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Friday, April 24, 2015

Ardor for Arbor Day

Cypress Trees on the Natchez Trace
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Arbor Day is "an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care." (Arbor is simply the Latin word for tree.) Arbor Day celebrations began in Nebraska in the 1870s and soon spread across the nation. This is a unique festivity,  across the United States and around the world, in that "many states observe Arbor Day on different days throughout the year based on the best tree-planting times in their area" (ADF). For example, in Mississippi, Arbor Day is always on the second Friday in February, but in Alaska, it's three months later and is celebrated on the third Monday in May. Nationally, though, Arbor Day is always the last Friday in April. Check out this fun map to find out when Arbor Day is celebrated in other states and around the world.

If you're looking for information on planting trees and other green things here in Mississippi, we recommend the Mississippi Extension Service. Their fact sheets and pamphlets cover tons of tree-related topics, from selecting trees, to caring for trees, to repairing trees, and everything in between. Be sure to check your local library for other tree-related gems, like The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers, Trees of Mississippi - And Other Woody Plants, and The Backyard Orchardist.

Books on trees for adults
There are fun books for children on the topic as well, like A Tree is Nice and While a Tree was Growing...
Books on trees for children
Looking for more arboreal fun? Check out our older posts about trees here and here. We hope that you have a great Arbor Day!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Benjamin Franklin and poetry and libraries and kites with keys

On this day in 1790, Benjamin Franklin passed away in his home in Philadelphia, PA at the age of 84. Franklin was well know for things like Poor Richard's Almanac, the invention of bifocal glasses, aiding in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, and a little experiment involving a kite, a key, and a bolt of lightning. But did you know he also helped establish the first circulating library in Philadelphia?

Franklin, along with other members of the philosophical association Junto, drew up articles of agreement to form the library on July 1, 1731. The library submitted its first order for books the following year and the rest is history. The Library Company is still open today. Read more about its history here. As it's National Library Week, we were thrilled to share this tidbit of information with you!

As a lover of books, it seems only natural that Franklin was a writerly sort, but did you know he also dabbled in poetry? National Library Week is almost over, but National Poetry Month is still going strong. Celebrate by reading some of Franklin's poetry! Read his poem "Death Is a Fisherman" below and check out some of his other poems here.

Death Is A Fisherman
Death is a fisherman, the world we see
His fish-pond is, and we the fishes be;
His net some general sickness; howe'er he
Is not so kind as other fishers be;
For if they take one of the smaller fry,
They throw him in again, he shall not die:
But death is sure to kill all he can get,
And all is fish with him that comes to net.
photo from:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Going Mobile

Happy National Bookmobile Day! Although The Who was referring to mobile homes in their song Going Mobile, we're co-opting it as an excellent musical piece to hum while scrolling through these pictures of Mississippi's bygone bookmobiles.
Mississippi Library Commission bookmobile
Meridian Public Library bookmobile
Clarksdale Public Library bookmobile
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library bookmobile
Bolivar County bookmobile
MLC bookmobile at the Columbus Public Library
Jackson County Library and
City of Pascagoula bookmobile
These kids couldn't wait to get home to read their books from the bookmobile!
Such a good book from the bookmobile!
Mississippi Library Commission
staff atop their bookmobile
Need more bookmobile goodness? Check out these older posts from past celebrations of National Bookmobile Day. Have fun going mobile!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Early Mississippi Poets

National Poetry Month provides a great opportunity to learn more about poets!  This blog post features several Mississippi poets from the late 1800s and the early 1900s.  We encourage you to visit MLC or your local library to learn about many more Mississippi poets. 
Eudora Welty (left) with Mrs. Bellamann 
(Photo by Dr. Harry Bayne)

Katherine Jones Bellamann was born on October 7, 1877, in Carthage, Mississippi.  Mrs. Bellamann and her husband, Henry Bellamann, were very close and worked on much of their writing together until his death in 1944.  Her poems can be classified as romantic Southern nature verse inspired by her Southern upbringing.  In 1955 she became the president of the Mississippi Poetry Society.    


Maxwell Bodenheim, originally Maxwell Bodenheimer, was born May 26, 1892, in Hermanville, Mississippi.  His poetry books include Minna and Myself (1918), Advice (1920), Against this Age (1923), The King of Spain (1928), Bringing Jazz! (1930), and Selected Poems 1914-1944 (1946).  

 Hubert Creekmore, Eudora Welty, and Eileen McGarath in 1954 

Hubert Creekmore was born January 16, 1907, in Water Valley, Mississippi. He studied at the University of Mississippi and graduated in 1927.  His well known works include Personal Sun, The Early Poems of Hubert Creekmore (1940), The Long Reprieve and Other Poems of new Caledonia (1946), The Welcome (1948), and Daffodils Are Dangerous (1966).   

William Alexander Percy was born May 14, 1885, and grew up in Greenville, Mississippi.  Percy, along with being an author and poet, was also very active in politics and graduated from Harvard with his degree in law. His works of poetry includes Sappho in Levas, and other Poems (1915), In April Once, and Other Poems (1920), Enzio's Kingdom, and Other Poems (1924), Selected Poems (1930), The Collected Poems of William Alexander Percy (1943), and Of Silence and Start (1953). 

Maude Leet Prenshaw was born August, 2, 1889, in Greenville, Mississippi.  She was the first Mississippi Poet Laureate, from 1963-1971.  She was also editor of The Mississippi Poetry Journal, president of the Mississippi Poetry Society, and founder of the Mississippi Poetry Festival.  

Irwin Russel was born on June 3, 1853, in Port Gibson, Mississippi.  He began publishing poems in Scribner's Monthly Magazine and became know as an important figure to post-Reconstruction Southern writing. His books of poems are Poems (1888) and Christmas-Night in the Quarters, and Other Poems (1917), 

Visit to learn more about National Poetry Month. 

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