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Friday, November 18, 2011

Team USA!

It’s here! It’s here! The 2012 Guinness World Records is here!

I’ve written before about how much I loved the Guinness Book of World Records as a child, and I have to admit: I’m still pretty enamored. The format is much different now—instead of a thick paperback, it’s now a glossy magazine-type book with colorful pictures. And yes: while I suppose it’s interesting to read about the sports records (Rob Kish once cycled from California to Georgia in 8 days), the most expensive book sold at auction ($11.4 million for Audubon’s Birds of America), and the tallest bridge (Millau Viaduct in France is 1095 feet, four inches high), what I’m after is the gross stuff.

You know what I’m referring to: the fingernails.

Chris “The Dutchess” Walton, an American, is the proud owner/maintainer of nails that are 10 feet, 2 inches on one hand and 9 feet, 7 inches on the other. That would be 19 feet, 9 inches of fingernails. However, before The Dutchess gets too full of herself, I should point out that she doesn’t hold the all-time longest fingernails. For women, it was Lee Redmond, who had a total length of 28 feet, 4.5 inches. Here is a direct quote from the book: “Unfortunately, Lee lost her nails in an automobile accident in early 2009” (82). I will say no more. The longest fingernails on a man were on Melvin Boothe, whose nails totaled 32 feet, 3.8 inches. Both Redmond and Boothe were American.


Tune in next time when I tell you who won the Longest Beard on a Living Person (Female) award.

Guinness World Records 2012. London: Guinness Word Records Limited, 2011.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beware The Black Squirrel

Mississippi had a rich Native American culture before the 1800s. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, and other agreements between the Native American tribes of Mississippi and the government, served to change all of that:

When the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed, there were over 19,000 Choctaws in Mississippi. From 1831 to 1833, approximately 13,000 Choctaws were removed to the west. More followed over the years. Those who chose to stay in Mississippi are the ancestors of today's Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. -Choctaw Indians in the 21st Century
Whilst skimming Mississippi, As a Province, Territory, and State (the book was first published in 1880; words like "whilst" are used a lot!), I ran across a few Choctaw nuggets which were too fascinating to let escape.

    Black squirrel, sun eater
  • The Choctaw believed that an eclipse was caused by black squirrels attacking and eating the sun. If the black squirrels were not driven away, the Choctaw thought that they would eat the entire sun. During an eclipse, the tribe would emit a loud clamor, with some even shooting at the sun. This would last until the squirrels had been frightened away or the eclipse ended (Claiborne 524). There can't have been too many eclipses, though, because the squirrel population in Mississippi seems to be thriving to this day.
  • The Choctaw language is at once foreign and familiar to Mississippians. For example, Sha-ko-loke-o-kah-hick-ki-a-bogue means cypress standing in the water creek (Claiborne 525). Really, that isn't much different than Shuqualak (hog's wallow) or Bogue Chitto (big creek)! (Brieger)
  • The Choctaw had an interesting take on capital punishment. A murderer was expected to turn himself in at an appointed time and place to be put to death by one of their family members. He could, however, ask for a short stay of execution in order to attend previous engagements. Once the time was up, the only honorable thing to do was turn oneself in with no shirking. On rare occasions, an older family member would stand in for a youthful murderer (Claiborne 488).
  • Tom-ful-la was a favorite dish made of corn soaked in lye and then boiled. It was seasoned with bear oil, deer tallow, and nuts (Claiborne 501). That actually sounds pretty good! (Bear oil and deer tallow taste like butter, right?)
If you would like to know more about the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, try their website, or stop by the Mississippi Library Commission and check out a book!
Breiger, James F. Hometown Mississippi. Historical and Genealogical Association of Mississippi, 1980. Print.
Claiborne, J.F.H. Mississippi as a Province, Territory, and State. Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1978. Print.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Library Association Names Prominent Award Recipient

Kathy Buntin
The Mississippi Library Association (MLA) recently awarded the 2011 Peggy May Award to Kathy Buntin of the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) at their annual conference held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson. The Peggy May Award, named for Peggy May, a true champion for libraries throughout this state, recognizes an individual who exemplifies outstanding achievement in library development and/or recruitment of personnel into the library field.

Dr. Melissa Wright, a former MLC co-worker, nominated Buntin. In her nomination, Wright wrote, “When I finished my MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science degree) and got my first job at the Mississippi Library Commission, I was well grounded in the basic library principles, but otherwise clueless! While my library science coursework gave me a good foundation, this year’s winner of the Peggy May Award made me a librarian. She took me under her wing and answered my questions, introduced me to people around the state, and helped me hone my library skills. Kathy embodies everything that a librarian should be: she is hard working, innovative, service-oriented, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help a librarian in need.”

Buntin received her master of library science degree from the University of Alabama, served as director of the Tallahatchie County Library for four and one-half (4½) years, and was hired by the Mississippi Library Commission as special projects officer in the Grants Services Department. She currently serves as Senior Library Consultant in the Development Services Division of MLC.

When asked what her thoughts were about the nomination, Buntin stated, “I am honored to be awarded the 2011 recipient of the Peggy May Award and thankful that my parents and friends were able to share the moment with me. Never have I envisioned myself nominated by a peer, former co-worker and friend for inclusion in this group of librarians whom I have admired as role models in the profession. It is humbling. Being a librarian is more than a job, it is my career and an integral part of how I see myself. It is hard to imagine receiving this award for doing something that I love. The support of family and friends has been crucial in my professional development and I hope that I am able to continue to serve the State of Mississippi and especially Mississippi librarians for years to come.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stay or Go: Romanov Edition

Kudzu, the Mississippi weed

One of the never-ending tasks of a librarian is to "weed" the collection. That means exactly what it says: like a massive growth of kudzu, bad books are trying to take over the library. Librarians continuously cull to make sure that the best books are available for their patrons use. It's hard. I love books, and I think that each and every one of them is valuable in its own right--or at least was at one point in time. That said, no one wants to go to the library and find crumbling, moldy, mildewed books. Books that are no longer relevant (think travel guides from 30 years ago or a history of Europe that ends in 1985) aren't popular either. A website called Awful Library Books is devoted to promoting good library books and to removing the baddies from the shelf. A clever acronym has even been coined to help in the weeding process:

  • M - Misleading
  • U - Ugly
  • S - Superseded
  • T - Trivial
  • I - Irrelevant
  • E - Found Elsewhere
Let me tell you, MUSTIE has helped me out in a pinch when trying to decide if a book should stay or go.

