Cowan Pottery Museum Needs Your Help!

The Cowan Pottery Museum wants to hear from you! As the Museum plans its 2021 programming, we seek your feedback on how the Museum can expand its services. What type of programs would you like offered by the Museum? In what new ways can we provide more information about our collection? Please, click here to submit your feedback before December 1.

5Days4Democracy: Advocacy

Welcome to day 4 of City Club Cleveland’s 5 Days For Democracy! I hope you’ve been enjoying the great content shared and have hopefully learned something new along the way. Today, as we welcome October, we celebrate advocacy!

What is advocacy? Advocacy is most simply defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others. Read more about what advocacy means and the different types of advocacy (community advocacy vs. legal advocacy) in this article from the Philanthropy Journal. You may wonder- how is advocacy different from lobbying? Well, lobbying is a type of advocacy in which you advocate for a or against a specific legislation, but not all advocacy means lobbying!

What activities comprise advocacy work? There are *so many* ways that Americans of all ages can get involved in work to support their beliefs and views. Here are a few examples of advocacy work:

  • Organize: Organize a meeting or rally with others who share your views to mobilize for change! This could be coffee with your neighbors over Zoom, it doesn’t need to be a big meeting to make big change.
  • Educate Legislators: Provide information to legislators on issues you care about. Many non-profits help you to advocate by providing fact sheets or scripts to use when reaching out to legislators. Not sure who represents you? Find out using here.
  • Research: We librarians know the importance of research! Find relevant resources that exhibit your story. Check out this list of institutes and think tanks put together by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy. Find legislation that affects you and track it’s progress in Congress here at .
  • Nonpartisan Voter Education: Inform your community on the issues you care about and how to vote for change! Nonpartisan groups like the League of Women Voters can help you to become an advocate and get involved.
  • Lobby: As a member of the general public, you can advocate for or against specific legislation through grassroots lobbying efforts! It is citizen participation in government and a great way to make your voice heard.

Feeling like you are already working hard as an advocate? The Ohio ACLU shared this list of useful tips on how to become a better advocate, including the importance of challenging our own biases when we look to become an advocate for others. The ACLU is another great resource for those looking to get involved, and you can check out the Ohio ACLU’s advocacy page here .

It might seem more challenging to be an advocate now amidst the pandemic, but according to the Institute for Free Speech, “Even when we’re stuck at home, the groups we join to support shared causes continue to give us a voice in Washington and our state capitals.” thanks in a large part to online advocacy! Use social media to organize virtual letter writing campaigns with friends or use Twitter to engage with public officials. You don’t need to leave your house to be an awesome advocate.

Image from the Institute for Free Speech.

10 Great Biographies & Memoirs to Celebrate the 19th Amendment

Did you know that 2020 marks 100 years of women having the right to vote in the United States? You can find more information, including great reading lists for all ages, educational videos, and how to get involved in the celebration at and Special events have been happening all year! On August 26, 2020 buildings and landmarks across the country lit up in purple and gold as part of the nationwide Forward Into Light Campaign, named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.”

One way you can help to celebrate this awesome and important anniversary is to read a book about a suffragist! Below you will find 10 great biographies and collected biographies that reveal more about U.S. suffragists of note and a few contemporary feminist titles as well.

If you are a fan of biographies and memoirs, we have an exciting virtual event next week with Eliese Colette Goldbach, the talented and acclaimed author of Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit. There are still spots open for this Zoom program- register here!

What to Read During Hispanic Heritage Month

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia, a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror, follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion. It is also the subject of the December 17th meeting of our horror book discussion group, Novel Scares. Register now to join us, via Zoom.

True Crime Addict by James Renner Review

True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner

Investigative journalist James Renner was just eleven in 1989 when ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from Bay Village, Ohio. This disappearance marked the beginning of his interest and obsession with true crime. For many suburban Northeast Ohio children and teens this case was their first introduction to crime and the impact on their lives was immediate. How could something like this happen in broad daylight in a small, white, suburb? This desire for answers led Renner to a career in journalism.
Fast forward to 2011. James begins investigating the mysterious 2004 disappearance of Maura Murray, a University of Massachusetts student who vanished following a car wreck in rural New Hampshire. Maura was an athlete, a former West Point cadet, and a nursing student at UMass. On February 9 she emailed professors letting them know she would be absent for a week due to a death in the family. Later that night she was involved in a single car accident hundreds of miles away. By the time help arrived Maura was gone.
What happened to Maura Murray? The question remains unanswered today.
This case fascinated Renner and dragged him down a rabbit hole of research that took a toll on him personally. True Crime Addict is part investigative journalism, part confessions of a true crime addict.

If this case interests you, join me and Sherry next Wednesday, September 9 for a Zoom discussion.
Register here to and you will be emailed the link:


Virtual One Community Reads: Fall 2020

I’m finding it difficult to manage the intense ups and downs of this year -like pretty much *everybody* I talk to, and I feel like we all need:1) a seriously quality nap -maybe every day?, 2) more upbeat news on a regular basis, and 3) a way to contribute to the good things we see happening in the World. Maybe joining the conversations during our virtual One Community Reads helps you with at least two of the three items in the previous list?

