|Marley Dias is this year's ALA spokesperson for Library Card Sign-Up Month|
|Pearl Public Library|
Your Libraries' news, book reviews, and more!
|Marley Dias is this year's ALA spokesperson for Library Card Sign-Up Month|
|Pearl Public Library|
Yes Yes Yes, every year, we report on the same books that have been challenged (meaning not actually banned but was attempted to be removed or restricted based upon the objections of a person or group) or banned over the years.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
"...every story is a pattern story." ~~ A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders
According to George Saunders, no writer begins his or her great work of fiction with the idea, "I think I'll write a pattern story" or "What this story needs is pattern." And yet, no matter how funny, beautiful, complicated, or bizarre, every story is a pattern story.
Life, in itself, is a pattern story, though we rarely recognize repetition as part of the process. The same is true with stories. For example, all rags to riches stories follow the same pattern. The protagonist starts out with hard times, then an opportunity presents itself which leads to a change of fortune or the ability to overcome the original adversity. The characters and/or circumstances might be different, but the pattern is the same. The same is true for rebirth. The lead in the story is experiencing darkness - physical, spiritual, or maybe even other-worldly. He succumbs to the torture that is his life until an unexpected intervention breaks through the bondage. Once free, the main character begins to live life with peace and happiness.
A pattern story can also be compared to the acts of a play. In comedy, the protagonist is characterized as pretty normal - the pizza guy, the beat cop, the lawyer, the dogwalker, or the loafer. Their life is upended by an unusual and unexpected conflict, which is perpetuated by their self-deluded desire to find a solution. The involvement of the main character usually results in even greater chaos, until he or she returns to normal life. In drama, the story follows an opposite pattern. Maybe everything is okay or great or even perfect in the beginning. Then a problem arises that usually descends from bad to worse. Finally, the story hits rock bottom. All hope is lost - or maybe not! Could there be a way out? A way to rise above the waves and make it to the shore? At the very end, once the main character finds salvation, he learns a lesson he never forgets - a gift that came out of the darkness.
As with the other exercises, once a reader begins to recognize pattern, it becomes difficult to overlook. Tragedy, mystery, adventure, romance - every story is a pattern story. If the main character is overcoming a monster (real or imagined), he restores peace and calm by facing down the foe that seeks to wreak havoc upon his society, his family, or himself. If the protagonist is beginning a quest, he answers a call to act, sets out on a journey, encounters troubles that threaten and overwhelm, and finally, by whatever means necessary, finds the inner strength or outside help to restore peace - usually accompanied by a new perspective of life or greater responsibility.
When you strip a story down to its barest bones, similarities of pattern exist. Even the most original ideas for fiction follow a pattern, which is sometimes described as formulaic or predictable; however, readers are often creatures of habit when it comes to genre fiction. If readers prefer romance, they have general expectations of pattern. The protagonists meet, experience an attraction, reject the relationship on one or both sides, face a midpoint crisis, confess their deepest secrets and fears, break up completely, recognize their misery and loss, and complete the pattern with a declaration of love and a happy ending.
Pattern is expected in all genres; it is why readers read what they do. In fantasy, the pattern involves a hero's journey. In horror, the reader waits for the unexpected horrifying twist that is totally expected. If the reader is bored, he or she might choose adventure which provides an adrenaline high. Or maybe they want to read fiction that shocks the senses with its graphic realism. These novels still follow a definite arc with internal struggles laid bare for all to see. Armed with preexisting prejudices and judgments, realistic fiction combines the main characters' layers of motivations, fears, and desires with adverse external circumstances and internal conflict - creating what is known as the framed narrative, or the story within the story.
Saunders is correct in his statement: "every story is a pattern story." The best writers master the art of a pattern story, and readers return to their favorite genres and authors time and again to find that formula they crave. From Agatha Christie's crime fiction to Julia Quinn's regency romance to Michael Farris Smith's gothic Southern realism, pattern is what readers expect. The difficult task for the writer is to create an addiction to pattern from which the reader never recovers.
Please make plans to attend the Forest Public Library adult book club on Tuesday, August 24, at 6:00 p.m. as members discuss pattern in the books they are currently reading and in their favorite genres. Pre-packaged snacks, bottled water, and canned drinks will be provided.
