Wednesday, July 29

Operation Haircut

It was a stakeout. No doubt about it. Several younger gentlemen were sitting in their POVs (Privately Owned Vehicles) watching a local business. They sat there and they waited. Patiently.

I parked my car and looked at the time. I couldn't believe it. It was 11:55 a.m. There was no line. The pathway was clear. I got out of my car, walked to the door, opened the door and walked inside.

Then there was an immediate slamming of doors behind me, a stampede and the patter of many feet. I quickly found myself standing in the front of a line at a local barber/stylist shop. I registered at the desk, met my stylist, sat down in a chair and proceeded to get my haircut.

"Clipper guard, Number 2," I said. "If you see any gray hair, please cut it."

Then I sat back. 15 minutes later it was done. I thanked the stylist, paid for the haircut and walked through a large group of younger men still waiting and waiting and waiting.

How I miss the good old days.

Since this COVID-19 pandemic began I have resolved that I'm going to learn something new. It would be a dangerous undertaking full of mortal peril. I was going to learn how to cut my own hair. It seemed like a good time for it.

As a librarian I had full access to all sorts of information at my fingertips. I ordered a new set of hair clippers online, and a new set of clipper guards. I would have these items as a backup to the hair clippers and clipper guards I already had. I would also have access to Clipper Guard #8.

Clipper guards offer a way to cut hair so that it is not too short. They range from Clipper Guard 1-8. If I want to cut my hair really close, I would use a Clipper Guard 1 or 2. If I want to have the luxury of making fewer mistakes, I would use a Clipper Guard #8 which would allow for longer hair.

I talked to a few people about hair cutting techniques. I watched several YouTube videos. The moment had come. I turned on the hair clippers.

I paused and looked at myself in the mirror. What's the worst thing that could happen?

If I messed up, I could always wear a hat.

I began cutting my hair a little at a time. The result was not too bad. It will get better with practice and think of all the money I will save on haircuts.

So, what has changed in your life since this COVID-19 pandemic began?

Have you learned anything new?

Tuesday, July 28

"I try..and I made it"

“We’re headed to the library,” we’d say. “Wanna go?”
“Go ahead,” he’d answer. “Waste your time.”
But now, when I told him my idea of building a windmill that would produce power—and then showed him what I’d built so far—he saw things differently.
“Cool! Where did you get such an idea?”
“The library.” (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba & Brian Mealer)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (P.S.)

 The book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was an interesting book about a young African boy whose family was unable to pay the fees so he could go to secondary school. It was during a difficult time in Malawi’s history but there was a small library nearby, so William spent his time there. From there he studied and invented his own windmill so his family could have electric lights.

The book is a difficult read at times because of the living conditions but it is also inspiring because it reminds us that a library can be important during difficult times. Sometimes that is when we need a library the most. He craved learning so he searched for it. He eventually will be recognized for what he does, and he changes not only his life but the lives of many in his small African village.  At his first inventor’s convention he is asked about how he did it. He said, “I went to library and I get information about windmill…And I try, and I made it.”

What do you need to learn?  What could make your life better?  Are you looking for skills for a new job?  Starting a new hobby?  Your local library may have the resources you need to expand your world in more ways than you could imagine.

Friday, July 17

Weird Books

These books have actually been written!

1. Do It Yourself Coffins for Pets and People: A Schiffer Book for Woodworkers Who Want to Be Buried in Their Work by Dale Power

2. SPAM: A Biography: The Amazing True Story of America's "Miracle Meat!" by Carolyn Wyman

3. Raising Smart Kids For Dummies by Marlene Targ Trill

4. Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat by Amy Hirschman 

5. Knitting With Dog Hair: Better A Sweater From A Dog You Know and Love Than From A Sheep You'll Never Meet by Anne Montgomery

6. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will) by Chuck Sambuchino

7.  The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague

 8. Crap Taxidermy by Kat Su

9. Bombproof Your Horse: Teach Your Horse to Be Confident, Obedient, and Safe, No Matter What You Encounter by Rick Pelicano 

10. Extreme Ironing 101: A Quick Guide on How to Extreme Iron Step by Step from A to Z by Howexpert by Marie Claire Medina 

Tuesday, July 14

The Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer have definitely arrived in central Mississippi, but for the CMRLS libraries, dog days last all year. Some of the first books children read are those that feature their favorite dogs. Whether it's the Pokey Little Puppy Golden Book written in 1942 or the latest Paw Patrol DVD, those little puppies children love grow up into full-length memoirs and adult fiction favorites. Dog books do not skip age groups or generations. The local libraries love dogs as much as their patrons. Did you know that the CMRLS libraries have almost two thousand (1,922 at last count) fictional books about dogs? This figure doesn't include the hundreds of dog DVDs or nonfiction books, which include books from Mississippi to England, from heroic dogs to therapy dogs to rescue dogs, and from feeding to breeding or hunting to housing.

The dog days at the library begin with preschoolers and early readers and their favorite characters, such as Biscuit, Spot, or Clifford the Big Red Dog. They continue right through elementary school with dog names all kids recognize, such as Harry the Dirty Dog, Hank the Cowdog, Henry and Mudge, and McDuff. And then, as children grow up with their favorite dogs, the books grow up with them -- sometimes teaching more difficult lessons like those learned in Shiloh, Sounder, Old Yeller, White Fang, and Where the Red Fern Grows.