For the second time this year all nine public library systems and our community partners in Cuyahoga County are working together to host a One Community Reads, a chance to engage and discuss timely and important topics. From August through December, you’ll be able to read a variety of books, attend virtual programs throughout Cuyahoga County, and join the conversation. And consider this -think of how easy it will be to attend an East Side or Downtown program from the comfort of your West Side couch!

A full list of events is available on

Events hosted by Rocky River Public Library:
Let’s Talk About Race – Presentation and Q&A
Wednesday, August 19, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Join Dr. Ronnie Dunn, Chief Diversity Officer at Cleveland State University, for a discussion on race and racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and policing in the United States. This was a virtual program held on Zoom. (It’s over but worth noting -imho)

Booked by the Lieutenant
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Thursday, August 27, 6:30 -8:00 pm
Read to learn more about how guilt and fear can create defensiveness, how white fragility protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively, before joining a discussion of ideas led by Lt. George Lichman. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Ida Finds Her Voice: Author Visit
For families of all ages
Tuesday, September 15, 7:00 pm
Join Kate Anderson Foley, Ph.D. and Jenifer Anderson-Smith for a reading of their book Ida Finds Her Voice and a conversation about listening to one’s inner voice. We will discuss ways to advocate for kindness and social justice. This will be an opportunity for our youth and our experienced adults to better understand how to find the hero inside ourselves. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

How to Talk to Your Children About Racism
Thursday, September 17, 6:30-7:30 pm
Racism is an important parenting topic that many struggle or are uncomfortable with, but these conversations are necessary in this time of bias and violence against people of color. Join Adrianne Fletcher, PhD., Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Case Western Reserve University, for a frank discussion on how to talk to your children about race and racism. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

We Read Together, We Stand Together Beanstack Program and Discussion Group
Mondays, 7:00-8:00 pm
This new discussion group is a community collaboration that will provide students in grades 6-12 and their interested parents or guardians with an opportunity to read diverse voices and have conversations on a variety of topics. Grades 6-12 and parents/guardians. @Rocky River Public Library.

Monday, September 21, Initial Meeting to introduce participants to Beanstack suggested readings and format for future discussions. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program,

Monday, October 5 Topic: African American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program,

Monday, October 19 Topic: Social Injustice and Voting Rights Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, November 2 Topic: Poverty and Homelessness Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, November 16 Topic: Native American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, December 7 Topic: Diverse Abilities Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Monday, December 21 Topic: Asian American Voices Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Adult Rocky River Readers Book Club
Aperiogon by Colum McCann
Thursday, October 8, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
This novel is based on the real-life friendship of two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian. Bonded over the experience of losing a child to war, these fathers decide to use their grief as a weapon for peace. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

An Outrage: Film Discussion with Dr. Gilbert Doho
Wednesday, October 14, 7:00-8:00 pm
Dr. Gilbert Doho, Head of the Ethnic Studies Department of Case Western Reserve University will moderate a remote discussion on the film An Outrage by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, a film addressing the history of lynching in the U.S. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.
Celebrate Multicultural Diversity Day
For all ages
Monday, October 19, 4:00-4:45 pm
Join us virtually as we share multicultural books, songs, rhymes, activities, and other resources that reflect the diversity of our community. Register online to receive an invitation to join this event. Participants will be able to pick up a packet prior to the program with directions and materials to use during the program. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Booked by the Lieutenant
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD
Wednesday, November 4, 7:00–8:30 pm
Read to learn more about unconscious racial bias through the author’s personal stories, her research, and learn strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time before joining a discussion of ideas led by Lt. George Lichman. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Observe World Kindness Day
For all ages
Friday, November 13, 11:00-11:45 am
Help us make the world a better place by promoting acts of good kindness through stories, songs, crafts, and other activities that can be shared with others in the community. Register online to receive an invitation to join this event. Participants will be able to pick up a packet prior to the program with directions and materials to use during the program. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.

Novel Scares Book Discussion
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Thursday, November 12, 7:00 -8:00 pm
After a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives, four American Indian men are tracked by an entity bent on revenge in this blending of classic horror and sharp social commentary. Registration required. Register at: to receive a link to the Zoom meeting a few days before the program.


Book Review- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

I recently finished Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, The Only Good Indians, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The book is amazing, and unlike anything I’ve read. Teetering along a fine line between literary horror (yes, there is some disagreement as to whether that exists but I strongly support the notion that it does), a straight-up revenge story, and multi-faceted narratives of various Native American experiences, it delivers some serious gore alongside real emotional pain. It’s wildly atmospheric and to put it plainly, weird. Weird in the very best way, of course.

The revenge plot centers on four Native American men getting their just deserts after disrespecting the sacredness of an elk herd while hunting on elder tribal lands. The group’s excessive spray of bullets decimates an elk herd that includes a pregnant elk, who struggles with every thing she has to survive for her calf. She succumbs to her wounds and the Blackfeet reservation’s game warden discovers their trespass which results in them being forced to leave all the elk meat behind, except for the cow who fought so hard. The four pals are banned from hunting on the reservation for ten years as further punishment, but their real punishment arrives years later.