August is here, bringing with it the end of summer break and the beginning of a new school year. The Central Mississippi Regional Library System is here to make the 2021-2022 school year a successful year for students and teachers. As part of our Back to School promotion this year we are partnering with the Mississippi Braves for Library Card Night at Trustmark Park! Library Card Night will be August 28 at 6:05 p.m. Just show your CMRLS library card and you can get up to four guests in the game for $3 each. Check out our online calendar for other Back to School events at your library. Hope to see you soon!
Summer reading is still going strong! We still have a lot of fun online activities for all ages.
For adults, we have Blue Feather Bakery and fun crafts to make.
For Tweens/Teens, we have Who's Tail is it Anyway? Trivia.
We have lots of Preschool Story Times, the Hattiesburg Zoo, and the Mississippi Aquarium!
These are all great virtual events that you can enjoy as a family.
Our in-house Family Story Time is July 8 at 5 p.m. Be sure to go to our online calendar to register for this event or call the library at 601-732-6288.
The link to register is below.
We are still having take-home crafts each week to pick up at the library so there is no excuse to be bored this summer, we've got something for everyone!
There is always something to enjoy at the Library!
In our mission to ensure we have free and easy to access resources for our patrons, we have online tools available to help students, teachers, job seekers, and many others. We have online tools from test prep to world books online, and if you do not see what you are looking for on our website then one of our librarians will be happy to help direct you in the right direction.
When I was a little girl, how I loved it when my mother read to me! Her voice was so soothing, and she always put just the right amount of inflection in her voice. When I was a little older, my Science teacher, Mrs. Jan Burrows, would read to us and boy was she good! (She was the one who introduced Edgar Allen Poe to me).
To this day, I still love people reading to me, so I check out audiobooks.
But Mrs. Frances that is cheating! No, it is not. Everyone has different learning styles: Visual (spatial) Learner, Aural (auditory) Learner, Verbal (linguistic) Learner, Physical (kinesthetic) Learner, Logical (mathematical) Learner, Social (interpersonal) Learner, and Solitary (intrapersonal) Learner. *
I happen to be part visual and aural.
So if you like being read to, try an audiobook. I would suggest anything read by Jim Dale. He has narrated all of the Harry Potter books and he narrated Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I listened to Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper through our Axis 360 app. Not something I was wanted to read, but Dale kept me captivated.
Tim Curry narrated the Lemony Snickett series entitled, The Series of Unfortunate Events. He brought the evil out in Count Olaf.
Need a good laugh? Try David Sedaris. He is always too funny! Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim are my favorites.
I like to listen to George Guidall. I enjoyed him reading, The Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braum (I can't help it, I loooove cozy mysteries!) but he also does Vince Flynn's series, Mitch Rapp.
So give it a try. Instead of having the TV on while you are cleaning the house, listen to an audiobook! In the car? Put in an audiobook. I talked to one lady and she listens to audiobooks while she crochets!
The July adult book club at the Forest Public Library focuses on the second exercise of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders, entitled The Heart of a Story. According to Saunders, great writers use elements of structure and form to carry the reader to a pivotal point where they can't go any further without being fully engaged, wholly committed, and forever changed. He describes this place as the heart of the story, and he uses the example of a literal cart to reach that destination.
In the exercise, Saunders loads the cart with TICHN (Things I Couldn't Help Noticing). He explains that if readers pay special attention, they "enter into a transactional relationship with the writer." The reader begins to fill his TICHN cart with observations. These observations take the reader beyond the summary inside the front cover of the book.
In the beginning, the heart of the story is very much like a human heart. The reader knows that it is beating with a pulse, "What next...what next...what next," but it remains hidden from view. Sometimes it is buried within a file or dossier of information that the writer deems important to respect the reader; however, carrying the weight of too much information can cause the reading energy to drop.
At this point, the writer must shed the excess to protect the heart. How much of the back story is necessary? When is digression allowed? How much repetition is acceptable? What about causation - investigating the role, impact, or association of specific occurrences within the story? Is it important to present pages and pages of detailed descriptions about certain characters to fully introduce them to the reader? Does the reader need to know the tiniest details of each interaction or decision in order to be informed? How does this process apply to the more modern reader who prefers minimal descriptions - showing versus telling - the Ruthless Efficiency Principle or the Hollywood Version? According to Saunders, "The writer revises, the painter touches up, the director edits, the musician overdubs."
