Library news, Sept. 15

September 15th, 2014 by twilson

Banned Book Week begs freedom of choice

By Tammy Wilson
Public Information Officer

You can’t please everyone.

That’s especially true when it comes to books. One person’s gem is another’s must to avoid. When it comes to reading, there are many examples of intolerance. From The Hunger Games to Captain Underpants to the Holy Bible, all have been banned at one time or another.

Celebrating the freedom to read is the idea behind National Banned Book Week, Sept. 21-27. The annual observance by the American Library Association draws attention to censorship issues. Catawba County Library will observe the week with a display of banned books at Main Library in Newton as well as St. Stephens Branch.

Some banned titles may surprise you: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. The Merriam-Webster dictionary is there too, by the way. It contains inappropriate words for children, objectors say.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank has been banned over the years. Nevertheless, that play will be presented next month as a main stage production by the Green Room in Newton. Catawba County Library in Newton will support the project with a display from the Anne Frank Center in New York all month. The library will also host Holocaust survivor Dr. Walter Ziffer at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16. Ziffer, a Road Scholar with the N.C. Humanities Council, will share his experiences in a talk, “Witness to the Holocaust.”

Through history the usual reasons for banning books are offensive language, sexuality, religious viewpoints or themes that raise uncomfortable questions. In the process of censoring, values of one group are imposed on another—an age-old conflict for which there are no easy answers.

Freedom to read what one chooses is one of the tenets of a free society and the focus of Banned Book Week. A particular title may paint a certain group in a less-than-glowing light. A book may raise issues some would rather leave in the closet. Language used in the past may offend 21st century sensibilities just as the name of one author may rile potential readers. But in the end, we are all better off for having the opportunity to share our viewpoints and to learn how others view the world.

Such knowledge allows us to avoid repeating history’s mistakes.

Register to vote at the library
In celebration of National Voter Registration Day, Catawba County Library will have displays and voter registration forms available at all library facilities.

The registration drive encourages citizens to sign up in time for the November elections. Library locations include the Main Library in Newton as well as Conover, Claremont, Maiden, Sherrills Ford, St. Stephens and Southwest (Mountain View).

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, Sept. 23. The observance is sponsored by a nonpartisan group to ensure that as many potential voters are properly registered by Election Day, Nov. 4.

According to the Pew Center on the States, an estimated one in eight registered voters have registrations that are incorrect or are ineligible for some reason. For example, if you’ve moved, you must update your address.

Library staff will make the registration forms available. Individual voters must return the forms to the Board of Elections office by hand delivery or through the postal service. Questions about voter registration should be directed to the Catawba County Board of Elections Office at the county Government Center or by calling (828) 464-2424.

County library offers learning for seniors
Catawba County Library System will host a series of programs for senior citizens later this month. The non-commercial sessions are offered free as a community service.

“Plan and Prepare for Long-Term Care” will be presented at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 at St. Stephens Branch.

“Money Management: Financial Literacy for Seniors” will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Maiden.

“Being a Safe Senior at Home” is scheduled at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30 at St. Stephens.

Reservations are not required. For more information, contact the St. Stephens Branch at 466-6821 or Maiden at 828-428-2712.

Watch for these DVDs
Several new DVDs are coming to Catawba County Library. Place your “holds” now on movies soon to be available for free checkout, such as:

Ida—(Drama) A young Polish noviate learns a dark family secret before taking her vows.

Earth to Echo—(Adventure, Sci-Fi) After receiving a bizarre series of coded messages, kids embark on an adventure with an alien who needs their help.

Edge of Tomorrow—(Action, Sci-Fi) An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with aliens. His union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer to defeating the enemy.

Persecuted – (Drama, Mystery) An evangelist finds himself framed for murder and on the run after he refuses to back a senator’s proposition calling for sweeping religious reform.

The Rover—(Crime, Drama) Ten years after a world economic collapse, a hardened loner pursues the men who stole his only possession, his car.

Place a hold on these and other movies at or visit any county library location: Newton, Conover, Claremont, Maiden, St. Stephens, Sherrills Ford or Southwest.

Gold mining, highways topic of library history programs
History buffs are in luck this month as Catawba County Library System offers two free programs of local interest.

Gold mining in North Carolina will be discussed by Vivian P. Hopkins on Thursday, Sept. 25, while Dr. Gary Freeze will address bypasses and highways in Catawba County on Tuesday, Sept. 30. Both presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Main Library in Newton. The public is cordially invited.

Hopkins, vice president of the Historic Gold Hill and Mines Foundation of Rowan County, will present her Road Scholar talk “If Picks and Shovels Could Talk: Gold Mining History in North Carolina.” The Wilkes County native has spent much of her life researching gold mining history in the state and has authored several books on the subject.

She currently serves as vice president of the Historic Gold Hill Foundation. Her appearance is made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Freeze, a professor of history at Catawba College in Salisbury, will share research about the impact of Business Route 321, Interstate 40 and other local highways. He is at work on his third book of Catawba County history—The Catawbans Volume III due out next year.

