has to offer.
We are also available for events offered in the community where one might need to read a selection of books, teach about the library, or encourage parents to sign their children up for library cards. The Pumpkin Patch this October 27th at the First Church (Penicostal) located on Highway 61 South is somewhere you can catch us in action doing three things that come naturally to us: serving the public, encouraging children to read, and demonstrating our love for books!
If information is needed, please contact the Children's Services Assistant at your local Library. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teen Read Week Is October 16 - 22

What is Teen Read Week? It is the initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Teen Read Week started in 1998. This year's theme is Picture It @ Your Library, which encourages teens to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials. During this week librarians are encouraging teens to seek out creative books, or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it. Libraries across the world celebrate Teen Read Week with a variety of events and programs aimed at encouraging teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials.

Why is it important to celebrate Teen Read week? There are many reasons! Teens have so many options for entertainment that it's important to remind them of the simple pleasures of falling into a good book and spend some time just reading for the pure pleasure of it; it's free, fun, and can be done anywhere. Research has shown that teens with strong reading skills have better test scores in school and are more likely to suceed in the workforce. Teen Read Week also provides opportunities for both the school and public libraries to get the local community involved and see the importance of teen services. It also allows teens to see the possibilities that exist within the library as well as in the pages of our books.

The teen librarian has been busy working on program ideas for the week long celebration. Check out the Armstrong Library Teen Zone Facebook page or the Teen page on our website for upcoming details about our plans for Teen Read Week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Books for September


Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson & Marshall Karp. When a young man finds a bag of diamonds, he gets the attention of the major assassin, the Ghost, and a rival assassin who wants the Ghost gone forever.

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs. A turbocharged case unfolds for the forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan in the series behind the show Bones.

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer. The first volume of the Clifton Chronicles tells the story of one family across generations and oceans.

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind. A return to the lives of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell, in a tale of a new threat to their world.

Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Devastated by the murder of his wife, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast seeks retribution.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. A woman's gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles with her own past.


In My Time by Dick Cheney & Liz Cheney. The former vice president opens up about his life and nearly four decades at the core of American politics.

1493 by Charles C. Mann. Picking up where 1491 left off, the author says that ecological encounters since Columbus have affected much of subsequent human history.


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  When Clay Jenkins receives a box containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends the night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente.  Twelve year old September’s ordinary life in Omaha turns to adventure when a Green Wind takes her to Fairyland to retrieve a talisman, the new and fickle Marguess from the enchanted woods.

Penalty by Mal Peet.  Paul Faustino, known as the best soccer journalist in the business, reluctantly investigates the disappearance of eighteen year old Ricardo, a soccer prodigy known as El Brujito, while in alternate chapters a slave in old San Juan becomes a powerful voodoo priest.


The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur by Cheryl Bardoe.  In this take on The Ugly Duckling, a tyrannosaurus rex is hatched in a nest of ducklings. Includes facts about dinosaurs.

Madeline at the White House by John Bemelmans Marciano.  Madeline and the other orphans of the vine covered house in Paris spend Easter at the White House visiting with the President's daughter.

Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald.  When a puppy, who is being trained as a police dog, goes missing, third grader Judy forms a detective agency to solve the mystery, imitating her literary heroine, Nancy Drew.

Meet Marie Grace by Sarah Masters Buckey.  Marie Grace Gardner, a doctor's daughter who has just returned to her native New Orleans in 1853, makes friends with Cécile Rey, whose prosperous family are free people of color, and is persuaded to change places with her at separate Mardi Gras balls.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new...Well, not literally!

