Tuesday, June 22

The Job Process

Here in library world we have job positions that come open and must be filled, so we can effectively serve the needs of the public. It is often a slow and tedious process, but we want to get the right applicant for the job position being applied for.

Over the course of my career(s) I have been called in a number of times to do an interview for a position that I had applied for. It did not always go well. Sometimes it went too well. At the end of the day I may have not gotten the job, but I did get to practice my interview skills. I would do better next time.

Interviews have certain requirements such as dressing and behaving in a professional manner. A candidate must feel comfortable answering and asking questions over the course of the interview. It's important not to be nervous. How do you approach such a problem? Learn to relax.

The job application is an essential part of the job hiring process. It is also helpful to have a cover letter and a resume. From this we can determine the literacy level of the job candidate. Can they read and write? 

From the amount of effort that is put into the job application we can often assess how much effort a candidate will be willing to put into the job.

The candidate must be qualified for the position for which he or she is applying and the job application will help determine this.

Working at a library can be a challenging and rewarding experience.
We owe it to the community to hire the right candidate for the positions we have open.

Monday, June 14

Consider an Author's Debut

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.

Request a copy.


Thursday, June 10

The Theatre of the Imagination

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.

Monday, June 7

A Page at a Time

American author and epic fantasy writer Terry Goodkind said, "A book is read one page at a time. A shelf is read one book at a time. A library is read one shelf at a time." 

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."

Friday, June 4

Tucked Inside a Fire Station is a Library!

 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.

The Relevancy of Public Libraries

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.

Thursday, June 3

The Richland Library In June

 Starting Monday, June 7, 2021, Preschool Story Time is back.  Each week we will have books, songs, and a craft designed for children ages birth to preschool age.  At this time participants must register via the online calendar or inside the library. We are limiting each program to 30 minutes and 12 participants. The meeting room will be sanitized before and after each program.  

Monday, June 7th at 11:00 a.m. we will be reading books about watermelons and we will be making watermelons out of paper plates.  Click here to sign up for this program.

Monday, June 14th at 11:00 a.m. we will be reading books about balloons and we will be making animals out of balloons. Click here to sign up for this program. Registration begins on May 31, 2021.

Monday, June 21st at 11:00 a.m. we will be reading books about birds and we will be making a bird out of tissue paper and paper plates.  Click here to sign up for this program.  Registration begins on June 7, 2021. 

Monday, June 28th at 11:00 a.m. we will be reading books about frogs and we will be making a lily pad name craft.  Click here to sign up for this program. Registration begins on June 14, 2021. 

The Richland Library Book Club will meet on Tuesday, June 22nd at 11:00 a.m.  We will be discussing "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens.  Click here to sign up for this program.  Registration begins on June 8, 2021.  At this time we will not be serving refreshments, but you may bring a snack for yourself.  Click here to request a copy of "Where the Crawdads Sing" or stop by the Richland Library and pick up a copy of the Book Club Display.  

Wednesday, June 2

Sebastopol June Happenings


Our Summer Library Program is almost here! 

June 7 - July 16, 2021

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: 

Preschool - 5 books - a Prize Basket
Kids (K - 4th grade) - 5 books- a $25 gift card
Tween (5th - 8th grade) - 5 books- a $25 gift card
Teen ( 9th - 12th grade) - 3 books - a $25 gift card
Adult - 3 books - a $25 gift card

If you need any assistance using Beanstack or logging your books, your neighborhood librarians are always happy to help.

In-House Program

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.

Virtual Programs


  • Freedom Ranch: June 11 @ 9:00 a.m.
  • Police K-9 Department: June 18 @ 9:00 a.m.
  • Museum of Science: June 25 @ 9:00 a.m.

  • Craft With Rhoda Benton: June 10
  • Author Visit with Suzanne Woods Fisher: June 17

  • Pokemon Trivia: June 10
  • Pokeball Terrarium (Take Home Craft): June 10

Click HERE for more Summer Library Programs around our other libraries.

Sunday, May 30

Who Do We Honor and When?

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.

Thursday, May 27

What I Learned from Four Russians and a Syracuse Professor

Librarians love to learn. If they say they don't, then their career choice is questionable. Most times, the pendulum swing from learning too much to never learning enough can be overwhelming, but one thing is for sure - the quest never stops. Such is the case of A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders and the idea for an adult book club.