Freeze, a Salisbury resident, is regarded as Catawba County’s historian, having written several volumes concerning Catawba County history over the years. Other topics in his program series will be baby boomers on Nov. 11 and shopping malls and mass merchandisers on Dec. 2.

Both programs are suitable for students and adults. For more information about either program, contact Tammy Wilson, public information officer, at 465-8661. .

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Library news Sept. 8

September 8th, 2014 by twilson

Youth: Learn robotics free at the library
It’s not every day that local kids get a chance to learn robotics for free. Catawba County Library is offering that opportunity to 63 lucky students this fall.

Cyberkids Robotics will teach students in grades 5-12 how to use the latest Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots . Nine lucky young people will be assigned to each of seven library locations: Newton, Conover, Claremont, Maiden, St. Stephens, Sherrills Ford-Terrell and Southwest (Mountain View).

Consider this STEM learning on steroids. Participants will not only learn practical physics, but they’ll enhance their computer skills as they solve complex problems. A key part of the agreement is to serve as a mentor for other students, so that first group will boost their leadership and mentoring skills as well.

Once training is over in January, the students will be asked to serve as a volunteer mentor for others who wish to learn robotics at the library, so the program is a great way for youth to gain leadership experience and earn volunteer hours.

Library staff is taking applications through Friday, Sept. 15. Those selected must be committed to the program and promise to attend all of the weekly classes starting in October. The selection staff will also be looking for young people who are willing to work in a team environment and show a desire to help other kids learn about robotics.

Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the third generation robot in the Lego robotics line which enables users build robots and manipulate them with computer software. The product was released a year ago.

The Cyberkids robotics program is supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Applications may be picked up at any Catawba County Library location. For more information, contact Youth Services at 465-8668 or your local branch library.

Still time to invest in library garden
Library fans several more weeks days to participate in a crowd-funding campaign to benefit the library garden.

More than $3,100 has been raised thus far. Goal is $4,860. Both individuals and community groups may give at the library or on-line at–library The site accepts credit card donations.

The veggie patch, initiated this spring, is designed to provide a learning/reading space for the public as well as a food source for needy families.

The library project marks the first-ever crowd-funding campaign launched by a Catawba County Government agency. The garden, an eco-friendly learning space owned by the county, was started with private donations and support from the Friends of the Library; and now additional funding is being sought to further development.

Tax-deductible donations will help purchase materials, supplies, and plantings to fully bring this garden to life, which will include vegetable, fruit, herbs, and flowers and materials needed to build, contain, and maintain the garden area. Youth and volunteers will continue to tend and share the plants in the community, connect to the garden through literacy programs, and learn about organic gardening, composting, stewardship, healthy eating and the natural world.

For more information about the library garden, contact April Green, Youth Services librarian, at 465-8668 or Suzanne White, library director, at 465-8660.

Conover Branch to host Family Day Sept. 13
Family fun will rule the day this Saturday, when Conover Branch Library sponsors a Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Librarian Brytani Fraser has arranged a full three hours of activities for all ages, including crafts, safety demonstrations, dancing and refreshments.

The morning begins with a car seat safety session at 10 a.m. Professionals from Catawba Valley medical Center will be on hand to show parents the proper way to restrain children in the family vehicle.

Simple make-and-take crafts will be offered at 10:30, followed by a family dance party at 11 and cup cake decorating at 11:30.

Children will get to meet Minnie the library bunny at 12:30 p.m. and help make an obstacle course for the rabbit at 12:30 pm.

Representatives from Conover Fire Department, Catawba County Social Services and local Boy Scout troops will also be available to talk with families.

Conover Branch is part of the Catawba County Library System. For more information, call 466-5108. Conover Branch is located at 403 Conover Station along the railroad tracks near downtown Conover.

Author visit planned at St. Stephens Branch
New England novelist Jean Moore will visit St. Stephens Branch at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 for a discussion of her book, Water on the Moon. The presentation is free and open to the public. Copies will be available for sale and signing.

Her book has been described as a “fusion of history, romance, and mystery that dazzles.” She spins a bewitching tale of hope, tragedy and family secrets

Moore contracted the “writing bug” in elementary when her first “novel” was published in the school newspaper. A former high school English teacher, Moore went on to earn her Ph.D. in English literature and taught college English for a time before turning to telecommunications where she was an executive in education and training for many years.

Now she has returned to her first love and has published fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. She lives in Greenwich, CT. In the summer, Jean teaches yoga in the Berkshires. Water on the Moon is her first novel.

St. Stephens Branch is part of the Catawba County Library System. For more information, call 466-6821.

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News for Sept. 2

September 2nd, 2014 by twilson

Grand Opening for new Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch
It’s official. The Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch Library will open its doors to the public at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29.

County officials including Library Director Suzanne White and branch librarian Jennifer Patterson will be joined by County Manager Tom Lundy, County Commissioners and others for a grand opening celebration to welcome guests to the new facility in Southeastern Catawba County.