I'm sure all of us remember classics like Ms Nelson is Missing, Green Eggs and Ham, The Foot Book, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even the American Girl series. I, for a fact, grew up on these selections, I LIVED for these! But then again, everyone has their own taste.
The Children's department, located on the second floor of the Armstrong library, is a great place to bring your kids for books of all kinds! We are forever expanding our book selections to fit the needs of every patron. Each month we add new easy readers, juvenile fiction, and juvenile nonfiction books to our collection. These books, similar to the set up located downstairs for the new Adult Fiction books, have their own designated place in the library. They are swapped out each month to make way for newer, fresher reads.
You can also catch new books on the display shelves located on either side on the double doors leading into the children's department, and on the glass display right inside the doors. New books will not have a new sticker on them.
Another thing that the books here at our library offer is the AR level and points for each book. This bit of information is located on the inside of the book, most of the time in the right hand corner. This information is good for both the parent, who wants to insure that their child is fact reading on their level, and the child, who will want to read something fun and rack up those points! Remember, not all books are AR books!

I look forward to seeing you and your children in the Library soon!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Gathering of Friends

You really ought to join the Friends of the Armstrong LibraryIt is a private nonprofit 501(c)3 organization of enthusiastic library supporters who believe in the importance of libraries and are dedicated to the support of the Armstrong Library through fundraising and advocacy. Not only would you be helping your Library, but you'd meet some great people and have a lot of fun.

You can see what I mean by coming to the annual Gathering of Friends. This serves as their annual meeting, but it's not a meeting at all - it's a party with good food and drink - always held at the home of one of their members. This year it's being held on Tuesday, September 12, 5 - 7 pm at the home of Bradley, Genny, and Christi Harrison at 708 Orleans Street. Please join us - and bring your friends.

And mark your calendars. The annual Christmas Tour of Homes is always on the first Sunday of December, which is December 4 this year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Community Support in Action

Natchez Little Theatre's 64th season kickoff production of the musical Hairspray has been the talk of the theatre for months now. The huge cast and dance filled musical numbers make Hairspray a high energy show that will fill theatre seats during its run from Thursday through Sunday, August 24-28.

But you can get a sneak peek and at the same time support the Armstrong Library by reserving your discounted $10 ticket to the Preview Performance on Wednesday, August 24 at 7 pm. The Friends of the Library has been designated by the Natchez Little Theatre as the recipient of all ticket sales.

For anyone not familiar with the show, Hairspray debuted on Broadway on August 15, 2002 at the Neil Simon Theatre. It won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It ran for 2,500 performances closing on January 4, 2009. With music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, and book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Hairspray is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity with many community theatre groups nationwide.

The story is reminiscent of the early days of American Bandstand but is set in Baltimore and instead of Dick Clark, we have Corny Collins (Eric Barbato.) To be a featured dancer on the Corny Collins Show is the dream of every high school girl in Baltimore. Plus size teen Tracy Turnblad (Emily Ham) is the lovable heroine who surprises everyone by winning a spot on the show. The prized role of Edna Turnblad, Tracy's mother, traditionally played by a man, is being played by NLT favorite Bo Allen. The outrageous story and characters are based on the 1988 John Waters film. The story provides gentle lessons in inclusion and tolerance.

The cast of approximately 50, under the direction of Layne Taylor, has been in rehearsal for many weeks and are very excited about performing the show for Natchez audiences. To see a full cast list, check the NLT website (

We are very grateful to Layne and the Natchez Little Theatre Board for once again designating the Library the recipient of Preview ticket sales. This a great example of community support at its best: worthy causes helped by other community members - and everyone gets entertained!

To reserve your ticket for Wednesday's performance, call 601 442 2233 and leave a message. You can pick up and pay for your ticket the evening of the show. The Box Office opens at 6 pm, and the performance is at 7 pm. Friends of the Library will be providing refreshments, and Library staff will be ushering. Come out and enjoy this great home grown entertainment - it's a fun way to love your Library!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School Tools