The responsibility of planning and hosting a monthly adult book club at a CMRLS branch can be challenging. Book clubs take many forms, such as each member reading the same book and sharing insights, or selecting books following a certain theme or genre, or choosing books by a specific author or about famous (and infamous) people. The one common denominator is that each participant should learn something, so librarians do their best to make book clubs interesting, engaging, thought-provoking, and memorable.

As the branch manager of the Forest Public Library, I know the process well. When I started reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain at the same time the Covid restrictions eased for resuming adult book clubs, I knew I had been given a fresh perspective. What could I learn about MYSELF in a book club? Could a book club answer the small questions, such as, what makes a reader keep reading or what makes the reading experience satisfying and what doesn't? What do the answers to those questions say about me as the reader? Could a book club answer the big questions? Consider this quote from the author in the book's introduction:

"We are going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't specifically endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art - namely to ask the big questions: How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it? How can we feel any peace when some people have everything and others have nothing? How are we supposed to live with joy in a world that seems to want us to love other people but then roughly separates us from them in the end, no matter what?
(You know, those cheerful, Russian kinds of big questions.)

He follows that paragraph with another question: If a story drew us in, kept us reading, made us feel respected, how did it do that? That is the question we want to answer during the next six months. The first chapter is entitled "A Page at a Time," and consists of a story, discussion, and afterthoughts. During the month of June, book club participants are asked to share one page from any book they have read or are currently reading, tell the group why they selected the page, and comment on what curiosity the page creates. Using the book as an impromptu guide, the book club format will follow the accompanying reading exercise of each chapter. Sharing only one pre-selected page, "we'll take stock of where we find ourselves. What has that page done to us? What do we know, having read the page, that we didn't know before? How has our understanding of the story changed? What are we expecting to happen next? If we want to keep reading, why do we?

According to Saunders, that's the million-dollar question: What makes a reader keep reading? We can answer because we want to, but why do we want to? Each month's book club discussion will be followed with afterthoughts on the CMRLS news blog, along with an introduction to the next month's reading exercise. Registration for the Forest Public Library book club is required. Space is limited to 12 participants for each Tuesday time slot. Prepackaged snacks, canned drinks, and bottled water will be provided. 

The more we learn, the more we connect with others. One final quote from the book as we embark on this six-month learning experience:
"These days, it's easy to feel that we've fallen out of connection with one another and with the earth and with reason and with love. I mean: we have. But to read, to write, is to say that we still believe in, at least, the possibility of connection."

Wednesday, May 26

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

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. 

The grandmother took the documents, paid $3.00 for the notary service, gathered her paperwork and started walking out of the library. She called to her grandson and the little boy got out of his chair and followed his grandmother.

I returned to my office to finish my lunch and read the latest news on the computer. Never judge a book by its cover folks. It will always surprise you. 

The Flowood Library offers notary services for a nominal fee of $3. Notary services are available Monday - Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 - 5:30; 10 - 7 on Thursday. Additional times are also available by appointment.  

Tuesday, May 25

Learning a new craft is easy at the library


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.

                                            quilling                        iris paper folding

 A new craft I have found is called iris paper folding. Iris folding is a papercraft technique that involves folding and taping strips of colored paper in such a way as to form a design. The center of the design forms an iris—a shape reminiscent of the iris diaphragm of a camera lens. Iris paper folding originated in 20th-century Holland.


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.

Monday, May 17

Stephen King fans rejoice! Lisey's Story will be released on Apple TV+ June 4th

You read it right, Constant Readers! 

Stephen King's 2006 novel Lisey's Story has been picked up by Apple TV+, and the best part? Stephen King himself is involved in the writing and directing, so it'll be a vision of the Master of Horror himself. 

Julianne Moore plays the titular role, and the series will also star Clive Owen, Dane DeHaan, Joan Allen, and Ron Cephas Jones.

Lisey's Story is one of my favorite books. King has also stated that it is his favorite of all his books. What I like about Lisey's Story is that the heart of the story is about writing itself. Especially when writing horror, your mind has to travel to some dark places to imagine what your characters are dealing with and visualizing how they might act in certain situations. Writers often talk of going places in their mind for ideas, but what if there was an actual place of ideas? A pool of some sort. And what if you occasionally got stuck there? 