Alexei Romanov
Last week, I watched Russian Revolution in Color, which was excellent. Later, I was browsing the shelves for books to put in a display and ran across The Escape of Alexei, Son of Tsar Nicholas II: What Happened the Night the Romanov Family Was Executed. (This is always dangerous. I also managed to pick up Rising Tide and Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe. I have too many books to read!) Wanting to stay on my Russian history kick, I took Alexi home and was looking forward to reading about this theory. I'd never heard a tale about the Tsar's son surviving, only Anastasia. The book wasn't a bad read, but it presupposed knowledge of tiny details of the Russian Revolution. Even my recent viewing of Russian Revolution in Color wasn't helping. And the NAMES! They're enough to make you want to run screaming from the library! (For example, Konstantin Alexeyevich Myachim also went by Vasily Vasilievich Yakovlev. That's quite an alias.)

Taking a break, I decided to do a small web search in order to update my Romanov savvy (And to take a break from the names! Yes, I struggled when I read War and Peace.) I hit Wikipedia and then moved on to some of their external links (This is one of my favorite at-home search methods.) I came across some interesting sites, like this one, and this one. Imagine my disappointment to find that the two bodies that had been missing when my book was published in 1998 had been found and identified in 2007. I don't know how I missed that news flash. My impromptu research made my interest in Alexi completely fizzle.

I'm recommending that this particular book leave our collection. I now consider it contaminated with a great big "M". (That's misleading, remember?!) It would be perfect for a library that has a special collection on Russian history or the Romanovs, but not the Mississippi Library Commission. I checked our collection (You can do that here!) and found that we don't have anything that has been published in this area in the past several years. My next step is to find an up-to-date volume that covers this time frame in history. I'm leaning towards one of these two: The Resurrection of the Romanovs: Anastasia, Anna Anderson, and the World's Greatest Royal Mystery or The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg. Now, that sounds better, doesn't it?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life-long Learning at the Library!

 Barbara Price, Library Consultant at MLC, won a blue ribbon at the Mississippi State Fair. The ribbon was awarded for her Tunisian Crochet Sampler afghan. Many people have never heard of Tunisian Crochet, which is why Barbara decided to create the afghan to display the versatility of Tunisian crochet. The afghan demonstrates the 10 Tunisian stitches, as well a two panels of basic which demonstrate patterns created by changing colors and cross-stitch on basic Tunisian crochet.

 When asked how she learned about Tunisian crochet, Barbara’s answer is always “In books!”. She first became interested because of her cross-stitching. She wanted to know about how to cross-stitch on crochet, and learned this from McCall’s Big Book of Cross Stitch (ISBN 0-8019-7363-5). This book included instructions for basic Tunisian crochet. Barbara recently completed an afghan of basic crochet with an eagle cross-stitched in the center.
 When she wanted to know more about Tunisian crochet, she turned to another book, the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework (ISBN 0-89577-059-8). This book taught her the 10 Tunisian stitches, which are Basic, Knit, Purl, Cross-stitch, Lace, Popcorn, Honeycomb, Bias, Cable, and Shell. There are variations on these stitches also.

If you want to know more about Tunisian crochet, check your library catalog. I found the above older books still owned by some libraries, plus a 2009 book by Sharon Silverman titled Tunisian Crochet: the look of knitting with the ease of crocheting.

Post written by Barbara Price, guest blogger

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Library Support Staff Certification Registration Assistance Awards Available

Through a grant to the ALA-Allied Professional Association from the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Mississippi Library Commission is again offering financial assistance awards (one-half of registration fees) to library support staff applying for certification in the ALA Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program. The program offers library employees, from any type of library, the opportunity to achieve recognition for their experience, enhance library service, and increase skills and knowledge in the foundations of librarianship, technology, and communication.

LSSC provides a path to recognition and awareness of the critical role played by library support in the delivery of quality library service. In order to achieve certification, support staff must achieve six of ten competency sets either through development of an online portfolio or taking approved courses. The competency sets are Foundation of Library Service; Technology; Communication and Teamwork; Access Services, Adult Readers’ Advisory Services; Cataloging and Classification; Collection Management; Reference and Information Services; Supervision and Management; and Youth Services.

The Mississippi Library Commission will offer four (4) Registration Assistance Awards in Spring 2012. The Awards of $175 each covers one-half of the LSSC registration and application fee.

To be eligible to participate in LSSC and to receive an Assistance Award, an applicant must have a high school degree/GED and have worked the equivalent of one year (1820 hours) as a library staff member or volunteer within the last five years.

The application form for a Registration Assistance Award is available for download on the Library Commission website.

The deadline for submission of applications to the Library Commission is November 15, 2011. Award recipients will be selected by random drawing on November 21, 1011. Contact Barbara Price at with questions.

Nancy Bolt, Co-Project Director of LSSC commented “LSSC is really pleased that the Mississippi Library Commission is participating in the Registration Awards We are confident that support staff will find certification to be helpful and are thankful for this grant from IMLS.”

Visit the Library Support Staff Certification Program website for more information on LSSC:

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Love My Calendar Girls (and Boys)

I've spent quite a bit of time sifting through U.S. Federal Census records this week. I invariably run across a few names that are... unusual and unique. After finding several Octobers in one family, I decided to see if there were more people out there with so-called "calendar names." I'm not the only one with a propensity for a name with flair, though. (We've done this in the past with positive results.) Hold onto your day planners and check out this list of "dated" names.