It's that time again, summer is coming to a close and students are headed back to school. WalMart and KMart have been swamped with parents and kids buying school supplies. I walked past a cart filled with pencils, pens, folders, notebooks, and other school supplies. I heard the mother say that they were finally done shopping, and they should have all the tools they need to do well in school this year. I walked by, smiled, and began to think about tools for school and what other tools the kids will need to help them succeed.
The Armstrong Library believes in partnering with our school system, and we are always looking for better ways to provide educational resources to help both teachers and students  - whether they are in kindergarden or college.  Here are some of the tools we have in our library toolbox. All are available for free and from home on your computer, although you might have to come into the Library for a username and password.
MAGNOLIA is an extensive online research tool provided by the Mississippi State Legislature. It is filled with nearly one hundred different databases that can be searched for reliable information. The key point to remember is this is NOT information you could find with Google. The magazines, newspapers, television, and radio transcripts are all in pdf format giving them the look of the actual article. This tool is provided to us free from the state, and if we don't use it we could lose it. Cuts to library funding makes this tool even more valuable as we try to provide the best for our students.
Learning Express Library is an online learning site with over 800 online courses, tests, and ebooks to help you improve your reading, writing and math skills - for all ages. It can also help you with job search and workplace skills improvement, career certification and licensing exam preparation, college entrance and graduate school admissions exam preparation, GED exam preparation, and more. You'll get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of your results.

World Book Online is a premiere online reference source, with thousands of articles, state of the art multimedia, editor reviewed websites, periodical content, and more. Plus, there are more than 1.3 million pages of primary source documents – books, documents, selections – fully integrated with the encyclopedia content. Research and teaching tools include timelines, citation builder, and saved research. Thanks to the D A Biglane Foundation, we are able to provide this tool for another year.
New Resources in Print and Online.We purchased five new printed reference materials from Salem Press that also come with online access. Some subjects include, Encyclopedia of American Immigration, Great Events from History from Middle Ages to 1600, Psychology and Mental Health, and the Solar System.

Get more details on the Online Research Tools page of our website. While you're there, check out our In House Research Tools as well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Best Sellers for August


A Dance with Dragons by George Martin. After a colossal battle, the Seven Kingdoms face new threats. Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva. To stop a network of death, an international operative must reach into his violent past.

Happy Birthday by Danielle Steel. A woman, her daughter, and a former football player arrive at their own crucial turning points on the same day.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter. A serial killer is on the loose, and it's up to the FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock to bring him down.

Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Nina Bloom is forced to confront the past and the killer she thought she had escaped.

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. A killer is after the bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, who faces further complications as she tries to choose a boyfriend.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. This timely tale delves into women's lives, with themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy, and donorship.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. In the Amazon basin, a medical researcher seeks her former mentor, a despotic scientist who is developing a miracle fertility drug.

The Bourne Dominion by Eric Van Lustbader. Robert Ludlum's character, Jason Bourne, is searching for an elusive cadre of terrorists planning to destroy America's most strategic natural resources.

Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy with Peter Telep. Maxwell Moore pursues the terrorists who killed his CIA colleagues in a bomb attack in Pakistan.

One Summer by David Baldacci. After the death of his devoted wife, a father struggles to keep his family together and in the process, learns to love again.

Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons. A Southern woman is forever changed by the betrayals of her mother and the man she loves.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. The third volume of the Millennium Trilogy is about a Swedish hacker and journalist.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Ernest Hemingway's first wife narrates this novel set in Paris.

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. A woman's life is complicated by the fact that her memories disappear every time she falls asleep.


Lost in Shangri La by Mitchell Zuckoff. How three World War II soldier sightseers survived a crash in remote New Guinea.

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. This portrait of Berlin during the rise of the Nazi Party concentrates on William Dodd, who became the US ambassador to Germany in 1933, and his daughter, Martha.

Demonic by Ann Coulter. The columnist compares the Democratic Party to a mob.


Ballet Kitty by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams. Ballet Kitty can't find her ballet slippers, and her best friend, Princess Pussycat, is coming to play. How will she perform her perfect plies, pirouettes, and cutest curtsies? A delightful and charming tale that all young ballet lovers will adore.