Lisey's Story focuses on Lisey after her novelist husband Scott Landon dies. It's been two years, and Lisey still hasn't been able to bring herself to clean out his study. After a professor visits and pleads with her to release all of the late author's papers, she declines. When crazy fan Zack McCool insists there must be a hidden manuscript and starts threatening Lisey to turn over Scott's papers, things get ugly. The more Lisey starts to remember about her own past and secrets learned early in her marriage, the closer Lisey gets to Scott's not so imaginary writer's retreat. 

The story is part horror, part romance, and part sci-fy. The story portrays marriage, grief, sibling relationships, and resurfaced memories. It's got something for everyone, and that's what makes it very relatable to the human experience. 

For more information about the series, check out this article.

To place a hold on a print copy of Lisey's Story, click here.

To place a hold on Lisey's Story in audible form, click here.

-Morgan Lee Hedglin, Pearl Branch Manager 

Friday, May 14

June Happenings at the Morton Library


Summer Reading is almost here! Registration begins May 17th! We have programs and contests for all ages. We are virtual again this year but starting in June we will have our first in-person program! It will be June 10th at 5 p.m. and it will be a Family Story Time. You have to pre-register for this event and we can't have over 12 people per event. We are excited to have an in-person event again so be sure and call to reserve your family's spot for the event. All social distancing guidelines will be followed.

We have been reworking the shelves in the library to make room for all of the new books that we have been getting so be sure and come check out our new selections.

Fit Kits are available for checkout again! We have a lot of good choices of exercise equipment to check out.  Did you know we also have cake pans that you can check out? We have a lot of cute character-shaped cake pans and regular cake pans that you can check out like a book. This way you don't have to buy a pan to just use one time. 
We hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, May 11

Reading with Audiobooks

The end of school and summer is upon us. Your child has made advancement in their reading skills but what now? Summer can be a time to continue to grow in reading skills or not. What can you do as a parent to help?

I had a reading expert tell me that she recommends audiobooks where the child can listen to the book as they follow along with reading. Audiobooks offer an enjoyable way for your child to improve their reading skills. Using audiobooks along with actual hard copies of books allows kids to follow the words on the page with their eyes as they listen to the words being read. The shared visual and audio reading experience provides extra support for readers: They learn to pronounce new words, hear fluent reading, and get to enjoy a new story. It's a win-win!

Guess what? Your public library is a good place to pick up a book in your child’s interest and there may be an audiobook available too. At Raleigh Library we have several popular physical books along with the audiobook available to check out. There are several audiobooks available on Axis 360. You can stop at your library to get a physical copy and check out the audiobook on Axis 360.

Audiobooks can also be a motivation to your reader. As they follow along to the end, they might realize they just “read” a book above their grade level. This might encourage them to keep trying when the reading gets hard.

Why not try this summer. Maybe you will surprise your child’s teacher when your child shows up next school year reading better than when they left school.

Tuesday, April 27

If It's May, It's Beach Read Season!

If it's May, then it must be time for "beach reads." According to Bookriot, the summer season officially begins every May with a wave of new books billed by publishers as beach reads. And if it's the perfect season for beach reads, then it's also the perfect time for a Beach Read Giveaway at the Forest Public Library.  Before you pack your bag this summer, take a guess to win ours! The patron who guesses the correct number (or closest to the number) of seashells contained in a large vase at the circulation desk will win a bag so full of goodies and books that it doesn't even require a beach! Really! A patio, a park, or even a picnic table will do! 

Beach reads comprise one of the most anticipated book lists of the year. Libraries, celebrities, websites, social media, and periodicals publish their choices for summer booklists or beach reads. Just as every beach bag has its necessary contents, such as sunscreen, beach towels, flip-flops, and refreshments, every beach read has certain criteria that place it on the list. 

According to an article written last year (https://bookriot.com/what-makes-a-book-a-beach-read/ ), there are five main characteristics of a beach read: 1) carefree joy, 2) compulsively readable, 3) summer settings, 4) romance, and 5) low stakes. According to the article, a beach read doesn't necessarily have to check all the boxes to be considered; however, readers quickly identify these characteristics when they are making their summer selections.  