The building, located at 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, replaces the 39-year-old facility a short distance away. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the opening of the $3.1 million facility that more than doubles the space for library services for that growing part of the county. The name will officially change to “Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch Library” on that day to better identify the communities served by the facility.

Visitors will have a shop the Friends of the Library book sale in the new lobby, enjoy refreshments and visit with authors in the community meeting room, or just browse the new adult, teen and children’s spaces including an outdoor patio. Visitors will join hands-on technology sessions, obtain a library card and join Friends of the Library at stations throughout the facility. Families can enjoy drop-in story time sessions featuring songs, stories and crafts.

The 10,000-square-foot facility was designed by Jenkins-Peer Architects of Charlotte and built by David E. Looper Company of Hickory as general contractor.

The branch phone number will remains as 466-6827. Expanded operating hours will be Monday and Tuesday from 12 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The existing branch building will be closed from Sept. 22-28 to enable the move. Library materials may be returned at the drop box at the new location during that time. Customers may use any one of the Catawba County Library locations that week: Claremont, Conover, Newton, Maiden, Southwest or St. Stephens.

Cyberkids Robotics to be offered at county library
Local students can learn robotics at the Catawba County Library for free, thanks to a grant from the State Library of North Carolina.

Sixty-three youth in grades 5-12 will be selected this month to attend robotics classes focused on Lego EV3 Mindstorm robots.

Students will how to use the latest EV3 robots during weekly classes held from October to January. Participants will sharpen their skills in physics while gaining valuable leadership experience and volunteer hours.

Library staff is taking applications through Friday, Sept. 15 to select the nine students to participate at each location. Students selected must be committed to the program and promise to attend all of the classes. In addition, they must be willing to work on a team and volunteer in the robotics labs to teach others about robotics.

The Cyberkids robotics program is supported by grant funds from the under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources

Applications may be picked up at any Catawba County Library location. For more information, contact Youth Services at 465-8668 or your local branch.

L-R speaker to explore teaching careers
If you’re considering a teaching career, make plans now to attend “To Teach or Not to Teach” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16 at Catawba County Library in Newton. The program is free and open to the public as a joint venture with the library and Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Dr. Summer Carrol, assistant professor of education at Lenoir-Rhyne, will present a talk on identifying one’s potential to become a teacher.

“Creative, caring and courageous people make good teachers,” Carrol said. “Becoming an educator means you can help close the opportunity and achievement gaps in North Carolina schools.”

Carrol will help attendees determine whether or not teaching is right for them and share information about how qualified individuals can earn a North Carolina teaching certificate in as little as one year—even if their undergraduate degree is not in education.

Carrol, who directs the L-R Master of Arts in Teaching Program, joined the faculty last year having previously served as an instructor and affiliate faculty member at the University of Maryland in College Park, Loyola University of Maryland and McDaniel College, respectively. She holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Maryland.

She has presented talks on education topics including diversity, equity and social justice in education. She has a particular interest in teacher identity, linguistic diversity, history of American education and desegregation and re-segregation of schools.

Patterson to serve as Sherrills Ford-Terrell librarian
The Catawba County Library System has welcomed Jennifer Patterson as the new Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch librarian, according to Suzanne White, library director.

A native of Winston-Salem, Patterson most recently served as technical services coordinator for Union County Public Library. She had several years of retail experience prior to entering Winston-Salem State University for a bachelor’s degree in history. From there she earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

History and reading top her list of interests. While a student, Patterson completed a nine-week internship at Connemara, the historic home of Carl Sandburg at Flat Rock, NC—an experience that allowed her to work closely with an historic collection and put her research skills to use.

“I have always been an avid reader,” Patterson said. “My mother taught me how to read at a very young age and ever since I have had my nose in a book.”

These days she enjoys an array of writers, from Anne Rule to Nora Roberts, and Suzanne Collins to Kimberla Lawson Roby to the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. She also likes graphic novels and multi-cultural novels and enjoys discussing all types of books. She I passionate about librarianship and looks forward to recommending good reads to local patrons of all ages.

Patterson will be closely involved with the move from the current Sherrills Ford facility to new quarters at 9154 Sherrrills Ford Road in late September. Grand opening is set for Sept. 29.

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Library news Aug. 28

August 28th, 2014 by twilson

Free computer workshops continue at county library
Local adults can upgrade their computer skills at no cost, thanks to free 60-minute sessions at Catawba County Library. Pre-registration is required. Sessions on the roster include:

Intro to Computers— A how-to class for the PC novice. Session starts at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Conover or 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at Claremont.
One-on-One Sessions Q&A
—Let a librarian become your computer tutor. Offered 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Sept. 24 at Newton.

Exploring the Internet—Learn how to effectively navigate the world-wide web and its many offerings. Offered Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. at the St. Stephens Branch.

Money Management Banking—Get a better handle on personal finances with this non-commercial workshop. Offered at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10 at Newton.

Job Searching with NC Works—Check out the options available free to NC residents. The learning begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 at Southwest.
Email Basics—This beginner session will show you how to set up an email account, sent, receive and store messages. The learning begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 at Newton.

