Friday, October 3, 2014

Confederate Camp Coming to the Library!

Has all the talk about the sesquicentennial of the Civil War gotten old for you? In 1864, the war dragged on for most Americans, too. The thought that the war would be quickly over had become a foolish memory. Americans endured hardships while the war dragged on and they looked at casualty lists for familiar names.

Our Southern Appalachian Mountains were not in the thick of it, but neither were they bypassed by the war and its ravages. October 2nd marked the 150th anniversary of an engagement at Saltville. And in early November 1864, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected president of the United States of America. A few days later, in nearby Bulls Gap, (Hawkins County) Tennessee, there was also a skirmish nearly 150 years ago.

November 1 the lawn of the Russell County Public Library's Lebanon Library will be the site of a Civil War Encampment. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans chapter will be camping on the lawn and visitors are invited to see how the soldiers would have lived and worked, cooked and slept 150 years ago. If the weather is poor, displays will be in the Library's Cumbow Meeting Room. The Encampment will coincide with the re-dedication of the monument in the center of town.

To learn more, check out the website This Day in the Civil War. Or stop by and check out the book Bluegrass Confederate: the Headquarters Diary of Edward O. Guerrant. Capt. Guerrant served in eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. While you are at the library, read the latest issue of the magazine Civil War Times or check out earlier issues.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Virginia's History in Handwriting - Help Transcribe It!

Do you like reading about history or do you enjoy working on word puzzles like crossword, Scrabble, or Words with Friends? If so, then Virginia has a project for you! The Library of Virginia has launched
Making History: Transcribe. This is part of the Virginia Memory collection. Basically they are inviting the public to look at handwritten historical Virginia documents online, and to type those documents to make them easier for others to read and search. Instructions for how to set up an account and join in can be found here:  If you can't make out every word that's OK, you can type the ones you're sure of and either guess or skip on the ones you aren't sure about.

Here at RCPL we have a similar project but on a smaller scale. Staff and volunteers have worked the past few years on transcribing the diary of Thomas T. Dickenson, a 19th century Castlewood farmer. He began his diary just as the Civil War was beginning. Being a farmer, he began most entrys with the weather of the day, and the work he did. However, he also notes historic facts and community news. If you would be interested in helping with this project, contact us at the library. Below are some examples from May, 1861.

Transcription of each above:
May 12:  Cloudy and warm—Josie and I went to baptism meeting; then to her Pa’s for dinner.  May had a calf.
May 13:  Clear AM Rain PM-- Put straight fence around yard.  R. P. D. here --sent corn to mill.
May 14:  Variable—sheared the sheep.  29 altered and marked the lambs
May 15:  Clear—put up posts and made a yard gate.  Jule had a mule.  Sandy sow had 6 pigs.
May 16:  Cloudless—Went to Father’s, made gate irons and put them on -  Commenced plowing corn.  Father here.
May 17:  Clear and cool—worked the road.
May 18:  Clear & warm. A portion of citizens of Castles Woods met at John Banner’s to form a home guard.  [Good?]
May 19:  Clear AM –Rain PM-Josie and I started to Lebanon to the training -  went as far H. B. Gray’s.
May 20:  Rained all day—did not train any.  North Carolina seceded by a vote of the Convention.
May 21:  Rained –Trained.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Changes at RCPL--more than the hours...

Russell County Public Library will be open to serve the public for 50 hours each week in the coming fiscal year. Honaker Community Library will be open for 10 hours each week and Lebanon Library will be open for 40 hours each week. This is fewer hours than in 2013-2014, but the schedule is the most we could manage with our budget.

The Library Board of Trustees approved the library’s budget for FY2015 (July 2014-June 2015) at their meeting Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Although the FY2015 funding from Russell County to the Russell County Public Library (RCPL) is slightly more than last year, our schedule this year exceeded our funding.

To balance our budget for FY2015 We have downgraded two full time positions to part time status, reduced other part time staff hours, eliminated one part time position, and further reduced library hours as noted below. Please note that each library is open one day during the weekend and at least one evening a week. We felt this would allow us to continue to provide library services to Russell County's citizens.

The only good news in this scenario is that there will be no furloughs (forced unpaid leave for staff) and no single day closures due to budgetary constraints. Excepting recognized state and federal holidays, the hours listed below will be the library's schedule.

To cope with the reductions in staff, RCPL has reviewed responsibilities of each staff member; many tasks have been eliminated for the coming year. In many cases the eliminated tasks are those that the public may be unaware of, but contribute to the smooth running of the library, for example, collection development tasks such as inventory or cataloging tasks such as database clean-up and re-indexing. Other tasks have been redistributed to accommodate reduced time in staff positions. We continue to depend on volunteers to keep the libraries running smoothly.

These changes will mean some changes in procedures and changes in some services available. Outreach to adult care facilities will be reduced to quarterly delivery. Local History services will be drastically reduced unless volunteers are available. RCPL's appearance at community events (outreach) will also be limited to when volunteers are available. We expect to continue to provide our core services, circulating material, providing Internet access and weekly storytimes for preschool children. Other programs will be drastically reduced.

The key to this scenario is the commitment of the library board and staff to provide services to our citizens and to live within our means. These changes are painful, but we remain dedicated to serving our community.

Honaker Community Library
Monday   Noon – 7 pm

Tuesday   CLOSED
Wednesday   CLOSED
Thursday   CLOSED
Friday   CLOSED

Saturday   CLOSED
Sunday   2 – 5 pm

Lebanon Library
Monday   CLOSED
Tuesday   10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday   10 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday   10 am – 8 pm
Friday   10 am – 5:30 pm

Saturday   10 am – 3 pm
Sunday   CLOSED

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Preservation Week at Russell County Public Library

Do you have pictures like this at home? You’re not alone. This week is Preservation Week, initiated by the American Library Association. According to ALA there are more than 4.8 billion historical artifacts in the United States. Many are held by libraries, museums, historical societies, and repositories. Many are also held by people in their home collections. Examples might be architectural drawings, audio and video recordings, photographs, letters, speeches, memoirs, diaries. The Russell County Public Library has examples of all of these in our local history collection. We have photo archives for historical places and buildings in the county, and also a family photo archive. We invite you to share your family history by donating copies of your family genealogy, historical documents, or photos you would like to preserve for future generations. If it needs to be copied, it must be an item or document that you own the copyright to, and we will ask you to sign permission to let us make a copy. Stop by and see us this week or anytime and talk to us about preserving Russell County’s history.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

National Library Week

Lives change @ your library is the theme of National Library Week, this year April 13th-19th. Has the library helped you change your life?

Did you check out a book on gardening or diet? Did you watch a movie or listen to music you borrowed from the library--something that moved you to tears?

Did you use the library when you were a child, or bring your own children?

Maybe you used Internet access to apply for a job...or your retirement!?

Share your library experience with us. And share it with others. Bring a friend to the library!

We have no big events planned for National Library Week this year. Our budget is still under consideration by the county supervisors; what amount they allocate the library will determine whether staff and hours are cut, or eliminated completely. So this year for National Library Week, the Friends of the Library are helping us highlight the Declaration for the Right to Libraries...because libraries change lives. You can sign an online petition, or you can stop by a library and sign in ink. The Friends of the Library are making the petitions available, as well as postcards they will deliver to the supervisors.

Celebrate National Library Week by stopping by your local library. Celebrate by making a positive change in your life; the library will help. You can find out more at

Sign the petition or call your elected representative to let him or her know that you believe you have the right to a library. Tell how you NEED and USE your library. Remind him or her:
                  Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared
                   to that of an ignorant nation.
-- Broadcaster Walter Cronkite

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Library Card Envy

How important is your library card?

Timothy Maloney is a big proponent of books and libraries; he visits his local libraries in Kentucky several times a week. He loves his library and considers libraries so valuable, that he has begun collecting library cards. He has cards from over 1300 libraries in over 45 states (and the District of Coumbia and the Ak-Chin Indian Community--plus more than a dozen foreign countries!) And he has a card from the Library of Congress.

Originally, Tim desired to visit each library but health and finances made that impossible. So he visits his local libraries and shares his collection of cards from other libraries. He says that this is just his way of showing his deep respect and appreciation for libraries.

So when Timothy asked Russell County Public Library (VA) for a card, even an inactive one, we said yes. Above you can see the picture of his collection displayed in the Walton Branch of the Boone County Public Library (KY)

Tim's email address is libraries_r_cool. We think so, too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Library Funding

Have you ever wondered how your local library is funded? "SNOOZE" may be your response, but if you want to keep your library, you might want to find out where the money comes from.

Russell County Public Library gets most of its funding from Russell County. The library makes an annual request and the Board of Supervisors allocates money to the library when they approve their annual budget, usually in late spring. The funds allocated by the county are about 75% of the library's budget. That's why the cut in funds in July made such an impact.

The library also receives money from state. The State Aid to Libraries program is administered by the Library of Virginia. State aid is by definition supplemental and is based on how much local support the library receives. It's a carrot and stick approach. The rules say if the locality gives the library more money, then the library gets more state aid. If the locality reduces money given to the library, then state aid can be withheld or reduced. The motivation is to keep funding at least level; if the library local funding is reduced, a library can typcially keep state aid if every agency also had a cut. State aid comprises about 20% of the library's budget. Learn more at

The library also receives funding from some towns, like Lebanon, as well as from grants. Most grants are like the e-rate grant--they can only be used for very specific things and typically can't be used for staffing. The Friends of the Library act like a booster club; they traditionally have focused on sponsoring the summer reading program and other activities and services for children. And lastly, your fines and fees? We get to keep that money and it goes back into our budget.

What does all this mean to you? Think Local. Most of the library funding is from local sources. Your taxes are allocated by the supervisors to many agencies and departments, from education to the Sheriff's department. Contact your supervisors and tell them what you care about. Contact your town council members and tell them what services you want and need.

They will tell you that money is tight and we can't have it all. But they can only serve you well if you talk to them.