Just as tourists travel to the beach for fun and sun, relaxation and rest, and excitement and escape, readers choose beach reads to achieve the same objectives. Whether on vacation or staycation, lawn chair or armchair, the books are written to make us simply feel better about the world, about other humans, and even about ourselves. Beach reads do not belong to a certain genre or follow a predictable plot, but like a great vacation, they elevate our mood, afford us a different perspective, and provide a distraction from the sameness of everyday life.

The two books included in the library's Beach Read Giveaway are Hello Summer by Mary Kay Andrews and A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky. Both books are written by authors who are known for their beach-themed novels. Other writers include Elin Hilderbrand, Mary Alice Monroe, Nancy Thayer, and the beloved Dorothea Benton Frank.

As beach read season begins, be sure to visit the library for vacation-friendly novels. And if you pack a beach bag, a balcony bag, or a backyard bag, be sure to include a beach read book!  Check out these online lists and find your favorite!





Thursday, April 22

May Events at the Morton Library

We are all set up early for Summer Reading! Please come by and see our amazing jungle! With the Summer theme being Tails and Tales we decided to go Jungle! We have monkeys, elephants, birds, and even a waterfall for you to come and see. May 7th will be the first day to sign up for Summer Reading so be sure and come by and get signed up to be entered into all of our programs and contests.

Summer Reading will officially begin June 1st. We think this will be a fantastic summer theme with lots of amazing things to make and do.

May 4th is of course STAR WARS DAY! May the Fourth be with you! Come check out Star Wars movies and books to make it a fun family day.

And don't forget all of our special Mothers on May 9th for Mother's Day! We have take-home crafts to make for Mom.  Be sure and do something special for her even if it's just to help around the house. A hug is worth more than anything you could buy.  

Sunday, April 4

National Library Week: April 4-10, 2021

CMRLS Celebrates Mississippi Authors

Libraries have celebrated National Library Week in April since 1958. For 62 years, during this week, libraries across the country have held receptions and luncheons; brought in authors, elected officials, or local celebrities to tout the benefits of the library for a thriving community. Library staff planned special programs for all ages. Civic clubs invited Library directors to give “State of the Library” addresses. That is… until… COVID!

How is CMRLS celebrating this year? We are celebrating Mississippi authors… virtually. John Grisham, Greg Iles, Charlaine Harris, Janet Ferguson, and Katina Rankin are all considered successful Mississippi authors and extremely popular authors with CMRLS patrons! The lineup for this celebrated week:

·         Monday, April 5 John Grisham (Recorded, Library of Congress) The first winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction (2009), John Grisham is America’s most popular writer of legal thrillers. The Guardians (Doubleday) is his hair-raising thriller about wrongful convictions. Watch this interview with Marie Arana, literary director of the Library of Congress, for the 2020 National Book Festival.

·         Tuesday, April 6Greg Iles (Recorded, Mississippi Public Broadcasting) Novelist Greg Iles of Natchez is interviewed in 2017 by Marshall Ramsey for Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Iles' most recent book is Cemetery Road, out in 2019, discusses here the third installment in his trilogy of books that began with the New York bestseller Natchez Burning. Ramsey talks to Greg about Mississippi Blood and what the future holds in store now for this prolific writer.

·         Wednesday, April 7Charlaine Harris (Recorded, Library of Congress) Charlaine Harris appears at the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Harris is the author of the Sookie Stackhouse book series that was turned into the popular HBO series True Blood. Her newest series is the Gunnie Rose series which includes 3 titles including the 2021 release of The Russian Cage.

·         Thursday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.Janet Ferguson (Live, ZOOM meeting) Join us for a live discussion with Mississippi author Janet Ferguson whose series Southern Hearts and Coastal Hearts are well received in our CMRLS libraries. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner, FHL Readers Choice Winner, and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

·         Friday, April 9Katina Rankin (Recorded, Meet My Mississippi) Katina Rankin, on-air personality, author, and humanitarian, is interviewed by Patricia Neely Dorsey from Hill Country Network and Meet My Mississippi. Rankin, who grew up in Magee, discusses her career and her children's book Up North Down South / City Folk Meet Country Folk.

We hope you enjoy hearing this group of authors discuss their work and a bit about their personal lives. Most of all, we want you to appreciate the talent that comes from Mississippi. These represent just a fraction of the literary legacy on which Mississippi can boast.