Resume Builders—Free individual instruction on how to best sell yourself on paper. Call ahead for your time slot at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17 in Conover or 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 in Claremont.

How to Use Hoopla—Hoopla, the amazing new streaming service, offers free access to movies, eAudiobooks and music through the library website. See how to use it at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 at St. Stephens.

Intro to eBooks— A beginner’s session for navigating the world of electronic reading. Held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 26 at Southwest.

To sign up for any workshop, contact the appropriate location: Conover, 466-5108; Newton, 465-7938; Southwest, 466-6818; St. Stephens, 466-6821.

Library card: Best things in life are free
This month the Catawba County Library System joins libraries across the nation to promote literacy through the Smartest Card campaign.

Your library card, the “Smartest Card,” allows you to check out books and audio/visual materials, but also allows access to a wealth of information without leaving your home or office. With a library card, you can access free books, magazines, journals, videos, recorded music available through your local library. Indeed that one card can help you become a, well-rounded citizen.

Catawba County Library cardholders may place holds on materials through the library website You can download books directly from the site for use on an eReader or other device. You can also access special tools such as NC LIVE, the state-funded data base that’s an information goldmine for students and other North Carolinians. The library’s subscription to this service gives you free access to Heritage Quest, Healthlink Plus, Learning Express Library and more.

The library website also offers free access to Hoopla, a service that streams music, audio books and TV programs and movies to your smartphone, tablet, computer or other mobile device.

Can’t find the materials you need? Local librarians can help you find out-of-print books, journals and other rare materials from lending libraries around the country. For the cost of postage, you can borrow those key resources for an important report or research project.
Catawba County Library offers free computer workshops, too. These adult sessions are held 10 months of the year across the library system that operates facilities Newton, Conover, Claremont, Maiden, Sherrills Ford, Southwest and St. Stephens.

Another facet of library service is free programs. Among this month’s offerings are a visit by author Janisse Ray on Sept. 4 in Newton, a talk by Dr. Summer Carrol of Lenoir-Rhyne College on Sept. 16 and a reading by author Jean Moore on Sept.23 at St. Stephens.

For more information about library cards, services or programs, call your local branch or Siobhan Loendorf, assistant library director, at 828 465-8692.

‘The Grapes of Wrath’ turns 75 this year

By Tammy Wilson
Public Information Officer
Catawba County Library System

Recently the Catawba County Library acquired a commemorative copy The Grapes of Wrath, a 75th-anniversary edition. That’s right—the John Steinbeck classic has been around since 1939.

The landmark novel won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to inspire an Oscar-winning motion picture. Henry Fonda starred as Tom Joad, the patriarch of a poor “Okie” family displaced from the family farm during the Great Depression. In desperation, they pack up their belongings to head west on Route 66 to Bakersfield, CA . There they become migrant farm workers.

The tale of struggle and survival captured the spirit of hard times no one cares to repeat. Those years of severe drought would lay waste the Great Plains and affect generations to come.

The Grapes of Wrath is a gritty tale but an American one to the core. When trouble knock, head west. There’s always more opportunity over the next ridge. It is a story line from the earliest days of the nation. Remember too that there is safety in numbers. Don’t set out alone—travel in a group, in this case the extended family.

The trip isn’t easy and the land of opportunity may not be welcoming, but it’s better than doing nothing. In the end you will overcome.

But what a time it was! Dystopian novels and apocalyptic and end-time doomsayers can’t top what really happened to America’s midsection during those grim times. The Dust Bowl was Trouble with a capital T. If you’re not familiar with this chapter in history, read Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The library has is in print and audio formats, but I’ll guarantee the story will make life in 2014 seem like a luxury vacation.

Dust Bowl storms of the 1930′s raced in at 50 mph to blast paint off buildings; crush trees, dent cars and form 50-foot dunes. But there was more. Swarms of grasshoppers devoured anything that drought, hail and tornadoes had spared. Families couldn’t huddle together for static electricity would knock them down. Children died of dust pneumonia, and livestock suffocated on dirt. Women hung wet sheets in windows, taped doors and stuffed cracks with rags. Housecleaning was performed with a shovel.

Dust blew from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Ocean on May 11, 1934 when a massive dust storm rolled from the Midwest to the East Coast. For five hours, a fog of prairie dirt enshrouded landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol, inside which lawmakers were debating a soil conservation bill. I know, you can’t make this stuff up.

Some other Dust Bowl-inspired books and movies to consider at the library:
Dust Bowl: An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan
House of Earth, a novel by Woody Guthrie
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Dust by Arthur G. Slade
Surviving the Dust Bowl (DVD)
The Great Depression (DVD)

Library tells September schedule
Catawba County Library offers an array of September activities from author visits to computer classes, story times and more.

The new Sherrills Ford-Terrell Branch will officially open on Sept. 29 near the intersection of Highway 150 and Sherrills Ford Road. The public is invited to attend from 4-8 p.m.

Janisse Ray, author of The Seed Underground, will appear at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 in Newton. Her landmark book focuses on biodiversity relating to heritage plants and copies of her book will be available for sale and signing that evening.

