Virtual Book Club – NEW Title! – Week 1

It’s here, the day you’ve all been waiting for… the day we announce the new book for the virtual book club for May! This time, we’re taking a turn from present-day literary fiction to historical fiction.  

Our book club pick this month takes place in the rolling hills of Kentucky during the Great Depression. Most people are out of work, or killing themselves in the coal mines to provide for their families.  They barely have time to sleep, let alone educate themselves. But that is where Cussy Carter and the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians come in. Funded on a grant from the Works Project Administration, the Pack Horse Librarians braved the wilds of Kentucky to bring the people of the hills books and education. Cussy is not just a librarian, though – she is a Blue: one of the last blue-skinned people of Kentucky, whose skin is a cerulean hue from a unique genetic trait.  

Based on historical fact, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson shines a light on a fascinating time in America’s history, seen through the eyes of a blue librarian. And you know we just can’t resist a story about librarians! 

Just like last month, we’ll post new discussion questions each week on Sunday. Click the book’s title up there to go to Hoopla, where it is always available. No need to wait or place holds for this one! Our librarians may also pop in to add their thoughts to the discussion. If we have a lot of interest, we’ll do an online meet-up to discuss the book. 

For this week, let’s talk a bit about libraries and librarians – you don’t need to have read the book to answer these!  

1. The Kentucky Pack Horse program was implemented in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to create women’s work programs and to assist economic recovery and build literacy. Looking at the novel, how did the program affect the people in this remote area? Do you think library programs are still a vital part of our society today? 
 
2. How has a librarian or book lover impacted your life? Have you ever connected with a book or author in a meaningful way? Explain. 

Questions from the author’s website

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and hanging out with us!

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

I was lying in bed this morning thinking about what to post on the blog today – I’ve been doing these posts for a couple of weeks now, focusing on making a product and the processes involved. But I wanted to do something different today, about making, but from a different perspective.

YNYT-SugarCalling-3000pxesterday, I was listening to the new podcast by Cheryl Strayed, Sugar Calling and she was interviewing travel writer  and memoirist Pico Iyer, and as they were discussing how to participate ‘joyfully in a world full of sorrows’, Pico included a quote from a Benedictine Monk friend of his – “The best cure for anxiety is thinking of others”.

This quote was rolling around in my mind as I was thinking about how I could re-frame the word making.  Webster’s defines making as “the act or process of forming, causing, doing, or coming into being”, so why not think about making connections or making a difference in these anxious times?

difference (2)

We at Rocky River Public Library got into this line of work because we want to make a difference, we want to help – with information, education, entertainment,  and equity of access. We can’t do everything we used to do, but we’re trying hard to provide similar services and explore new ones. Next week is National Library Week and we want to bring the library to you! Here on the blog, check us out daily for our thoughts about books, movies, TV, podcasts and cultural institutions with links to streaming media and digital books. We’ve shared our crafts, cooking and baking interests and we’ve even got a book discussion going. On our social media, we’re keeping in touch by sharing resources, fun activities, and asking you, our patrons, what you need. Our website can lead you to classes, books, movies, newspapers, business research – you name it, we’ve got it.  Call us at 333-7610; if we don’t answer, leave a message and we will get back to you – we really want to help – it’s our business and our calling!

nlw20-altphrase-social-media-2-facebook-cover

As you think of others, consider the Rocky River Assistance Program and the Cleveland Food Bank. Rocky River restaurants who are doing takeout could use your business, too. And if you go to Heinens or another essential business, make sure you wear your mask to support the workers who are helping us stay fed, clean and healthy. Check on a neighbor or call an old friend, whatever you choose, thinking of others does seem to help to stem the tide of anxiety.

cakeOh – and here’s an amazing Chocolate Flourless Torte I made at RRPL’s Biblio Bistro class with Annie’s Signature Sweets this week – look for a recording of the class in the coming weeks. Library Reads has a their May list of books out –  and Creativebug gives us their Week 4 Crafting at Home suggestions – I don’t have little ones, but making Galaxy Slime looks tempting!

I’d love to hear what you’re making or how you’re making a difference, so comment below. Stay safe and stay home!

~ Dori

 

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

Today we are featuring an institution with a Cowan Pottery connection,

The MFA Boston has a selection of objects produced by the Cowan Pottery Studio, all designed by Viktor Schreckengost.

This includes an edition of the Jazz Bowl in the same style and surface design as the library’s edition.

The museum also has it its collection works by Cowan artist produced after the studio had closed in 1931. This includes:

Edris Eckhardt

Cigarette Jar, Attributed to Edris Eckhardt, 1930 -Cowan Pottery Museum, 1976.1.86.

Wayland Gregory

Margarita, Waylande Desantis Gregory, 1929- Cowan Pottery Museum, 1976.1.393

The collection can be searched just like previously highlighted museums. They offer the ability to sort it by region and time period making the navigation very easy.