Happy National Library Week 2021!

Thursday, March 25

Everyone Saves Money at the Library!

If you haven't paid a visit to your local library lately, then you probably paid too much. Because libraries are such great savings places, the Forest Public Library is celebrating National Library Week and Money Smart Week with a special checkout incentive during the month of April. Every time patrons borrow materials from the library, they receive a printed receipt with the due date and renewal information, website and telephone contact, and at the very bottom of the receipt - right underneath the total number of checkouts for the session - the dollar amount saved by using your library. The information is displayed on the receipt in the same way that membership cardholders save money at local retail stores, drug store chains, club member companies, and online shopping venues.

The savings to the library user is often significant. Patrons check out a variety of items at the library, including DVDs, books, audiobooks, CDs, fitness equipment, and even cake pans! These items can be expensive to purchase, especially if only used one time. Libraries often compare to bookstores with the most recent bestsellers and just-released DVDs of the newest movies and television series. To buy, rent and/or stream these items can cost hundreds of dollars per year. The library staff had the idea to total how much money local patrons save during a one-month period.

The promotion also has an additional money incentive - a $100 VISA card! Each time patrons check out items, they will receive an entry for the drawing. The entry will include the patron's card number and the amount saved on the receipt. The drawing will be held on Friday, April 30, at 5:30 p.m., and the winner will be notified on Monday, May 3rd. The $100 VISA card is provided by the Friends of the Forest Public Library.

National Library Week (April 4-10, 2021) is a time to celebrate our nation's libraries, library workers, contributions, and promote library use and support. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and all types of libraries across the country participate. During the pandemic, libraries have learned to adapt resources and services to meet patrons' needs. The theme for National Library Week 2021 is "Welcome to YOUR Library." The Forest Public Library staff welcomes patrons to visit the library in person, use our continued curbside service or see what is available online with our free virtual programs, online databases, and library apps. 

The American Library Association is also a supporter organization for Money Smart Week, which is held April 10-17, 2021. Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by a network of supporters that provides people of all ages the knowledge and skills to make better informed financial decisions focusing on the key financial pillars of saving, spending, borrowing, and planning.

Combining the two important weeks with a month-long promotion is the best way to celebrate both events. Welcome to your library, save money, and enter a drawing to win a $100 VISA card! Everyone saves money at the library -- how much will you save?

Thursday, March 18

April at the Morton Library

 If you need to try and find something new to read, stop by the library and pick a book from the jar to try.  They are color-coded by genre of the book or just grab one for something totally different.  We will also be having National Library Week so we will be having a lot of great activities online for all ages.  We will also have take-home crafts to pick up in the library for all ages and even a family craft for the whole family to make together. Come check out a family movie and make some snacks and spend quality time together as a family! 

We would like to thank all of our Friends of the Morton  Library for all that they do for us all year long and would like to invite others to become a Friend of the Library and receive special library benefits and help to make our library the best it can be! We need your help to do this! Memberships can be picked up at the library. The enrolment fee for joining is Students $1, individuals $5, family $10, and a business $25 per year. This is a great way to help out your local library!

We are slowly trying to update the inside of the library to make it more enjoyable for you so come by and see the progress!

Tuesday, March 9

One Author, Three Books, and Fourteen Days in Ireland

Of all the holidays celebrated throughout the year, St. Patrick's Day is always a favorite! Whether a simple pinch for not wearing green, rollicking shenanigans at a local pub, or the festivities of a St. Patrick's Day parade, March 17th is the date that we set aside to pay tribute to everything Irish. However, if you happen to be one of the millions who read Nora Roberts novels, embracing Irish culture could possibly become a life-changing experience.

Nora Roberts is the author of more than 220 novels, publishing at least five per year with no ghostwriters. Her books are perennial New York Times bestsellers numbering more than 500 million worldwide. Forbes magazine estimates her net worth at $390 million as of January 30, 2020. Over the last 30 years, an average of 27 Nora Roberts books sold every minute. According to her website, if you placed all the Nora books top to bottom, they would stretch across the United States from New York to Los Angeles 18 times! Recently The New York Times called her "America's favorite author."