Jean Moore, a new Massachusetts novelist, will visit St. Stephens Branch at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23 for a discussion of her book, Water on the Moon. She will be available to answer questions and to sign her book as well.

Computer classes have resumed for the season. The free workshops are for adults and are offered free of charge at various library locations. Participants should pre-register.

The library system will be closed on Sept. 1 in observance of Labor Day. For up-to-the minute library information, check the on-line calendar at

Please pre-register for computer workshops.
All Locations Closed on Labor Day, Sept. 1

Main Library, 465-8664
• Ready to Learn Story Time, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 10 a.m. (preschool)
• Ready to Learn Story Time 5 p.m. Tuesdays (preschool)
• Paws to Read with a dog Tuesdays evenings by appointment, 465-8668. (Kids)
• Author Janisse Ray, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4 (adults)
• Friends of the Library, 11 a.m. Sept. 8
• Hands-On Banking: Money Management for Seniors, 3 p.m. Sept. 10
• One-on-One Q&A, 10 a.m. Sept. 10 & 24 (adults)
• Southern Pens, 10 a.m. Sept. 13 (adults discuss Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen)
• To Teach or Not to Teach with Dr. Summer Carrol, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 (adults)
• Email Basics, 10 a.m. Sept. 17 (adults)
• Gold Mining with Vivian Hopkins (NC Humanities Council), 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25
• Bypasses: Local History with Gary Freeze, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 (teens & adults)

Claremont Branch, 466-6817
•Intro to Computers, 2 p.m. Sept. 4 (adults)
• Resume Builders, 2 p.m. Sept. 18 (adults)
• Spy Night, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 (age 5+)

Conover Branch, 466-5108
• Little Learning Party 11 a.m. Tuesdays
• Family Dance & Learn, 11 a.m. Sept. 6 (age 2-7 & parents)
• Baby Bounce, 10 a.m. Sept. 10 & 26 (infants & parents)
• Family Day, 10-1, Sept. 13 (all ages)
• Intro to Computers, 10 a.m. Sept. 3 (adults)
• Resume Builders, 10 a.m. Sept. 17 (adults)
• Game of Thrones Un-Book Club, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 (adults)
• Teen Writers Guild, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 (age 12+)

Maiden Branch, 428-2712
• Ready to Learn Story Time 9:30 am Thursday (preschool)
• STEM: Make Your Own Bouncy Balls, 11 a.m. Sept. 20 (school age)
• Money Management: Financial Literacy for Seniors, 10 a.m. Sept. 24

St. Stephens Branch, 466-6821
• Ready to Learn Story Time Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. (preschool)
• Ready to Learn Story Time 6 p.m. Tuesdays (preschool)
• Knitting Club, 6 p.m. Sept. 8 (adults)
• Identity Theft for Spanish Speakers, 6 p.m. Sept. 9(adults)
• How to Get Cash from your Life Insurance Policy, 1 p.m. Sept. 16 (adults)
• Exploring the Internet, 10 a.m. Sept. 10 (adults)
• Plan & Prepare for Long-Term Care, 1 p.m. Sept. 23 (adults)
• Author Jean Moore, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 (adults)
• How to Use Hoopla, 10 a.m. Sept. 24 (adults)
• Being a Safe Senior, 3 p.m. Sept. 30 (adults)

Sherrills Ford Branch, 466-6827
Branch Closed Sept. 22-28 to move to new facility
• Ready to Learn, Story Time 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays (preschool)
• Sherrills Ford-Terrell Friends of the Library, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16
• Open House at new facility on Sherrills Ford Road, 4-8 p.m. Sept. 29

Southwest, 466-6818
• Ready to Learn Story Time, 10 a.m. Wednesdays & 11 a.m. Thursdays (preschool)
• Job Searching with NC Works, 2 p.m. Sept. 17 (adults)
• Intro to eBooks, 10 a.m. Sept. 26 (adults)

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Library update Aug. 25

August 25th, 2014 by twilson

Visiting author advocates seed saving, heritage plants
By Tammy Wilson
Public Information Officer

Janisse Ray’s wake-up call came in the 1970s, when she realized her seed saving hobby was more than a passing fancy. Her campaign has become far more than a plea to eat local. It’s a movement to preserve plant varieties and our biodiversity—a movement with global implications.

You can meet her on Thursday, Sept. 4 at the Main Library in Newton when she discusses her book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free, thanks to sponsorship by Friends of Catawba County Library. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Because of hybridization and genetic engineering or agriculture, we no longer enjoy the flavorful unique varieties of fruits, vegetables and grains our ancestors once did. In addition, modern varieties are not as nutritious. Today’s farmers lose control of the ability to save seeds year after year and to breed plant varieties ideally suited to a place.

Beginning in the 1930s, American agriculture began a winnowing process to grow only the sturdiest, most marketable varieties of fruits, grains and vegetables, reducing biodiversity exponentially. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the loss of variety is already staggering: 95 percent of vintage cabbage, 96 percent of field corns, 94 percent of peas and 81 percent of tomatoes. And that’s just the beginning.