The current special exhibition, Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation, has a devoted page to experience the work virtually. There are publications, essays, videos, a playlist, and a slideshow of images.

Additional Resources

The museum is a participant in Google’s Art & Culture Project.

There is a page devoted to videos where you can watch interviews with artists, experience virtual tours of exhibitions, and see conservation efforts.

And the museum has its own YouTube Channel,with a huge library of videos for patrons to enjoy.

Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

For this weeks post rather than highlighting the digital resources of one institution I thought I would showcase multiple online exhibitions and content from cultural organizations in our area.

The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is now posting weekly videos on their YouTube channel highlighting different parts of the monument’s history. This series can be used as a supplement to US and Ohio history lessons.

Akron Art Museum

The Akron Art Museum‘s YouTube channel has past artist and curator talks as well as promotional/documentation of past exhibitions and events. They also have a prompt/activity page that uses pieces from their collection.

Artist Archives of the Western Reserve

The Artist Archives of the Western Reserve has their collections as well as as a guided tour of the current exhibition, 2020 Annual Members Exhibition, hosted on their website.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a dedicated page to all their virtual resources during their closure. These series of videos are a great way to learn not only about prehistoric life but about local Ohio wildlife.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden

The Cleveland Botanical Garden has a dedicated blog for updates on their website. They also feature a page devoted to their online learning resources and tips for individuals looking to get into bird watching.

The Cleveland Metroparks

The Cleveland Metroparks website features not only information on their available outdoor resources but also a Virtual Classroom. This page has information on the new programs created at this time as well has past digital content available.

International Women’s Air & Space Museum

International Women’s Air & Space Museum YouTube channel has history videos as well as interviews from astronauts.

MOCA Cleveland

MOCA Cleveland‘s Facebook Page features videos highlighting the staff of the institution. A great way to learn about all the different jobs within a museum as well as to get to know the people.

The Kent State Museum

The Kent State Museum has its collection online and searchable as well as a blog that shows restoration efforts by the staff. Their Gallery of Costume allows viewers to explore the fashions of the past.

Spaces Gallery

Spaces gallery’s YouTube channel features artist and curator interviews, video based art pieces, and information on current and past exhibitions.

Winter Reading Bingo: Attend a Program

I will let you in on a secret. One of the easiest squares to fill on our bingo board is this one:

square

A book may take days to finish (possibly weeks, if you read as slowly as I do), but attending a library program? You could knock out that square in an hour.

Here are the exciting events coming up in January and February. I hope you can make it out to at least one of them!

use ju

Vision Poster Workshop
Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Registration required.

We will have scissors. And glue. And poster board. And a whooooole lot of magazines. Come think about your goals for the upcoming year, cut out images and words that speak to you, and turn the chaos of what 2019 could be into an inspirational collage.

1-31 knife skills2

Knife Skills Screening
Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 p.m.

Come see the Oscar-nominated short documentary about the Shaker Square restaurant that all of Cleveland is talking about. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with a representative from Edwins Leadership & Restaurant.

2-5 oscars

The Oscars Through the Years
Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Learn the history of the awards and hear what a film scholar thinks about this year’s nominees for Best Picture.

2-11 rosa parks

Tea with Rosa Parks
Monday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m.
Rocky River Memorial Hall (next to the Don Umerley Center)
Registration required.

Celebrate Black History Month by hearing stories from Rosa Parks and Viola Liuzzo about their work in the Civil Rights Movement. Tea and pastries will be served.

2-28 date night

Date Night
Thursday, February 28
Pottery tour begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Reading Room.
Concert begins at 7:15 in the Auditorium.

Is there a more romantic combination than music, Cowan Pottery, and dessert (all for free)? We think not.

Lyndsey

Mary’s Top Ten of 2018

Mary’s Top 10 for 2018

My Top 5 Books:

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

There is so much to like about this book. The two main characters are flawed, however, you will yearn for them to rise up & come to terms with their lives.  I learned about Chicago (my home away from home), Paris, both present day and in the 1910’s, inspirational artists who were sowing their seeds in Paris in the early 1900’s, and last, but certainly not least, the AIDS epidemic at its height in  1980’s Chicago and its tragic aftermath.

 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This is a fantastic piece of historical fiction.  Sunja, the main character, is an unconventional matriarch, whom we follow throughout the entire story.  It begins in the early 1900’s with her birth, and culminates in 1989.  This story is about 4 generations of a Korean family coming terms with what it is like to be Korean in a Japanese society.  There is  much to learn here about the  perils and struggles of the Korean community.

 

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This is another superb historical fiction book.  I learned a lot about tea… so much tea.  Again, the main character, Li-Yan, is unconventional, yet so strong in her own quiet ways.  The reader learns about farming tea, life in a small Chinese village, adapting to an ever-changing world, adoption and the impact, not only on the child, but the entire community.

