Thursday, December 31, 2009

Musical Styles Along the Crooked Road

Musical Styles Along the Crooked Road is the exhibit at the Russell County Public Library during the month of January. The exhibit highlights the music that Southwest Virginia made famous and influenced generations of American musicians.

You can find more info at the Crooked Road website:

And put June on your calendar...that's when the Crooked Road Royalty exhibit will be at the library. In the meantime, stop by and take a look at the exhibit and pick up a book or CD to while away the cold days of January.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Readers Alert!

Book Group Begins!
A new book group is forming at the Lebanon Library. An organizational meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 5th, at 9:30 am. Join us for coffee & conversation. We’ll choose books to read & a time to meet.

Call 889-8063 for more information (And call to vote for an evening/weekend book group--we may end up with several new book groups!)

Winter is a great time to snuggle up with a good book! So visit your Russell County Public Library today! We're celebrating 50 years of serving Russell County. Let us serve you with a few good reads.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Get Creative about your library!

The At My Library Creative Essay Contest seeks original, creative essays about users' unique experiences at libraries and why American libraries are important. The grand prize winner will receive $350, and a People's Choice Award winner will receive $100. In addition, the top 10 finalists will have their essay published on the homepage of

The essays must be about library users' experience(s) at libraries and include the name of the library or libraries (or their Web sites) where the experience(s) took place.

Go to for complete details and instructions. Deadline to submit is December 7, 2009. And be sure to vote for the People's Choice Award, which ends December 14, 2009.

So if you've had a good experience--or just want to say why libraries are important, start planning your contribution now! And it's not limited to print essays--you can make a video or photo slide show.

And if you sign up for the newsletter in the next two months, you will be entered in a raffle for two Apple iPod Nanos. Valid email address is all that's required.

The only requirement of the essay is that it describes your personal experience at the library and that it includes the name of the library. So get creative and share the joy of libraries.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Celebrating 50 years!

Russell County Public Library will celebrate 50 years of serving Russell County on October 22, 2009. So mark your calendar, because there will be a party at both libraries! What's a birthday party without cake!?

We will emphasize history as we work our way through a year of celebrations, but we will also have some fun, like decade parties, so don't miss your chance to party like it's 1999!

What's happening this month? Some lucky readers will get edible 'reader's treats' this month when they check out a book. The deadline to enter the contest to design a new library logo is October 13. The TAB Haunted Circus will be Halloween evening. The list goes on...So stop by and visit us in Honaker and Lebanon, and the new library station in Cleveland.

October 22
Honaker Community Library
10 am - Noon Reception

Lebanon Library
2 - 4 pm Open House
4 - 6 pm Reception

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Server Upgrades

In case you missed it, the Lebanon library's technology got a face lift! I, with the help of a handy technician, have been working on installing a brand new server that will not only speed things up, but will ensure Internet up-time and constant access to files and documents. The old server will be moved to the Honaker branch, and will be installed soon. Please bear with us as we strive to make the technology at both libraries top-notch and easily accessible for everyone. We have experienced some downtime and may continue to have a few pockets of Internet outages in the coming days.

Thanks for your cooperation as we work on making things better for you here at the Russell County Public Library!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Katie's Goodbye to the Blog

I'm sad to say that after two years here at the Lebanon Library, I've resigned my position. I'm moving to the big city!!! - Washington, D.C., more specifically. Of course I'm excited for this move, and I'm looking foward to the many opportunities I'm sure are out there, but it was very difficult to hand in my resignation letter. It was difficult to even write it. For fear of stealing from Taylor Swift, I will say that there were quite a few teardrops on my computer keyboard.
I am grateful for all of the support and the opportunities provided to me here at the library. I'm especially grateful for the regular story-timers who brightened my Tuesdays and Wednesdays! I have learned so much in my time here, and I will carry those lessons with me to my next job and beyond. Reader, in case you missed it, that was your cue to shake your head at the overall sentimentality of this post. :)
Over the past two years, I have come to regard my RCPL coworkers and many library patrons as friends. I am sad to leave behind this wonderful group of people! So, in saying my goodbyes, I wish all of the staff and patrons the best of luck in the future, and I hope that all of our paths will cross again!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Library Magnifier

Thanks to a generous donor, the Russell County Public Library now has a Merlin video magnifier. This is a device that enlarges and enhances images for those who have impaired vision. It can magnify any image, such as printed text or photos, and display either black and white or color images. It is available for use in the library during regular operational hours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keeping Your Computer Clean

They may just be machines, but computers can get sick and lethargic just like us! If you've noticed that your home or work computer takes a lot longer to do simple things such as opening a program or a web browser window, you may want to follow these steps to try and remedy your slowness problem.

1. Free up disk space.
If you are running a Windows operating system, you will be able to clean up unnecessary files with a program (that's already installed) called the Disk Cleanup Tool. This program helps you to identify files that can be deleted safely from your computer. The types of files that you can delete with the Disk Cleanup Tool are: -Temporary internet files; -Downloaded program files; -Files in the Recycle Bin; -Windows temporary files; -Optional Windows components that you don't use; Installed programs that you don't use. FYI: Temporary internet files take up the most space on your computer because the browser saves a copy of each page your browser accesses for faster loading time later (called "caching").