In 2012, Ray published her book is a voyage to the country of seed-saving driven by stories, from individuals and groups who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America. They’re fighting a battle to preserve what’s left of our traditional cornucopia of food.

Ray’s writing has been described as calming, wise and strong for she is on a mission: to educate the public about the harm that’s being done by corporate food providers that have left us with less flavorful, less nutritious food that is in danger of disaster should pests or disease wreak havoc on vast fields of one crop. Anyone remember the Irish potato famine?

I discovered Ray through her 2000 memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. It’s a well-crafted, readable account of growing up in a junkyard in a poor white fundamentalist household. And when I learned she had published The Seed Underground and the library was embarking on a garden project, I had to invite her to Newton.

Seed Underground has received several “green” accolades, the Nautilus Gold Book Award from Better Books for a Better World, American Horticultural Society Book Award and the American Society of Journalists & Authors Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference.

Ray is a down-to-earth sort who travels the country giving talks, conducting workshops and advocating for sustainable, organic food that is not only good for us, but good for the world in general. Her Newton appearance is open to the public. Come be part of the discussion.

Library to observe Labor Day holiday

Catawba County Library System will observe the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 1.

Library staff encourages residents to include library materials in holiday plans including books for the hammock, audio books for the road or a video for evening viewing. Downloadable eBooks are also available on-line to Catawba County Library cardholders as well as access to NC Digital Library, Hoopla and the Rocket Languages program. Log on to:

All seven library locations will be opened normal hours on Saturday, Aug. 30. Library materials can be returned anytime at any location using the designated drop boxes.

Regular business hours resume on Tuesday, Sept. 2. For more information about library services, contact any branch of the Catawba County Library System headquartered in Newton.

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Library updates for Aug. 18

August 18th, 2014 by twilson

Freeze history series to start with desegregation program

Historian Gary Freeze will begin a four-part lecture series at Catawba County Library with a talk on “Ebony and Ivory,” a history of segregation and integration in Catawba County on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Main Library in Newton. It is free and open to the public. His appearance is sponsored by Friends of Catawba County Library and the Catawba County Genealogical Society.

Freeze will share research for his third book of Catawba County history—The Catawbans Volume III due out next year. Other topics in the speaker series will be the impact of highway bypasses on Sept. 30, baby boomers on Nov. 11 and shopping malls and mass merchandisers on Dec. 2.

Freeze, a Salisbury resident, is regarded as Catawba County’s historian, having written several volumes of county history over the years.

A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Freeze has taught history at Catawba College for 20 years and has won numerous teaching awards for his depth of knowledge and engaging presentations. He is also active in state history circles.

Expand your horizons with local nonfiction
A patron sent me an email wondering if I would be interested in a recently published book about Rock Barn. As a library staff member, I’m always interested in new books and certainly efforts by people in our area. The Catawba County Library System has a number of books by area residents.

Most prolific is Mary Ellen Snodgrass. This local sage has published dozens of references guides, literary companions and other works on a range of amazing topics. The county library’s holdings alone take up more than four pages at 12 items per page. Her topics range from author Jamaica Kincaid and the Underground Railroad to juvenile books about solid waste and water pollution to translations of Shakespeare and signs of the zodiac. Clearly, Snodgrass is in a category of her own.

Non-fiction is a natural for area folks who wish to preserve history that would otherwise be lost. That’s true of Conover histories by Don Barker and The Catawbans series by Gary Freeze. In fact the Rhodes Local History room has compiled volumes of work by writers who have contributed materials over the years: family histories, church histories, county histories, cemetery inventories, will abstracts and more. Without the generosity and painstaking work of these dedicated people, the Rhodes collection would be far slimmer.

Catawba County Tales , for example, is the compilation of memories by more than 200 residents a few years ago. Such anthologies will be invaluable to future researchers who wish to add texture to cold facts and figures.

But there’s more.
Dr. Robert Hart’s Hart Square: One Man’s Passionate Preservation of North Carolina’s Pioneer Heritage was edited by Nathan Moehlmann. Most of the images were shot by local photographers Reggie Thomas and Glen Walker.

Speaking of visuals, Catawba Journey was the remarkable illustrated book following the history of Catawba County, from the early Indian days into the 20th century. It was written by Linda Baker Huffman and illustrated with paintings by Barry Gurley Huffman.

A Pocketful of Memories: the story of Catawba County , was written more than 20 years ago by Marcia Copper of Hickory. It’s geared toward children, but will delight all ages.

Dorothy Sigmon Holbrook drew from her own local experiences to write a memoir, Yesterday’s Child : Growing up in a Mill town During the Great Depression. Freeze wrote the intro, by the way.

Other local work in our stacks include that book I referred to earlier, Rock Barn: from Fields to Fairways, by Michael and Sharon Smith. Proceeds of sales, by the way will benefit the Conover Branch Library in memory of Jerry and Jody Bullin by Jody’s Book Club.

Check for these and works by other local authors at Catawba County Library System.

