Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanks and Giving – We Are Blessed!


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

The public library is an example of society’s best.  Libraries provide the energy that fuels imaginations, opens windows to the world, and inspires us to explore, achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life.  Volunteerism, philanthropy, and generosity, are all at the heart of what libraries do. Libraries are here to share books and ideas, as well as answers to questions. And we are able to continue all of our programs and services because people donate their time, talents, and money in so many ways.
We have volunteers of all ages who give their time to help keep our shelves organized, neat, and tidy, or help in prepping materials and crafts for children’s programs.  We have volunteers who visit our “library twigs” each month to freshen the inventory and leave library event calendars.  Others assist with changing the stories at our county park’s Story Walk when needed.  
Our entire programming budget is supported through our Friends and their fundraising efforts.  With an ongoing used-book sale and other events through the year, they support our services to the community in ways beyond measure. They are always happy to welcome new “Friends” to our community. 
We also have those who donate to our library endowment according to their means.  Distributions from the library’s endowment fund help keep our technology and digital resources up-to-date in order to meet the needs of our community.
Our Board of Trustees all donate their time and expertise to ensure that our policies are current and our budget is sound. They set our mission. They ensure that our library is meeting the needs of the whole community. The Ashe County Public Library continues to rely on their strength and persistence.
Ashe County Government and the Town of West Jefferson are supportive and ready partners.  We appreciate our county commissioners for funding the library’s operational budget needs.  Thank you again, from staff and patrons, for collaborative efforts of the county and town for our parking expansion.  Also, without the donation of time and talents of John Maddox for creating the design and Kevin Nichols for drafting the engineer’s plan, this project would not have been possible. 
We have many community partners who share resources, offer outreach opportunities, and play a big part in our success.  Your advocacy is so appreciated.  And of course, we love our library patrons who check out books, use our digital resources and other databases, participate in book discussion groups, and attend programs and workshops. This community is the heart of our library!
We at Ashe County Public Library would like to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks to everyone for their generous support.
Ashe Library Dates to Remember in December:
The library will be close early (at noon) on December 13 for staff training and also early (at 5:00 p.m.) on New Year’s Eve.  The library will be closed from December 24 – 26 for Christmas and on January 1, 2020 for New Year’s Day.

FOOD FOR FINES WEEK will be held from December 2 – 7.  This week allows a chance to pay off late fees by donating non-perishable food.  Each item of undamaged, in-date, non-perishable for is equal to $1.  Items donated do not count toward damaged or lost items.  All items collected will go to our county’s Meals on Wheels program.  Food can also be donated even if you don’t owe any late fees.

For All:                                                                                                                                              
·      Join us for Ornamentality between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on December 7. Yes, adults can also make crafts, enjoy holiday music, and have a cup of hot chocolate.!  The adult version of this event takes place on the Upper Level of the library.
  • Take a break from the holiday hustle, and join us for a cuppa, a little something sweet, a lovely chat, holiday music, and more at the library’s Holiday Tea from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on December 14.
  • Stop in for a Holiday Singalong from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. on December 21.  Join our in-house act, The Molasses Jam Band, as they play and sing holiday favorites.
  • The Annual Reading Challenge Wrap-up / Kick-off takes place at 5:00 on January 2.  If you participated in our 2019 Reading Challenge, or if you want to learn about what we have planned for the 202 Challenge, please join us!  Play games for the literary minded, check out recommendations from this year’s challenge, and get a guided virtual tour of the new challenge.  Participants in the 2019 Reading Challenge are eligible to win prizes.
·    Get Crafty meets at 10 a.m. on December 21 for crocheting and knitting.  Instruction available for beginners and project materials are provided.
·   The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on December 19.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
·   Mountain Music Slow Jam meets from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on December 7. in the downstairs meeting room. Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.
                                                     
