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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Save Libraries, Save Museums, Save IMLS!

Maybe you've seen the proposed national budget for FY20 and maybe you haven't, but it eliminates federal funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). That means essential programs provided by libraries and museums across Mississippi will no longer have the money to continue. This covers everything from your local public library, your child's school library, and university libraries to the Delta Blues Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Mississippi Children's Museum. It also means that LSTA grant funds, which launch innovative programs across the state and are distributed by IMLS, will no longer be available. Both Loida Garcia-Febo, president of the American Library Association, and Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, have issued responses regarding the proposed budget, and people across the country are rallying to our museums' and libraries' defense.

We want you to join the fight to fund museums and libraries. Take a look below at a small sample of Mississippi public library programs funded by IMLS in the past few years. Then click the Dear Appropriator letter at the bottom of the page to send an email to your congresspeople urging full funding of IMLS.

Lee-Itawamba Library System
The Lunching with Books program, made possible through LSTA grant funds, is a vital resource for information and socialization of learners who can no longer visit the library due to physical disabilities, advanced age, and/or lack of transportation. In order to serve these citizens, the library purchased the necessary equipment to record, archive, and live-stream the programs to offsite patrons. The program can be viewed at any time from the Lee-Itawamba Library System website. The library partnered with a local retirement home to screen the program on-site in a common area. Live-streaming the program off-site allowed patrons no longer able to attend in person the ability to actively participate in educational and entertaining library activities. This library system is in Mississippi's Congressional District 1, which is served by Representative Trent Kelly.

Sunflower County Library System
The Seniors Acquiring Computer Skills and the Senior Adults Moving Forward in Technology programs at Sunflower County Library System were designed to provide computer skills training to senior citizens who want to become computer literate. Using LSTA grant funds, the library provides computer literacy classes for small groups in slowly-paced sessions. Attendees learn essential basic computer skills, like word processing in order to produce letters and forms, spreadsheets to track financial information, and Internet competency, including search skills and database usage. After a sixteen-week training period, participants are able to use everything from email to Word and beyond, critical skills for the 21st century. This library system is in Mississippi's Congressional District 2, which is served by Representative Bennie Thompson.

Central Mississippi Regional Library System
New Maker Space Kits, acquired with LSTA funds by the Central Mississippi Regional Library System, travel back and forth between their 20 branches. The Makey Makey Kit, Snap Circuits Kit, Video Maker Kit, Strawbees Kit, and Jewelry Tool Kit emphasize STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activities for K-12 through adult patrons. Every age group served has been excited and eager to learn and explore with the kits, making this an incredibly successful idea. These items give Mississippi citizens an understanding of how circuitry works and help them understand how to apply this new knowledge in their everyday lives. This library system is in Mississippi's Congressional District 3, which is served by Representative Michael Guest.

Laurel-Jones County Library System
An Early Childhood Library Development Center project garnered LSTA grant funds for the Laurel-Jones County Library System. It enables both libraries in the system to provide a fun and safe area where children can learn through imaginative play. The centers have an assortment of building blocks, interlocking and connective toys, matching and sorting games, and puzzles. These activities teach young patrons basic math and language skills, hand-eye coordination, counting, color and letter identification, motor skills, and social interaction skills. This library system is in Mississippi's Congressional District 4, which is served by Representative Steven Palazzo.

These programs, which cater to a wide range of interests, target people of all ages and walks of life. If you think that the learning, cultural, and social opportunities Mississippi libraries and museums provide are critical to keeping our citizens on the cutting edge of society, then help us out. Contact your congressperson and ask them to sign the Dear Appropriator letter. Then share this post in your email, on Facebook, or however else you reach your friends and family, and ask them to do the same. Thank you!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Taraki Jones

Meet Taraki Jones, Circulation Services Librarian for Talking Book Services (TBS) at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC)! Taraki checks in and out digital books, braille books, and braille magazines that our TBS patrons borrow and return. She started working at MLC two weeks ago on March 4 and has already made positive changes in her department.