During my tenure as a youth services librarian, I had not known much about Nora Roberts (who also writes as J.D. Robb); however, I worked with a branch manager who waited with bated breath for each new novel. I can remember her sneaking in a page or two of the latest release with every spare moment. That same branch manager gifted me with a Nora Roberts trilogy during a period of at-home recovery. Those three books - The Gallaghers of Ardmore - began a reading journey that changed my life. Nora Roberts introduced me to the Emerald Isle with her enchanting stories, and years later, I spent fourteen days discovering its allure for myself.

Ardmore is a charming coastal village in County Waterford and the setting for two of her best-selling Irish trilogies. According to The Irish Times, American tourists flock to Ardmore every year. Most of them stay at the Cliff House Hotel - a five-star hotel, which is literally built into the side of a cliff and offers seaside views from the terrace or balcony of each room. However, if they are Nora fans, they have come to drink from St. Declan's Well, hike the Cliff Walk, and pay their respects to the local pub An Tobar, which was owned by the now-deceased Kevin Gallagher. The pub was renamed "Gallagher's" for the trilogy of books entitled Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, and Heart of the Sea - all of which can be checked out at CMRLS libraries.

The next stop on the Nora Roberts Ireland tour is the picturesque town of Cong located in County Mayo which offers parallels to the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy. According to her personal blog, Roberts' visit to Ashford Castle was an inspiration for the series. In August of 2014, she appeared at an event at the castle to promote the release of the trilogy - Dark Witch, Shadow Spell, and Blood Magick. Each of the three main characters has an animal guide, which includes a horse, a falcon, and a wolfhound. For Nora followers, the castle visit must include the guided trail rides, a morning walk with the two resident wolfhounds, and a hawk walk at the Ireland School of Falconry. The evening meal must take place at Cullen's at the Cottage, where Iona (the main character from the first book) has dinner her first night at the castle. The castle grounds, the thick patches of forest, the small shops, and the winding path that comes out in the village are exactly as Roberts describes them in the books.

The Nora journey through Ireland continues to County Clare, the home of the Concannon Sisters of the Born In Trilogy. In a special note introducing the series, she describes the pull of Ireland - the wild cliffs, the green hills, and the enduring beauty. "I love the feel of Ireland, the warmth and humor of the people, the light, the look, the music. When I was able to make the trip with my family, I knew I was home the moment I landed at Shannon Airport."

After receiving too many rejections to count, Roberts' first published novel in 1981 was a Silhouette romance entitled Irish Thoroughbred - the first of the Irish Hearts Trilogy. According to Nielsen, she is now ranked as the third bestselling author in the 21st century, bested only by James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. For her devoted following, she delivers the true storytelling experience. And for those readers who have just a wee bit of the luck of the Irish, Nora's novels promise the trip of a lifetime.

Thursday, February 25

March Events For The Morton Library

 The month of March is always a fun month!

It is Dr. Seuss's Birthday and Read Across America!  We have a lot of fun planned with Dr. Seuss crafts to pick up at the library and Don't forget to come check out all of your favorite Dr. Seuss books!  We all love Dr. Seuss and all of his books so make this a fun day! 

St Patrick's Day is March 17th so don't forget to wear green!

March 20th is the first day of  Spring! I know we are all ready for it!  Plan on doing something fun outside or come to the Library and check out our books on Spring flower planting. This is the time to get all of our gardens and flower beds ready for summer. 

Our Adult Online Event is With Brian Easterling a former champ on the Forged in Fire T.V. show. Be sure to go online and watch his demonstrations. The video will be online all month.

Please go to our Online Event Calendar to see all of the exciting stories and crafts for all ages.

Monday, February 22

F is for February...Fables, Fantasy, Folk Tales, and Fiction

During the month of February, the Forest Public Library offers a literary lesson that focuses on the letter F. With all the current talk of fake news, what is the true definition of Fiction? Is it just another word for a fib or falsehood? What is the difference between a Fish Tale and a Folk Tale? Are Fairy Tales the same as Fantasy? And what about Fables...especially Aesop's and his talking animals?

All of the above are great reference questions, and librarians love finding answers! The first F-word that encompasses them all is Fiction. Or maybe not...after all, Fables, Folk Tales, and Fairy Tales are found in nonfiction - a conundrum that we will address later in the lesson.