For Children:
  • Story Time for ages 3 & up is at 10:30 a.m. every Thursday.
  • Tot Time for 2-3 year olds is at 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday. Come out and have fun learning the alphabet with stories and songs.
  •  “Baby Bounce” is at 10:30 a.m. every Friday.  This is short program for infants and babies will includes finger plays, songs, rhymes, and a book or two.
  • The Alternate Ending Book Club is for ages 7 – 12 and takes place at 4:00 p.m. on December 3.
  • Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on December 17.  Sigmon Theatrical presents a live show where you can meet and greet the Grinch, Max, and Cindy-Low-Who.  We promise your heart will grow three sizes!
  • Journey on the Express Train to the North Pole will be held at 11:00 a.m. on December 21.  This holiday event will feature an interactive movie viewing, games, and a hot chocolate bar!
  • Read for 20 minutes a day during winter break for the Kids Winter Break Reading Challenge.  You’ll earn a book and a prize from the library.  Miss a day?  That’s okay.  Just read five hours total.  Read more than five hours to get a special prize! 
Teen Club:
·   T for Teen – Gamers Unite! Meet-up at 4:00 p.m. on December 3. Xbox360 and laptops available for teen gaming.
·      Board Game Café is open at 4:00 p.m. on December 10.  Come and make some friends! Play a variety of board games and enjoy coffee and sweet treats.
·    Open Studio meets at 4:00 p.m. on December 17. Join us for a wide range of creative crafts and projects.
·     Teen New Year’s Party is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on December 31.

For Adults:
·       Talking Service Book Club meets at 10:00 a.m. on December 13.  The meeting begins with a discussion of one or more readings from Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian, a collection of works ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent memoirs by veterans of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
·         Brouhaha Book Club meets at 5:30 p.m. on December 30 at Boondocks.
· For all your tech troubles, book and appointment with our friendly reference librarians. Call 336.846.2041 x111.  
·  Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
·  Life with Children meets at 9:45 a.m. on December 10.  This program welcomes parents and caregivers of young children for practical parenting tips and discussion, light refreshments, and time to enjoy the companionship of other who are raising the next generation.  Registration is required.  Call the library to sign-up: 336.846.2041 x111

Monday, November 4, 2019

Celebrating and Remembering Veterans - VHP Vol 2


Ashe County Public Library releases volume two of its local Veterans History Project this month.  The project highlights memories of veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.  Even stories about Civil War Veterans.  Although the war or conflict assigned to each veteran is an important part of their story, it is the sacrifices each made for our country that we will never forget. 
The Veterans History Project takes place throughout the year with support from students and other volunteers who help with interviewing and documenting veteran stories.  The collected stories are published in a keepsake magazine and are given to participating veterans and their family members.  Copies of the magazine are also shared with local assisted living homes, school libraries, and libraries in the Appalachian Regional System.   The Veterans History Project is sold in partnership with the Museum of Ashe County History, Ashe County Veterans Services Office, and Friends of Ashe County Public Library.  All proceeds from magazine sales are used to help offset publishing costs.     

When collecting stories last year for volume one, it was realized that this project should continue annually as long as funding is available.  This year’s project was made possible by financial support from Friends of Ashe County Public Library, Ashe County Community Foundation, Skyline/Skybest Corp. and a gift from Congresswoman Virginia Foxx.
There are still many stories to be collected and memories to be honored.  The library invites all veterans and their families to stop by and share their stories in this continued work.  A special program will be held at 5:30 p.m. on November 19 to recruit volunteers and veterans for volume three in plans to start now for Veterans Day 2020.
Another highlighted program for veterans’ history takes place at 11:00 a.m. on November 13 at Ashe County Public Library.  Author and award-winning photographer Douglas Butler presents After Appomattox: NC Civil War Monuments, a discussion on the historical, artistic, and social contexts in which these commemorations were created.  Doug shares his images as he relates insightful episodes and fascinating anecdotes highlighting the cultural and aesthetic evolution of these memorials. This project is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Veteran art is also on display at the library during the month of November.  Joe Lyle’s collection of homemade instruments and artwork is housed in a showcase on the main floor.  And upstairs in the library’s Ida C. Marsh gallery, painting and poetry by David Shoemaker is displayed.  Shoemaker’s work reflects on his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War.  Stop in at 3:00 p.m. on November 15 for an Artist’s Reception. Light refreshments will be served.

Dates to remember in November:

The library will be closed on November 11 for Veterans Day, and for Thanksgiving on November 28-30.   