  • January Ball
  • February Graves
  • March January
  • April Showers
  • Lillie May Flowers
  • Ima June Bug
  • July Forth
  • August Bee
  • September Augusta (This seems to be a predominately male name...)
  • October Friday (While this seems to be a predominately female name. Go figure.)
  • November Driver
  • December Rose
  • Sunday Martini
  • Monday Vanderpool
  • Tuesday Stinchcomb
  • Wednesday Butts
  • Thursday Gobble
  • July Friday Parker
  • Saturday Booms
  • Calendar Love (If this man hadn't been born in the 1800s, I'd swear he was the inspiration for the Neil Sedaka song.)
  • Day Night
  • Week Economy (I promise I didn't make this one up, but he might've.)
  • Month Quinn
  • New Year Body (Poor lady. Poor, poor lady. Bless her heart.)
My absolute favorites are the double calendar names. One wonders if they're singularly good at remembering appointments. My one disappointment? I didn't find a single Wednesday Addams in the Census.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mississippi's Kids And The Need To Read

Saturday, I spent some time at the Mississippi Library Commission's booth at the Mississippi State Fair. Along with my coworker, we talked to many of our fellow Mississippians about library services in our fair state. We saw a lot of younger library users, too, who were eager to grab our offerings of finger puppets, library activity books, and crayons. Let me tell you--these kids are reading! They love books and they love to talk about them. Some of the favorite authors and books we heard about were the Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey, the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park, and the Heroes of Olympus books by Rick Riordan. It's simply wonderful to listen to a fourth-grader stumble over his words because he's so terribly excited to tell you about a book he just read. This is exactly why the Magnolia Award has been created.

The Magnolia Award's purpose is "to introduce the children of Mississippi to current children's literature and instill a love of reading." At this time, children in grades 3, 4, and 5 can vote for their favorite book out of a list of ten nominees. (Each year, any adult can nominate children's books for the award. There are some basic criteria; you can read about them here.) Starting in 2013, children in kindergarten through 8th grade will be able to weigh in with their choices.

This is the list of nominees for 2012:

  1. Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Lee
  2. Calvin Coconut: Zoo Breath by Graham Salisbury
  3. Dying to Meet You: 43 Cemetery Road Book by Kate Klise
  4. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell
  5. Hallelujah Flight by Phil Blinder
  6. Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
  7. Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor
  8. Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog by Eileen Beha
  9. A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
  10. Wild Card by Tiki Barber
Voting is in February of 2012 and the winner will be announced in April at the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. Children need to have exposure to at least half the books on the list in order to vote. (They can either read the books themselves or listen to them.) Luckily, the Mississippi Library Commission has ordered all ten books! Boy, I wish I could vote!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mildred D. Taylor, Hear My Cry

"We have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here." - Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
In 1977, Mississippi native Mildred D. Taylor won the Newbery Medal for her book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. In 1986, my mother gave it to me for Christmas. (They've redone the cover art since I was in elementary school, but this image is the one I remember.) The book is the third in a semi-autobiographical series about an African American family living in Mississippi. (Taylor based the books on her own family history.) It's set during the Great Depression, when lives were hard for farmers in the Delta, and even harder if your skin wasn't white.

This book was seminal to my understanding of race relations in my home state. I had heard the "N" word before and I knew it was a bad word that I wasn't supposed to say. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry explained why. It explained the front page of our textbooks, which even in the 1980s had a place for the race of the child using a book for the year. It explained the hurt that happened when someone was discriminated against for the color of their skin and the awful, insurmountable hatred that people inexplicably feel for their fellow human beings. It made me realize that words can do much more than hurt, that they can carry the prejudice, hate, meanness and unfounded superiority of past generations. After reading Mildred D. Taylor's book, I vowed that I would never say or even think words like the "N" word. I would never be like the people in her book.

Despite being an award-winning book for tweens and teens, the short novel has been the focus of several discriminatory groups:
  • In 1993, a Louisiana high school removed it from its reading list because of "racial bias."
  • In 1998, a California middle school challenged it because of "racial epithets."
  • In 2000, an Alabama elementary school library challenged it because of "racial slurs."
  • In 2004, a Florida school district challenged it because it was "inappropriate" for the age group reading it. Also, it uses the word "nigger."
To these detractors, I say, "Pish!" It is vital that children read more books like this. Books can entertain, true, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is entertaining. Exceptional books, however, do much more than just entertain. They enlighten. They educate. They expand our minds. So much better to read, understand, and learn to form our own opinions than to sweep everything under the proverbial carpet.

Doyle, Robert P. Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2010. Print.
Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. New York: The Dial Press, 1976. Print.

Then Again, Maybe I'll Read Deenie Forever.

I’ve put off writing about my favorite banned book this week because there are just so many to choose from. I’ve decided to go with ALL of Judy Blume’s books as my favorite banned books--because almost all of them have been challenged for one reason or another. I am grateful that my parents let me read whatever I wanted to growing up--or perhaps they just weren’t paying attention--because having the freedom to read is a gift.

When those books you want to read contain topics that you absolutely do NOT want to talk to your parents about, Judy Blume is a lifesaver. And contrary to censors' opinions, reading about someone doing something doesn't mean you're going to run out and do the same thing. Some of my favorites include the following Blume titles--I’ve also included the number of times they’ve been challenged in school and public libraries:

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret: 7 challenges
Blubber: 15 challenges
Deenie: 13 challenges
Forever: 21 challenges
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself: 3 challenges
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t: 12 challenges

Of those, I think Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself is my favorite. I reread it a few months ago, and I was oblivious to the “profane, immoral, and offensive” content that parents have objected to. The worst thing I can remember is that Sally thinks Hitler is living in Florida.

When I was in middle school, Forever was a big deal. A BIG DEAL. Copies were always getting confiscated by teachers. I remember that my friend Carrie got in trouble for talking in science class and was banished to the science lab, a small room in between two regular classrooms. There she found a confiscated copy of Forever, which she snatched up, read, and then passed around. A true first amendment hero (and minor delinquent)!