One of Taraki's biggest passions is reading and one of her favorite authors is Debbie Macomber. She particularly enjoyed The Way to a Man's Heart and the Blossom Street series. She says, "I like libraries because they are nice, quiet places to take adventures and gain knowledge through print and audio books." When she's not reading, Taraki loves to knit. She jokingly adds, "Knitting is my life!"

Friday, March 15, 2019

Do Not Be Silent

“Do not be silent; there is no limit to the power that may be released through you.” 
-Howard Thurman, Deep is the Hunger

Mississippi librarians and library advocates at the Mississippi Capitol on Library Day at the Capitol, March 12, 2019

The sound of a multitude of voices is powerful and lends itself to change. During the 2019 legislative session, there have been dedicated library advocates at the Capitol each week, from librarians and Mississippi Library Association members, to library friends, trustees, and patrons. They've been sharing the powerful stories of how libraries change the lives of residents of their communities.

On Tuesday, March 12, advocacy efforts peaked with "Library Day at the Capitol", when the voices of over 200 library supporters were heard by Mississippi's lawmakers. The entire first floor of the historic building was filled with advocates who shared information about the value of Mississippi's public libraries.

Meredith Wickham, Director of the First Regional Library System, has created a helpful thank you letter that you can send your legislators. Feel free to copy and paste it into your own document or email and modify it to fit your particular needs before sending it on to your senators and congresspeople. Check the Mississippi Legislature's website for your senator addresses and representative addresses. Not sure who your legislators are? You can find them at Open States.

Go ahead and mark your calendars for next year's Library Day at the Capitol. We're scheduled for March 10, 2020, from 11 am-2 pm, and have reserved the same large area of the first floor of the Rotunda and hallways as this year.

Make your voice heard... Become an advocate... Do not be silent.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Read Woke

A teacher came in the Mississippi Library Commission last week looking for books to read to her class in honor of Black History Month. As I was helping her, she started telling me about her daughter, Cicely Lewis, who happens to be a librarian in Georgia. That caught my attention even more. You know, because I am a librarian. Nevertheless, her daughter has an organization that recently went viral and it's beautiful about how it all came to be. The movement is called Read Woke and it promotes books about disenfranchised groups of people, giving them a voice. This was interesting because, as book lovers, we always want to promote books that are good for our subconscious and put us in a better place. Her movement became something more than promotion and something of extreme substance; it gives the kids something to look forward to when they flip the pages of everyday learning. Giving students a sense of pride and integrity makes the moments much better. We all know that life can make kids a little rough around the edges, but all it takes is a good book to give them that inspiration they need to become a better version of themselves. Cicely's story is so inspiring and sharing this could impact more than just America, but also the world. Here are a few videos you can watch for more information about Read Woke. Also, MLC has a couple of new books that'll really wake you up. They are If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin and On the Come Up by Jackson native Angie Thomas. Check in with us or your local library for books like these. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Looking for a Job? Your Library Can Help!

If you're unemployed or looking for a new job opportunity, libraries are the best place to start your search. After all, they offer a wide variety of services and materials for those looking for employment: Wi-Fi, computers, and books on skills improvement, job searching, and resumes. We checked in with the Northeast Regional Library System, headquartered in Corinth, for some recent Mississippi library success stories.

Attendees fill out job applications during the Prentiss County Development
Association's Job Fair at the George E. Allen Public Library in Booneville.

Last August, the George E. Allen Library in Booneville (population 8,693) partnered with the Prentiss County Development Association (PCDA) and provided space for their job fair. The PCDA was impressed that well over 200 attendees showed up for the event. PCDA President Leon Hayes thought the library was the perfect place to hold the job fair because of their meeting space and their Internet-connected public computers. The organization plans to make it an annual event.