Children’s Programs

·     Baby Bounce meets every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for ages birth to 2 years.  Enjoy stories, rhymes, bounces, and songs with a stay-and-play social time afterwards. 

·      Tot Time takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays for ages 2 and 3.  Wiggle, giggle, laugh, sing, and create.  A fun-filled time featuring stories, music, and a craft.

·       Storytime for ages 4 and 5 is at 10:30 a.m. every Thursday.  Join us for ABC adventures with stories, art, and music. 

·      Maker Monday is for children and families at 4:00 p.m. on Mondays.  If you can imagine it, you can make it.  Follow your curiosity to create amazing solutions to everyday challenges, play on your own, and more!

·       Alternate Ending Club for ages 7-12 meets at 4:00 p.m. on November 5 and 19.  Come out and experience books in a whole new way with interactive stories where club mates will choose the way the story ends.

·     Join us in the National Campaign to Read for the Record on November 7.  This year’s selection is Thank You, Omu! By Oge Mora.

·    Celebrate Picture Book Month by visiting the library in your pajamas!  The Picture Book Pajama Party begins at 11:00 a.m. on November 9.  Come out for story time, snuggling, crafts, snacks, group reads, and new friends!

·      North Carolina author and illustrator Jonathan Voss visits at 4:00 p.m. on November 12 to read from his spectacular Hoot & Olive series and talk about the process of writing and illustrating. 

Teen Programs

·   T for Teen – Gamers Unite! Meet-up at 4:00 p.m. on November 5. Xbox360 and laptops available for teen gaming.

·     Board Game Café is open at 4:00 p.m. on November 12.  Come and make some friends! Play a variety of board games and enjoy coffee and sweet treats.

·   The Teen Open Studio meets at 4:00 p.m. on November 19. Join us for a wide range of creative crafts and projects.

·    TLC (Teen Listening Council) in partnership with A.S.H.E. is a safe place for teens to talk openly about any subject. Drop in at 4:00 p.m. on November 26.

Adult Programs

·         For all your tech troubles, book and appointment with our friendly reference librarians.  Call 336.846.2041 x227.  

·         Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.

·         Life with Children meets at 9:45 a.m. on November 12.  This program welcomes parents and caregivers of young children for practical parenting tips and discussion, light refreshments, and time to enjoy the companionship of other who are raising the next generation.  Registration is required.  Call the library to sign-up: 336.846.2041 x111

·      Vickie’s Book Club meets at 1:00 p.m. on November 19 to discuss Little Fires Everywhere by, Celeste Ng

  • Brouhaha Book Club meets at 5:30 p.m. on November 25 in Boondocks Restaurant for “Books, Beer and Bookworm Babble.”  Come and find out what everyone has been reading lately!

All Ages

·       Get Crafty meets at 10 a.m. on November 15 for crocheting and knitting.  Instruction available for beginners and project materials are provided.

·      The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on November 14.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!

·      Mountain Music Slow Jam meets from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on November 16 in the downstairs meeting room. Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.



Special Events



·      Visit the library for a special presentation, After Appomattox: NC Civil War Monuments, at 11:00 a.m. on November 13.

·       Paintings and poetry by artist and veteran David Shoemaker are on display during the month of November in the library’s Ida C. Marsh Gallery. Handmade instruments and art by veteran Joe Lyle are showcased on the library’s main floor.

·    International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is on November 23 and Ashe Library will be hosting a special event from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m.    Each year the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports hundreds of large and small Survivor Day events around the world, in which suicide survivors come together to find connection, understanding and hope through their shared experience.  Call to register (lunch will be provided) 336.846.2041 x111

·     FOOD FOR FINES WEEK – During the week of December 2 - 7, take advantage of the chance to pay off late fees by donating non-perishable food. Each item of undamaged, in-date, non-perishable food is equal to $1.  Items donated do not count toward damaged or lost items.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Presenting Dana Bowman!


Dana Bowman is a mother, author of two books, teacher, speaker, writer, runner, loves Jesus, wretched at Pinterest, and sober ... “one day at a time.”  