Bella, the Fairy Ball by Mandy Stanley. Bella Rabbit lived on a hill. Every day she nibbled and hopped, except for the day she made a daisy chain. Fairies had taken part of her chain away. Bella followed them to an old oak tree. Suddenly she was surrounded by fairies. Their queen was in need of Bella's daisy chain for the fairy ball. Bella was invited, and she was dressed in a beautiful fairy dress trimmed with thistledown. Bella enjoyed a feast and danced around the fairy ball.

Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale.  This is a gorgeously illustrated children's book of fantastic birds for children ages 2-6. Delicately detailed and textured illustrations of acrylic on paper display 19 separate species of birds, with accompanying poetic, descriptive text. It is a fantastic work of art; a celebration of feathers.

Fancy Nancy - Ooh, La La, It's a Beauty Day by Jane O'Connor. What better way to fancy Mom up for her birthday than to treat her to a super deluxe beauty day created by Fancy Nancy herself? It's a pampering paradise, and right in the backyard! With relaxing music, fragrant lotions, colorful nail polish, and foamy mousse, Nancy gives her mom a total makeover. She even treats her to sumptuous refreshments and special entertainment. But when the pampering suddenly goes too far, has Nancy ruined her mom's big day?


Mayhem by Artist Arthur. He thought surviving high school would be his toughest battle...A lot can change in a few months. Jake Palmer is living proof of that. In a short time, the once shy loner has discovered his incredible supernatural abilities and forged a tight bond with his fellow Mystyx.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. Another town? Another new schoool? Mclean really doesn't mind. In fact, she welcomes the chance to try on a new persona. Ever since her parent's bitter divorce, she and her father have been on the move, leaving the unhappy past behind them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Please Get Our Best Side

Recently I was at my regular spot by the front door when Robert Dawson appeared at my desk, looking for all the world like a distinguished safari guide. "Hello," he said, "I am traveling around the country taking pictures of libraries, and I wonder if we might take a picture of the outside of your library." Inwardly, I gasped. The outside of our Library is the object of much commentary, almost all of it disparaging. I was simultaneously fascinated and mortified. I tried not to stammer. "Well," I said, "Our building is not very presentable, but-" He quickly assured me that he would take it from far enough away that the crumbling shutters and peeling paint would not show. (I couldn't help but wonder how far away that would have to be.) What did end up on his website is a picture of our front door and steps. You can see the picture and read what they wrote here. There are many fascinating pictures of every size and shape of library across the country.

I discovered that Robert Dawson is a very well known photographer, that he is from Stanford University and has published books based on various photographic projects he has undertaken. Some of them are: The New Deal Legacy Project, The Water in the West Project, the Global Water Project, and the Farewell, Promised Land Project.

When I responded to his request by apologizing for the state of our building, I am sure he must have been remembering many other similar encounters at other libraries which are struggling to maintain the condition of their buildings. This man felt that libraries are important enough to photograph and honor in a collection and book; to travel across the country documenting the diversity of communities and how they honor and preserve their libraries. What does it say about us?

He also took some pictures inside, and I was amazed to see him set up a tripod and drape his jacket over his head as a cowl to shoot the pictures with his 4X4 plate camera. Turns out Robert Dawson is famous for his photographic method, and it makes his photographs rich and timeless.

I did not know any of that as he stood before me, requesting to preserve forever the state of our library's exterior. It showed me so clearly that we never know when or how we might unexpectedly be called upon to account for our condition. How a community treats its public buildings, especially its libraries, speaks volumes about that community.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are Libraries Obsolete?

Who needs libraries if you have Google and ebooks? A lot of people! Let me tell you why I think we will always need libraries. (Yes, I know I'm biased, but I'm also right.)

If a library was nothing but a building full of printed material, it might be obsolete - but it's not. As a matter of fact, our attendance figures are higher than they've ever been. Why? Look at the tag line on our website: your community center for information, technology, and culture. That explains it all.

