Thursday, August 26, 2021

Agricultural Roots of the Fair

Sheep being sent to market, Russell Co., VA
Photo from the Virginia Tech Imagebase
When you think of the county fair, what comes to mind? A midway with rides and bright lights? Or once-a-year food treats like funnel cakes and cotton candy?

Demolition derbies and well-known entertainers are standard attractions now. But there's still the horse and mule pull and the horse shows, where you see little boys so small they can walk under the bellies of their mounts, girls racing around barrels, and men and women with fast walking horses, their manes and tails streaming behind them. 

Our agricultural roots are the foundation of fairs. The annual fair was an opportunity to show off your livestock. A prize-winning bull or mare might be sold for a good price, or bring income when bred. When we rarely traveled outside our county, the annual fair was a chance to catch up with distant neighbors, as well as take a breath after the long days and hard work of growing and harvesting.

Russell Co., VA, beef to market
Photo from the Virginia Tech Imagebase
Folks still enjoy the exhibits. Fairs are a chance to show off your culinary skills (canned goods to pies), growing prowess (the biggest pumpkin or tomato or dahlia), and artistic skills (sewing, painting, photography, crafts.) The commercial exhibits give local businesses a chance to talk face to face with current or future customers. 

The 1890 Census of Agriculture shows Russell County with over 1500 farms producing 144,489 bushels of apples (43,259 bearing trees), plus the cherries, peaches, and pears. Sheep production for that year was 9161 fleeces (35,084 pounds of wool.) The cows produced more than 1 million gallons of milk in 1890. Russell County produced 840 lbs. and 48 gallons of maple syrup (with 170 acres in sorghum, making 85 gallons of molasses.) Over 150 acres of potatoes (Irish and sweet) produced over 10,000 bushels.

In 1954 Russell County had over 2,000 farms with over 200,000 acres in production. In the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Russell County had 918 farms with 170,285 acres in production. The volume of crops produced in the 21st century pales when compared to the variety of crops produced a hundred years ago. A big buzz has been about growing hemp; Russell County grew that in 1890. But in 2017 no production of sorghum or wool fleeces.

The earliest fairs date from 1916 and the Russell County Fair and Horse Show began at Lebanon in 1923 and resumed after World War II in 1948. The community changes but the rituals remain... for nearly 100 years. 




Posted by Kelly McBride Delph

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Making Life Easier - No Overdue Fines

Russell County Public Library wants to make using library resources easier for you, whether you like to read a good, old-fashioned printed book or magazine or you want to download and read anywhere. Here are some ways you can improve your library experience, plus an exciting announcement!

Let us set a PIN on your account so you can log into your account. See what you have checked out and when it's due. You can update your address, phone, and email. You can also change how we notify you. Want email notices? Or do you prefer a text message?

What if you want your arrived holds to come via text message but want all your other notifications, like overdue or account expiration notices, to go to your email account? Yes, you can do that! You can set how you want to receive each type of notice.

Your final overdue notice will always be mailed via the United States Postal Service. And that final notice will be a surprise for you. Since we are not charging overdue fines anymore, that final notice contains the charge for replacing the material you have not returned. Ouch! But as long as you return the material, even after we've sent the notice, we only charge you the service fee of $5. Just bring it back for the next patron, okay?

Are you still waiting for us to be clear about that 'no overdue fines?' We will no longer be charging overdue fines. In the digital age, so many materials circulate virtually, and there are no fines on ebooks or digital magazines. After the due date and all your renewals are used up, the material is just no longer available to you. Mailing overdue notices cost the library staff time and materials. It was no longer a good source of revenue. And it always felt a little weird having income that counted on you not returning your stuff on time.

You can read more about our fine-free policy on our website.



Posted by Kelly McBride Delph





Monday, June 14, 2021

Introducing Automatic Renewal

Wait, was that due today?
Life happens.

Family members get sick. Cars break down. And sometimes, you just plain forget to renew or return your library materials.

We get it, which is why we're introducing automatic renewal.

Starting June 14, 2021, library materials will automatically renew up to two times as long as there isn't a hold on them. We don't want anxiety over late materials to prevent you from accessing the invaluable free technology, literacy, and lifelong learning resources we offer.

You can also opt for text messages to inform you when material is available for you at the library and when it's due. The text message option is just right for our 24/7 world, just like our 24/7 pickup lockers at both locations. Just call or stop by the library and make sure your mobile phone number and carrier are correctly listed on your account.