I have been reading Dana’s recovery memoir Bottled; our library’s selected read for this year’s ARL Good Neighbor Project.  The theme of this year’s project focuses on ‘stories of recovery and hope,’ intended to break stigma associated with harmful addictions as well as, share resources for finding help.  Dana candidly tells of her life spiraling out of control, how she found the strength to face her fears, and finally how to live in sobriety.

The following review of her book comes from Linda Sladkey, originally published in Covenant Church Magazine (Apr 15, 2016). 

Vulnerability draws me in like a magnet every time. Combine quick-witted sarcasm with transparency and I feel I’ve made a new best friend. You see, I identify with scuffed up people. Even though addiction is not my personal battle, as I read Dana Bowman’s Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery, I could relate to her honest and biting humor as she tells how “it took a wedding, two babies, and a funeral to help me understand I needed to get sober.” How she found celebration while in recovery is the real story.

From her beginning references to a “Sharpie-marker-on-the-couch kind of day,” Bowman transported me to the time when my own kids were small and the black Sharpie marker decorated the dog and then, with a later child, the living room carpet in broad sweeping arches. The toddler years are a season parents remember—some more fondly than others.
Anyone who has ever been through a significant hurt or life-altering season knows that everyone has a story. We all have our private pain. Bowman, who attends the Lindsborg (Kansas) Covenant Church, is candid enough to share hers—and in so doing, reminds us to see others in a more generous light. She reminds us to listen more and judge less.
With chapter titles such as “Birth with a Beer Chaser,” “The Big Tell,” “Toddlers at 4:00 p.m. Are the Devil,” and “Steve the Sobriety Cat,” she recaps her arduous journey from messy discovery to never-ending recovery without sugarcoating the process or her faith. “This is the story of how I stopped and keep being stopped every day, twenty-four hours at a time,” says Bowman. Even if you are not in recovery, there are so many lessons to help readers understand the battles an alcoholic mother of young children is fighting and how to be present in the moment.
Bowman, an English teacher and part-time professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, recalls the moment she realized she was still funny—even without a drink. And she is funny. Her popular momsieblog.com and workshops on both writing and addiction offer more opportunities to hear her potent narrative. (Her blog includes an engagingly comic story about the Barnes & Noble sales clerk who helped her find Bottled on the store’s shelves.) Her forthright account of life in “recovery at its sloppy best” invites us all to lift up our face, connect with another human being, and remember to laugh.

Whether you yourself struggle with addiction or love someone who does—friend, neighbor, family member—Bottled will instruct and encourage. The twist that sets this memoir apart from other poignant addiction stories is the quirky and sometimes irreverent humor she infuses into the telling. Bowman is proof that there is joy in sobriety and a genuine possibility of liking yourself at the end of the day.

Copies of Bottled are available at the library.  Pick one up today to read and share with friends.  You may relate to this book more than you expect.  Come out to meet Dana and have lunch (free) at 12:00 p.m. on October 30 at Hensley Hall in West Jefferson United Methodist Church.    I admire Dana’s courage in sharing her story and highly recommend it to everyone.  Stop by the library to register for this luncheon event, or call us at 336.846.2041 x111.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Happy Birthday Matilda! (belated birthday recognition for George Trow & Roald Dahl)

Last Saturday would have been the seventy-sixth birthday of George William Swift Trow Jr., born on September 28, 1943.  Trow was a novelist, playwright, and a media critic who spent thirty years writing for The New Yorker magazine.  I just discovered Trow when sorting my endless 'to-read list' in search of an author with a September birthday.  His long essay “Within the Context of No Context” first appeared in The New Yorker in 1980 and later was printed in book form.  The book was republished in 1997 with a new introductory opening essay “The Collapsing Dominant.”  Trow's essay expounds on the dangerous effect that television has on society.  He goes as far to say that the decline of America after WWII can be summed up in one word … television.   



I knew my mind was in for some deep thoughts when considering the focus of this essay and how its title even begs the question of ... what is the context?  And really how can we be into or part of something that doesn't exist?  The answer required slow reading and contemplation on Trow's ideas.  I was reminded of lyrics in a Bob Dylan song about TV.  The song describes a protest, taking place in Hyde Park, about the dangers of television.  A television crew was there to film the event as things began to escalate from peaceful protest to a full blown riot.  Ironically the event that disparaged television was televised.      