Your Library is part of your community. It has people in it - both staff and patrons. Computers are not shared experiences - libraries are. While browsing the new books, you could ask your neighbor standing next to you what she has read lately - or ask a librarian for recommendations. You could participate in a program. You can hold a meeting of your organization. You can have books read to your children - or they can learn how to draw from an artist. You can ask for help with any kind of project. Let's face it, computers are nice, but people are much more important.

You can get information at your Library that is simply not available anywhere else. Look at a copy of the Natchez Democrat from the 1800's - or an old Natchez High annual - or a Natchez phone directory from the early days. When you look something up on Google, you frequently have no idea of its authenticity. But your Reference Librarian can show you how to use our collection of many databases that are not available via the internet - or cost mucho money to use elsewhere. Also, you may not even know how to get started looking for something, but your librarian does.

And if you want technology, your Library has it.  We may have the largest and most up to date collection of computers in our area, and they're all available FREE. We even have special computers with programs just for children - and they are almost always being used. Because Mississippi is the poorest state in the country, many of our citizens cannot afford the latest in technology. But everyone has access to the Library. Libraries have always been the great equalizers in society by making knowledge available to everyone regardless of economic status.

No community is complete without its culture, and the Library is its repository. You might be surprised at some of the programs that have been offered at your Library. (Follow us on facebook or twitter and find out.) We carry books by local and state authors. Some people think the New York Times (especially Sunday's) is the place to go for the latest in the national cultural scene. However, it's no longer available free online, but it is available free at your Library. By the way, there are those who think more and more of online information will be fee based - making Libraries even more important.

In summary, don't cut up your Library card just yet. You're going to be needing it for a long time to come.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Librarians Head to New Orleans

On Saturrday June 25th, eight library employees headed for New Orleans to attend the American Library Assosiation annual conference. I'm new to the Library, and this was my first ALA conference. It was pretty overwhelming. There were over twenty thousand attendees, wide eyed and eager to see the latest - including over five thousand venders displaying their wares.

We spent five hours trudging through exhibits with bags upon bags full of free samples of books, posters, gadgets, and many, many catalogs. We returned to Natchez tired but full of new ideas to help our patrons have a pleasant library experience. Be on the look out for new books and fun, interesting programs for everyone from kids to adults.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Best Sellers


Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris. The telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse seeks the culprit in a firebombing.

10th Anniversary by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Detective Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club race to find a missing baby.

Conviction by Aaron Allston. The Jedi Order has taken control of the Galactic Alliance. Meanwhile, Luke and Ben Skywalker are pursuing the evil entity Abeloth. A Star Wars novel.

Buried Prey by John Sandford. The Minneapolis detective Lucas Davenport investigates the murders of two girls who were kidnapped in 1985 and whose bodies have just been found.

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry. The former government operative Cotton Malone foils an assassination attempt on the president and finds himself at dangerous odds with a secret society.

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. The Oslo detective Harry Hole searches for a serial killer who builds snowmen outside the homes of his victims.

The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara. The three month struggle for Okinawa in 1945, from the perspectives of combatants on both sides.

Sixkill by Robert Parker. In the final Spenser novel, a woman dies in an actor's hotel room.

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. A Puritan missionary's daughter forms a bond with a scholarly Indian.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, narrates this novel set in Paris.


The Greater Journey by David McCullough. The historian explores the intellectual legacy that France settled on its 19th century visitors.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. An Olympic runner's story of survival as a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II.

Seal Team Six by Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin. An expert sniper and former member of the Navy Seals recounts his training and missions.

On China by Henry Kissinger. China and America are mutually dependent economic giants, Kissinger writes, but they need a design of partnership.