 

Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover

I love good narrative nonfiction, and this certainly fit the bill.  It never ceases to amaze me when I read about the resilience of children growing up in a very chaotic environment, raised by a parent lacking in nearly all conventional parenting skills … and yet these children survive, and in this case, achieve great academic success despite the odds.  These type of books are great for book clubs because, trust me, you will want to talk about it.

 

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

This title was also the Library Community read.  Unlike, the book above, not everyone is a survivor in this one.  This book is about residents in low income neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee, desperately trying to make ends meet, despite the unjust housing system in which they live in.  This is a very engaging, readable piece of nonfiction.

 

 

My Top 5 Movies:

Juliet Naked

I didn’t know that I liked Ethan Hawke so much. I have not watched a movie this year that he has starred in that I didn’t love ( Maudie and Maggie’s Plan both wonderful too).  This is a moving, yet feel-good kind of movie. It’s all about choices, second chances and moving forward.

 

Tully

I will admit that I nearly turned this movie off about 45 minutes in, and then everything changed, so hang in there.  Tully is such a simple yet complex woman struggling with “the baby blues”.  If you are like me, you will have compassion for Tully, you will understand Tully, in the end, you will love Tully.

I Am Not Your Negro

This film is a heartfelt & sweeping documentary of Alec Baldwin’s experiences in the tumultuous 60’s. You will be thinking about this one long after you hit the eject button. There is so much to learn about the great African American leaders, and the american experience of the African American community. We have so much to learn from our history, we simply need to take the time to listen.

Faces Places

I tried to stay away from Academy Award nominees & winners because they must be good, right?  Not always the case for me, but with this film, they hit the nail on the head.  Another feel-good film that follows a couple of artists pursuing…well, their art.  Their relationship is so charming, their travels are interesting, and their art is wonderful. What more do you need?

Amelie

Okay, I will admit I watched this one because I want to look like Amelie.  Who doesn’t want to look like an adorable French woman?  After watching this film, I want to be Amelie.  I want to be a free spirited, unique, adventurous, kind & beautiful young french woman…oh, and live in France.  For now I will live vicariously through this charming movie. By the way, it is in French, and watching foreign films makes me feel smart… another bonus!

Little Men

I eyed this film on the shelf FOREVER, and it did not disappoint. This is a wonderful coming of age story about a 13 year old boy, but so much more.  The film is about relationships, gentrification in Brooklyn, self discovery for the young and the old.  Don’t judge these characters to hastily, they may surprise you.

 

I hope you can make time for, at the least, one of my choices in 2019. I would LOVE to hear about your choices too.  Stop by at the Adult Reference desk & we’ll chat. Meanwhile, my best for a happy new year!

BookTalk for Adults

In case you missed the BookTalk for Adults program today at the library, here is what we talked about….

The Best Books of 2018 So Far. While there are many excellent books that have been penned thus far in 2018, I managed to widdle the list down to ten. The list spans different genres including fiction, literary fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller and memoir. Here is the list of books we discussed –

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
There, There by Tommy Orange
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson
The Woman in the Window by A.J.Finn
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover

Our next BookTalk for Adults will be Friday, October 26th at 10AM. Being so close to Halloween we will discuss (you guessed it) Spooky books. Come join us!

-The African American History Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society- African-American History Month

Our next featured local resource is the African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Western Reserve Historical Society

Established in 1970, the archives mission is to “collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents, photographs, memorabilia, art, and artifacts pertaining to African American life, history and culture in Northeast Ohio.” Online you can browse through their catalog to see the archive’s holdings and its location within the Historical Society. Additionally they offer an useful subjects tab that lets you narrow your search results. It should be noted that there are materials that cover national history as well.

For information on the African American Archives Auxiliary or to find out how to support its work, contact:

Sherlynn Allen-Harris
African American Archives Auxiliary, Acting President
Western Reserve Historical Society, Board of Directors, Ex-Officio Member
sallenharris@ameritech.net

Additional programs at the Western Reserve Historical Society:

 

-Cleveland Historical- African-American History Month

Our first featured local resource is Cleveland Historical: “Developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Historical lets you explore the people, places, and moments that have shaped the city’s history.”

There is an amazing wealth of information on landmarks and events telling the story of life in Cleveland. This site offers pictures, recorded oral history, news clippings, and cited sources to continue your own research. They organize topics by “Tours” which is centered around a single topic and the different  Below is a link to African Americans in Cleveland, a Tour spanning over a 100 years of  public and personal accounts.

African Americans in Cleveland

Curated by The Cleveland Historical Team

Cleveland Historical
Euclid-East 105th Area, 1946 
Adonees Sarrouh and J. Mark Souther, “Cleveland’s Second Downtown,” Cleveland Historical, accessed February 5, 2018, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/49.

African-American History Month

In observance of African-American History Month we will be highlighting local African-American history and research from the Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio area. To start off we have an article from two years ago by the Plain Dealer which was the source material for the text I used in the display in our library.

43 notable African-Americans with ties to Cleveland:

Celebrating

Black History Month

blackhistory month

-Greg