Trow sheds light on how easily our culture was/is influenced by commercials, daytime television, and celebrity heroes.  America's sense of history is fading and there is a lack of community involvement.   It has been replaced by America's hobby … watching television.  One example of how individuality has suffered was described with an analysis of the popular quiz show Family Feud.  Before Family Feud, quiz shows were about facts and factoids but now contestants were no longer being asked about what was true or factual.  They were being asked what do 100 other people think might be the case.  It is also sobering to consider that this was originally published in 1980, before the invention of iPhones and the frenzy of social media.  Today the value of  ideas seem to be based on the number of Facebook views and likes.
Another serious fact Trow includes stuck with me: A child will have seen upward of four thousand hours of television before he or she ever sees a school. This is as much time as that child will spend in his or her high-priced college classroom – should he or she ever get to a high-priced college classroom.

If you choose to tackle Trow’s allusive essays, I would recommend that they be read in the order they were written.  “The Collapsing Dominant” begins by quoting from the ending of “Within the Context of No Context,” and goes into a bit of Trow’s family history.  An interesting note mentions that his great great grandfather was practically the inventor of the telephone book, creating the first directory for New York City in 1786 with 846 names. 

I also love this explanation Trow writes for “the young male child I saw in Douglas, Alaska ...”  it is a perfect example of Trow's writing style, subtle to the point of unintelligibility.  Your parents had a third parent – television.  If you went back to 1950 you would be surprised.  Many people – of all kinds and conditions – had just two parents.  In the time since then, the referee has won all the championship matches – and the referee is a value-free ritual.

My book club also read Matilda, a  favorite children's book that was 'born' (published) on October 1, 1988, and is included on both celebrated “must read” lists; Books to Read Before You Grow Up and Books You Must Read Before You Die. British novelist Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, was born on September 13, 1916 and is so well-loved that his birthday was made into a national holiday. He is known for his fantastical tales, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda and others.  Nearly all of Dahl's books have been made into films and are read by young and old alike.


Matilda wasn't around when I was growing-up, but I remember reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  It was one of the first long books I ever read (with chapters) when I was about ten years old.  My family was on an eight-hour road trip to visit my grandparents and Dad was amazed that I was so quiet during the whole trip.   I was totally absorbed in the story and as soon as I finished reading the book, I started reading it over again immediately.  Since our trip lasted into the night, I also remember holding my book up to the rear view window in order to read by the headlights of passing cars and trucks.  

The good memory of reading about Charlie's adventures in the Chocolate Factory built my anticipation as I began reading Matilda, and once again Dahl did not disappoint.  If there weren't so many other books on my 'to-read' list I would be tempted to simultaneously read it again! 

This book is about a very intelligent little girl, named Matilda Wormwood, whose family doesn’t appreciate her. Her mother is always leaving to run off and play bingo.  Her father is a dishonest used car salesman who favors her older brother and constantly puts her down.  Matilda feels alone and out of place in this dysfunctional family. Until one day she finds her way to the library, discovers books, and amazingly teaches herself to read.  In no time, Matilda Wormwood becomes a bookworm. At the age of four she is reading classics like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Animal Farm by George Orwell. 

Evenings at the Wormwood house are spent eating TV dinners, on TV trays, while glued to the ‘boob tube.’  While her family is riveted to the TV, watching wrestling or silly game shows, Matilda finds comfort in books. 

When she is old enough for school, her teacher Ms. Honey sees that Matilda is no ordinary student. She tries to have Matilda placed in a gifted class, but the school’s headmaster Ms. Trunchbull says NO!  Obviously Ms. Trunchbull is in the wrong profession. She really can’t stand children and accuses Matilda of cheating or showing off.  All the children fear Ms. Trunchbull, a former Olympic shot-put champion, who likes to throw the children around and yells a lot.  After Ms. Trunchbull catches a boy stealing a piece of chocolate cake, she punishes him by forcing him to eat an entire cake in front of the whole school.  I guess the purpose of the punishment was to make him so sick of cake that he would never steal, much less eat another piece of cake.