So how does it work?

When material is automatically renewed, patrons receive notification of items renewed and new due date via email or text message. If material cannot be renewed (it has a hold, renewal limit met, etc.), patrons are notified, and an overdue notice is generated.

Every item checked out will still have a due date. Please remember that someone else may be waiting for an item, so try to bring it back on time. You will be receiving more frequent reminders about overdue materials. If someone else has placed a hold on an item, it will not be automatically renewed. 

Once your card reaches a total of 10 overdue items, or if any item has been out for more than six weeks, your library account will be blocked. When that happens, you will be unable to check out more items or access certain digital content until you return the overdue items. You will be billed for items after 90 days.

We want to remove barriers to library access. That includes the stress of overdue books and materials. So relax. You have enough to worry about.

Posted by Katie Gilmer

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Explore Tails and Tales at Your Library

Russell County Public Library will kick-off Summer Reading 2021 on June 15th with a Scavenger Hunt at the Main Library in Lebanon, Virginia. Since last year’s Summer Reading had to go all-virtual because of Covid-19, we are super excited to welcome you back for a summer full of fun things to do at your library.

 The benefits to readers in a summer reading program include:

  • Encouragement so that reading becomes a lifelong habit
  • Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the activities
  • Reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up
  • The program can generate interest in the library and books

During our summer reading program, not only will you and your child be defeating the summer slide of learning loss, but you will also have the opportunity of so much family fun. We will kick-off Summer Reading at both branches with the Tails and Tales Scavenger Hunt where your child can win prizes and books, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We will have Summer Story Time at both branches every Wednesday for six weeks starting June 16th. Pre-school, elementary and middle schoolers, teens, and adults will all be welcomed to multiple programs. The library will have something for everyone. Come check us out for a summer of fun. 

Schedule of Events

Kickoff & Scavenger Hunt

Lebanon: June 15 at 12 PM

Honaker: June 16 at 3 PM

Summer Storytime

For preschoolers

Lebanon: Wednesdays, June 16 – July 21 at 10:30 AM

Honaker: Wednesdays, June 16 – July 21 at 2 PM

Book Club

For middle schoolers & teens

Lebanon: June 17 and July 22 at 2 PM

Honaker: June 18 and July 23 at 2 PM

Picture Frame Craft

For teens

Lebanon: June 24 at 2 PM

Honaker: June 25 at 2 PM

Bubble Brigade

Lebanon: June 29 at 11 AM

Honaker: June 29 at 2 PM

Treasure Box Painting

For elementary & middle schoolers

Lebanon: July 6 at 2 PM

Honaker: July 7 at 3 PM


For middle schoolers, teens, & adults

Lebanon: July 8 at 2 PM

Honaker: July 9 at 2 PM

Sand/Rock Jar Craft

For elementary & middle schoolers

Lebanon: July 13 at 2 PM

Honaker: July 14 at 3 PM

Magic Show by Matt Fore

Honaker Elementary School: July 20 at 10 AM

Lebanon: July 20 at 1 PM

Posted by Belinda Levy

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

New Movies @ Your Library


The Russell County Public Library has gotten many new movies in this past month. We purchase both DVDs and Blu-rays in a variety of different genres. A staff favorite has been Unhinged with Russell Crowe. This is a drama that will teach a lesson in patience and courtesy toward others, as you never know what the other person is suffering through and may become “unhinged.” Warning: there is graphic violence in this one.

My personal favorite is Wonder Woman 1984. I’ve always been a big fan of female heroines and Gal Gadot plays it well. I like this second movie as well as the first, partly due to being a fan of Kristen Wiig, who does an excellent job in this dramatic role. 

I’ve been anxiously awaiting our newest arrival, Soul, which has won many awards, including an Oscar and Golden Globe for best animated feature film.

Some other movies we’ve gotten are News of the World with Tom Hanks and Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and Dumbo. We’ve gotten beloved, older movies like Batteries Not IncludedThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Greatest Show on Earth. And we have gotten series such as The Walking Dead and The Blacklist.

All adult cardholders are welcome to check out three movies at a time, and there is no fee as long as they are returned on time. We also take requests, but may not be able to fulfill all. Just remember shipments of material have been moving slowly this past year, so we appreciate your patience.

Posted by Jewel Blackwell