A Picture Book of Amelia Earhart by David A. Adler and illustrated by Jeff Fisher. Readers glean a sense of Earhart's courage and determination.
A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt by David A. Adler and illustrated by Robert Casilla. Key events are highlighted, from Roosevelt's early childhood to her role as representative to the United Nations.
A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison by Daivd A. Adler and illustrated by John and Alexandra Wallner. Provides interesting glimpses of an inquisitive youth who grew into a hard-working visionary.
Jerk California by Jonathan Friesen. A compelling story about Sam, a high-school student with Tourette syndrome, who embarks on a cross country road trip to discover his roots and identity.
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia. The much anticipated part two of the three part series Beautiful Creatures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grown Up Fun at Your Library

It's an encouraging trend that more and more libraries across the country are offering summer programs for adult readers. It's about time! Kids have had all the fun for years during the summer.

Here at Armstrong Library, we are in our second summer of adult programming. The theme this year is Novel Destinations, so our events are predominately travel related. On Thursdays through July 21 from 4-5:30 pm, we are presenting travel dvd's, individual accounts of interesting trips, and tips on taking better digital pictures. We'll also be watching and discussing the movie Eat, Pray, Love.

Once again we are having weekly drawings for recent hardback titles and theme related prizes. This activitiy was very popular with patrons last year, and there are plenty of entries again this year. Just fill out one entry form for each book read. Drawings are each Wednesday. Patrons willing to write a short book review to post on our bulletin board will receive a Novel Destinations book bag (while supplies last!) Click here for copies of both forms and details about the program.

If anyone has taken an especially exotic or beautiful trip and would like to share pictures and experiences with our group, please let us know.

Next month we will start a brown bag book discussion group. We will be reading Brad Watson's Aliens in the Prime of their Lives, a collection of short stories which recently won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2011 Fiction prize. Participants will bring their lunches, and the Library will provide beverages. Please contact us to sign up.

We are always open to ideas for programs! If you have a skill or interest you'd like to share, or have a collection we might display in our front foyer display case, please let us know.

If you're on Facebook, be sure to friend Judge George Armstrong to receive updates on events. Also, National Public Radio has a wonderful book page on Facebook which has excellent interactive book lovers' information. It's NPR books. Who says the book is dead?!

Have a great summer and keep on reading!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!"

"No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!" I remember singing this Alice Cooper song when I was a kid.

Yes, school was out for summer. No more homework, no more getting up early to catch the bus. All the way home I fantasized about playing outside all day with my friends - staying up late at night watching movies rather than doing homework.

Yes, my summer was planned, and I thought I would never get bored. However, that idea was short lived. By mid June, several of my friends were away at camp or on family vacation. I had nothing to do, and nowhere to go. All I had left was to stand on my head and spit wooden nickles, as my mother suggested.

That was until I went to my local public library and found out they were running a summer program for middle schoolers. The library was going to put on a puppet show, and we got to make the puppets and the stage. I signed up immediately and went to the first meeting and had a great time. I made some new friends. I learned all about puppets and made one of my own. We read Pinocchio as a group read.

The last day we had a big party, and we performed our puppet play for the smaller children and our parents. That summer made a difference in my life. Ms Patty was the library assistant, who was a college student working at the library for the summer. She was cool, and she was fun, so she made the library cool and fun, too. I was always a reader, but this experience made me a library user for life. That was back in the days of tie dye and bell bottom jeans, back in a time when we thought summer lasted forever.
Now this may be the 21st century, and kids today may have so much more to occupy their time, but I still hear kids telling their moms they are bored, that they have nothing to do. So my suggestion is to get them down to your Library and sign up for the free Summer Library Program. Let us help make your kids library users for life.

PreK - Grade 5
We are offering something for everybody in the family. One World, Many Stories is for children from preK through grade 5, You Are Here is for tweens and teens from grade 6 through 12, and Novel Destinations is our Adult program. We will have special guests and speakers to read stories and share interesting facts about different cultures. There will be games, crafts, and prizes. Most importantly, the kids will keep up their reading skills and make new friends while having fun learning.

So don't get stuck standing in the corner spitting wooden nickels all summer come see whats happening at your local library.