Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ashe Library Launches the 2017 Community Read: Truevine

Beth Macy's book Truevine, is Ashe Library's 2017 Community Read selection.   Truevine, a town near Roanoke, Virginia, is the place where this story begins.  The time is 1899.  Freed slaves are now working as sharecroppers for white landowners and enduring segregation and limited rights under Jim Crow laws.  Macy’s book reflects her years of research into the lives of two brothers, George and Willie Muse and the cruel turn of events in their young lives that propelled them towards fame in Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey’s Circus Freak Show.  Kidnapped by circus talent scouts from the tobacco fields where they worked, as circus entertainers these albino African American brothers were billed as “Ambassadors from Mars,” or with their unkempt dreadlocked hair, “Sheep-headed Cannibals from Ecuador.”  The Muse brothers’ family spent years wondering what happened to the boys, and it wasn’t until thirteen years after their disappearance that their mother found them.  She was able to help them gain control over their lives and rectify the exploitative way in which they were being handled. 

George & Willie Muse, a.k.a Eco & Iko
It was certainly a big accomplishment for Harriet Muse, an illiterate maid, to fight for her sons’ freedom in the early 1900s.  An oppressive social climate was fueled by white supremacist groups who began to dominate the landscape in the South.  Klansmen and other groups started a violent campaign to disenfranchise, lynch, and terrorize African Americans.  I marveled at Harriet Muse’s bravery, but I can relate to the fierce love a mother has for her children.  This story is not just a story about “circus freaks”, Jim Crow days, underhanded business dealings, and social injustices.  I think the core of this story is how the Muses’ mother went to such lengths to help her children. I was saddened by the lost childhood of these brothers and very touched by their emotional mother/child reunion years later.  While reading this scene I actually had goosebumps when George is quoted “There’s our dear old mother. Look, Willie, she is not dead.”  

This year’s Community Read is the first to engage our county with a non-fiction book.  It is about history, family struggles, and a mother’s love.  Although the brothers endured years of hardship, in the end George and Willie come out on top! Join us in reading, discussing and sharing this story during the month of May.  A perfect choice for Mother’s Day reading! 

Read-Share-Return Books are available at the library. Stop in and pick up a copy, then save the date for special related programming and a visit from the author.  Community Read Theater presents a circus-themed interpretation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (another story about kidnapped brothers) at 7:00 p.m. in the Bowie Seagraves Memorial Park on May 12 and 13.  Beth Macy visits the library for a presentation and reading at 7:00 p.m. on June 2 (pizza will be served).  For those who wish to visit informally with Beth, call the library to register for Breakfast with the Author at 9:00 a.m. on June 3 (free event, but limited seating).

Community Read programming is made possible by fundraising efforts of Ashe County Library Friends.  Thank you Friends … we appreciate you!  We are also very proud of Ashe County’s Homeschool Drama Club (T.H.E.M.) and their wonderful leaders Ramona Renfroe and Gilly Macknee.  You won’t want to miss their incredible performance in the park!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Recognizing Privacy Week: May 1- 7

Choose Privacy Week is the American Library Association’s annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians’ unique role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole. The initiative encourages libraries to be champions of privacy rights in the digital age and highlights ways libraries can protect the privacy of their patrons and educate persons to think critically and make informed choices about their privacy.
As librarians we believe that freedom of speech is meaningless without the freedom to read. Confidentiality and privacy are essential to these freedoms, because if library users have to worry about being judged, punished, ostracized, or put under surveillance, they may censor themselves. They may not seek answers to their questions or read the things they want to read, either in print or online. To be free and to govern themselves, people must be able to explore ideas—even controversial ideas—without fear.
There are many reasons why library users might want their privacy and confidentiality protected. Perhaps they have been diagnosed with a disease and want to learn more about it before they tell their children. They may be suffering from domestic or child abuse and want to find out how to get help. They may be researching their rights before deciding to blow the whistle on illegal activity at work. Or perhaps they’re planning a special vacation as a surprise gift for a loved one. Privacy isn’t about protecting people who are doing bad things. It’s about giving our users the power to decide for themselves who will know about their reading and research interests. If a user chooses to share her reading list with others, that’s fine; but we can’t assume everyone wants that.
Learn more about ways to protect your privacy at and visit the library to find books and articles about the issues and current threats to privacy rights.