There is good news: according to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, the agency that records information on challenged books, challenges are at their lowest since 1990.

You can look here for more information on challenged titles—lists of titles by year, lists of authors, classics that have been challenged and banned, and more.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Books Week!

It's banned books week! We'll be posting our favorite banned books here for the remainder of the week.

Here is my favorite:

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This is my FAVORITE book. Period. The Bell Jar, published in 1963, is the only novel that was ever written by famous American poet, Sylvia Plath. Plath first published the book under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young lady from Boston, Massachusetts. Esther dreams of being a writer and spends a summer interning for a popular women's magazine in New York City. After her internship, she had plans to attend a writing course from a famous author. Upon her arrival home she learns that she did not make it in to the course. The book chronicles Eshter's life as she struggles with serious depression and adjusts to life in a mental institution. Many of the events in Esther's life mirror those of the author, Sylvia Plath. The book has been said to be an autobiography of Plath's life, but with a fictional character as the focal point. Of course, not everything that Esther goes through really happened to Plath.

The book has faced its fair share of opposition over the years. In 1979 it was prohibited in schools in Warsaw, Indiana. In 1981 300 residents signed a petition in an attempt to get the book removed from libraries because it contains sexual material and promotes an "objectionable" philosophy of life. In 1998 it was challenged for use in English classes in the Richland, Washington high school district because it stressed suicide, illicit sex, violence, and hopelessness.

Stay tuned for more of our favorite banned books!

Doyle, Robert P. 2007: Banned Books: 2007 Resource Book. Chicago: American Library Association.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meebo and the Phenomenal Governor William Winter

Governor William Winter,
Marshall Bouldin III, 1983.

Last week, a Meebo friend asked us a question about the portrait of former Governor William Winter hanging in the Hall of Governors at the New Capitol. With a little bit of help from our friends at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, I was on my merry way. They pointed me to an article in The Clarion-Ledger that was written when the governor left office in 1984. I learned all about the former Mississippi governor, his portrait, and his celebrated portraitist, Marshall Bouldin III. Winter's portrait is unusual in that there are six other people portrayed in the picture. They are:  
  1. An African-American man who represents that population of the state of Mississippi.
  2. Governor Winter actually appears in his portrait twice. He's man in the dark suit, and he's mimicking a pose he liked to strike.
  3. The third man from the left in the picture is David Crews. He was Winter's press secretary.
  4. Elise Winter, Governor Winter's wife.
  5. If you peer closely at the portrait and look between Elise Winter's head and the large column, you will see the head of Herman Glazier poking up. He was Governor Winter's executive assistant.
  6. Last but not least is Jason Bouldin, who at seventeen, represented the youth of the state of Mississippi.
Our former governor also has a sense of humor. At the unveiling of his portrait, Governor Winter related the following anecdote:
"You know, I was on my way down here and I heard one man say to another, 'What's that crowd down there for?' And the other one said, 'Why, they're getting ready to hang the governor."
Black, Patti Carr. Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998. Print.
Holland, Elizabeth. "Winter's portrait joins predecessors in hall." The Clarion-Ledger, 5 Jan. 1984: B3. Print.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Books!

It occurred to me a moment ago as I scurried to the new book shelf to snatch up Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones, and Butter that we haven't done a list of interesting new books lately. Let's remedy that!

Here are some of the new books we've recently acquired:
Gourmet Today
The Essential New York Times Cookbook
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman (such a good book!)
Neverland: J.M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan by Piers Dudgeon (this is on my list)
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larsen(a great read!)
The Disappearing Spoon: and Other Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean (also on my list)
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman
Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel
The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks
My Father Married Your Mother: Dispatches from the Blended Family
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Manhunt for his Killer by Hampton Sides

If any of these strike your fancy, come on in, get a card, and browse our new book shelf, why don't you?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rockets on the River

Today I got a Meebo request asking if I could find some information on NASA transporting Apollo rockets by river. At first I was a little skeptical: a rocket floating down the river? That’s crazy! It turns out it actually happened and Mississippi played a role in it!

With the Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik in October of 1957, America really began to feel the pressure in the space race. In answer to Sputnik, America began designing and building several Saturn rockets as part of NASA’s Apollo program. The Saturn rockets were built in three different stages. The first and second stages were assigned to Chrysler and Boeing. The companies were given the Michoud Ordnance plant in New Orleans to set up production. The plant was huge! 46 acres under one roof! Static testing of the first and second stages were to take place at the Mississippi Test Facility in Hancock County, MS, now known as The John C. Stennis Space Center. Stennis is now America’s largest rocket engine testing facility! In fact, there is a saying that goes, “If you want to go to the moon, you first have to go through Hancock County, Mississippi” ( From Stennis, the rockets then made their way to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL.

Shipment of the oversized pieces from Huntsville, AL to Michoud to the Mississippi Test Center to the Kennedy Space Center proved to be a challenge. The pieces were so large that transportation on the road was impossible. To solve this problem NASA opted to use a fleet of barges and ships. If things needed to get somewhere in a hurry NASA also used two Stratocruisers called “Pregnant Guppy” and “Super Guppy” to fly parts to their destinations.

Parts of the Saturn V being transported by barge is escorted by two tug boats.

Above is a map of the Saturn Barge route. The route began in Huntsville and ended in Cape Canaveral with stops along the way in New Orleans at Michoud and in Hancock County, MS at the Mississippi Test Center.

The Super Guppy! The front of the plane opened 110 degrees for easier loading.

I hope this answers your question, Meebo patron!