2. Speed up access to data.
A computer phenomenon called "disk fragmenting" is a process that breaks up files needed to operate a computer program, storing them in varying places on the computer's hard drive. Each time the program is run, the computer has to take the time to find each and every scattered file so that it will operate correctly. Windows contains a useful tool called the "Disk Defragmenter" that consolidates related files and folders on your computer. You should run the Disk Defragmenter utility monthly to keep your computer operating at its optimal speed. If you don't think that you'll remember to run it every month, do so when the following occur: -Your computer's free hard drive space totals 15% or less; -You install new programs or a new version of Windows.

3. Protect your computer from spyware.
If you have never heard of spyware and you use a computer regularly, you can be sure that you've encountered it in some way. Spyware consists of programs and code developed specifically for the purpose of collecting personal information without letting you know and without asking your permission. Not only does spyware present security concerns, it can slow your computer down significantly. There are programs developed with the sole purpose of tracking and getting rid of spyware; some you pay for, and some are completey free. One free program offered by Microsoft is Windows Defender, which is installed as a part of Windows Vista. If you are running Windows XP, you will need to download Windows Defender from the Microsoft website by clicking here.

For help with learning how to find these utitilities on your computer, please visit the following website for step-by-step instructions:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Local History and Genealogy Research

Russell County Public Library Reminder: The library has several family genealogy records available in the local history room for researchers, as well as numerous books and files about the history of Russell County and surrounding counties. The library also houses Russell County marriage records from 1849 to 1911. There is a photo archive with old photos from all areas of the county, that patrons can browse at any time. The library also subscribes to (available in the library only) and Heritage Quest (available from your home computer if you have a library card).

Be Creative! The 2009 Summer Reading Program

Come and get creative this summer! The Russell County Public Library is pleased to announce dates and times for its 2009 Summer Reading Program performances and workshops. This year’s performances feature some old favorites, as well as some exciting new faces. A door prize will be awarded at the beginning of every event! Come and experience a week of story tellers, an art workshop provided by the William King Regional Arts Center, and a drama workshop in conjunction with the Lebanon Library Teen Advisory Board! For more information, contact Katie Britt at (276) 889-8044.

The Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of the Lebanon and Honaker Libraries. Gifts bags and goodies are provided by Food City, Wendy’s and McDonalds. The theme of this year’s program, Be Creative!, is provided by the Library of Virginia. Complete dates and times for both the Lebanon and Honaker libraries are listed below:

---Jeff Robbins: Musician
Friday, June 19, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
---Fran Combs: as Mother Goose
Monday, June 22, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
---Jerry Vencill: Mountain Man and Story Teller
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
---The Drama of Tableau: with the Lebanon Library Teens
Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.
---Linda Hartman: Story Teller
Friday, June 26, 2009
10:00 a.m. at Castlewood Elementary School
2:00 p.m. at the Lebanon Library
---Matt Fore: Magician
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.
---Ronald McDonald
Friday, July 17, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
---William King Art Workshop
Friday, July 24, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
---End of Summer Party: Sundaes
Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.

---Jeff Robbins: Musician
Friday, June 19, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.
---Fran Combs: as Mother Goose
Monday, June 22, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.
---Jerry Vencill: Mountain Man and Story Teller
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.
---Matt Fore: Magician
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 10:30 a.m.
---Ronald McDonald
Friday, July 17, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.
---William King Art Workshop
Friday, July 24, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.
---End of Summer Party: Sundaes
Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 The Computer Beginner's Handbook

If you were unable to attend the Basic Computer Skills Course at the Lebanon Branch of RCPL, you missed a great, informational, and helpful class! But no worries: I've scoured the Internet for useful websites about basic computing, and I've found one at is an online source for original information and advice, and is among the top 15 US Websites (Nielsen Online Spring 2008). I've read through the information offered here about computers for beginners, and I definitely approve. If you're curious about computers, or if you're bound and determined to learn more, maybe even a combination of both - check out the following website. As always, if you need guidance with anything involving a computer or the Internet, you can always visit the Library and we will do our best to help you! The Computer Beginners' Handbook

Friday, May 1, 2009

Basic Computer Skills Course @ RCPL - Lebanon

During the earlier part of this year, a series of computer courses were offered at the Lebanon library. Though we had a decent turn-out, it came to my attention that most of the individuals attending were not actually learning what they really needed to know about computers. With companies cutting jobs and the economy standing on its last leg, people are being expected to learn or utilize skills that they're not extremely experienced with - one being general computer use. After conducting a small computer skills survey, I've concluded that there's a large group of individuals in the Russell County area who don't know much, if anything, about how to correctly and efficiently use a computer.