~ 2017 Privacy Revolution. American Library Association.

Dates to remember in May:  The library will be closed on May 12 for staff training and May 29 for Memorial Day.

 Children’s Programs
  • Baby Bounce meets every Friday at 10:00 a.m. for ages birth to 2 years.  Enjoy stories, rhymes, bounces, and songs with a stay-and-play social time afterwards.
  • Tot Time meets every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. for ages 2 and 3.  Wiggle, giggle, laugh, sing, and create!  This is a fun-filled time featuring stories, art, and music.
  • Story Time meets every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for ages 4 and 5.  Join us for ABC adventures with stories, art, and music.
  • The Lego Club meets on May 18 at 4:00 p.m. for grades 1-5. Build, create, and make new friends.
  • Sign up for Summer Reading Programs on May 17!
Teen Programs
  • T for Teen, Gamers unite! will meet at 4:00 p.m. on May 2.  Xbox 360 and laptops available for gaming.
  • Teen Art Studio meets at 4:00 p.m. on May 9. Come and create! We provide the supplies and you make the art in this open choice art studio.
  • Board Game CafĂ© meets at 4:00 p.m. on May 16.  Come alone or bring a group to enjoy a variety of board games, hot coffee from local brews, and sweet treats.
  • The Teen Advisory Council (TAC) meets at 5:00 p.m. on May 16.  Tell us what you want to see in YOUR library.
  • Teen Craft Club meets at 4:00 p.m. on May 23.  Come get crafty and make bracelets with thread, hemp, bandanas, or paracord.
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.
  • Read Around the World Book Club meets at 5:45 p.m. on May 17.  Take a literary journey to far-flung locales with this monthly book club, focusing on titles set in other countries. Pick up a copy of this month’s selection, Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi, at the library!
  • Learn about Saving Seeds at 6:00 p.m. on May 18.  This workshop will focus on crops from which it is fairly easy to save seeds (a sort of Seed Saving 101, if you will).
  • A film screening for Democracy for Sale, takes place at 4:30 p.m. on May 24.  Zach Galifianakis travels back to his home state to investigate how North Carolina has been transformed by the new and growing tidal wave of political spending.
  • Relax and hear audiobook short stories in a group listening experience with adult coloring sheets at 5:30 p.m. on May 30.
 All Ages
  • A family program, Book and a Bite, takes place from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on May 6. Pick up a healthy recipe and take part in a Citizen Science gardening project.
  • Get Crafty and make Quick Knit & Crochet Gifts at 10:00 a.m. on May 20.  Instruction available for beginners and project materials are provided.
  • The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on May 9 and 23.  Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music!
  • Mountain Music Slow Jam will meet from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on May 5 and 19 in the downstairs meeting room (after-hours access through side door on lower parking lot).  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.
Special Events:
  • Ashe County Homeschool Drama Club perform Cymbeline, a Community Read Theatre event at 7:00 p.m. on May 12 and 13.  This will be a circus-themed interpretation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline in celebration of our Community Read book (Truevine by Beth Macy).
  • Find out about the library’s new signature program Involving Books at Ashe Farmers Market on May 20. Pick up a copy of Forrest Pritchard’s book, Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm.
  • Save the date, 7:00 p.m. June 2, for Beth Macy’s discussion of her award-winning new book, Truvine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South. 
  • “Breakfast with Beth” is an informal gathering to visit with this year’s Community Read author and takes place at 9:00 a.m. on June 3.  The event is free, but requires registration. Call 336.846.2041 x 243 for details