Attendees lining up in anticipation of the doors opening at the start of the PCDA job fair.
Meanwhile, staff at the Rienzi Public Library, located in the tight-knit community of Rienzi (population 309), helped patrons who lost their jobs when a local restaurant closed its doors.
It is exciting to know that two of my patrons, who were formerly long term Ryan’s employees, were forced to apply for different jobs because of the shutdown. They came and registered for the computers and I’m happy to report that they both got the jobs that they were wanting. They have since come back with smiles on their faces to inform me. I helped them with their resumes and it was a true joy to hear that. Rienzi patrons tell me regularly that they are truly grateful for the library being here so that they “don’t have to go all the way to town”. Sometimes they can’t because of their financial circumstances or even just convenience.
The staff at the Walnut Public Library knew firsthand how excited their patrons were when the library got new computers in 2016. The citizens of Walnut (population 754) loved the new machines' speed and capacity, which were far superior to the relics they had been using. Many of the patrons used the library's computers to search for jobs, submit resumes, and fill out applications, so the library staff were surprised when computer usage started to drop and regular users stopped coming in as often. Soon, though, the old patrons visited at new times to share their good news; they had found jobs using the library's computers and were now busy working during the day.

Over 365,000 Mississippians headed to public libraries in 2017 to search for jobs and these success stories from the northeast corner of our state are typical for Mississippi's public libraries. The next time you think about searching for a new job, head to your local library!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Jackson-George Regional Library System Recognizes Volunteers

Mississippi Library Commission Executive Director Hulen Bivins was the guest speaker at the Jackson-George Regional Library System's 32nd Annual Volunteer Awards Reception at the Pascagoula Public Library on Tuesday, February 13. Along with a luncheon, the volunteers attending from the nine branch libraries received a certificate recognizing their service and a chance for door prizes.

The Rita Krebs Genealogy Volunteer of the Year was given to Mississippi Digital Library for their assistance in helping digitize collections for the genealogy library. The Mary Ann Louviere Youth Services Volunteer of the Year was presented to Aric Wirtz from the Ocean Springs Library with 181 hours of service. The Flora S. Scholtes Volunteer of the Year was presented to Estelle Nettles from the Moss Point Library with 290 hours of service. The Friends of the Pascagoula Public Library won the Friends of the Library 2019 award which was presented by Library Director Lori Barnes. This award is given for outstanding support for Friends projects, program sponsorships, fundraising efforts, and membership drives for the library.

“Volunteers donated nearly 8,000 hours of service to the library system for 2018 and is the equivalent of more than four full-time employees,” said library director Lori Barnes. “We couldn’t do all we do without them,” she said.

You can see more photos of the event on the library's Facebook page. Visit the library's website for more information about their Friends groups and locations. For more information on setting up a Friends group at your Mississippi library, MLC is here to help. Volunteering at your library is a great way to give back to your community. We appreciate these hardworking individuals and their contributions to the Mississippi library world.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Nathan McCoy

Meet Nathan McCoy, Facilities Maintenance at the Mississippi Library Commission! Nathan helps make sure our beautiful building is cleaned daily and that the grounds are kept up. He has been working at MLC for about two and a half years and says that it's a great place to be employed. He says he's always meeting new people, plus he really likes the other staff who work here.

Nathan says, "Libraries are important because people use them to find information they need and to find books to read." He enjoys George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series and playing soccer. His true joy are his two girls, who he says love to dance, love to play softball, and love their cell phones. We're pretty sure Nathan is on that list, too.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Wesley Von Hoene

Meet Wesley Von Hoene, who began working at the Mississippi Library Commission as a Systems Administrator last August. He helps with the maintenance and upkeep of computers and software. He is also assisting Mississippi public libraries with Office 365 migrations. Wesley holds associate degrees in Computer Networking and Cyber Security, as well as certifications in Comp TIA/TestOut's A+, Network+, and Security+. He is currently working on his CCNA.

Wesley likes working at MLC because of the opportunities to learn and expand. He enjoys problem solving and enlightening analytical questions and adds, "I really enjoy the atmosphere at MLC and the people I work with are some of the finest people I’ve had the privilege of meeting."

