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

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Story Told in Maps

New road vs. old road on Rt. 80 at the Doubles,
between Honaker and Rosedale, 1945
The old road fascinates me. When you drive along, look off to the side of the road. You can often see the old roadbed snaking around the side of the hill. The new road is brazen by comparison, cutting through hills and straightening all those curves. The old road meanders by comparison, and now often has trees growing in it.

An exhibition of Russell County maps is on view June through August in the Cumbow Meeting Room of the Lebanon Library. Visit the exhibit to see those old roads and how the network grows. The exhibit may be viewed any time the library is open.

Early court records note that individuals charged with keeping the rudimentary roads open were sometimes fined for not doing their duty. The earliest roads can be found in the law books when acts of the assembly incorporate turnpike companies (upon subscription of the requisite number of shares!) The act noted the road must be at least 16 feet wide (exclusive of ditches) and not more than three (3) degrees of grade.

A nice table listing the roads existing before the establishment of the state highway system is found in A Social and Economic Survey of Russell County by Leland B. Tate. (it's available at the library and online.) Along with the state highway system came the railroads. Railroads helped communities grow, and then as the rail traffic dwindled, so did the communities.  Here in the mountains, new and improved roads resulted in changed communities.

Back to my fascination with old roads. I dreamed of having a plane follow the old road. Now I think using a drone would be even better. You can truly have a bird's eye view of the path trod 100 years ago. Remember in the old days, communities were about a day's walk--or a horseback ride--apart.

I always want to walk the old road. I want to see the view residents would have seen 100 years ago. I want to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. The maps on exhibit are a little window into the world as our ancestors saw it. Come look through that window in time.

Contributed by Kelly McBride Delph

Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer Fun at Your Library!

Russell County Public Library has planned a fun, educational summer for all ages.

Come and see performers who educate and entertain:
  • Visit Star Lab and learn about the stars.
  • Be amazed by the magic of Matt Fore.
  • Learn all about the animals Darin Handy, a wildlife educator and rehabber, brings to show everyone from All Are God's Creatures Sanctuary.
  • Don’t miss ScienceTellers' The Aliens: Pursued by a crazy space scientist, two curious kids must risk everything to rescue the aliens and get them back to their spaceship — before it's too late!
  • Enjoy old mountain stories with Old Jonah.
When children come to the library this summer, they will have the opportunity to join in with planned activities for their age group.

Teens! We want you to continue to enjoy your library. We'll provide the supplies and snacks. You bring a friend.

Adults! Learning isn't just for children. Experience your library and continue a pattern of lifelong learning.

We want everyone to contribute to the success of children. By modeling a lifelong desire to learn, teens and adults can encourage children to have an enthusiastic attitude towards reading and gaining knowledge and critical thinking skills.

So, on those hot summer days, come to the library to experience a cool, fun-filled activity that you can share with your friends.

Check out the RCPL website for program dates and times or stop by the library for a calendar of fun summer activities.

Contributed by Jamie Rexrode

Monday, May 13, 2019

Success and Summer Reading

Photo by Wendee on Reshot
When my children were in school, I was guilty of thinking, “My children have worked so hard over this school year, they need a break.” We planned outings for the summer, played outside, went to the pool, and had a lot of fun. Those were all good things which brought our family together through shared experiences and there was probably some learning along the way. But our focus was fun.

Looking back on our idyllic summers, I have a twinge of regret. You see, learning is something successful people do year round. I could have used those summers to encourage reading about the experiences we were having, learning new and interesting things, and exploring fun fiction that my children might not be exposed to throughout the school year.

Summer reading keeps our children from forgetting the information they learned during their school year. Literacy expert Julie Wood says, “It is necessary for children to read on a daily basis in order to maintain literacy skills learned in the previous school year.” Summer reading helps them to grow in knowledge and learn critical thinking skills for the coming year. Daily reading keeps our brain in shape.

 A University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research study shows that “children who don't read over the summer lose at least two months of reading development. This is often referred to as 'the summer slide' or the 'summer learning loss.' On the other hand, students who do read over the summer may gain a month of proficiency in reading. Reading over the summer is not a suggestion to keep kids busy; it's a critical requirement to help students stay on track for their entire educational career and beyond.”

We all want to contribute to the success of our children. Summer reading is one way you as a parent can encourage an enthusiastic attitude toward reading, encourage your children to grow in knowledge and learn critical thinking skills for the coming year.

Contributed by Jamie Rexrode

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Citizen Science Day

Welcome to spring! On April 13, 2019, Russell County Public Library, along with many other libraries and organizations around the globe, will come together to advance Alzheimer's research during the Stall Catchers Megathon on Citizen Science Day. The Citizen Science Association describes citizen science as "the involvement of the public in scientific research - whether community-driven research or global investigations." During the Megathon, citizen scientists will help researchers answer a question that would typically take a year - all by playing a game!

In Stall Catchers, players analyze short movies from the brains of mice affected with Alzheimer's to identify and report stalls and clogged blood vessels. All that is required is an Internet connection and a computer, smartphone, or tablet. We will have several devices reserved at the library if you don't have your own. Staff will be on hand to assist and help anyone interested to get started. You can also start practicing now by signing up at the Megathon website!

Snacks and drinks will also be available, so come on out to the Lebanon Library on Saturday, April 13, at 1 PM for all the science fun!

Contributed by Bryan Scheerer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Community Read

What happens when almost everyone in the community reads the same book? Russell County Public Library hopes we will talk to each other: about who we are, how we view ourselves, how we are different, and how we are so very much the same—across Southwest Virginia, the United States, and the world.

We hope that we develop a greater sense of community as we talk about something we have in common—a story—even though we may have very different life experiences.

The NEA Big Read is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The program is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.

RCPL chose to make our arts connection to music because we felt it would, pardon the pun, resonate with our communities. Our region is home to some of the best music in the world and contains the roots of quintessentially American music.

Burning Bright by Ron Rash is a collection of short stories set in the Southern Appalachian Mountains we call home. You don't need to read it straight through. You can dip in and read a story.

Join us and read a little—or a lot—of Burning Bright. We are sure you will find something to talk about.

Posted by Kelly McBride Delph