Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Bestsellers for April


Toys by James Patterson and Neil McMahon. Hays Baker, a top operative for the Agency of Change and a national hero, suddenly finds himself a hunted fugitive who must fight to save humans from extinction.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Picoult takes on the issue of gay rights in this novel about a music therapist who desperately wants a child.

The Jungle by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul. Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon undertake rescue operations from Afghanistan to Myanmar.

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

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. The recovery of a lost ancient manuscript in a library at Oxford sets a fantastical underworld stirring.

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. A motherless girl is cared for by a Dublin community, but a social worker believes a foster home is a better solution.

Love You More by Lisa Gardner. Detective D D Warren must solve the case of a dead husband, a battered wife, and a missing child.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs. The shapeshifter Mercy Thompson and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, confront evil lurking in the Columbia River.

Treachery in Death by J. D. Robb. Eve Dallas and her partner, Peabody, investigate a grocer’s murder.


Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff. A biography of the last queen of ancient Egypt.

Decision Points by George W Bush. The former President’s memoir discusses his Christianity, the end of his drinking, and his decisions on 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina.

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


Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The Japanese Ninja Surprise by Jeff Brown. Flat Stanley mails himself to Japan to visit his hero, martial arts movie star Oda Nobu, and becomes his personal ninja.

Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Jeff Brown. Hoping to escape the attention brought on by the accident that flattened Stanley, the Lambchop family drives to South Dakota, where they become involved in a Wild West adventure at Mount Rushmore.

Summer of the Sea Serpent by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack and Annie travel in their magic tree house to the land of the mystical selkies to seek a magical sword for Merlin.


Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Three teens, who meet at Reno, Nevada’s Aspen Springs Mental Hospital after each has attempted suicide, connect with each other in a way they never have with their parents or anyone else in their lives.

Ship Breaker by Paola Bacigalupi. In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

Virgin Territory by James Lecesne. When an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary appears on a tree at the Jupiter, Florida golf course where fifteen year old Dylan Flack is caddying for the summer, he encounters a group of “pilgrims” who dare him to take a risk and find out what he really wants out of life.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Your Library is the Face of Natchez

 One of the things I like best about being Assistant Director of the Library is welcoming visitors during Spring Pilgrimage. This year has been very active so far, and it’s great to see people so upbeat, enjoying the spectacular weather. But every year there are little stories about visitors showing their appreciation for help checking their email, advice on where to eat lunch, or directions to the next house on their tour.

People naturally gravitate to the Library as a starting point for their searches; whether it is for general area information or specific services. The Library is the heart of the community, and seasoned travelers know this better than most. Just this morning, we had a couple who had to time the printout of their boarding passes exactly or they’d miss the first seating. They stood by as the time ticked toward the magic moment when they could print out. As they left, the lady called out to us “We can always count on the library.” True story.

Sometimes visitors are participating in a scavenger hunt, looking for places and items peculiar to Natchez. Smart visitors know the best place to get information is a public library. Sometimes we have had the entire staff involved in looking for answers - and our visitors always win.

As described in our last blog post, the producers of the Prince Among Slaves have scheduled one of their events here in Natchez. And guess who they contacted first? That’s right. The Library. We are so happy to be able to provide whatever information we can to all visitors. It is just part of being the heart of the community.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Prince from Natchez

Did you know that Natchez once had a Prince? Right around the beginning of our country, a remarkable man came to Natchez.

Abdul Rahman was trilingual, a successful military general, and the heir to Futa Jalon, the West African Empire, which was the size of Great Britain. However, during a war with another African country, he was captured and sold into slavery.

He was bought by Thomas Foster of Natchez and brought to his small, struggling plantation. Abdul Rahman told everyone that he was a Prince and his father would be happy to pay a ransom for his return. Of course, no one paid any attention, but they did start calling him Prince. He was a valuable slave and helped Foster develop the planation into a successful, profitable venture. He also married and had 9 children.

Through improbable circumstances, twenty years into his enslavement he was reunited with a marooned sailor that his father had rescued decades earlier. This event brought the first public attention to the Prince and over the next several years led him to become the most famous African in America. He regained his freedom, spoke to paid audiences across the country, dined in the White House, became a national celebrity, and eventually returned to Africa.

His story of courage and forbearance under the meanest of circumstances is a powerful drama that not only speaks directly to the African American experience, but also to the human experience. His incredible story was first told in 1977 in the book Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford, which was republished in 2007 as a 30th Anniversary Edition. The book was made into a film by Unity Productions Foundations (UPF) and was shown on PBS in 2008. The book and the film are in our Library available for checkout.

Through a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities, UPF is sponsoring a series of events all over the country, showing the film along with lectures and discussions on the issues raised in the film. As the home of the Prince, Natchez has been chosen as one of the sites. Our event will be held on Sunday, June 5 in the City Auditorium. We are very fortunate to have the author of the book, Terry Alford, as one of our speakers. The event is free, and attendees will receive a free copy of the DVD. We'll have more details later, but put it in your calendar.

Just think. People all across America will be talking about a famous person from Natchez. Who knows what kind of interest in or visits to our City this may cause! You'd better learn the story, in case tourists ask you abut the Prince.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Librarians Take on Legislators!

Teen Librarian Marianne Raley &
Director Susan Cassagne
Last Wednesday a group of Mississippi librarians spent the day at the State Capitol building in Jackson to show our legislators the importance of public libraries to their communities and the need to keep our funding so as to continue to provide services that are much needed and used . 
Arriving at 8 am armed with banners, book marks, brochures and eye catching displays, we settled in the rotunda and waited for our local representatives to arrive. It was interesting to walk about and see what other libraries are doing in their community. There was a little of everything - from computer 101 classes to partnerships with local agencies such as WIN Job Service for those communities that are out in rural areas and cannot get to the center. One library provides a video phone for the hearing impaired so they can better communicate with distant family members.
Ms Magnolia

Ms Magnolia (AKA the Director of the First Regional Library System) strolled about the rotunda in a beautiful green gown and crown of magnolias while telling our state leaders about the great databases MAGNOLIA provides for our students, teachers and parents. The Mississippi Library Commission touted the Learn a Test online learning center.

Stress Books
The Armstrong Library displayed our newest pride and joy, the Teen Zone. We were a big hit as most legislators were pleased to see services being provided for our neighborhood youth. When trying to get a lawmaker to remember an organization they usually receive a pencil or pen with the name and or logo on it. Well, we went one step further and passed out a stress ball shaped like books with the Teen Zone and website imprinted on them. I don't doubt a few of those stress books were flying across the tables during committee meetings.

Capitol Rotunda

By the way, if you have not seen the State Capital building before, I suggest you do. It was my first time visiting and I was so impressed with the achitecture, woodwork, marble flooring, and beautiful stained glass windows. It was inspiring to be in the same place were laws are created or defeated.