Wesley says,  "I like libraries because, starting thousands of years ago, they began serving as storehouses of our history. If it weren’t for libraries, a lot of information would have been lost. Libraries are a way for people to pool all their information together and create a valuable wealth of knowledge for everyone."

Wesley was an avid reader when he was in college. The Harry Potter series is his favorite set of books. He also enjoys watching sports, deep sea fishing, video games, and movies. He quips, "It is fascinating seeing how far Elon Musk has brought space travel through SpaceX."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

On the Road with MLC: Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System

Small towns in Mississippi are like brilliant gems. They are filled with bits of times-gone-by, but also the promise of great things to come. It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to visit such places and feel the commitments of the residents to their little community.

Recently I hit the road with Library Consultant Louisa Whitfield-Smith. Even though it was our first trip together, I knew we our library visits would be fun because we share mutual thoughts and ideas. We were headed to Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System (MMRLS) to meet with their director Josh Haidet. I visited the Kosciusko Library a year ago, but never had the opportunity to see the other twelve branches.

We started at the Attala County Library, the headquarters of the system, and Josh gave us a great tour of the library. The building is filled with light and has all the components of a great library, like a teen area, a children's area, and an outstanding genealogy department.

After a wonderful visit with several staff members, we headed to the Winston County Library in Louisville. The county seat of Winston County, Louisville has over 6,000 residents. Hard hit by a tornado in 2014 when ten residents were killed, the community has bounced back and is going strong. The library has a lovely space, an accomplished branch manager, Beth Edwards, and highly qualified staff.

Beth showed us around the library and told us about some of the neat things they do. She is a big believer in public relations (a lady after my heart) and showed us Thank You cards the children's librarian has drawn. Kids who visit the library or participate in library activities sign them. Then the library sends them to local businesses that fund programs and projects... how clever!

Our next stop was the Carthage Library in Leake County. This community boasts a population of over 5,000. The library has a wonderful children's area with new Playaway Launchpads purchased with funds from an Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA grant. These easy-to-use tablets have preloaded content for kids that help them learn while they're having fun.

The final stop that day was the Walnut Grove, also located in Leake County. With a population of almost 2,000 residents, this community has a relatively new library that is incredibly cozy.

Located next to a walking track that features workout stations, this awesome library is brimming over with great books and programs for the residents of Walnut Grove. Of course, we had to take advantage of the location before heading back to Kosciusko!

I got some really great ideas from visiting Mid-Mississippi that day. They create an annual "scrapbook" at each branch that includes visitors, programs, events, and all the rest of the fun stuff going on in each library. What a great tool to share with potential funders so they can see how monies are spent! Also, each branch hosts "Souper Tuesdays"; homemade soup is made available to all patrons and the recipes are shared right along with the hot food. What a great idea for a cold, wintry day!

We have several more libraries to visit at MMRLS and we're excited for our return trip. Thanks to Josh Haidet and all the folks who made us feel so welcome!

Friday, January 25, 2019

On the Road with MLC: Jackson George Regional Library System

Creative communities have a different feel, like something exciting is about to happen at any moment. I've always gotten that feeling when I visit Ocean Springs. It is so picturesque and quaint, with its streets lined with galleries and eateries, that I get swept up in the atmosphere of the place. Recently I had the chance to travel to this lovely community with two of my colleagues, MLC Consultants Shellie Zeigler and Louisa Whitfield-Smith. We met up with Lori Barnes, Jackson-George Regional Library System Director, and several of her qualified staff at one of the charming eateries along the oak-lined main street.

After a lively discussion and a hearty lunch, we headed out to the St. Martin branch to see the new teen area funded by an Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) LSTA grant. St. Martin is a fast-growing community in Jackson County with a population of almost 8,000. With a highly rated school system, it is the perfect community for families.

When we arrived at the St. Martin Library, we were greeted by Branch Manager Meg Henderson; she was ready to show us around her wonderful library. As we headed inside, Meg was proud to show off a community garden space filled with edible greens. What a great way to promote healthy eating habits to members of the community! The project has also allowed the library branch the opportunity to partner with the MSU Extension Service and the Pine Belt Master Gardeners.

