Friday, August 22, 2014

Gearing up for Fall!

If you didn't know, school starts Monday!!  For Franklin County Library the first day of school means a shift from our Summer Reading Program to new and varied events for both kids and adults.
First up this fall is an Arts and Crafts show.  Beginning September 2nd through September 12th, we will be displaying arts and crafts from members of the community.  This means YOU!  If you have anything you consider artsy or crafty you would like to display please bring it to us.  We will make sure your name and contact information is on it and you can pick it up on the 12th.  Anything from quilts to needlework, painting to scrapbooking, woodworking to metalworking to jewelry will be great!  We already have a gentleman who is going to display fiddles that he has hand carved. 
In conjunction with the Arts and Crafts show, on Thursday, September 11th, we will be having a Craft Supply Swap.  You can bring your extra supplies (i.e. fabric, paint, thread, needles, etc) and go home with new ones!  We have done this before with plants, but never craft supplies.  It should be a lot of fun.   

Beginning September 16th, we will begin a fall series of Computer Classes.  The classes are at 5:30 and will cover topics such as Excel, Social Media, Apps, and Jobs and Resumes.  Class size is limited, so please call the library (903-537-4916) to reserve your spot. 

Beginning September 8th, we will resume Marvelous Mondays!  Every Monday that school is in session, we will have a short activity for kids at 4:15.  We conduct science experiments and create crafts.  The activities usually last about 15 minutes.  I've already been working on new activities for this year! 

It looks like the Fall is going to be busy at Franklin County Library.  Come on in and see what we're doing!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reading Takes You Places

Come in and tell us where the book you are reading is set.  We'll put it on the bulletin board.  Let's fill it up!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Julie's Journal : What I did on my summer vacation!

You may have noticed that I didn't come to work last week!  Every year I try to take a week off in August after our summer at the library has slowed down and right before my husband, Jason, goes back to teaching 5th grade.  This year, our week was extremely busy.  Saturday we went to Carrollton and picked up Jason's grandmother, Wanda Baxter.  She stayed with us through Wednesday and we had a great time. 

We spent all day Monday in Paris, visiting relatives and cemeteries and other family points of interest.  Wanda showed us the graves of great-great grandparents, the house where she was born, and the location of the home of her grandfather, although the house is no longer there.  We also visited with her brother, Billy Smith, and a couple of her nephews. 
The grave of Jason's great-great grandparents.
Miss Wanda told us old stories about Jason's ancestors, and we found out that two of his grandfather's uncles actually had a service station in Bogata and his great-great grandfather was born in Bogata.  Jason grew up in Dallas and had no idea that he had any connections in this area at all!  Miss Wanda also brought old pictures which I scanned and am going to make a scrapbook with.  I highly recommend spending time with your older relatives.  There's no telling what you'll learn about your family history!

Later in the week, on Friday, Jason and I went to Arlington and took in a Texas Rangers Baseball game.  They didn't win, but we didn't care.  Just going to the stadium is a lot of fun.  There were fireworks after the game, too, set to Elvis music. 

All in all, it was a great week.  Not very restful, but a lot of fun!  Hopefully, we'll get to do it all over again next August!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chance's Corner: Texas Traveler - The Very Busy Weekend!

This Texas Traveler edition is jam-packed with two exciting adventures! Why? Because I had a very busy weekend!


I took off from work (gasp!), and went with the family to lounge around in the cool waters of the Splash Kingdom waterpark in Canton, Texas. It's a pretty nice place. Not too big... not too small. The only drawback is the lack of shade. There's a lot of sun beaming off that hot pavement! That's really my only complaint about the place. Despite that small setback,  my nieces had tons of fun being adventurous and going down the big slides. I took one adventurous turn, but it really reminded me why the lazy river is my favorite attraction.





I went with the family to the Winspear Opera House in Dallas to take in a performance of The Phantom of the Opera. Words simply can not express how the performance was. I could say... Spectacular! Beautiful! Stunning! Touching! Those are all great words, but still do not cover how much I enjoyed the show. The sets were immense and immaculate. It seemed to have a life of its own as it effortlessly moved and transitioned from scene to scene. My favorite transition was the introductory descent into the Phantom's lair beneath the opera house. I also enjoyed the grand reveal of the famous chandelier and its great collapse.

The singing was superb. I had goosebumps throughout the entire performance hearing my favorite songs belted out live and in person. Surprisingly, the regular actor for the Phantom was not available, so his understudy, Allan Snyder, was in his place. I looked through the program, and Snyder's name and photo was listed way, way down at the bottom. Let me tell you that Snyder should be bumped all the way up to the top! He was incredible.

I was worried that my dad wouldn't enjoy the performance but he actually did. He said he especially enjoyed the second act because it was very tragic. I agree with him on that. Let's just say... some man-tears were shed. Well, I shed them. Dad just laughed at me.







Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tom's Two Cents: The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills

A recently published memoir, "The Mockingbird Next Door," now available at the Library, is a fitting and poignant tribute to one of America's most famous authors, Harper Lee, whose "To Kill a Mockingbird" became a modern classic, selling over thirty million volumes and translated into umpteen foreign languages.  One is reminded of another Southern writer from the neighboring state of Georgia (Ms. Lee resides in Monroeville, Alabama), whose first and only published novel, like Ms. Lee's, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and virtually overnight made that author the most famous name in the book world: Margaret Mitchell and "Gone With the Wind."  Both women never wrote another book, and both had their lives changed irrevocably by the publication of that one, spending most of the rest of their lives artfully dodging the spotlight, totally perplexed and unprepared for such instant fame.  Lee is now 88, living in an assisted living home, her health severely impaired by a stroke; tragically Mitchell's life was cut short when she was killed in an auto accident at the age of 49.

"The Mockingbird Next Door" is the story of the author's relationship to both Harper Lee and her older sister Alice before, during, and after she rented the house next door to them in Monroeville, Alabama.  Sent to Monroeville by her employer, The Chicago Tribune, to try to get just one interview with the reclusive Nelle Harper Lee, author Marja Mills so ingratiated herself to both Lee sisters that she finally ended up renting the house next door to them and staying for over a year.  The result is a nostalgic and delightful view of Nelle ( Harper) and Alice Lee and their Southern small town world, both present and past.

Unfortunately, the publication of the book has created a small tempest, for Harper Lee has disavowed any connection with it or its author, who, in my opinion, has gone to considerable lengths to protect Lee's privacy, even as she reveals her as the smart, insightful and creative woman she obviously is.  "Mockingbird" is as much the story of small town Southern life and of Lee's remarkable older sister, Alice, a lawyer like their father, who formed the model for Atticus Finch, as it is of Lee herself.  Totally unimpressed by the money that fame has brought her, Lee and her sister (who died at the age of 103, active until virtually the end of her life!) continued to live in the same house, a brick three bedroom, two bath rambler they had shared with their parents, with no television, no internet (they did have a fax machine for communicating, since both were quite hard of hearing), no cell phone and wonder of wonders, not even a washing machine!  Wouldn't you love to have met Harper Lee doing her laundry at the local Laundrymat?

The two things they did splurge on were books and eating out, though in the small town of Monroeville and its environs, eating out hardly meant spending a lot of money--it usually meant lots of cups of coffee at the local McDonalds and several meals of fried catfish at Dave's Catfish.  The books, magazines and newspapers were something else: they virtually furnished the house, stacked on every conceivable surface that could be found, except the two chairs the ladies occupied.  Lee's characteristic comment on the so-called "conveniences" of modern life was an old-timey word which she was very fond of using:  "Mercy!"

Despite the richness of its small town portrayal of Harper Lee, this book does not attempt to explore the other major aspect of her life except by occasional allusions to it: Lee spent part of every year in her apartment in New York City from the age of nineteen until long past the success of her book in 1960, followed by the equal success of the film, starring Gregory Peck (who became a close friend) in 1961.  Initially she worked for British Airlines, later of course she did not have to work at all, but she kept her New York life as long as she could. Whether her biographer Gerald Clarke, whose book on her she also disavowed, spends equal time on both major places in her life I don't know.  There is a chapter of sorts in the book devoted to her long-time friend and neighbor, Truman Capote, and their research collaboration on his famous non-fiction novel, "In Cold Blood."  Their relationship from childhood through adulthood is probably worthy of a book itself.

"The Mockingbird Next Door" is certainly not a good read for everyone; its small town, anecdotal nature becomes a bit redundant at times; but for those of us fascinated by Lee and her famous book, as well as the nature of Southern small town life, now and then, it is well worth the time spent.  I recommend it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Most Read Books in the World

I found this in my virtual wanderings.  I thought it was a very interesting infographic from Jared Fanning.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Watermelon Day and Ice Cream Day!

I thought you might like to see a few pictures from the last two events of the summer.  Watermelon Day was this morning, and Ice Cream Day was last Friday.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tom's Two Cents : "Gone Girl" : Where Did She Go?

I'm not very good at keeping up with the latest books; thus I'm just now getting around to a best seller of 2012, "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn.  Urged by a friend to read it, I just finished this morning, both amazed and appalled by what it takes these days to make it to the best seller charts.  In the Forties ( yes, I was alive then!) titles like "I Married a Killer" were most likely to appear in pulp "crime" magazines rather than the book pages of The New York Times.  No more.  Of course a more apt title for today like "I Married a Socio/Psychopathic Killer," would not necessarily be understood in the Forties--people were considered sane or insane in those days and mostly talked about in those terms.  Nowadays there are so many shades of gray, fifty to be exact, that any amount of variation can be talked or written about.