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Library news Aug. 11

August 11th, 2014 by twilson

Youngster supports library garden
Librarian April Green received a heartfelt gift from a local child to help support the community garden at Catawba County Library. Casey Reid, daughter of Rick and DeAnna Reid of Newton, recently donated one dollar for the garden.

The two-year-old learned about the project while attending a library story time with her grandmother, Virginia Reid. Donations are being sought to improve the garden and make it more accessible for reading and other learning activities.

The garden spot, a first for the library, is located on a former weed-infested lot behind the library in Newton. To goal is to provide herbs, vegetables and fruit to local food pantries as well as set up an outdoor learning environment for customers of all ages.

Tax-deductible donations will help purchase materials, supplies, and plantings to fully bring this garden to life, which will include vegetable, fruit, herbs, and flowers and materials needed to build, contain, and maintain the garden area. For more information about making a contribution, log on to–library . For further information, contact Suzanne White , library director, at 465-8660.

Veterans have powerful stories to tell
By Tammy Wilson
Public Information Officer
Catawba County Library System

Recently a reader suggested that I write a column about military-oriented books, and what a great idea!

We are still a nation at war. Young men and women are serving on our behalf every day. And with Newton’s Soldiers’ Reunion just around the corner, this is a perfect time to spotlight books about the armed services.

Main Library in Newton has a military book display in the main lobby this month.

Books, audio books and DVDs on the topic can be found on nonfiction shelves numbered in the 350s, 940s and 950s. And of course there are biographies on the “B” shelves about such modern patriots as Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, Gen. Colin Powell, Gen. Tommy Franks, Capt. Scott O’Grady and veterans-turned- politicians including President George H. W. Bush, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senators John McCain and James Webb.

American Navy SEALS have penned gripping stories in recent years. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell is about Four US Navy SEALS on a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader said to be very close to Osama Bin Laden. Five days later, only one of them made it out alive.

American Sniper is the memoir of Chris Kyle, the record-holding sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle has more than 150 officially confirmed kills during multiple combat tours in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and elsewhere from 1999-2009.

One of the most powerful movies I’ve seen is “A Soldier’s Story: Taking Chance,” the historical drama based on experiences of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps to his final resting place. The HBO production starring Kevin Bacon is superb. Do yourself a favor and place a hold on it today.

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Library news Aug. 4

August 4th, 2014 by twilson

Don’t miss the Friends book sale
Friends of Catawba County Library will conduct their big annual book sale Aug. 14-16 at 115 W. C Street. The three-day extravaganza includes a members-only night on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and sales to the public Friday from 10 to 4 and Saturday from 10 to 2.

Customers will pore over deleted library materials and as well as many donations from the public. Some of these are like new priced at $1.50 for hardbacks, 50 cents for paperbacks and $2 for CDs and DVDs. Expect reduced pricing that last day. Patrons are asked to park behind the building for easy access to the sale on the ground floor.

Annual memberships will be sold at the door for $10 per individual, $15 per family and $25 for businesses. Memberships will be sold at the door during the preview sale on Aug. 14 as well as on Aug. 15 and 16. All members qualify for a 20 percent discount at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, in addition to first dibs on the annual book sale. What a deal!

Special this year is a raffle of J. K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard Collector’s Edition. The volume is valued at more than $200. Tickets are $1 each and may be purchased at the sale or at various library branches from now through the book sale.

The drawing will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 16. Customers must present their portion of the ticket as proof of winning. All proceeds from the raffle and book sale will benefit Friends of the Library the supports and advocates the entire county library system.

Grateful mom pens letter to librarian
Librarian April Green is taking a bow having received a heartfelt letter from a local mom, thanking her and the Catawba County Library for the Summer Reading program.

The handwritten letter came from a Latina mother who appreciates all the “love, effort and dedication you offered during this summer reading program for my children. “

The letter cited extra effort taken by busy library staff to meet the children’s needs, “(you) inspire and influence the education of children,” the woman wrote, offering them “a positive impact….thank you very much.”

Green and the staff were touched by the letter which was written by a mom who is not fluent in English but wished to express her gratitude for feeling welcome and for having free public library service for her family.

“It really meant a lot to us,” Green said. “Customers appreciate us, but we appreciate their kind words too. Making a difference in a child’s life is what being a youth services librarian is all about.”

Green coordinated the Summer Reading program for the entire library system. More than 400 children and youth have been registered for Summer Reading at Newton alone. Additional participants are registered at Conover, Claremont, Maiden, St. Stephens, Sherrills Ford and Southwest locations.

Friends group to convene at library
Friends of Catawba County Library will hold their monthly meeting at 11 a.m. Monday Aug. 11, at the Main Library in Newton. Members will discuss preparations for the big book sale Aug. 14-16.

Sale hours are Thursday, Aug. 14 from 4-7 p.m., Friday Aug. 15 from 10 to 4 and Saturday, Aug. 16 from 10-2. Memberships ($10 individual, $15 family, $25 business) will be sold at the door each day.