The branch was filled with activity when we moved inside. The new teen area was easy to spot and we immediately gravitated that way. It turned out to be a fun, lively space to engage teens in reading and studying. There were computers designated for teen use, along with a table for studying that users are encouraged to use as notepads. This library tries hard to instill a love of libraries in their youth and it's definitely working!

At the back of the library, a large public computer area was filled with patrons. This is a well-used library with very knowledgeable staff who are filled with creative ideas.

With one last quick word, we made our way to the door for the ride home. Filled with a great lunch and lively conversation about all-things-library, we hit the road north for Jackson. Special thanks to Lori Barnes and all the great folks with Jackson-George Regional Library System for a perfect day. They dropped some tantalizing tidbits about programs and such going on at their other branches. We can't wait for them to invite us back for another consulting visit!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Natalie Dunaway

Meet Natalie Dunaway, Continuing Education Coordinator at the Mississippi Library Commission! Natalie works with our team of Library Consultants and the Library Development administration to build and produce workshops and educational resources for librarians across the state. She joined MLC's staff in October of 2017. She holds a bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a dual minor in Japanese and English and a master's degree in Asian Studies.

Natalie says one of the many reasons she loves working for MLC is the advocacy work done for libraries. "Libraries are such crucial parts of the community and community development. They are essentially educational gateways."

Natalie likes to read and has made it a goal to read even more books this year. Her favorite book from 2018 was Educated by Tara Westover. She also really likes to watch movies and speak Japanese.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

On the Road with MLC: Waynesboro

You've heard of the term "a force of nature." I've met a few of these dynamic folks in my time, and one of them is Patsy Brewer, the Director of the Waynesboro/Wayne County Library System. Patsy made an impression on me the first time we met. She has dynamic ideas and is constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to promote and celebrate her library and community.

Nestled on the southeastern border of the state, Waynesboro has a population of about 5,000 citizens.  The county seat of Wayne County, Waynesboro is a picturesque little Mississippi community. The library's story began in 1934, and since that time it has lived in several locations throughout the community. In 2003, the library opened its doors in its current location... a former Walmart building weighing in at a whopping 17,000 square feet.

With that much space, the library could potentially feel cold and cavernous, but instead, it is extremely warm and welcoming. The very active Friends of the Library group even manages a small gift shop and bookstore on the premises, boasting an array of really cute items to tempt even the most penny-pinching of shoppers. What an outstanding way to raise funds for the library!

My travel companion, Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler, and I didn't realize we were going to visit on the day of the library's annual holiday fund-raiser, but it turned out to be perfect timing! Most of the community was in attendance and it was easy to see the support they bestow on their hometown library. The Friends served delicious food and local music students performed, putting everyone in the holiday spirit.

After we toured the library, Shellie and I checked out a new program the library has implemented to promote literacy in the community. "Laundry & Literacy" is funded by the Margaret Murray Literacy Grant and the Waynesboro-Wayne County Friends of the Library. Spanish materials were also purchased with funds from First Book. The library's partnership with local laundromats makes reading materials available to the users of all ages of these facilities. What a new and fresh idea to make free reading materials readily available to more residents!

I would like to give special thanks to Patsy Brewer and her staff for inviting us to this wonderful holiday event. They're doing outstanding work for the citizens of this special corner of the state of Mississippi and I'll definitely be going back for another visit soon.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Meet MLC Monday: Louisa Whitfield-Smith

Louisa Whitfield-Smith joined MLC's Library Development staff as a Library Consultant in November 2018. She and our other consultants work as liaisons between public libraries in Mississippi, giving advice and providing information and resources to library directors and staff.

Since she started working at MLC, Louisa says she has found that she loves traveling all over Mississippi on state highways and back roads as she visits libraries and librarians who are working to provide the best possible service to our communities. Louisa is a huge library advocate and says, "We librarians are committed to providing the same high-quality service to everyone who walks in our doors. There’s something powerful that happens in a space where all are welcome and treated the same."

