Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Are You Being Served?"

Does the Russell County Public Library serve you?

What services should the library be offering?

Those are some of the questions the library asks during our strategic planning process. Every five years, we step back and take a long, hard look at what we are doing and how we are doing. That's where we are now.

Perhaps the most important part of the process is when we ask YOU what you think. So please take our survey. The survey will take you 5-10 minutes to complete. It's not just select from the choices; we ask you to really think!

Your thoughts are important. As we move forward, we will have to consider the tightening budgets; so we may need to let go of some activities and programs. We will also consider what we should be be doing to be a 21st century library. How residents use the library and our resources is very different now from when the library was established. Staff see considerable change in the last 10 years!

Please help us out by taking the survey


Friday, February 8, 2013

Bridging Cultures

Russell County Public Library has received copies of the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf entitled Muslim Journeys. These books were a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities along with the American Library Association. Our publicity about the grant has generated negative response from some members of the community, so I thought I would share what the intent of the grant is and why we applied for the grant.

Muslim Journeys is the first in a planned series of Bridging Cultures Bookshelves. “The bookshelf is designed to address the American public’s need and desire for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.” The idea is to engage “the power of the humanities to promote understanding of and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.”

Islam and Muslims are hot button issues for some of us. But as library director, I stand by my initial motivation to apply for the grant, which was that most of us, myself included, don’t actually know much about Islam. The media gives us ‘snapshots’ which is not the whole picture. (And doesn't our 'news' always seem to include only the bad? Everywhere?) This is a faith and culture that is having an enormous impact on our lives. (Remember 9-11 and the thousands more Americans that have died in military action abroad as a result to our country’s direct response to 9-11?)

I want to understand the background and culture that surrounds this religion, which brings us back to the bookshelf. The Bookshelf is organized around several themes: American Stories; Connected Histories; Literary Reflections; Points of View; Pathways of Faith; and Art, Architecture and Film. I’m confident that one of the themes will interest you.

Since the goal of the bookshelf and this Sunday’s panel discussion is to encourage the public to read and learn, I hope that each of you will consider joining us for the reception and panel discussion that begins at 2 pm at the Lebanon Library. Revel in the fact that we can learn and speak and practice our religion of choice.

Posted by Kelly McBride

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

America at War

Lebanon Library kicked off a new reading and discussion series entitled America at War Sunday, February 3 at 3 pm. This series will focus on the wars that America fought in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Why did we commit to war?

Did the war change the country?

These are some of the questions we will consider--as relevant and important today as they were in 1775. We will consider colonial wars and the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American war and the Indian wars.

This first week we will just get acquainted and select our first book to read. But don't be put off by the prospect of reading a lot of books; you are welcome to view documentaries and explore the online Center of Military History. [No quizzes on what you read, so if you don't quite finish the book, there's no penalty!]

It's unique because each person will read a different book on each war. That should give us something to talk about, since each of us will have a different perspective on each war, based on what we read--and what we already knew.

We will have a couple of history professors to answer any questions and 'fact-check' any of our theories and ideas. Check out the webpage we've developed to accompany the series; it has the dates we are meeting and all the questions we will consider.

Join us and spend a few Sunday afternoons pondering the past and the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Literati - New Help on the Web

Literati is a new service provided by the Library of Virginia to all Virginia public libraries. What do I like about Literati? Let's see...
  • Homework Help (in reading, math and writing) certain hours of the day
  • Beginning Genealogy slide shows
  • Applying for Unemployment slide shows
  • Mind Mapping
Literati is a great source for reliable information without having to resort to Google. [Google is great, but the information you want isn't always in the first few hits of the 12,342 websites Google finds for you.] Search Literati and you can find encyclopedias, news articles, books and illustrations. It's a great source for families; you can learn about the Winter Reading Program.

Be sure and play with the Mind Mapping feature and explanation! I love that. It's very appealing and HELPFUL if you don't think in a straight line.

Plus, you can create your own 'account' and keep the citations and links you've found.

You can search from the library's homepage, or jump from our page to our Literati home.
Give it a try!