And the heart of the story continues to beat...pounding, fluttering, racing. Over and over, the reader reviews his cart of TICHN. The writer and reader are moving closer towards the life force of the story. A bond is strengthened; all parties are engaged. No matter what happens at this point, the writer-reader agreement is solid - the heart of the story is opening. Even as the cavity is revealed, every layer is removed, and every consideration is critical, the reader trusts the writer to bring closure.
Finally, the reader reaches the final page. The contents of his TICHN cart have brought him to this place - the stopping place. If the writer has been successful, the book has become a thing of movement, of fear, of change, of love, of life. And that life is claimed by the heart of the story.
Be sure to register for either one of the July adult book clubs scheduled for Tuesday, July 13, at 2:00 p.m. and Tuesday, July 27, at 6:00 p.m. Both meetings are held in the Forest Public Library conference room and prepackaged snacks are provided.
When CMRLS staff order new materials for our libraries, you may think it is a simple activity; however, you would be mistaken. Speaking from almost 20 years of personal experience, it is an often stressful yet always fun activity. Some months it is easy to spend your budget, even exceed your budget, so you must cull through the selections and trim the order. Other months it takes a lot of research to complete the acquisition process. When preparing an order, there are many things to consider. Using myself as an example, many of the patrons that utilize my branch read thrillers, psychological, mystery, and romance fiction; however, it is my responsibility to have a diverse collection so I must also order fantasy, science fiction, western, etc., genres. It is easy to add best sellers and well-known authors to the list, but when I look at debut authors or authors unknown to me, it is necessary to research, read the reviews, and look at other information available.
Recently, I ordered a debut author’s title, The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry. I read the reviews, looked at the cover and decided to give it a try. The final decision for pushing the order button, however, was the fact that the word muscadine was in the title. The branch where I work has hosted a Muscadine Jubilee for years, so I suppose my decision was based somewhat on non-professional reasons. The book arrived and went into the area for new fiction. It was checked out several times and two different patrons mentioned to me that I needed to read this book. (As an aside, despite popular misconceptions, librarians do not sit around and read all day.) Given the recommendations, I checked out the book and started reading.
Sometimes I read debut titles and they are wonderful; other times, let’s face it, there are some duds out there. Or maybe I should say, not every book is for every reader. The Sweet Taste of Muscadines was an awesome read. Lila and her brother, Henry, return to their southern home when their elderly mother dies unexpectedly. In the book, Lila reflects on funerals, thinking they are “a time not only of great emotion, which is at least expected, but also of enormous tension and even, occasionally, uncomfortable revelation. Secrets are spilled at southern funerals.” And then she proceeds to share some of those revelations she is aware of. “Peter Wood asked his wife for a divorce at his father’s funeral, and right before they lowered Sonny Culpepper’s mother into the ground, his Aunt Lois told him she was not really his aunt but was in fact his sister.” When Lila and Henry arrive home to plan their mother’s funeral with their sister, Abigail, nothing goes as expected and a secret is revealed that changes their entire family history. A secret that sends Lila and Henry on a journey pursuing the truth. I highly recommend this book. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry; it will leave you impacted by its story. I already have a note in my file to keep a watch out for her second book which the back cover informs she is currently writing.
Let me encourage you to seek out first books. Look in the stacks for them. Just because a book is not on a best seller list or by a best-selling author does not mean it is not worth reading. You might discover an author’s once-in-a-lifetime treasure or start a journey with an author that will produce many more delightful stories. Remember Delia Owens whose debut novel Where the Crawdads Sing was on the New York Times best seller list for a total of 124 weeks? Or John Grisham whose debut novel A Time to Kill did not become well known until his second novel The Firm became a best seller? As for The Sweet Taste of Muscadines, you may request your copy by clicking the link below. Let us know if you discover some treasures.
Before television there was radio, an entertainment medium that employed the Theatre of the Mind. This format involved utilizing the imagination, not the visual stimulus used today.
Radio shows were common during this time period and my favorite show was The Shadow. He was an invisible crimefighter who "knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men." He was compelled to fight evil with all the resources at his disposal.
The Shadow was written by Walter Gibson and initially portrayed by Orson Welles. One of my favorite episodes, The Silent Avenger, aired back in March of 1938. I remember it well sitting by the fireplace. It was the highlight of my evening.
I miss the radio shows of yesteryear. But eventually my radio nostalgia had to come to an end with the advent of television.