Louisa is a Murrah High School legacy; she even graduated on her mother's birthday! She received a master’s in Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University and won an Urban Libraries Council top innovator award for communities in crisis for her work as a civic engagement librarian. She has served on RUSA’s Notable Books Council and the ALA Center for Civic Life Advisory Board, reviewed for Booklist, and judged for the Foreward INDIES awards. She is also a proud graduate of the Granger Leadership Academy.

Louisa has loved to read her entire life; in fact, her first word was book! She claims her allowance growing up was an account at Lemuria Books, which is a great independent bookstore here in Jackson. She says the last good book she read was Dawn Dugle’s The BRAVO! Way: Building a Southern Restaurant Dynasty. "It’s a lucid, engrossing, fast nonfiction account of how Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal built BRAVO!, Broad Street Bakery, and Sal & Mookie’s through hard work, a commitment to our community, and excellent customer service."

Louisa loves Mississippi, her family, comics, good long form journalism, hiking, swimming in lakes and rivers, S. R. Ranganathan, baking, tabletop gaming, and trashy movies, preferably those featuring a ragtag team working against all odds on one last job. She also loves to travel, having visited all 50 states and circumnavigated the globe.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Absolute Best Books MLC Staff Read in 2018

The staff of the Mississippi Library Commission has read their fair share of books the past year. We like picture books and comics, fiction, and nonfiction, and old and new. These were our favorites.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James, 2017
Recommended by Andrea' R.

The Crayon Box that Talked
Shane Derolf and Michael Letzig, 1997
Recommended by Lawrence S.

Green Eggs and Ham
Dr. Seuss, 1960
Recommended by Sandra T.
"My grandbabies love it when I read this to them."
Harriet Gets Carried Away
Jessie Sima, 2018
Recommended by Elisabeth S.
"This is hands down the cutest, sweetest, most adorable picture book I read this year."
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
Jill Twiss and E.G. Keller, 2018
Recommended by Amanda R.

Sneezy the Snowman
Maureen Wright and Stephen Gilpin, 2010
Recommended by Bonita S.

A Sky Full of Stars
Linda Williams Jackson, 2018
Recommended by Elisabeth S.
"Life in rural Mississippi during the 1950s is explored through the eyes of a spunky and loving African-American girl named Rose."
The Time quintet
A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters
Madeleine L'Engle, 1962-1986
Recommended by Margaret S.

The Witch Boy
Molly Ostertag, 2017
Recommended by Elisabeth S.
"This is all about witches, shapeshifters, and who ought to be able to be which; I loved it so much!"
The Harry Potter series
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling, 1997-2007
Recommended by Mary Rodgers B.

Wizard for Hire
Obert Skye, 2018
Recommended by Amanda R.

The Good Demon
Jimmy Cajoleas, 2018
Recommended by Louisa W.

The All the Boys series
To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Jenny Han, 2014-2017
Recommended by Mary Rodgers B.

Beneath the Sugar Sky
Seanan McGuire, 2018
Recommended by Elisabeth S.
"What happens when your mother is murdered years before you're supposed to be born? I think this is my favorite so far in the macabre Wayward Children series."
Julie Murphy, 2015
Recommended by Mary Rodgers B.

An Enchantment of Ravens
Margaret Rogerson, 2017
Recommended by Katie G.

The Princess and the Dressmaker
Jen Wang, 2018
Recommended by Katie G.

Elana K. Arnold, 2018
Recommended by Amanda R.

The Immortalists
Chloe Benhamin, 2018
Recommended by Shellie Z.

Brief Cases: More Stories from the Dresden Files
Jim Butcher, 2018
Recommended by Margaret S.

The President is Missing
Bill Clinton, James Patterson, and David Ellis, 2018
Recommended by Hulen B. and Margaret S.

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, 2014
Recommended by Natalie D.

Bingo Love
Dee Franklin and Jenn St. Onge, 2017
Recommended by Annie W. and Louisa W.