Friends of Catawba County Library is a support resource and community liaison for the library system and sponsors author readings and other events. This year proceeds from the book sale and other fundraisers have been used for programming and to enhance the collection system-wide.
The group welcomes interested members of the community. For more information call 465-8292. The Main Library is located at 115 West C Street in Newton.

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Computer classes resume at the library

July 30th, 2014 by twilson

Sign up now for free computer workshops
Adults: you can enhance your computer skills free at the Catawba County Library System in August.
Consider preregistering for:

Keyboard Practice—If you’re a hunt-and-peck typist, here are some tricks to help speed you up. Session begins 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6 at St. Stephens.

Intro to Computers using Windows 7—What features does this Microsoft platform offer for computing? Find out at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13 at St. Stephens.

Discover Hoopla—Learn how easy it is to access free streaming of audio books and movies through your library website. Classes held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Conover and again at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21 at Claremont.

Email Basics—Beginners will feel at home learning the ins and outs of electronic mail. This essential workshop will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27 at St. Stephens.

To register, contact the appropriate location: Newton at 465-7938, Conover at 466-5108, Claremont at 466-6817, or St. Stephens at 466-6821.

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Library news July 30

July 30th, 2014 by twilson

Library announces fall speakers
Award-winning writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray will launch Catawba County Library’s fall speaker series on Thursday, Sept. 4 with a reading and discussion of her book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. Her talk begins at 6:30 p.m. that Thursday at Catawba County Library. Her presentation highlights the community garden project at Main Library in Newton.

Ray is one of five speakers who will present talks this fall at the Main Library, 115 W. C Street in Newton. All of the programs are free and open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Georgia author has published five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana and in 2014 was awarded an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College in Georgia. She is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and nonfiction. Her memoir, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read.

Two Road Scholar speakers from the N.C. Humanities Council will share their expertise this fall.

On Sept. 25, Vivian P. Hopkins, vice president of the Historic Gold Hill and Mines Foundation, will present her Road Scholar talk on “If Picks and Shovels Could Talk: Gold Mining History in North Carolina.” The Wilkes County native has spent much of her life researching gold mining history in the state and has authored several books on the subject.

On Thursday, Oct. 16, Dr. Walter Ziffer, a survivor of the Holocaust in Czechoslovakia, will speak on “Witness to the Holocaust.” Ziffer is an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Mars Hill College and has published numerous articles about religious topics and the Holocaust. A Road Scholar with the N.C. Humanities Council, he teaches classes in Judaism, early Christian history, Biblical Hebrew and comparative religion. His presentation is made as part of a partnership between the Catawba County Library and The Green Room which is producing “The Diary of Anne Frank” in October.

North Carolina resident Jason Mott will round out the series Nov. 6 with a presentation about his New York Times bestseller, The Returned. He holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction have appeared in various literary journals. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award and Entertainment Weekly listed him as one of their “10 New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch. The Returned is being published in more than 13 languages. The Returned is Jason’s debut novel and has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. The series aired last March on ABC network under the title “Resurrection.”

In addition, Dr. Gary Freeze of Catawba College will present three talks about local history as he continues research for his third volume of The Catawbans at the Main Library in Newton on Tuesday Aug. 26, Sept. 30, Nov. 11 and Dec. 2. All of the talks begin at 6:30 p.m. The focus of the first program will be on desegregation and is co-sponsored by Catawba County Genealogical Society. Subsequent topics include the building of Interstate 40, baby boomers and the coming of malls and mass merchandising. Much of his research is being conducted at the Rhodes Local History Room at the Main Library.

The adult speaker series is presented through generous support of Friends of Catawba County Library as well as grants from the N.C. Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Conover, St. Stephens offer crafty programs in August
Catawba County Library will offer several opportunities involving the arts and crafts during the month of August. Adults and kids alike will find free sessions to suit their taste as follows:

It’s Alive—School-aged children will construct pinecone bird feeders as they explore the symbiotic relationships between plants and animals. The program begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1 at St. Stephens.

Knitting Club—A group of knitting enthusiasts meet monthly to work on projects and swap ideas. Join them at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 at St. Stephens Branch.

Making Thaumatropes –School-aged children will craft these moving devices from paper and string. Thaumatropes are toys associated with 19th century attempts to create motion pictures. The session will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8 at St. Stephens.

Piet Mondrian Neo-Plasticism—This session for ages 6-12 will draw inspiration from the 20th century French master of geometric art. The program begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15 at St. Stephens.

Binary Jewelry—St. Stephens Branch is the place to be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 when teens will construct beaded jewelry using binary math principles.

Pinterest Party—Ages 13 to adults will try their hands at two popular crafts on the Pinterest social networking site. Supplies will be provided free. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 at Conover.

Story Camp—Bring a pillow, blanket and flashlight for an after-hours cap out. Families are invited to build a fort, snuggle and listen to campfire stories. Snacks and a craft will be provided. All ages are welcome. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28 at Conover. For more information about any session, contact the appropriate location: Newton at 465-7938, Conover at 466-5108, Claremont at 466-6817, or St. Stephens at 466-6821.

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