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 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:

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

Monday, January 11

Today's Mississippi Authors - A Diverse Group

Most of us have no problem recalling a few Mississippi authors: John Grisham, Greg Iles, Nevada Barr, just to name a few that are still supplying us with stories today.  Today we will dig a little deeper and highlight a few authors that have published books in the last year. Some of these titles were written by people from Mississippi and a few are Mississippi transplants - not originally from Mississippi but currently living here. Perhaps you will be intrigued and request one of these titles to read. 

An award-winning investigative journalist recounts the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” murders of three civil rights workers by the KKK, describing his role in reopening the case and bringing its mastermind and participating Klansmen to justice.

Request Race Against Time.

An engaging portrait of Natchez, Mississippi traces its rich cultural heritage and remarkable contradictions, sharing the stories of history-shaping locals, from FBI informant and brothel madam Nellie Jackson to enslaved West African prince Abd al Rahman Ibrahima.

Request The Deepest South of All

Angie Thomas's newest novel will be available for request very soon. This book is set 17 years prior to the events in The Hate U Give.

Critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this fascinating look into his life before Gatsby.

Southern PI Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends find their Christmas cheer turning to fear when strange accidents befall them during holiday festivities and are determined to catch the wrong-doers, who deserve nothing but coal in their stockings this year.

Request A Garland of Bones

Quinn Colson is about to find out whether his quest for justice can co-exist with his loyalty to the law.

The above books are just a sampling of the fine offerings from Mississippi authors. For more recommendations, visit your local CMRLS branch and allow your librarian to help you find other selections.