Cold Mountain
Charles Frazier, 1997
Recommended by Tracy C.
"There is not one word that is not perfect… and I am not exaggerating."
I Hear the Sunspot
Yuki Fumino, 2017 (translation edition)
Recommended by Amanda R.

The Reckoning
John Grisham, 2018
Recommended by Hulen B.
"Told in three parts, this Grisham novel is the story of a man and his wife who are united in death. It is a unity of permanence that they did not achieve in life. Side stories include the children of the coupe and how they lose ownership of their parents' estate and the tale of a local preacher who got in the way of the couple's relationship."
The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah, 2015
Recommended by Susan L.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Veronica Henry, 2017
Recommended by Mary Rodgers B.

The Boats of the Glen Carrig
William Hope Hodgson, 1907
Recommended by Daniel W.

The Drawing of Three
Stephen King, 1987
Recommended by Josh S.

Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell, 1936
Recommended by Will B.

The Binti trilogy
Binti, Home, and The Night Masquerade
Nnedi Okorafor, 2015-2018
Recommended by Elisabeth S.
 "Utterly beautiful. Science fiction at its finest."
The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje, 1992
Recommended by Tracy C.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Heather O'Neill, 2017
Recommended by Shellie Z.

Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone
Phaedra Patrick, 2017
Recommended by Louisa W.

Kiss the Girls
James Patterson, 1995
Recommended by Lacy E.
"Kiss the Girls was one of my favorite reads of 2018. It is the second book in the James Patterson Alex Cross series and was originally published in 1995. Those who are fans of murder and serial killer podcasts should re-visit this easily devoured novel. I read it over the span of a conference weekend with two long layovers. It’s the best $.25 I spent at a library book sale. Make sure you check out the 1997 film starring Morgan Freeman!"
C.L. Polk, 2018
Recommended by Amanda R.

The Bedlam Stacks
Natasha Pulley, 2017
Recommended by Ally M. 

The Alice Network
Kate Quinn, 2017
Recommended by Shellie Z.

A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Karen Armstrong, 1975
Recommended by Derrion A.

The Bible
King James version
Recommended by Sandra T.
"I read this over and over. It's my favorite thing to read."
Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution
Jack Bogle, 2018
Recommended by Hulen B.
"The author, who was one of the original creators of the concept of index funds, discusses the pracitcality of such funds (ETF style or financial house created) in today's economy, along with notation as to probable 2019 predictors. The author suggests that these insights are important, as index funds hold such a large percentage of the US stock/equity market."
Origin Story: A Big History of Everything
David Christian, 2018
Recommended by Derrion A.

Guns, Germs, and Steel
Jared Diamond, 1997
Recommended by Derrion A.

Angela Duckworth, 2016
Recommended by Hulen B.
"Written by a psychologist who believes that the "grit" of a person is a better predictor of an individual's success than one's IQ or one's talent. (Grit, in this writing, is expressed as an individual's passion combined with perseverance.)"

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
Drew Gilpin Faust, 2008
Recommended by Derrion A.

My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie
Todd Fisher, 2018
Recommended by Will B.

The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran, 1923
Recommended by Andrea' R.

Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915: Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington
August Meier, 1963
Recommended by Derrion A.

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone
Brian Merchant, 2017
Recommended by Margaret S.

Michelle Obama, 2018
Recommended by Margaret S.

Dear Fahrenheit 451
Annie Spence, 2017
Recommended by Mary Rodgers B.

Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story
Ariel Teal Toombs, Colt Baird Toombs, and Craig Pyette, 2016
Recommended by Will B.

Tara Westover, 2018
Recommended by Natalie D. and Andrea' R.

The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South
Wayne A. Wiegand and Shirley A. Wiegand, 2018
Recommended by Tracy C.
"Completely enlightening, especially in the fact that what we consider a core tenet of the modern public library, the library as community, was created by black librarians/libraries because there WAS no place for the black community to gather."
So? Which were your favorites?
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