Cortright, E.M., Ed. (1975). Apollo Expeditions to the Moon. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Monday, September 19, 2011

All the News That's Fit to Print, Newton County Style

Last week I was helping a patron look for genealogical material in one of our reference books, Newton County, Mississippi: Newspaper Items 1872-1875 and W.P.A. Manuscript. While she studiously scanned census rolls, I swallowed my snickers over some of the newsworthy items of the late 19th century. I shared a few with my patron and we chatted a bit about what an experience it must have been to live in a small, rural Mississippi town nearly 150 years ago. Everyone knew everyone else. Everything and anything was worth at least a mention or a remembrance in the local town paper. Resources like this can provide invaluable clues for genealogy research in addition to a fascinating glimpse at small town life. Here's a small sampling of my favorites:
(The comments in parenthesis are my own.)

Thursday, September 26, 1872

A grey eagle was captured near Brandon the 17th that was 7 ft. from wing tip to wing tip. It had been carrying off young pigs. (My mom once gave a kitten to our across-the-street neighbor. An eagle or hawk carried it away. It did not make the news.)

Thursday, January 2, 1873

The thermometer dropped to zero this week. (It's always a hot topic in Mississippi when the weather gets cooler.)

Thursday, March 13, 1873

Marine Watkins will place his horse in a quarter race against any other Miss. horse. Purse unlimited.

James Taylor had a bad fall while painting the residence of Marine Watkins. (After reading this, I decided that Marine needed to make some extra cash to help James with medical expenses. That could be completely false, but it makes for a nice story, right?)

Thursday, April 3, 1873

W.H. Wilcox, formerly of Newton Co., has swindled people in Rankin Co. and deserted his wife and children. (News! I'm surprised that the wife and children's names weren't listed.)

Thursday, May 15, 1873

Capt. Scanlan gave a party Friday night that lasted long past midnight. (I'm sure the town biddies were all aflutter about this shindig.)

Mrs. Judge Watts has the best arranged gardens in town.

Mrs. Thos. Thompson has beets as large as Mrs. Watts. (Oh, yes. Keeping up with the Watts.)

Thursday, June 5, 1873

R.K. Batt was bitten by a moccasin while hunting last Friday. He was in pain for several hours, but is now up again.

Jno. Bynum wounded Martin Warren of 7 miles NE of Decatur during a quarrel over some dogs. Warren is not expected to survive.

Thursday, June 12, 1873

We have more dogs and goats in town than any other town of the same size in MS.

Mr. Warren has died of the wounds inflicted by Bynum.

Thursday, July 10, 1873

Mr. Chas. Burns brought us a beautiful coffee pot. He has many others. (How many coffee pots do you suppose he owned? Two? Three? Thirty?)

Mrs. Eliza Eubanks of Newton, grandmother of J.K. Warner who was killed by Martin Bynum, offers a reward of $200 for the apprehension of Bynum described as being 25 years old, tall & slender, light complexion & hair, with blue eyes.

Thursday, July 17, 1873

The coat of Dr. T.S. West was stolen from his room. He will be confined to his room until a new coat can be made. (You do realize it was July? I suppose a proper Southern gentleman just wouldn't go out without the correct attire.)

Thursday, July 16, 1874

Dr. Watts has a cucumber 36 in. long that looks like a swamp moccasin. (Couldn't you say that all cucumbers look like moccasins?)

Thursday, April 29, 1875

D.L. Young age 16 of Winona is a mathematical prodigy.

Mr. L. Young showed us some turnips as large as coffee cups. (I'm surmising that the Youngs visited town that day with D.L. and turnips in tow. Poor turnips. Poor D.L.)

From the WPA Manuscript portion of this genealogical treasure trove of a book, I found this summary of the happenings between Bynum and Warren:
Martin Bynum killed John Warren on June 3, 1873. Warren had caught up Bynum's stray cows and was holding them for payment of damages the cattle did his property. Words passed between the two, and without promise of future settlement of their disagreement, they began fighting. Bynum killed Warren with a barlow knife. Another act of self-defense.
"Without promise of future settlement of their disagreement..." What a pretty way to say they were stubborn as mules and couldn't work things out without fighting!

I hope you've enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane to small town Mississippi. Don't forget: In addition to providing great ancestral clues, old newspapers can provide a fun and insightful look at life long ago.,_English_-_Indianapolis_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC00628.JPG#file
Strickland, Jean and Patricia Nicholson Edwards. Newton County, Mississippi: Newspaper Items 1872-1875 and W.P.A. Manuscript. Ben Strickland, 1998. Print.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Google News Archives & Dear Abby.

It's a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon here in Jackson, and while the reference desk phone keeps ringing and people keep asking interesting questions (what is the mortality rate in Coahoma county for emphysema? for example), between calls I find myself drifting back into something I find highly entertaining.

First off, did you know that many newspapers are available digitally (and free) through Google News? What's most interesting for me is the Archives category. From there, you can search for older articles from a variety of newspapers and read the text for free.

This week as I was doing some research, I was looking on microfilm for some information. Now, searching microfilm is not always fun. (Do it long enough, and you might need some Dramamine.) What I like to do as I'm searching a newspaper is stop by and enjoy the scenery: I read the funnies, and I look at the movie listings, but my favorite thing is to read the advice columns.

One of the Dear Abbys I read from the 60s Clarion-Ledger I was searching was about a woman whose husband hasn't bathed since their son's wedding...THREE YEARS AGO!

In the 60s and 70s, Dear Abby and Ann Landers were almost nothing like what they are now. Besides the infrequent bather, many, many women wrote in to complain about their husbands' chest hair -- having too much, too little, whatever. Abby's and Ann's responses are also very unhelpful, which adds to my amusement.

While I can't sit around at the microfilm reader and continue to read hilarious letters all day, I CAN, when I have a minute, "refine my search skills" and "practice utilizing resources that are available to me" by doing a little Dear Abby/Google News Archives searching.

To search yourself and see what I mean, go to Google and click on News. Enter "dear abby" and any word at all. You may not get any results, but on the lefthand side, choose Archives. And let the fun begin! I tried "dear abby" and hamburger as my search, and got this article about a poor girl whose boyfriend is so cheap he only buys her hamburgers. And another girl whose boyfriend always gets ONIONS on his hamburger, which makes parting at the end of their dates awkward!