Even as adults, the love for dog books remains. One of Mississippi's own favorite writers, Willie Morris, is remembered for his most beloved memoir entitled My Dog Skip, which was filmed as a movie. But the Mississippi memoir is not the only book to movie that families have enjoyed. Others include Marley and Me, A Dog's Way Home, and most recently, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Library patrons of all ages have their favorite movie dogs, and the CMRLS libraries offer hundreds of dog DVDs, from Disney's Fox and the Hound, Lady and the Tramp, and those 101 Dalmations to Beethoven, Lassie, Benji, and Rin Tin Tin.

The CMRLS libraries also offer nonfiction books that range from bringing your new puppy home to spending the last days with a beloved dog. One can learn how to potty train a new puppy, what to expect from a vet visit, and how to provide the proper care for your dog, such as exercising, feeding, and grooming. However, the dog books that many patrons cherish are those that teach humans how to love unconditionally like the dogs that love them. A few of these books include The Grace of Dogs: A Boy, a Black Lab and a Father's Search for the Canine Soul; Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs; My Therapist's Dog: Lessons in Unconditional Love; and Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me About Life, Loss and Grace.

So where do all these dog stories originate? Some travel as far as the Gobi desert or the Iraq war or even Japan. The book entitled  Gobi: The Little Dog with the Big Heart tells the story of a love so strong between a dog and a marathon runner that it crossed the entire globe! Two books entitled Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle and From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War and a Dog Named Lava remind readers that even in war, dogs and humans can find ways to survive and thrive. And finally, Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog relates the story of a dog who accompanied his owner to and from a train in Tokyo, and after his master dies, continued to wait for him every day for many years. After reading the book, a patron can check out the DVD entitled Hachi: A Dog's Tale.

So do you have a favorite dog breed, dog book, or dog character? It is time for this blogger to pass the baton to all the cat librarians out there with a favorite children's book character, Skippyjon Jones, a Siamese cat who thinks he is a chihuahua or chi-wow-wow! One of the favorite quotes from the books written by Judy Schachner reads as follows:
My name is Skippito Friskito.
I fear not a single bandito.
My manners are mello,
I'm sweet like the Jell-O,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o.

During these dog days of summer, the CMRLS libraries are getting the job done with their dog books and DVDs...yes, indeed-o.

Monday, July 13

A Little Help with What to Read Next

Does your local librarian come to your aid when you are looking for something new to read? We always try. Sometimes, however, even the experts need a little help. "I like Danielle Steel and want a book like hers" or "I just finished all of Stuart Woods' novels and need another author" are fairly easy requests to fill, but sometimes things are a bit more complex. Where is a librarian to turn when they need help with recommending a next read? Often we turn to NoveList Plus. This digital resource provides multiple ways to find recommendations for your next book. And with your CMRLS library card, it is a free service for our patrons.

Recently, a patron read Lisa Wingate's best selling novel, Before We Were Yours, and raved about how much she enjoyed the book. Of course, she went straight to Lisa Wingate's novels on our shelf and checked out a few others. It wasn't long before she returned to bring back the novels, disappointed that they were not to her liking. Enter NoveList Plus where we were able to access a list of books that were read-alikes for the book Before We Were Yours.  With this information, we were able to pull novels for the patron that were what she was seeking to read.

To access NoveList Plus, click on the Digital Library tab on our web page and select Virtual Reference Collection. We have many excellent digital resources available that may be accessed through the Virtual Reference Collection page. If you click to access NoveList Plus, you will be prompted to input your CMRLS library card number.  Simple searches are easy to do if you are familiar with navigating on the Internet. NoveList Plus is linked with our card catalog so you can elect to place a hold on an item when you locate what you want to read. For more complicated searches, you may contact your local branch for assistance or there are YouTube videos from EBSCO that may assist you as well. Simply enter "NoveList" into the YouTube search bar to see what videos are available.

Another help feature for locating a book can be accessed by clicking on the Explore tab on our web page, The librarians at Mississippi Library Commission will recommend titles for you if you answer a few questions. Click on BookMatch to try this service. You will notice you may also access NoveList through the Explore tab. The Explore section of our website is full of reader's advisory help. NextReads and GoodReads are a few other digital resources for book recommendations. And if you are forever forgetting what books you have read, check out Beanstack. With this app, you can participate in reading challenges, log the books you read, and even write book reviews.

Happy reading!

Friday, July 10

Author Spotlight-Brenda Jackson

Don't miss this romance author!!

Mrs. Jackson was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from William M. Raines High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. 
She got married forty-seven years ago to her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon. She proudly wears the going-steady ring Gerald gave her at fifteen years of age. A few years ago, she retired after working 37 years in management for a major insurance company, and is now writing full-time and enjoying every minute of it.
She began her writing career in the eighth grade at Northwestern Junior High School, when she would handwrite my stories for fellow classmates to read. 
Mrs. Jackson has published more than 125 novels and novellas. Additionally, she has over 15 million books in print. She began her professional writing career in 1994 when she signed on with Kensington Arabesque. Her first book, Tonight and Forever, became a huge success, introducing the Madaris Family. Since then she has introduced the Bennetts, the Westmorelands, the Montgomerys, the Masters, the Savoys, the Steeles, and the Grangers, just to name a few. A listing of her books can be found on this website. They are too numerous to list!

To check out her books on Freading, click here!
On Axis 360, click here!