So it is with Amy Dunne, the female protagonist and the "gone girl" of the title. Flynn's highly suspenseful book is about a marriage gone wrong and a disappearance gone--well to hell in a hand-basket, and then some.  The story is consistently and uniformly told from two points of view--Amy's, and her befuddled, confused, angered and finally frightened husband's, Nick Dunne.  A movie is forthcoming, and it should make a good one, for the book has all the elements of a major hit: mystery, murder, self-mutilation, sex, nudity, cops and robbers, offensive language to the extreme, etc. etc. (Will the public ever get enough of this?  The answer is apparently a resounding NO!)

Not to suggest that this is nothing more than a formulaic novel--far from it.  In plotting and structure it's nothing short of ingenious.  And Amy Dunne is a character worthy of the tradition of Edgar Allan Poe--a bizarre embodiment of the evil genius wrapped up in a very attractive package that is, of all things--female.

The reversal of the typical role relationship -- the wife caught in the grips of a fiendish husband (think Bluebeard's Castle) -- is in its way quite brilliant, as is the author's ability to almost win the reader to Amy's point of view against her dolt of a husband, until, until, know if you've read it, and if you haven't...

Is this book pure escapism, or does it simply go to the extreme to illustrate a prevailing female viewpoint that men are stupid pigs who have to be fattened and then led to the ultimate slaughter?  As one of the stupid pigs, I'm really not sure.  All I can say for certain is that if you are contemplating marriage to someone you are not sure you really know, then forget it and run like--you know what!

Book in a Jar Winners!

All summer, I've had a "book in a jar" contest set up on the counter above my computer.  This morning, I had Kristin draw three winners.  They are:
  • Ellen Eggleston
  • Cutter Bohler
  • John Duvall
Congratulations!!  Come by the library anytime to pick up your prize!

(By the way, if you are curious, the book was Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer 2014

Tuesday marked the end of Summer Reading 2014.  We had a very busy summer here at Franklin County Library.

For the kids, we hosted "Whirled on a String" - a yo-yo show, Dr. Flakenstein - a magician, a petting zoo, Pint Sized Polka, Miki the Monkey and Bubble Day  We co-hosted a music show with Mt. Vernon Music.  We will finish up with Ice Cream Day tomorrow and Watermelon Day next Friday. 

We also hosted Franklin County Veterans on Flag Day and Northeast Texas Librarians (NetLibs) on July 21st.

(Kristin taught me how to do this!)

Our theme this summer was Fizz, Boom, Read!  We displayed all sorts of science decorations.  We hung a solar system from the ceiling and the life cycles of butterflies and frogs from light fixtures.  We discovered the super absorbent powers of polymers, learned about evaporation with our drinking bird, and watched a tree grow crystals.  All in all, a very educational summer! 

At the beginning of the summer, Mrs. August gave the kids a challenge.  Every time a child turned in a sheet full of books they had read they could put a link in a pink, green, or blue chain.  At the end of the summer Mrs. August had to dye her hair the color of the longest chain. 

It may be a little hard to tell in this picture, but Mrs. August's hair is definitely BLUE!!  All together the kids read over 3400 books or chapters.  Way to go!
Now we have a little time to catch up on our projects before we jump into fall.  Our first big event of the fall is the craft show beginning on September 2nd and running through the 12th.  We plan to have a craft supply swap on the evening of September 11th.  Start working on arts and crafts to show off!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chance's Corner: Texas Traveler

Sometimes you have to get out of town for a day or two, and that's just what I did. I didn't go very far, though, because I knew I had to be back at the Franklin County Library before anybody missed me. So, what did I do this time? I took a tour of the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Let's just get this part out of the way. The AT&T Stadium is HUGE! How huge?
  • You could fit three Texas Stadiums (the old stadium) inside of it. 
  • The Statue of Liberty can stand up in it, and she still wouldn't touch the ceiling. 
  • There is a mile-long concrete ramp that extends from the top all the way down to the bottom.
  • There is a six-story video screen dangling from the ceiling.
  • There are over 3,000 other video screens throughout the stadium (a record number for a sports venue).
  • There are over a 1,000 toilets (most of them are for women).
  • And the entire joint cost over a BILLION dollars to build, most of it came out of Jerry Jones' own pocket.
Whew! That's big. And here's the pictures to prove it!

Oh dear! Where's the field? Unfortunately, the field was tucked away in the basement because they were preparing for a Beyoncé concert.
The six-story video screen
The view from Jerry Jones' private box
Jerry Jones' private table
Never miss a play while waiting in line at the concession stand!

A private box that you can own... for 10, 20 or 30 years. Prices start in the thousands and keep going, going, going into the millions.


The bowels of AT&T Stadium.


Football ambiance
The Center Field Star!
The playing field all rolled up in Jerry Jones' private parking garage.
The club that the Cowboys run through to get to the field.

And what good Mount Vernon individual wouldn't take the time to look for some sign of Don Meredith?

Overall, I really enjoyed the tour of the AT&T Stadium. If you ever get an opportunity, you should swing by and take a look at it for yourself. It's an amazing sight to behold!


My family took a little detour on the way home from Arlington and drove over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. We got honked at, but the photo results were well-worth it.