I find these letters so entertaining. However, I should point out that I hear you can also use Google News Archives to find real information as well.

Let us know if you find anything good in your searching!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Letters About Literature: Let's Go Writing, Mississippi!

It’s time to start thinking about Letters About Literature, the national reading and writing competition for students in grades 4-12. Letters about Literature is sponsored by the Center for the Book (in the Library of Congress) and Target stores nationally; locally, the Mississippi Center for the Book has partnered with the Friends of Mississippi Libraries.

In the contest, students write a personal letter to the author—living or dead—of their favorite books, explaining what the book meant to them, how the book changed their life, how they related to the characters…or anything at all, as long as it is a personal letter! Books can be nonfiction, fiction, or even a short story, poem, or speech.

There are three Levels of Competition:

Level I: Grades 4-6
Level II: Grades 7-8
Level III: Grades 9-12

State prizes include a $100 cash prize for first-place winners in each Level of Competition; a $75 cash prize for second-place winners in each Level of Competition; and a $50 cash prize for third-place winners in each Level of Competition. First-place winners will also receive a $50 Target gift card and will advance to the National Level Judging.

The national judges will select six National Winners (two from each Level of Competition) and twelve National Honorable Mention Winners (four from each Level of Competition). The National Winners will receive a $500 Target gift card, along with a $10,000 Letters About Literature Reading Promotion Grant for their community or school library. National Honorable Mention Winners will receive a $100 Target gift card and a $1,000 Letters About Literature Reading Promotion Grant for their community or school library.

Yes, that’s $10,000!

The contest runs from September 1 through January 6, 2012. Entries must be accompanied by an entry coupon, found here.

For more information, visit the Letters about Literature website at or contact Mississippi Center for the Book Coordinator Tracy Carr Seabold at or 601-432-4450.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fred Who? Fred Meebo!

Who is Fred anyway? Could this man be Fred?
 A curious Meebo patron asked us if the Fred who appears in the Fred's SuperDollar commercials is the eponymous Fred who started the discount retail chain. After a little digging, I am saddened to report that he is not. I found an article from 2010 that states:
Besides changing the faces of hundreds of Fred's stores, the company is changing the face of Fred himself. Well, sort of.
The company revived a 1990s "Fred" character for new in-store promotions and on-site events. The new Fred is a neighborly, older gentleman. However, much like the "Wilson" character from "Home Improvement," Fred hides his face somewhere between his fishing hat and cardigan sweater.
I did learn one neat nugget. Fred's began life in Coldwater, Mississippi in 1947. How's that for Mississippi entrepreneurship?!

Concord Mansion Meebo Request.

Last night we received an interesting Meebo request from someone looking for photographs of Concord Mansion in Natchez, which burned in 1901. Luckily for the patron and myself, there are several good photos available online.

The Preservation in Mississippi blog has a good image of the house from a postcard:

That blog post also includes the text of an article about the house fire from the March 21, 1901 Natchez Democrat.

Several other images are available on this blog about Old New Orleans:

And this one, taken in 1940 of all that remained:

That blog post also includes the text from the New York Times article about the fire.

Meebo patron, I hope this is what you were looking for! Please let us know if you need more information. You can Meebo us again, email us at, or call us at 601-432-4492!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MLC Tech News.

A few weeks ago, I attended a fantastic library conference -- and before you ask, "Is that an oxymoron?" let me tell you: it is rare that each and every session of any conference, library or no, appeals to your interests. But the Mid-South eResources Symposium and the MSU Emerging Technologies Summit (held back to back on a Thursday and Friday) were just fantastic!

The most interesting thing I learned seems kind of obvious, but I hadn't heard it explicitly stated before: if your product isn't available through a mobile device, you're dead in the water. If you can't access a library's catalog on an iPhone, people aren't interested. Sometimes it's difficult to see things as a non-librarian, but yeah, I agree.

To that end, I'm excited to announce two things: one, that you can download the iLib2Go app for iPhones and search MLC's collection! While I have no information on when it will be available for Android, the app is free for Apple products. Once loaded, you choose your library, and off you go. If you log in, you can reserve books, see what items you have checked out, etc. I know I'm a library nerd, but I think it's pretty cool. I did a test run and reserved Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. When I returned to work from the conference, the book had been pulled for me and was waiting on my desk! Service!

The second thing is that you can now text us your questions. We have a special text-only phone number, 601-208-0868, and encourage you to use it! (If you're a librarian and are curious, it's free through Google Voice. I have a how-to I can send you.) We plan to put the number on all of our study tables so that if our patrons have a question while in the stacks -- "Hey, did my article print?" "Where are the books on Pomerarians?" -- they can stay put and get their answers fast.

We're very excited to join the 21st century in these two exciting ways.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adult Summer Library Program Winners Announced

The statewide drawing for the awarding of prizes for “Novel Destinations,” the Adult Summer Library Program, was recently held at the Mississippi Library Commission (MLC). Winners were selected from participants of the Adult Summer Library Programs at 14 participating public library systems. The names were drawn by MLC’s Executive Director Sharman B. Smith while Consultant Barbara Price recorded the results.