All of Dahl’s characters are over-the-top and as the story develops Matilda takes revenge on her parents and Ms. Trunchbull.  First with simple pranks and later with a newly discovered talent, telekinesis.  At this part in the story, I imagine that young reluctant readers are hooked.  What child wouldn't want to read about how big, mean adults are cleverly brought down by this small, quiet little girl?  

My book club watched the film at a special screening in the Blue Ridge Movie Lounge and met afterward for discussion and chocolate cake.  My favorite part was when Matilda got her first library card and brought home a wagon full of books.  This brought back memories of doing the same thing as a child.  I grew up in a one-car family and  remember riding to the library in a wagon pulled by mom. Then walking back home with a wagon full of books.  Sadly Matilda's mom wasn't around and she had to walk to the library and pull the wagon by herself. We talked about the neglectful parents and how even adults can be bullies. Dahl's story is an eye-opening reminder of how not all children have support at home.  There were several children at the theater and I happened to overhear comments from them about the differences between the movie and the book. It is such a joy to see children who love books, knowing that reading is the key to success! I was also glad to see the importance of libraries incorporated into this story.  Hopefully this movie, and the precocious character Matilda, will inspire viewers to read more.  

Strange how both Dahl and Trow have similar views on the evils of television! Here is a quote from Matilda to sums things up.  All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen. If only they would read a little Dickens or Kipling they would soon discover there was more to life than cheating people and watching television.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Good Neighbor Project 2019: Stories of Recovery and Hope


At a recent Ashe Health Alliance meeting, results of Ashe County’s Health Opinion Survey were released and confirmed regional findings that alcohol and/or drug use is the number one health concern of our community. These results are consistent with current data trends that show an increase in the prevalence of substance misuse. Nearly 90 percent of respondents cited substance misuse as the most important risky behavior in the community. When asked what the top health problem in the community is, nearly 80 percent again responded with alcohol and/or drug use. This majority opinion parallels the alcohol-poisoning rate and number of alcohol related visits to the Emergency Department in Ashe County, both of which are higher than state averages.
Approximately 15 percent of Ashe County residents report binge or heavy drinking. Between 2011 – 2015, one in five driving deaths (21 percent) involved alcohol in Ashe County, compared to 32 percent of all driving deaths in North Carolina.
Addiction is harmful to our community in many ways. Beyond the harmful consequences for a person with addiction, substance misuse can cause serious health problems for others, Use of some drugs such as opioids during pregnancy increases the risk of developmental problems for babies. Injection of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine increases the spread of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV. The number of acute Hepatitis C cases in Ashe County doubled from 2015 to 2016.
In response to these concerns and as a follow-up on our literary festival read, Dopesick by Beth Macy, Appalachian Regional Library System launches the 2019 Good Neighbor Project: Stories of Recovery and Hope. The common read for this year’s project is Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery by Dana Bowman. Multiple copies of her book are available at Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes County Libraries. In efforts to reduce barriers to access, these books are labeled as READ-SHARE-RETURN and do not require a library card to borrow. Just be sure to keep the books moving after they are read so they reach as many as possible.  
Dana’s story follows her journey in recovery from alcoholism and offers encouragement for those who struggle as well as those in support of loved ones with an addiction problem. Not to diminish the seriousness of the disease, but to humanize it and make conversation about it less taboo, Dana uses humor to address this health problem. By looking at the addiction problem as an illness not a character flaw, we can help to banish stigma and find ways that make the road to recovery easier for all to travel. Join us for special programming during the month of October. 
(details listed below and on the website: www.arlibrary.org)

