Lunch Heroes — Wells Public Library in Albany

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Albany Baptist Church 2015In the spirit of our Book Camp theme, “Every Hero Has a Story,” the volunteers at the Wells Public Library saved the day!

Sixteen enthusiastic Albany Baptist Church volunteers, organized by Pam Scholl, helped serve lunch throughout the summer.  They spread the word in the community about Free Lunch at the Library, warmly greeted our hungry young patrons, and went above and beyond the call of duty when we needed an extra hand.

RosieRosalind Massey, always ready with a smile, helped lunch roll smoothly and could be counted on to jump in wherever she was needed.

Rosie started volunteering in May and continued through the summer.  When she’s not volunteering, Rosy plays alto saxophone and is a pre-pharmacy major at Ohio University.

Thank you one and all!

Lunch Heroes — Nelsonville Public Library

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Joe Stoltzfus Joe Stoltzfus considers himself a child of Appalachia.  He has traveled the world as a volunteer visiting England, Scotland, Ghana, Liberia, South Africa and Swaziland, but always returns home to Athens County.  “Southeast Ohio is the one of the most beautiful places on earth,” he says.

For his most recent volunteer gig, he didn’t have to travel very far.  Joe is one of the many volunteers from Rocky Brands who helped out with the Nelsonville Library’s free summer lunches.

Amy McCulloch Amy McCulloch also works at Rocky Brands and took on the task of organizing the employees’ volunteer shifts.  “It’s great to be able to give back to the community,” Joe says, “and when my co-workers found out that the library needed volunteers, they made sure all the spots were filled.”  In fact, so many wanted to help this summer that Amy had to work hard drafting a schedule making sure everyone got to volunteer at least once!

“So many were eager to help and be flexible with their time,” says Amy.  “We had 44 Rocky Brand Associates volunteering over 49 days and affecting 104 lunch schedules!”  Amy is a scrapbooker and those organizing skills came in handy for this task.

The library would like to thank all of the great volunteers from Rocky who contributed to another successful year of Book Camp and the free lunch program.  And special thanks to Joe for his enthusiasm and to Amy for her coordinating.  The library couldn’t have done it without you!

Lunch Heroes — Glouster Public Library

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Since 1997, ACPL has offered a free lunch program for kids ages 1 to 18. This summer, the program included Glouster, Nelsonville, Chauncey and the Wells Library in Albany. ACPL wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of great volunteers. We’d like to recognize Janice, Misty, Mallory, and Alexis, volunteers from the Glouster Public Library:

Janice, Misty, Mallory and Alexis GPL free lunches 2015

These volunteers love their library and their dedication to the community was recognized by the kids, too. One young lunch patron said he especially appreciated the volunteers cutting his oranges into wedges!

We asked the volunteers to tell us something fun about themselves. Take a guess who:

  • visited Alaska
  • white water rafted
  • reads Robin Carr’s books
  • enjoys the conversations kids have when they don’t know anyone is listening!

If you want to know the answers ask one of these great volunteers next time you see her. And, be sure to thank her for donating time to the library!

We heart Nancy Bain

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Nancy BainSince moving to Athens County in the fall of 1971, Nancy Bain has been giving back to her community and the library. Since 2007, she has given a lot of her time to helping organize the over 6,000 books that are donated each month to the Friends of the Athens Library for book sales. She especially enjoys working with the crew of other volunteers and making books available to people who really want to read.

Nancy remembers her early experiences in Minneapolis, MN of walking to the library and checking out stacks of books (about anything she wanted!!). Libraries have a place of honor in her heart and she has a place in our hearts for all she contributes to our library community.

Thank you Nancy Bain

Board President Andy Mollica Becomes a Librarian!

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ACPL Fiscal Officer Rachael Bean, Trustee Bernita Crawford, Board Secretary Ada Woodson Adams, outgoing-President Andy Mollica, Trustee Debby Shesky and Director Lauren Miller at Mr. Mollica’s final meeting.

Andy Mollica has been a member of the Athens County Public Libraries Board of Trustees since November, 2001 and has served as Board President for the past 14 months. As a local lawyer, Mr. Mollica’s input and insight have been invaluable during his tenure.

Andy’s last day on the Library Board will be May 31, 2015 and the next day he begins a new adventure as Director of Preble County District Library in western Ohio. Our loss is their gain. ACPL wishes Andy success in his career!

If you find yourself in Eaton, Ohio on June 7 (or anytime), stop and tell Andy hello!

TBT: Books for the Visually Impaired

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A community member recently returned a Talking Books player to the Glouster branch:

They obviously haven’t been listening to too many books lately!

Talking Books is a long-standing program–since 1932–that provides free machines and current books and magazines in audio format to those with visual impairments. The machines are incredibly durable and easy to use. For many years (since the 1960s), the most popular format has been audio cassettes. In fact, those players are still in demand even though the program transitioned to digital in 2012.

A cassette tape model (on the left) and the modern digital version.