Without spoiling too much of the story, because there are indeed some surprising twists and turns, I can say this moment of carelessness and disregard results in very serious repercussions for the four men, their friends and family, and even their pets. In the beginning readers increasingly question what is real and what is being told to us by an unreliable narrator. Eventually, through a very clever shift in perspective, readers see the truth of what is happening and the story really picks up speed as we hurtle towards a conclusion.

The Only Good Indians is a stellar example of how horror can also be literary, as Jones has crafted a deeply felt look at cycles of violence, identity and the price of breaking away from tradition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the power of forgiveness and hope. I can’t promise it will all make sense in a neat, tidy way in the end but it doesn’t really need to honestly. A #ownvoices title that is highly recommended reading for fans of horror, literary fiction, strong character writing, and twisty plots.

Trigger warning: When I say there is gore in this, I am not exaggerating. It does include some brutal ends for specifically dogs. I assure you, the book overall is worth reading and you can breeze past some of the grisly paragraphs if need be.

Check out the ebook here or request the print copy here.

The Only Good Indians is the November selection for Novel Scares book club, my book club devoted to all things horror. Please join us for a lively discussion on Zoom November 12th @ 7 pm! Registration for fall programs begins September 1st and you can register for Novel Scares here. This program is also part of the county wide One Community Reads, taking place now through September, inviting you to read and reflect about race, injustice, history, and a better future.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Walk through History with the Cowan Pottery Studio

Stop by and walk the front lawn sidewalk while learning the history of the Cowan Pottery Studio and the Cowan Pottery Museum.

From August 3-17, 2020, patrons are invited to Walk Through History with Our Cowan Pottery Timeline. Important dates in the history of Cowan Pottery Studio and Cowan Pottery Museum will be displayed on individual signs, spanning the past 100 years, on the Library’s front lawn.

Imagine Your Story – Adult and Teen Events @ RRPL

Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend and got to spend some time with loved ones. Though many community fireworks displays were cancelled, it seems like there were numerous backyard fireworks that more than made up for the cancellations, though my dog was not happy about it!

It’s not too late to sign up for Summer Reading – you have until July 27! Join today at Beanstack or call us to register! Even if you only enter one book read, you have a chance to win a gift card to Bomba, Danny Boys, Herb’s Tavern, Joe’s Deli, King Wah, Wine Bar, or the Rocky River Brewing Company. For additional information, check out our Summer Reading Flyer.

WEEK OF JULY 6, 2020

Weeklong Event: Fairytale Scavenger Hunt – All Ages
Monday, July 6-Saturday, July 11  
Come to the Library grounds and find the hidden Fairytale characters! 

Ten Minute Tech Tips: What are Some Facebook Tips & Tricks? – Adults
Tuesday, July 7, 10 am
Join us online at for a weekly Ten Minute Tech Tip.
To use the chat feature to ask questions or talk with us, sign up for a free Livestream  account before the program. No Registration.

Princeton Review Strategy Session – Teens
Tuesday, July 7, 3-4:30 pm 
The experts at The Princeton Review cover everything you need to know about the SAT in this virtual seminar. Learn how the test is built and structured and what that means for you as a test-taker. Catch up on the content tested on the SAT and how the test is scored. Get a sense of how one prepares for the SAT as well as the range of resources available. Registration required at 

Introduction to Computers II – Part 1 – Adults
Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 9 10-10:45 am
Already know how to use a mouse and keyboard? Continue learning about computers in this two-part class where you will discover the functions of different computer components and delve into more comprehensive functions of Windows 10.
Class is in two parts:  Wednesday, July 8, and Thursday, July 9, 10:00-10:45 am.  Registered students will be given information on how to attend the class online.
Topic Level: BeginningPrerequisite: Attendance in Intro to Computers I or equivalent experience is expected for this class
Register online or call us at 440-333-7610, extension 5503.  Registration opens on July 1, 2020, at 9:00 am.

Imagine Your Story: Rocky River Story Writing Workshops – Adults
Thursday, July 9, 6:30-7:30 pmExplore place-based writing in this special virtual writing workshop series presented by Christine Howey of Literary Cleveland. You’ll use Rocky River as inspiration for your work and gain tips on crafting a piece well-suited for oral storytelling. Each participant will be encouraged to share their videos at our River of Stories event the week of July 21-27. Register and you will be emailed an invitation to join this virtual event. Registration required.

Princeton Review Free Practice SAT– Teens 
Saturday, July 11, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm 
Come take a free online full-length SAT practice test with The Princeton Review! Familiarize yourself with the format and the content you’ll see on the actual SAT and get in-depth feedback question by question with a comprehensive score report that helps you identify areas of weakness and evaluate your current performance. Registration required here:  here: 

For additional July program information, click here.

Check out the Information Kiosk in front of the library for more information, including Summer Reading, Summer Events and Summer Reading Slips. Return those Summer Reading Slips to our new Summer Reading Mailbox right outside our door.

Hope to see you soon and Happy Reading!

~ Dori