The following are the winners’ names and prizes: Tracy Englert, The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal & Forrest County Library System won the Imperial Palace (IP) Casino and Resort in Biloxi’s - weekend stay; dinner for two at the impressive tien restaurant and a $100 Senses Spa & Salon certificate and Amy Dahl, Jackson-George Regional Library System also won an Imperial Palace (IP) Casino and Resort weekend stay in a luxurious standard room and dinner for two at tien; Nena Seiler, First Regional Library System won Bally’s Casino – Tunica in Robinsonville’s one-night, one room, hotel stay for two; the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi’s dinner for two at Vibe went to Scarlet Gassord, South Mississippi Regional Library System; Beth Jenkins, Sunflower County Library System, was the recipient of the Isle Capri Casino-Hotel in Biloxi’s two-night stay and two free buffets; Diamond Jack’s Casino in Vicksburg one-night stay and two dinner buffets was awarded to Barbara Harper, Yazoo Library Services; Sylvia Epperly, Lee-Itawamba County Library System, name was drawn for the Resorts Casino –Tunica in Tunica Resorts for two guests, one-night stay; Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg’s two guests, one-night stay, $40 certificate at Rocky’s and $10 GoPlay certificate went to Jessie McCarty, East Mississippi Regional Library System; Nanette Murphree, Hancock County Library System, won the two-night stay and dinner for two at The Great Buffet of Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino – Tunica in Robinsonville and Sue Weiger, Columbus-Lowndes Library System, was the recipient of the Silver Dollar Hotel & Casino – Pearl River Resort’s one night stay and buffet for two at Chef’s Pavilion.

As an added incentive to this year’s Adult Summer Library Program, nine Mississippi casinos donated prizes to adults who participated in the programs. The values of the prizes ranged from $100 to $430, and included free nights stay at the hotels, meals, and spa services. “Novel Destinations,” was the theme for the Adult Summer Library Programs. Each library system or branch provided different types of programs around the theme and many awarded local prizes in addition to the statewide prizes. All adults were eligible to participate; however, to be eligible to win a statewide prize, you had to be 21 years of age or older.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Librarian Karma!

Yesterday afternoon, a patron came in looking for a copy of The Help. While we have four copies (and a ten-copy set available for public libraries to use for their book discussion clubs), all of them are checked out at the moment. But because my patron has come in before and I knew her, I offered to loan her my personal copy, which I happened to have in my office.

“You’re so sweet!” she said.
“No, I’m a librarian,” I replied. As I smiled, a shiny reflection bounced off my tooth and there was a "ding!" sound in the air.

Today while at the reference desk, my patron came back with the book. “I’m done!” she said. (She was kidding.) She had a post-it stuck in the book to mark her place. “Turn to the bookmark and read the third sentence,” she said.

I turned to the page, and there sat a crispy $20 bill that I had apparently stuck in the book and forgotten about! While it was my money all along, it still felt like I was being rewarded for my small good deed. I'm now fighting the urge to run around the library handing out my copies of various books to the patrons.

If you haven’t yet read The Help but are dying to know the story, the movie opens nationwide today!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Picture Can Lead to One Thousand Words

Lillie Mae Walkup 1904
A few days ago, one of our Twitter followers asked if we could track down people.  Why, of course we can! Well, we can sure try. The young lady in question is a Miss L. M. Walkup from Florida. After seeing her in a class graduation picture--the only female to graduate from the Atlanta College of Pharmacy in 1904--our patron's curiosity was peaked. Mine was, too. How much is it possible to learn about someone from 100 years ago? Someone, that is, to whom my patron and I have no connection and therefore no way to gain any useful family anecdotes? Peruse the following and watch a snapshot form, all from census, military, and death records.

Miss L. M. Walkup's father was Henry C. Walkup. He was born in December of 1842. When he was 17, in May of 1861, he enlisted in Company B of the North Carolina 26th Infantry Regiment. Mr. Henry would've seen action in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and most horrifically, Pennsylvania. After seeing the atrocities of war at Gettysburg, Private Walkup was mustered out in December of 1863 due to an injury.

In the 1870 census, Henry is living in Sharon, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina with his wife Nannie, their five month old son, Robert, and their servant, Nancy Johnson. Henry has already become Dr. Walkup. (I suppose he was busy studying between 1863 and 1870.)

By 1880, Henry and Nannie have moved to Pineville in Mecklenburg County. Robert is no longer with the family (poor baby), but there are three other little boys and a girl all under the age of ten. Luckily, Henry's mother Dorcas and unmarried sister Julia are living with them. One hopes they helped Nannie with the children!

Little Miss Lillie Mae Walkup first appears with her twin sister Rosa L. on the Florida State Census in 1885. They are three years old and the youngest in a still growing family then consisting of their father the physician, their mother, and their sister and four brothers. The family lived in the small community of McIntosh, located south of Gainesville on Orange Lake. The family moved to there from North Carolina between 1880 and 1882.

At some point between 1888 and 1893, Mrs. Nannie T. Walkup went to her great reward. Her husband, Dr. Henry C. Walkup, remarried in 1893 to a woman named Ida H. (With absolutely no reason other than the fact that I like the name, I have decided "H" stands for "Hortense." What do you think?)

By the 1900 U.S. Census, sixteen-year-olds Lillie Mae and her twin Rosa were the oldest children in the household. Their younger siblings, Adam and Mary, went to school with them. Their father Henry worked as a druggist and physician and their step-mother Ida took care of the family. Miss Lillie Mae attended Atlanta College Pharmacy for two years and graduated in 1904. She was the class secretary and treasurer. After this, she returned to her family in McIntosh, Florida. Unfortunately, this was the last time I ran across her twin sister. (She has become my new obsession; I wonder what happened to her.)


By 1910, Lillie Mae's father Henry is presumably deceased. Her step-mother is living off her "own income" but several of her step-children are living with her. Lillie is a practicing druggist and her brother Adam is a physician. (Chips off the old block!) John and Samuel are merchants at a general store. Mary lives with them, too, but is unemployed.


By 1920, brother Samuel has left home, married, and started his own family. (They still live in McIntosh, though.) John is married and living in North Carolina; he runs a shoe store. Lillie and Adam are still practicing in their respective chosen fields and Mary is training to be a nurse. These three youngest "children" still live at home with Momma. According to draft registration cards, Samuel had blue eyes, black hair, and was of medium build and height. I wonder if they all had the same coloring.


By 1930, John has moved back to McIntosh with his wife Lucy. They have four children. Samuel still lives there with his wife Elizabeth and their four children. Adam was married in 1921 to a woman from Kentucky named Edna. He works as a physician on the railroad and also does some private practice. The couple lives in St. Augustine, St. John's County, Florida and has no children. Adam is also listed as a WWI veteran. (Samuel and John did not serve. I suppose they were too old and/or had too many children.)

