Friday, June 29, 2012

The Last Time I Saw Paris

The last time I saw Paris? Well, in my case that was never, but I hope to change that fairly soon. It seems Paris has been on lots of people's minds lately. We've recently discussed The Paris Wife by Paula McClain and watched Midnight in Paris at the Library. It seems just about everyone I know has visited Paris, is there right now, or is going soon.

So when I was planning my Adult Summer Programs, I thought it would be fun and enlightening to invite some Paris travel veterans to share their experiences.

So far, regular patron and intrepid traveler Bill Slatter has agreed. I am planning to enlist the services of others, so if you would like to participate or know someone who might like to, please have them contact me.

We are planning this program for Thursday, July 12 from 3-5 pm. It will be a Paris "show and tell," and participants will be able to share ideas, bargains, and valuable tips.

In the meantime, allow me to recommend some recent Paris reading, all of which are available at the Library.

  • The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay (2012)
  • Sacre Bleu: a Comedy d'art by Christopher Moore (2012)
  • The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (latest edition 2007)
  • Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (2012)
  • An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi (2012)
  • Crime Fraiche by Alexander Campion (2011)
  • Paris in Love: a memoir by Eloisa James (2012)

I'd love to hear from you if you have stories to share or would just like to come and dream along with me. (Anne White 601.445.8862

Friday, June 22, 2012

Apprendre une Langue Gratuitement

The title is French for "Learn a Language for Free". Would you like to learn another language? Now you can - without leaving home and totally free.

Your Library now has Rocket Languages available online. Like so many other successful businesses these days, Rocket Languages was started by two students who saw a need. One was taking Spanish at a university, and the other was learning French. They both agreed there must be a better way. So they set out to design a Spanish course that would:
  • be fun to use
  • be easy to follow
  • minimize study time
  • give people confidence to actually speak
Rocket Spanish was an instant online hit and was followed by Rocket French. Rocket Languages now includes Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and even American Sign Language. These courses normally cost $150 each, which is not bad - but you don't pay anything when signed up through your Library.

One of the nice things about Rocket Languages is once you sign up for a language, you have lifetime access. So you can take your time learning and check back for refreshers.

So go ahead and register. All you need is your Library card. Once you've registered, you won't need your card again. You will sign in with your email address and your own password.

Two of my granddaughters (and their parents) live in Austria, where they speak German. I'm going to register to learn German so I can impress my granddaughters. So if you see someone wandering around Natchez mumbling German, it will likely be me. "Ich lerne Deutsch." (I'm learning German.)

If a bunch of us learn a language, we can do translations for tourists!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shutters and Paint - Redux

People are asking why hasn’t the Painting / Shutter Project started, yet. Unfortunately there is not a good, concise answer - but here's the story.
As you may be aware, the City of Natchez owns the library building and is legally responsible for the maintenance of the building and property. We approached the City of Natchez and offered (what we thought was) a great DEAL – the Friends of the Library would pay for the Painting/Repairs/Shutters project if the City would follow the legal procedures necessary to select a contractor.
We began this project with that plan in mind. The City would determine what needed to be done and would secure the necessary cost estimates, following the procurement laws of the State of Mississippi - a procedure they follow regularly for any city-owned building. They select the contractor(s) and approve for the work to begin. The Friends of the Library raises the funds necessary and write the checks. Should be simple, right? Wrong!
After two months of getting prices and “negotiating” it occurred (to someone) that there may be lead-based paint on a 48 years old building! We were asked if we held “regular classes for children under the age of 6” to which I responded, “Classes?” The question was repeated. I responded that we have regular Mommy – Baby storytime every Tuesday morning and Pre-school/Daycare storytime every Wednesday morning – and we’re about to start Summer Library Program! I actually asked, “Public libraries – Children’s programming . . .  What do you think we do?!?!?!!!”
So, back to square one. <sigh>! It would seem the lead paint abatement is going to cost a chunk of money.  I asked, “How much?” and was given a general cost estimate. Then after I picked myself up off the floor, I was asked how much we had. I responded, “Not THAT much! And most of what we have is dedicated to the shutters!”
A bit of history here. We had asked the City of Natchez in early 2008 to get the exterior painting and repairs done before the planned Mississippi Library Association Annual Conference (held in October of that year). Well, it obviously didn’t happen. Now that the MLA Annual Conference will be back in Natchez in October of THIS year, we offered - and made - the DEAL , based on the cost estimate from the summer of 2008. Little did we realize how much damage four more years of neglect could cause.
So, while “Adopt a Needy Shutter” was an enormous success, our fundraising efforts are not over! We will continue to pursue the project, with phone calls to the City every few days, each asking the same question, “What’s the latest update on the cost projections?”
When (not IF) I get an answer, I’ll let you know. Rest assured, I am staying on top of this and I WILL NOT LET THE ISSUE DROP. Tenacious should be my middle name!
In the meantime, my sincere appreciation goes out to everyone that has made a donation and understands the important role the public library holds in every community! Thank you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Time for Summer Library Program - YAY!

Do you know what Summer Slide is? (Hint: you won't see it at the playground.) Summer break causes children to lose up to a month of instruction, and researchers refer to this as Summer Slide. Gaps in reading ability in high school is largely explained by unequal access to summer learning in elementary school. A big part of the gap already exists when children start school. Sorry but using computers, playing video games, and watching TV do not help. What have researchers determined is the best solution? Summer programs at libraries, which are specifically designed to fight Summer Slide. We make reading fun with programs, crafts, games, and prizes.

Don't let your children fall behind! Bring them to the totally FREE Summer Library Program which starts next week. We have programs for all ages and at all three of our libraries. The theme for the children's program this year is Dream Big: READ!

In Natchez at the Armstrong Library, we have programs for three different age groups:
  • PreK and Kindergarten: Tuesdays, 10 - 10:30 am, June 19 - July 10
  • Grades 1 - 3: Wednesdays, 10 - 11:30 am, June 20 - July 11
  • Grades 4 - 6:  Wednesdays, 2 - 3:30, June 20 - July 11
At the Woodville Public Library, the program for all ages is held on Wednesdays, 2 - 3:30 pm, June 6 - 27.

The program in Centreville, also for all ages, is on Wednesdays, 3 - 4:30 pm, June 20 - July 11.

Check out the Summer Library page on our website for more details.