At the Flowood Library we have an impressive collection of audiobooks to listen to. So while we do not have radio shows, we can check out an audiobook and pretend for a while.
The Theatre of the Mind, the theatre of the imagination lives on.
The most amazing journey of a reader begins a page at a time. Even as a small child, the act of turning the page is one of deliberate movement. Teachers witness the phenomenon all the time. As a child learns to read, he/she develops decision-making skills with each positive or negative reaction to a single page. A child cannot always identify where a story is headed, but they know almost immediately if they want to find out. If they are not interested by page one, they might not even make it to page two.
Adults are the same, even though our power of deductive reasoning has been strengthened over time with practice and repetition. In the book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders gives an example of how this process is so critical to the response of the reader: "In the first pulse of the story, the writer is like a juggler, throwing pins into the air. The rest of the story is the catching of those pins. At any point in the story, certain pins are up there and we can feel them. We'd better feel them. If not, the story has nothing out of which to make its meaning."
Each page presents the possibility of a pivotal moment for the writer and reader. The writer decides what will happen next, and the reader decides if he wants to know. Children understand this concept with their first bedtime stories. One page can introduce a warning, and they anticipate a pin drop. One page can create specific curiosity about a setting like a beautiful castle, or a dark wood, or a candy-coated cottage. One page can initiate a conflict that even the youngest listener recognizes as trouble. Saunders calls this "a linear temporal phenomenon."
In classic logic, formulas are fixed. Monday comes before Tuesday. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Everything is absolute - true or false. The simplest definition of linear temporal logic is that a condition is true until another fact becomes true or an expected condition will eventually be true if the path continues. However...if a subsequent path appears in time, one questions if the expected condition will remain true forever or never be true at all. Isn't that the very definition of reading?
That scientific formula is supported by the bowling pins example. We know they are up there - in the air - and we feel that we understand their trajectory. But, once again, what might happen, what needs to happen, or what will happen remains in the air until we turn the page.
If you are not able to attend the Forest Public Library book club in person, please enjoy the exercise presented in the book: Read one page and answer the following questions: Without looking at the page, 1) What do you know so far? 2) What are you curious about? 3) Where do you think the story is headed?
Consider this final quote from the book as we complete the first exercise. "It's kind of exciting to pause here and admit that, as things stand, it's not yet a story. Not yet. And I'm going to claim, right now, that by the end, it's going to be a great story. So, there's something essential to learn here about the form itself: whatever converts not yet a story into great story is going to happen any minute now, over this next (last) page."
Summer is the best time of year to visit the Reservoir Library. Yes, it's warm outside and the library is cool, but there are so many other things to do here besides visit the library. Did you know that this time of year is gator season? The firefighters pointed one out to us last Friday morning in the waterway behind the library/fire station. It was seven feet of awesomeness! So, while you while away a hot summer day reading in our easy chair, you can glance outside and gator-watch.
This area has other forms of wildlife that always keep the view interesting. There are beautiful cranes that fish the waterway. We also have two families of geese. What's cuter than a teenage gosling? Bird and gator watching not your cup of tea? Why not go fishing? If you're lucky, one of the firemen may join you. I love a good fish fry, hint-hint.
The botanical garden is also located here. The mile-long walk is dog-friendly and shaded. It's very peaceful, and if you call the Rankin County Board of Supervisors, you can reserve a pavilion and have a picnic.
Lastly, the best part of being located in the fire station, is that we get to visit with our brave firefighters and see them in action. They make us feel safe in our little corner of the world.
Do you think public libraries are a white elephant, an institution that is no longer relevant? I thought for a moment. Actually I was surprised to hear such a question. Wasn't it obvious that public libraries are still an important and vital asset to the community? Yet this highly intelligent person did not understand the need for the public library.
Each librarian employed within the Flowood Library is a problem solver, capable of providing basic library services to patrons in need, but also able to go beyond the call of duty to solve problems that a patron would never be able to solve without help.
Here are a few examples:
A young woman walks in and needs assistance typing up a vehicle title. This would require the use of a typewriter. What's a typewriter? Do they even have those anymore? I sat down with her and she handed me the document to type. She also handed me some carbon paper. I hadn't seen carbon paper since the 80s, but I still remembered how to use it. It was precision typing. Making a mistake was not an option. I completed the task and handed her the documents.
