Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayna

We are on the threshold of the holidays when the cookbook aisle at most public libraries is a busy place. Most women I know are about to throw themselves into turning out cookies like elves on espresso.

I am, however, a kitchen klutz who did hard time in Remedial Home Economics as a high school senior. Cookbooks given to me by well-meaning friends have actually become mildewed from lack of exercise. I’m the one who habitually brings raw vegetables and dip to the holiday feast. Or Jell-O accompanied by festive soda straws. Or cream liqueurs which, when camouflaged lightly with milk, fortify the real cooks in my family with what we started calling “enhanced calcium.”

Last weekend, while checking the cookbook cupboard for instructions on how to safely microwave a whole squash without attracting the attention of the Town of Newbold Volunteer Fire Department, I ran across a book called I Didn’t Know That: or Why We Say the Things We Say edited by Karlen Evins.

I didn’t know that I owned it and can only assume the slim paperback may have been fraternizing with my cookbooks because “I didn’t know that” is frequently heard in my kitchen. As in “I didn’t know that tin of baking powder was dated September 1975.”

The phrase “I didn’t know that!” is also uttered many times a week in our nation’s public libraries, where equal attention is paid to all questions – whether they concern matters that will have a significant impact on somebody’s life or just something trivial that’s bugging someone.

In her introduction, Evins tells the story of a new bride preparing her first Thanksgiving dinner by of illustrating how knowing what’s behind certain traditions may enable us to take a fresh approach to life’s ongoing challenges.

Evins wrote that as the young woman began to dress the turkey, “she cut off the ends of the bird and placed it in a pan. Her new husband, not certain of the proper cooking procedure, asked his bride, ‘Why do you cut off the ends?’ Her reply: ‘Because my mother always did it.’

“Later that day, the mother of the cook dropped by for lunch, and the newlywed husband thought it an opportune time to learn more about cooking turkey, so he asked his mother-in-law, ‘Why do you cut off the ends of a turkey before you cook it?’

“With as much consideration as the daughter had given the question earlier, the mother-in-law answered, ‘Because MY mother always did.’

“Finally the meal was prepared, the guests were seated and the grandmother of the bride was posed the same question by the now anxious and eager grandson-in-law. ‘Grandma, why do you cut off the ends of a turkey before you cook it?’ he asked.

“With trembling hands, the grandmother replied, ‘Well in my day, the pans were only this big!’”

Karlin Evins concludes, “This story illustrates a point and that is that our reasons for many of the things we do today make little sense logically, though at one time, perhaps they did.”

The homily could easily apply to library policies and procedures devised B.C. (before computers) or otherwise held onto long after the reasons for them have faded into the mists of bibliographic time.

Recent weeks have seen much speculation on how congressional cooks might influence what’s brought to the table in a presidential election year. Not only the federal budget table, but also in the sense of what’s on the actual dinner table of ordinary Americans hungry for a meaningful role in their government and a greater sense of economic well-being.

Speaking personally as a member of our notoriously fact-based profession, much of what passes for info-tainment in the political arena these days – at both the state and national levels and especially on the debate stage – is enough to drive a person to enhanced calcium.

From a librarian’s point of view, trying to set a national course without knowing or understanding our common history and literature is like wasting the ends of a perfectly good turkey. “I didn’t know that” is no excuse. “I don’t need to know that” is even worse.

If new cooks merely end up following traditional recipes that value concentrations of wealth and power but devalue working people, the turkeys will still be dry and tasteless regardless of being surrounded by different distracting garnishes or presented on a blue or a red platter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

WPLC OverDrive Offers Publicity and Support

At the recent WPLC board meeting, it was noted that Christmas is right around the corner. With that, we can probably expect another tidal wave of e-reader gifts and questions from their new owners. The bulked-up buying pool will be in effect by then, too, and more titles will be available, so traffic will be heavy.

To get ready, here are a few ideas for publicity and support.


  • OverDrive has a video with ideas on promoting the collection:
Community Outreach.
Maximize circs … get the word out Learn creative techniques for introducing new users to your OverDrive service. We'll showcase a range of promotional ideas from high circulating libraries that you can implement inside and outside your library.

      View the slides and/or the recording: 
  • Check out the marketing materials on the OverDrive site; most of these can be customizable. I'll distribute any that have been customized for WPLC as I see them, or let me know which you'd like. 
  • More OverDrive videos on the training site:; See both: the e-book explosion, and Patron assistance
  • Keep up with changes to the site by reading the WPLC list; I'll also post FAQs coming through the support email
    (Jane Richard, WILS & WPLC)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winning BIG Support for Your Rural Library - Webinar

A Small but Powerful Webinar for Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library
Join this webinar for an introduction to the revised edition of the popular Small But Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library, a new toolkit from the American Library Association’s Committee on Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. This webinar will introduce you to the tips and strategies presented in the toolkit, share the experiences of a rural librarian who has built support for her library, and introduce you to some of the additional advocacy tools and resources from the American Library Association.

Presenters: Miguel Figueroa, director, ALA Office for Literacy & Outreach Services; Susan Hill Pieper, director, Paulding County Carnegie Library (OH) and editor Rural Library Services Newsletter; and Jennifer Peterson, community manager at WebJunction, board member, Association for Rural & Small Libraries and chair of ALA Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee.

A Small But Powerful Webinar for Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library
December 14, 2011, Monday    1 pm Central time

Register here

If you have questions, or would be interested in attending a follow up webinar with other Wisconsin librarians, please contact Jane Richard:
Jane Richard
Wisconsin Library Services
Wisconsin Public Library Consortium
728 State St., Room 464
Madison, WI  53706-1494
608/263-5051 //  fax: 608/262-6067

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Make Tracks to the Gilman Public Library

“Make Tracks to the Gilman Public Library”
The week of November 21-25 will be very exciting at Gilman’s WTCPL when Denise Korenuk, head librarian, and a team of volunteers, offer a variety of fun and educational activities and fundraisers during hunting season.

The activities will include:
·        Wear Blaze Orange into the library and enter your name for Friday’s Grand Prize drawing.
·        Bring antlers to display for the week and vote for your favorite rack. Only 5₵ per vote.
·        Raffle baskets on display for SILENT AUCTION bidding all week. Drawing on 6pm Friday.
·        Daily drawing entry for a free movie rental at the Gilman Corner Store with every item you check out from the WTCPL.
·        Add your personalized leaf to the “Thankful Tree” every time you stop in.
·        Deer coloring contest (Prizes for different age groups)
·        Each day  children can enjoy a different craft project and activity.
·        Scavenger knowledge hunt going on all week.
·        Check for Story Time each day.
The Gilman Library will host an OPEN HOUSE on Monday, November 21st with holiday treats, coffee and apple cider.  Live music will be provided by Jerry Teclaw  from 5:30 until 7:30pm.
(The Gilman Public Library will be closed on Thanksgiving Day)
(Friends of the Gilman Public Library)