You’ll notice that each machine has a built-in speaker. They are all-in-one, ready to use equipment (though you can plug in headphones). Another great feature is the ability to playback the audio at varying speeds. You could listen as fast as you wanted. Even this record player was retrofitted to play at 3 different speeds:

The Talking Books program is a free service provided through a partnership of the State Library of Ohio, the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled in Cleveland, and many other organizations with a combination of state and federal dollars. Locally, the program is coordinated out of The Plains Public Library. For more information or to apply, contact Stacey Carter-Kimball at 740-797-4579.

Henry Wells’ Enduring Legacy

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As mentioned in our last blog post, ACPL has been spring cleaning. We’ve excavated closets and storage areas seldom visited. Along the way, we’ve run across long-lost mementos, including boxes of 19th-century books. Well, perhaps not lost, but long-stashed away. Most of these books are remnants of the original Wells Library.

In 1866, the Village of Albany opened a small library named after Henry Wells, its benefactor. Wells was a local merchant who died at age 28. He left $250 to the village to buy books for a library and established a $1,000 endowment for on-going support. The Wells Library joined the countys public library system in 1974, but still maintains its name.

These books have not been a part of the library’s circulating collection in a long time. Most of the titles would challenge the attention of even the most astute student: The Ohio Railway Report of 1880, Tales from Blackwood in 13+ volumes, A Course of Six Lectures on the Chemical History of a Candle: To Which is Added a Lecture on Plantinum, or Religious Emblems: Being a Series of Emblematic Engravings, with Written Explanations, Miscellaneous Observations, and Religious Reflections, Designed to Illustrate Divine Truth in Accordance with the Cardinal Principles of Christianity.

There are, however, interesting aspects to even the most platitudinal title. Just holding a 150-year old book feels special: admiring the handcrafted end papers; touching a leather binding that’s still soft; seeing a color plate that would have added great expense to a book’s production.

We can also see clues about how the library was arranged. Melvil Dewey didn’t introduce his system of organizing book collections until 1876. The Wells Library used bookplates that gave a specific shelf location. This was book number 73 and should be shelved in section B, shelf 7:

The public library in Albany has a marble monument in the lobby dedicated to Henry Wells. It’s a simple Doric column representing the wisdom of a learned society, broken to symbolize Wells’ early death. The monument was made by J. N. Smith of Pomeroy in the 1860’s and has always been present at the various locations of the library, from the Albany Masonic Lodge to the old village building to its the current location on Washington Road.

Mr. Wells would be happy to know that 155 years later his $1,000 endowment is still generating money for his library and community. In November, 2014 ACPL received $15 from his fund.

Spring Cleaning with Wright State Idealists

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For the past few years, the library has been fortunate to have student volunteers (and staff) from Wright State University’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office. Last year they spruced up the Wells Library’s community garden; two years ago they helped re-set the Glouster Library; and, the year before that, they helped re-arrange the entire Athens Library adult collection (no small feat!).

       Future teachers Jenna and Rachel with Lauren, ACPL library director, and Maureen Barry, Wright State's Service Learning Librarian.

Future teachers Jenna and Rachel with Lauren, ACPL library director, and Maureen Barry, Wright State’s Service Learning Librarian.

Volunteers spend the week housed as Good Works and branch out from there to work in all corners of the county. This year, the library used the extra hands to do some long-overdue clearing out at the main library in Nelsonville. With three floors, it’s easy to just keep pushing stuff farther back into the corners of the basement. We recycled an amazing amount and simply pitched the rest. From broken chairs to treasures, the piles were astonishing.

Just some of the reycling!

Among the treasures, we found a sign that retired-Librarian Rose reports used to hang on the square in Nelsonville:

We also found a semi-rare salt-glazed brick that, according to the history of Nelsonville’s kilns, was used primarily in slaughterhouses:

The relationship we have with Wright State has been very fruitful and meaningful. We hope it continues well into the future!

National Volunteer Week/National Library Week

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National Volunteer Week

Is it a coincidence that National Library Week and National Volunteer Week share dates this year? Perhaps, but it’s also fitting. ACPL depends on the great work of our volunteers.

One of those volunteers is Sherrie Linton, a faithful hand at the Nelsonville Public Library since February, 2012. She helps with shelving and a variety of other projects. Sherrie is a lifelong resident of Athens County. She grew up in the Plains and graduated from the Plains High School, before consolidation.

One of her favorite experiences at the library was helping with the “maker/breaker” program this past winter. “They took old toys apart and then put them back together to make other toys. All of the children were quite creative,” Sherrie said.

A re-designed toy from a library program.

This year’s National Library Week theme is “Endless Possibilities @ Your Library.” Sherri enbraces that statement every week.

“She is always pleasant and willing to jump in,” says Mary Van Doren, the children’s librarian in Nelsonville. “In addition to helping with projects, she also helps me with tai-chi!”

Thanks Sherrie for your generous time and endless possibilities!