Dates to remember in October:
Events for Children & Families
  • Baby Bounce, for ages birth to 2 years, takes place every Friday at 10:30 a.m. Enjoy stories, rhymes, bounces, and songs, with stay-and-play time afterward.
  • Tot time meets every Wednesday for ages two and three for a fun-filled time with stories, art, and music. Come out to wiggle, giggle, laugh, sing, and create!
  • Story Time for ages four and five takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Join us for ABC Adventures of stories, art, and music.
  • Alternate Ending Club for ages 7-12 meets at 4:00 p.m. on October 8 and 22. Come out and experience books in a whole new way with interactive stories where club mates will choose the way the story ends.
  • Maker Monday is for children and families at 4:00 p.m. on Mondays. If you can imagine it, you can make it. Follow your curiosity to create amazing solutions to everyday challenges, play on your own, and more!
  • World Map Day is on October 19. Join us at 11:00 a.m. and celebrate with map crafts, games (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?), and a library scavenger hunt. Costumes encouraged!
  • Bake Your Cares Away at 1:00 p.m. on October 25. Baking is great therapy! Make cookies with us from start to finish.
  • Calling all Trick or ‘Reaters! Come and celebrate at the library with treats, games, and spooky stories from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on October 31.
Teen Club (Ages 12-18)
  • T for Teen meets at 4:00 p.m. on October 1. Gamers unite! Xbox 360 and laptops available for teen gaming.
  • Board Game Café takes place at 4:00 p.m. on October 8.
  • Open Studio (games, art, & snacks) is held at 4:00 p.m. on October 15.
  • Teen Listening Council (TLC) / A.S.H.E. meets at 4:00 p.m. on October 22. Once each month, A Safe Home for Everyone will host Teen Listening Council. Each session will feature snacks, fun activities, and help in navigating the turbulent teenage years.
  • A Suicide Prevention Workshop will be held at 4:00 p.m. on October 29. This workshop will be facilitated by a representative from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Adult Programs
  • Life with Children takes place at 9:45 a.m. on October 8. Welcoming parents and caregivers of young children for practical parenting tips and discussion, light refreshments, and time to enjoy the companionship of others who are raising the next generation. Child care will be provided by members of the Friends of Ashe County Library (FOL). Registration is suggested. This is a program of the FOL with support from the library.
  • The Talking Service Book Club meets at 10:00 a.m. on October 11. Each meeting begins with a discussion of one or more readings from Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian, a collection of works ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent memoirs by veterans of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The readings serve as an entry for attendees, particularly veterans, to talk candidly about their own experiences. This club is open to veterans and anyone who cares about veterans. Stop by the library to pick up a copy of this month’s read!
  • Brouhaha Book Club takes place at 5:30 p.m. on October 28 at Boondocks Brewing. Come as you are and read what you want. There is no required reading for this book club! Join us to share the books you’ve read over the past month and get recommendations for your next great read!
  • For all your tech troubles, book an appointment with our friendly reference librarians.  Call 336.846.2041 x227. 
  • Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
  • Vickie’s Book Club meets at 1:00 p.m. October 15 to discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
All Ages
  • Get Crafty will meet on October 19 for crocheting and knitting from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. All skill levels welcome, materials are provided.
  • The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on October 10 and 24.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
  • Mountain Music Molasses (slow) Jam meets from 3:00 – 5:00 on October 12 and 19 in the downstairs meeting room. Get together with other musicians and jam.  Songs are explained as to timing, breaks, etc… and played in slow time.  Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.
Good Neighbor Project
  • Screening of documentary The Anonymous People at 12:30 p.m. on October 23.
More than 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The goal of this movie is to change the conversation from addiction to recovery and build a movement that supports people stepping out of the shadows and talking about their lives in recovery—without stigma or shame.
  • Hear Dana Bowman speak at 12:00 p.m. on October 30 in Hensley Hall, West Jefferson Methodist Church. Author, mother, blogger, and runner Dana Bowman will discuss sobriety, motherhood, and her best-selling book, Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery. Tickets are required for this free lunch event. Call 336.846.2041 x111 or visit the library to register.
  • Nar-Anon Interest Meeting to be held at 6:00 p.m. on October 30. Nar-Anon Family Groups are primarily for those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to them. Join us as we gauge interest in forming and hosting a Nar-Anon group at ACPL.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

August Literary Birthdays


Christopher Isherwood (b. August 26, 1906) spent his formative years in England, son of aristocrat parents.  His father, a British Army officer, died in WWI when he was ten years old.  His mother then sent him to a Catholic preparatory school, and while there he met young Wysten Auden.  (W.H. Auden became a famous English-American poet.) Following prep school, Isherwood attended Cambridge College for a short time before leaving his studies behind and traveling to Berlin with Auden to work as an English tutor.  In his 'autobiographical' novels, The Berlin Stories, Isherwood suggests that the lure of the city was its gay party scene.  The stories take place in the early 1930s before Hitler rises to power, written at a time when no one knew how badly history would turn out for Berlin, for Germany ... for the Jews. 