I had a patron who needed air put in her tires. I was certified in the use of a tire gauge and a bicycle pump, but I reached for my portable air compressor and we went outside. Putting air in a tire seems to be a challenge for some patrons. I solved her problem. She went happily on her way.
A librarian is the Jack or Jill of all trades, but a master of none. If we don't have the answer to the patron's question, then we know someone who knows someone who has the answer. A librarian is like a human search engine.
The public library is here to stay for as long as people need information assistance, as long as there is one unique problem to solve. All you need is a library card. Most of what we offer is available free of charge. Our purpose here is to improve literacy, but also to help build a better community.
I sit back in my office chair and look at the time. It's later in the afternoon. I hope it will be a peaceful evening. One of my department managers is standing at my office door. She tells me that there is a problem in the Children's Department. Two teenagers, a boy and girl are sitting too close together. Young love, I remember it well. I glance over at my squirt gun.
"I'll take care of it," I said.
Sign up today in your local library or online with Beanstack.
Beanstack has added a “Friends” tab to the Beanstack page. Those registered in Beanstack will be able to share their “Friend Code” with family, friends, classmates, etc. This means if you are Beanstack Friends with someone they will be able to see your badges, what challenges you are in, and your reading log. If you don’t want anyone to see these things, you don’t share your “Friend Code”. Friends can see a leaderboard where all your friends are listed and can compete against each other.
Once you are signed up for Beanstack you are able to complete reading goals to be entered into a Grand Prize drawing at your library. Depending on your age group you will have different challenges and a different prize drawing, as listed below:
Family Story Time
Wednesday, June 09, 2021, at 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Join us for Story Time! We will have stories, music, and a craft. This week's theme is Farm Animal Tales! Registration is required by phone, in the library, or online HERE.
When it comes to honoring our military, past and present, it can get confusing. Today we celebrate Memorial Day which, for many, signals the start of summer. Though it may be the start of the summer season for many of us, this day is meant to honor those men and women that served in our military and made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in defense of our country.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was started in the late 1860s as a nationwide day of remembrance for the many soldiers that lost their lives during the Civil War. As America became involved in other wars: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the day evolved into a holiday to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. For decades, the holiday was May 30, but in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for Federal employees. This change went into effect in 1971, and since that time, Memorial Day has been set as the last Monday of May.
So now we know, Memorial Day is not to honor existing military personnel or to honor individuals that previously served in the military but to REMEMBER THE FALLEN, those brave men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. If you wish to celebrate someone currently serving in one of the five military branches, National Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday in May. To honor military veterans, Veterans Day is November 11.
As we participate in picnics, reunions, etc., this weekend, let us remember that many have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy.
Many strange things happen in library land on a daily basis. One thing that the library offers is notary services, and sometimes we get an odd one or two.
One day I found myself sitting at a table assisting a library patron in my job as a notary for the public library. I looked up at the patron I was helping with a notary document. The patron had a 10-year-old child with them, who looked up at me with curious eyes. This person did not look like the type to need the document I was working on.I finished notarizing the document and handed the paperwork to the patron. It was a carry and conceal application for a firearms permit.
One of the fun things I have found about being a librarian is the need to research for ideas that will be interesting to others. Pinterest becomes your friend. After finding a new idea you experiment with it to decide if this is something maybe others in your community would find interesting and would like to try. A couple of simple paper crafts that I discovered were quilling and iris paper folding.
Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted, and otherwise manipulated to create shapes that make up designs to decorate with. This art form has been around for centuries. This craft can be simple or extremely difficult depending on your skill and creativity. My creativity is the type that follows other people's plans with just a little twist of my own. I did a couple of classes about quilling and know at least one who it became a fun art form for her.
Iris folding is done with a pattern. The crafter uses the finished product to decorate the front of a greeting card, as a scrapbook embellishment, or to decorate with. Strips of colored paper are folded and taped in place following a specific pattern. In February, here at Raleigh, we did a valentine card with a heart on the front. This June there will be available a kit to make an elephant. The finished product will be 8 ½ by 11 inches. It gives the appearance of being difficult but is an easy craft to do once you understand the simple concept.
I have always wanted to be artistic but just don’t have the gene for it, so I find it fun to create using the ideas that those who were creative before me have shown the way. Why not check out your library to see what new creative skills you can learn.