According to the dictionary, Fiction has three definitions: 1) It is literary in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people. 2) It is invention or fabrication as opposed to fact. 3) It is a belief or statement that is false, but that is often held to be true because it is expedient to do so. The Latin word fictus means "to form," thus Fiction is formed in the imagination. There is also a distinction between Fiction and its literary friends, Folk Tales and Fairy Tales, as they add a little fun and frolic to their fascinating stories. Fiction can sometimes be foreboding and frightful, but it is always deliberately formed or fabricated.

If one searches Fiction as a subject in the CMRLS card catalog, there are tens of thousands of records. That is not a whopping Fish Tale, which is defined as an over-exaggeration. There are Fiction books about feast and famine, fashion and food, feminists and fascists, fortune tellers and fortune hunters, fathers and fosters, friendships and foes, and foxes and ferrets -- and that is only the F's! Somebody has been busy fabricating, for sure!

With that much Fiction in one library system, how do Fables, Folk Tales, and Fairy Tales (which are clearly Fiction) find their way to nonfiction? When most people hear the word nonfiction, they think of facts and figures; however, that is false. (I know, it's all a bit flummoxing.) Not every book in the nonfiction section of the library is factual. Fables, Folk Tales, and Fairy Tales have their own address - 398 Dewey Lane - and everyone who lives there is a fraud.

A Fable is defined as a short story that is usually about animals and is intended to teach a lesson, which is a bit faulty because a Fable is also defined as not true. Aesop's Fables are still popular today because children (and adults) love animals who are clever enough to outfox a fox or outrun a rabbit or outsmart a trickster, especially when they use human characteristics to do so. A Folk Tale is a story or legend that is passed down as a tradition among certain "folk." Most Folk Tales belong to a particular demographic, and the stories are often embellished, superstitious, and false. Because Folk Tales began as an oral tradition, they have much in common with Fish Tales - the tendency of a fisherman to exaggerate the one that got away or the one that can't be caught. The tales get more far-fetched as the story goes and grows.

A Fairy Tale is another fake in nonfiction - probably the biggest fake of all. Fairy Tales have a common pick-up line that identifies them immediately, "Once upon a time." Then they always leave the faithful reader believing the same falsehood, "and they lived happily ever after." These tales are formed in magical lands with imaginary beings or imaginary lands with magical beings. Unfortunately for everyone who resides on 398 Dewey Lane, nothing is ever as it seems. 

Fantasy, on the other hand, just flaunts in front of everyone and tells it like it isn't. This story is not happening in the real world. Period. Fantasy lives in an imaginary universe with its fantastical characters and far-reaching stories, and readers of all ages find themselves lost in these worlds forever. Fantasy welcomes the fanatics who fixate on big, fat epics and opens its doors to the past and future. Fantasy knows that once a reader enters the fictitious portal, the fateful destination is the only exit.

This brings the February library lesson to a close with one final question. Why is Fiction so popular and important in the literary world? Is it because wishes are only granted in Fairy Tales, or because good and evil are so easily recognized, or is it because one's own reality is sometimes a bit too true? Author Ernest Hemingway said, "All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened, and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you, and afterwards it all belongs to you."

Fiction is best compared to the good fortune of having a famous friend that one might occasionally be required to forgive but never forgets - no matter what he tells you, where he takes you, or where he leaves you in the end. 

This month's blog post has been brought to you by the Letter F. 

Monday, February 1

February is Library Lovers Month!


From February 1st to February 28th all CMRLS libraries will take part in a Library Lovers Reading Challenge. We challenge our patrons to read at least one book during February and keep track of their reading on our Beanstack app. There is a drawing for four age groups (Preschool, Kindergarten-fourth grade, teens (fifth-12th grade), and Adult. Then, what is the prize? A $25 Walmart gift card is the prize, for each age group!

Libraries and schools across the nation will encourage their communities to visit the library during the month and read a target number of books. You may set your own target, but by keeping track of your reading on the Beanstack app you will gain an entry into our drawing for each book you read and track during February.

  • So, register for this challenge.
  • Keep track of the books you read using the Beanstack app.
  • Each book you read gives you an entry into the drawing for your age group.
  • A computer-generated drawing will take place at 9:00 a.m., on March 1, 2021.
  • You may log your books until that time. Winners will be contacted that day.
  • HaPpY READing!


