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.