The first novella in The Berlin Stories is “The Last of Mr. Norris” a.k.a. “Mr. Norris Changes Trains.”  Isherwood names the main characters; William Bradshaw (his own middle names), and Arthur Norris who is modeled after Gerald Hamilton, known internationally as “the wickedest man in Europe.”  Like Isherwood, William Bradshaw (narrator of the story), takes a train from Cambridge to Berlin.  Initially visiting the city as a tourist. William decides to stay longer and begins teaching English lessons as a source of income.  William meets Mr. Norris on the train ride and during the course of their conversation becomes wrapped up in curiosity about his lifestyle.  Mr. Norris introduces himself by saying, “I only wish to have three sorts of people as my friends, those who are very rich, those who are very witty, and those who are very beautiful.”  

William is inadvertently drawn into Berlin's underworld.  He innocently engages in political activity with Mr. Norris after being convinced about his financial problems and lets himself get entangled in spy affairs. Mr. Norris keeps company with dominatrix Anni and Olga a cocaine-seller who receives stolen goods, takes in washing, and does exquisite needlework.  Fraulein Schroeder is another memorable supporting character who runs the rooming house where William stays.  Mr. Norris's assistant Schmidt is referred to as “a snake in the grass,” who ultimately forces him into exile.  More a series of intertwining character sketches than a plot-driven novel, this story offers a vibrant look at Berlin night-life during a dangerous time in history.

“Goodbye to Berlin” is the second part of The Berlin Stories and is really a collection of several short stories, again based on Isherwood’s experiences as an expatriate living in Berlin during the early 1930s.   With these stories, Isherwood shares how uncertain times were as late as 1932 and how fast it all came crashing down.   The 1955 film “I Am a Camera,” starring Julie Harris, portrays the story of Sally Bowles and later is remade into a play.  It was remade again as the 1972 musical “Cabaret,” starring Liza Minnelli.  My book club visited The Blue Ridge Movie Lounge for a select showing of Cabaret and all agreed that even today it is politically relevant when exploring topics of fascism.  Closely following Isherwood's novel, both the book and the film will leave you deeply thinking with a historical look at the last years of the Wiemar Republic. 


Helen Craig, picture book illustrator, is recognized this month in celebration of her birthday, August 30, 1934.  She is best known for creating Angelina Ballerina (a dancing mouse) with writer Katharine Holabird.  Craig was born in London and during WWII evacuated to the country as part of Operation Pied Piper … a campaign to keep children safe from aerial bombing targeted at cities. As a young adult she spent some time in Spain where she studied drawing and ceramic sculpture. 


Craig returned to the UK in 1967 and began illustrating children’s books in 1970.  She was soon discovered by Sarah Hayes, children’s author, of Thame, Oxfordshire.  They partnered together on a several projects, but became most recognized for a series of ‘Bear’ books.  The first in the series, entitled This is the Bear, was randomly selected for review this month and is a great read-aloud story!  It is similar to the style of story-telling used in the children’s classic This is the House That Jack Built. Fred the Bear is a very well-loved by his boy and may actually have some traits of a real-live animal!  When the boy discovers Fred is missing, he somehow figures out that the dog has accidentally pushed him into a dustbin.  From there Fred seems to have been hauled away by the garbage man to the dump.  This is where it gets real interesting as the boy and his dog set off to rescue and bring him back home.

Children will love hearing This is the Bear read aloud since it is full of rhyme and repetition.  This book would also make a great first reader for one learning to read on their own.   Check out this book trailer video put together by the Ashe County Library Drama Club: https://youtu.be/Q0oqokmd2Jc  and stop by the library for this and other Bear stories by Sarah Hayes and Helen Craig.