Thursday, January 14

From Public to Personal: The Importance of an Excellent Library

Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice, said, "When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

Public librarians understand one thing above all else - the unexaggerated importance of an excellent library. During these technologically-advanced times of electronic books and audiobooks, virtual programs and databases, and digital media, an entire generation has moved towards the ephemeral and away from the enduring. And yet, without an excellent library, Jane Austen herself would have been miserable. 

So how does one create or curate an excellent library? If you want to build an excellent home, you seek out excellent contractors. If you want to serve excellent food at a party, you secure excellent caterers. And if you want to create an excellent library, you start with the advice of excellent librarians. Thus, the purpose of this blog is to help the reader create an excellent personal library by following the guidelines that librarians use on a daily basis to create excellent public libraries. 

The first consideration is the ability to view the library as a reflection of the community of readers. Library patrons possess different interests, passions, hobbies, and concerns, so the excellent librarian must know and understand the public he or she serves. The same application is true when creating a personal library. One must know and understand their own unique likes and dislikes. Whether the library is two small shelves at a reading nook or a room of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, the collection of books should reflect the personality of the individual. Dr. Neil Aitken, author and poet, stated the following: "A personal library not only reveals what types of narratives, knowledge, and beauty we think are worth investing in and holding onto, it also serves as a way in which we build a model of the universe as we understand it. A library's very arrangement can be used to affirm certain hierarchies and relationships to privilege some texts over others and to position ourselves in relation to all these different voices. Our personal library is a type of argument - a case we're making about ourselves in our own eyes and in the eyes of those we expect will encounter it. With every purchase and acquisition, we are saying to others (and to ourselves), 'I am the type of person who owns this type of book.'"

Just recently, a long-time CMRLS librarian began the process of creating a personal home library. She recognized the similarities between her work as a public librarian and her efforts to stock her home bookshelves. "I began to learn things about myself as I organized my personal collection of books. I knew that I was a devoted reader of romance, but I was surprised by how interested I was in history, travel, folklore, and personal memoirs. My collection of books helped me to understand more about my preferences, just as I have done for library patrons over the years."

As with the public library, the personal library uncovers what's missing or the gaps in our collections. According to Aitken's article, "the gaps in a collection also reveal what we do not know or have not made a priority in our lives." His father, who was a professional librarian, admonished that when visiting someone at their home, you should "always check out their bookcases" - not only for what's represented but also for what's missing.

The second consideration is the budget size when it comes to developing a collection. Public librarians face this dilemma on a monthly basis as they select books for their patronage. English author Neil Gaiman stated, "Don't ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library.) Don't apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone."

Some private libraries consist of signed first editions, while others are made up of books from library book sales, second-hand thrift stores, and discounted displays at independent bookstores or big-box retailers. Personal library collections range from rare to bestseller, hardcover to paperback, oversized to miniatures, and baby board books to scholarly tomes. As compared to the public library, the personal collection also requires occasional weeding (or removing) a book to make room for a new addition.

A final consideration is the atmosphere of the personal library. Excellent public librarians understand the significance of creating a place for patrons that feels welcoming, safe, and connected. The same is true when creating a private home library. Aitken calls it a "chosen literary refuge" and within it, we can "find the tools we need to survive and thrive in a sometimes hostile world." Excellent public libraries provide us with curated collections that educate, inspire, entertain, and inform, but more importantly, they provide the sanctuary to immerse ourselves in what is most important  - our sanity. No matter our struggles, we can find solace within the walls of an excellent library - public or private.

Author James Baldwin said, "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." Aphra Behn called it, "that perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend, and a good library." And Susan Sontag described her library as an "archive of longings."

One final quote from Dr. Aitken (and maybe the most important consideration) emphasizes the transforming power of the library, both public and private. "But each library...is vital in the same way that it asserts the importance of what we choose to keep, of what endures move after move, of what we hold sacred. Our libraries sustain us - and in time, we hope, will sustain those who come after us."

To read the article, A Library of One's Own by Dr. Neil Aitken, please follow this link: https://www.de-canon.com/blog/2018/1/24/the-need-for-a-library-of-ones-own

Also, check out the CMRLS libraries for the following list of books about creating an excellent library: