Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Remembering COVID-19

Remember?! This dangerous new virus is consuming some of us with worry now. But in March 2021? In 5 years? 25 years? There will come a day when all this worry, annoyance, and fear is both a memory and our history.

Experts suggest we write down our experiences, hopes, and fears during this pandemic. These writings help us work through our feelings and give us a record for the future. Some day a youngster may ask you what it was like not being able to go out to eat or work. We offer hints on writing below; don't be intimidated. Anything you write will be like gold to your grandchildren.

After you have vented or worried about COVID-19 on paper or a digital file (we discourage using social media), here's a suggestion. After writing, have a family history chat.

Talk about how this is different from crises/events important to other generations (9/11, Challenger, JFK assassination, etc.). Talk about how these events affect the economy (what industries falter, which ones thrive, and what does that mean locally). Take a look at the RCPL Local History page and click on Russell County Rootsweb. This website has many interesting historical documents (deeds and probate, church, and military records).

If you have kids at home, congratulations: You just completed a lesson including geography, history, economics, and a smattering of science (COVID-19, Challenger, 9/11). Not so bad, eh?

Writing daily in a journal has been a way to see our world for thousands of years. (Look at the Dickenson manuscript on the Local History page.) If you write daily, you may find you have established a new habit that soothes your soul.

Writing Hints
  • Write for 30 minutes. It seems WAY too long, and your kids will whine about it (so will you), but do it. Set a timer, and everybody writes until it rings.
  • It doesn't matter what you write - just put words on the page for thirty minutes.
    • This is so stupid. I can't write for 30 minutes. I mean, I have nothing to say. If I could go see my hairdresser, now I could talk for an hour straight, but UGH. I hate this virus. I hate being stuck in the house. And honestly, I hate being responsible for my kids' education. See how easy that was? Keep going!
  • It's okay to share writing "triggers" each day when you start. (Your child's teacher can offer some suggestions.)
    • What do I miss most?
    • If this time at home were a gift, how would I use it?
    • If I could travel anywhere in the world, where would I go? Why choose that place?
    • What do I want to be when I grow up?      
    • Who do I most admire $ why?
    • What are my dreams? 
    • List my favorite books/songs/movies
    • The most disappointed I've ever been....
    • The biggest lie I've ever told...
    • My saddest memory....
    • What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
    • Three things I can't do without.
Submitted by Kelly McBride Delph

Monday, January 27, 2020

Is Your Data Private?

Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, Enabling Trust

Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower individuals and encourage businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust. Almost everyone knows someone who has been hit by identity theft or had their credit or debit card used by strangers. Some experts argue that it is inevitable that an individual will 'get hacked' at least once in a lifetime. But you can take steps to make it less likely that someone will access and use your  data.

Start with your passwords. Don't be daunted by those long passwords the systems all want you to create. Use a sentence than is meaningful to you or linked in your mind to the account. "JiMf+3lr!" is just "Jessica is my favorite teller!"   "pfd$Rck16" is "pet food discounts rock" for the pet you got in 2016.

Want to review and maybe tighten up your privacy settings? Try this Stay Safe Online link.
It can seem overwhelming to keep track of all the things that can go wrong. But if you bank online, use a debit card, and have a smart phone, you need to take responsibility for your data.

Challenge yourself to check one privacy setting or change one password each week. Take notes and keep them in a secure place. It might be the best resolution of 2020.

Posted by Kelly McBride Delph

Friday, October 4, 2019


Russell County Public Library celebrates 60 years of serving the community this month. Join us for cake at Honaker Community Library on October 7 and at Lebanon Library on October 22. You can take a picture to share with our selfie frame.

All month long we have Library BINGO. Treat our print calendar like a Bingo card: get a sticker when you attend a program (like the cake celebration!), check out material, or just show up in character costume. (Who will you come as? Joffrey from Game of Thrones? Harry Potter? Fancy Nancy? Jane Eyre or Mr. Darcy?)

Opening Day, Russell County Library
RCPL opened as a Demonstration Library in October 1959 on the second floor of the
Courthouse.  Library Director Kelly McBride Delph calls the picture on the right the "Founding Mothers" of RCPL. The Honaker Community Library opened more than 40 years later, also in October.

Now we are more than just books and magazines. Use your library card to download free ebooks, music, audiobooks, magazines, and music. Stop in and join our community.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 gather, to speak, to read...Banned Books

Infographic from
September recognizes several anniversaries or 'celebrations' that we like here in libraryland.

In honor of Constitution Day, September 17, please take a moment to appreciate the 230th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Unite to celebrate what was then a phenomenal new type of government, and likely a great risk.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Despite our problems and divisions, it has worked out pretty well. In the 230 years there have been 27 amendments; how many can you name? That averages one amendment every 8.5 years.

The Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-10, grant us many freedoms that the founding fathers thought warranted articulating. Amendment One makes clear that we have to right to speak and to publish without interference from the government. Most states, including Virginia, have laws that also make clear that we have the right to read what we wish and that what we read is a private matter. Your library borrowing record is private, protected information; nobody looks at it without a court order. (You're welcome.)

To celebrate our right to read as we please, libraries celebrate Banned Books Week September 22-28. You may be surprised to learn that many of your favorite books have been censored, if not banned, including the Bible. Follow the links and see how many banned books you've read. Also interesting is this blog about Forbidden Books from around the world.

September is also Library Card Sign-Up Month. Yes, libraries made this one up. Stop in to get a card or renew yours. We aren't just print books anymore. We are downloadable music, ebooks, emagazines, craft sessions, and games and trivia at neighborhood eateries...and real, live authors come October 12. Pop in, use the wifi, and say hello.

Posted by Kelly McBride Delph

Friday, August 2, 2019

Snapshots of History

Photography has been around since the early 1800s, but for the first 100 years, it was mainly used by professionals and the wealthy. Older techniques were labor-intensive, requiring specialized equipment and expert knowledge. Eastman Kodak released the first film camera in 1888, but at $25 (roughly $650 today) it remained prohibitively expensive.

Brownie 2 camera
Eastman Kodak finally brought photography to the masses with the introduction of the Brownie camera in 1900. Retailing for just $1, it was initially marketed to children but became popular with adults as well. By 1905 Kodak had sold 10 million Brownies.

This democratized photography. Now ordinary men and women could take photos of the people and places that mattered to them. These candid shots feel more real because we can see people going about their lives much like we do today - maybe even in the same places.

RCPL's digital photo archive preserves our history by showing where and how the people of Russell County lived, worked, played, and worshipped. And we want you to help! Saturday, August 24, is Photo Scan Day. Bring your old photographs in to be scanned. We'll add the digital photo to our archive, give you a digital copy and a new print copy as well. We're especially interested in places like churches, schools, and businesses.

We'll be open an extra two hours until 5 PM for Photo Scan Day, so please come and help us preserve our shared history!


Contributed by Katie Gilmer