The two unmarried sisters, Mary and Lillie Mae have moved to (guess where) St. Augustine, Florida!  Mary is an RN on private duty and Lillie Mae is a pharmacist at a retail drug store. They share a home on the same street as their brother. Step-Momma Walkup passed away in 1922 in St. John's County. It seems as if she must have moved there to be with her step-children.

Beyond 1930

Lillie Mae and Mary live together until at least 1934, according to city directories. By 1945, Lillie Mae has moved to Daytona Beach in Volusia County and lives alone. She passed away in 1952, when she was about 69 years old.

I agree with our patron--Lillie Mae Walkup was a fascinating individual. In 1910, less than 25% of women were "gainfully employed." Females only made up about 5% of the professional work force in Florida then. More than 85% of those professional women in 1910 were musicians, music teachers, school teachers, and trained nurses. In that day and age, she decided to enter a profession that was nearly absent of women. She was obviously very close to her family. I wonder how much her father's experiences in the Civil War influenced his children's career goals. She must have enjoyed her profession, too. She was a pharmacist for at least thirty years. That's some serious dedication!

I hope you enjoyed learning what you can discover in easily accessible historical documents. Remember, the Mississippi Library Commission offers free access to Ancestry Library Edition in the building. Another great goodie? Once you have applied for and received your MLC library card, you are eligible to receive access to our subscription to Heritage Quest for free!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Census + Librarians = Nuggets

Recently, I was searching for a boarding house in the 1860 U.S. Census. When I found it, I had a nice surprise. I managed to translate the census taker's looped scrawl into "librarian." That's right--in 1860, the Mississippi State Librarian was living at the Dixon House in Jackson, the very place I was trying to find:

1860 U.S. Federal Census - T.W. Johns
"Wouldn't it be even nicer," thought I, "if I could find a little nugget about this T.W. Johns, Librarian State, to share with our readers?" I snuck into Tracy's office and borrowed her copy of A History of Mississippi Libraries. (Thanks, Tracy!) As I scanned the list of former State Librarians, two facts grabbed my attention. One was that good old T.W. only lasted one year. (That's OK, T.W. Librarying isn't for everyone.) The second? The first female State Librarian, Mary Morancy, appeared in 1876. I managed to find her census record, too:

1880 U.S. Federal Census - Mary Morancy
Let me amend that. The list of State Librarians actually looks like this:
J.B. Harris for Mrs. Mary Morancy, 1876-1880
F.M. Shelton for Mrs. Mary Morancy, 1880-1884
Frank Johnston for Mrs. Mary Morancy, 1884-1892
T.J. Buchanan for Miss Rose Lee Tucker, 1892-1896
I found an explanation when I flipped the page:
Ladies have held the job since 1876, but from 1876 to 1896 it was the custom for a man to run for the post, then appoint a lady to serve.
I am flabbergasted at this system! I wonder if the men who campaigned for the library job they wouldn't perform advertised who they planned to appoint. I imagine this campaign slogan:
Vote for Tippecanoe--I'll get you Marian Paroo!
Aren't we lucky that they decided to move to a system where librarians were hired based on their accomplishments in their own right? If you would like to know a bit more about the Mississippi State Librarian, simply click the link!
Howell, J.B. and Margarete Peebles, eds. A History of Mississippi Libraries. Montgomery, AL: Paragon Press, 1975. Print.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter and the Overly Exuberant Librarian

I bought the tickets this morning. We're going to watch the last of Rowling's books take life on the silver screen. Both of us are literally counting down the hours; the back-and-forth texting comparing who is more excited has been going on since the crack of dawn. So, do you know what happens when a Harry Potter fan is a Reference Librarian? (Picture gleeful rubbing together of hands.)

  • A Potter family of four--James, Lily, and tots Minerva and Loyd-- lived in Otero, Colorado in 1900.
  • There were three James and Lily Potter households in the 1901 England Census:
    James and Lily Potter, 1900s style

    Little Hulton
    James Potter - coal miner
    Lily - wife
    John and Ethel - children

    James Potter - general labourer
    Lily - wife
    Lily Lee, Joseph Lee, and Robert Lee - step-children
    Henrietta Potter - daughter

    James Potter - printer
    Lily - wife
    Elizabeth - mother-in-law

    Now, why didn't any of them name a son Harry? That's just no fun!
  • In 1830, there were only two Harry Potters living in the US. Incidentally, they both lived in New York State.
  • By 1930, the number of Harry Potters in the US had increased to 229. One was even born in Mississippi in 1910.
  • Although there is no Voldemort in any of the US Censuses, there were 23 Tom Riddles listed in the 1930 census.
  • Neville's wedding cake
  • In May of 1994, a Mr. Neville Longbottom was married in Bristol. Congratulations, Neville!
  • From 1928-1944, a Hermione Granger lived in Monterey County, California.
  • There were six Lovegoods in the 1881 England Census. Sadly, none of them were named Luna or Xenophilius.
  • There were 41 Weasleys in the 1920 US Census. It seems the American branch wasn't as prolific as the British.
  • There were nine McGonagalls living in Scotland in 1871.
  • Dumbledore
  • Dumbledore means a humble-bee or bumble-bee.
  • Hagrid means exactly what it looks like... someone who is hag ridden, and thus, is oppressed in mind or harassed. "When she had not slept she did not quaintly tell the servants next morning that she had been ‘hagrid’." T. Hardy Mayor of Casterbridge
  • Snape means to rebuke or snub, or to check, restrain, or curb.
  • Mundungus is poor-quality, bad-smelling tobacco.

That's what a Reference Librarian with Harry Potter on the brain gets up to. Only 3 1/2 more hours until magic time. I could use a Cheering Charm to get me through. Get out your wands, people!
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