I've scheduled a beginner's general computer skills course for May 16, 2009 from 11-2pm. No pre-registration is required for this course, so if you're interested in gaining some new insight into the world of computers, please stop by. I will be giving a small lesson starting at 11:00 and then the rest of the time will be set aside for practicing and one-on-one tutorials for those needing to understand a specific skill or computer-related task.

As always, if you should need help in learning a specific computer skill, such as opening a program or creating an email address, please don't hesitate to ask one of our staff for assistance.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Picturing America On Display

The Russell County Public Library will have an art display from Picturing America on May 2nd - May 3rd during regular library hours. Picturing America is a grant that the library received in 2008, containing American art and photography from various artists from the 19th century to the present, which are reproduced in large posters for easy viewing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Why Is It a Sin to Read for Fun?"

This is the title of an article in the newest edition of Newsweek, and the question it poses certainly deserves an answer. Here at RCPL, our patrons check out a variety of books for a variety of purposes, and many of them, and many of the employees here, myself included, enjoy reading for fun. So I ask you, the reader(s) of our blog, to thoughtfully consider whether reading for fun is really without merit.
In the body of the article, which focuses on Jodi Picoult, a very popular choice here at the library, the writer, Jennie Yabroff, includes a quotation by author Zadie Smith: "'...readers fail when they allow themselves to believe that fiction is the thing you relate to and writers the amenable people you seek out when you want to have your own version of the world confirmed and reinforced.'" For her part, Picoult acknowledges that "her popularity, as well as her accessible writing style, means she'll never win a Pulitzer Prize."
So, what say you, our patrons and readers? Is Smith's quotation an accurate assessment of why readers choose fiction? Is writing in an accessible manner really a Pulitzer deterrent? Is reading for fun really all that bad?

Our Verdict:
Not all books are created equal. However, flowery prose and a distinct lack of mainstream popularity should not a Pulitzer win. Not all readers enjoy Dickens, Twain, or Fitzgerald. However, many readers who do also enjoy the occasional foray into more fluffy fiction. And Picoult, whose prose is quite lovely, if a bit simple, certainly does not deserve literary oblivion merely because her works are accessible and popular.
As for reading for fun, books can take us places we may never visit. They are doors and windows we can open, and cliffs from which we can plunge into any world we choose, and some we wouldn't choose. There is nothing wrong at all with taking pleasure from such experiences.

-Katie Britt

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Updates, and the Importance of Local Authors

Hello, readers, and our apologies - that is, all of us here at RCPL - for the lag in postings! The library can be a bustling place, and has been lately. We're quite glad for the rise in traffic and circulation! Also, we would like to say a fond farewell to Ann, our exiting circulation assistant, and a glad hello to Madelene, who has officially become a circulation assistant. And lastly, next week, April 13th through April 19th, is National Library Week! Come in and browse our shelves, and show your appreciation for your local library! And know, patrons, that we appreciate all of you as well!
Now, concerning a matter of local interest, at the end of this month, the Lebanon branch of the library will host two local authors for readings and signings. Neva Bryan, author of St. Peter's Monsters, will visit us on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. Nancy Hill Johnson, whose work, Raised by Flesh, Wood, and Plastic, celebrates the life of her mother, will make her appearance the following Saturday, April 25th, at 11:00 a.m. Books will be sold, and light refreshments will be served at both events.
Personally, as a voracious reader, I would of course encourage attendance of book readings and signings as a rule. I especially encourage attendance of readings and signings by local authors. Just as it is important to buy locally grown produce and support locally owned and operated businesses, it is important to support local writers. So, come out and let these talented ladies know how much you enjoy the work they've done!

--Katie Britt

Friday, February 27, 2009


The Russell County Public Library reminds the community that the library maintains a books-by-mail program. This is a program available to all county residents who are homebound and physically unable to visit the library. Patrons of the service may request up to four books at any time. The library will mail the books and pay for all postage costs, including a pre-paid return envelope. Patrons may request specific titles or favorite genres of books. They may also make recommendations for titles or specific areas of interest. Anyone interested may call the library at 889-8044.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Read more books...without turning a page

It may NOT be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if you like to read and don't have time, downloadable books may be just the thing. Downloadable books are audio books that you download to your mp3 player. So you have that nice voice reading the books to you.

Remember how much you enjoyed it as a kid when someone would read to you? And it no longer means having "Sam I am" or the Berenstein Bears read to you. It's classics, mysteries, thrillers...the list goes on. So click and see.

On the website you can browse book titles, and get clues about which player is compatible with the service. (Yes, you ipod users will find an increasing number of titles available to dowload.)

No renewals. No more overdue books. No more overdue fines! The book just becomes inaccessible on your player at the end of the two week check-out period. If you didn't finish the book, don't delete it. Just check it out again; when you begin to download again, the Overdrive service just changes the 'due date' on the book and makes it accessible again. All from the comfort of your home.

Several public library systems in southwest Virginia have joined forces to provide this great service. This great new service is brought to you by your local public library and powered by Overdrive, a leader in digital media services.

Multi-task all you want...just make sure that reading a book is on that list of tasks. Now you can walk, clean house or mow the grass...while listening to a good book.