MARCELLA GENZ: From the corner of Samuel and Washington streets

Hot pick: Children’s reading a program a hit

CHARLES TOWN – Debbie Stafford, who heads children’s programming for the Old Charles Town Library, reports that on Aug. 8, the library’s summer reading program, “Elect To Read” ended in a victory celebration.

Out of the 92 children who initially registered for the program, 75 attended at least one of the Wednesday programs and 22 children turned in reading logs.

Over the course of eight weeks, children enjoyed programs that revolved around the election process in the United States. Featured guests included Charles Town Mayor Peggy Smith, Spirit of Jefferson journalists Christine Miller Ford and Robert Snyder, and County Clerk Jennifer Maghan.

Other programs included discussions about patriotic symbols, campaign slogans and songs, an original puppet show about debate and a presentation by the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency about what to do in a weather emergency. Also featured was an “Artifact of the Week” presentation by Jane Rissler, curator of the Jefferson County Museum.

To reinforce the election theme and give children an activity that would help them understand the election process, we held a “Name the Library Eagle” campaign. Nominations were taken before the Wednesday programs started. Once all nominations were in, children turning in reading logs were allowed to vote. This started with “primaries” for the Red, White, and Blue parties and continued all summer until the final vote was taken the week of August 1-7.

“Elect To Read” concluded on Wednesday with a celebratory party for our participants. About 35 children enjoyed refreshments and election-themed games. During the party, eight children who turned in reading logs covering the entire eight weeks of the program were honored: Sierra Goff, Tevin Hart, Kai Kandora, Kailey Moler, Ben Puster, Eleanor Puster, Madison Spring and Robin Taylor. In recognition of their hard work, they were presented with personalized certificates, a library book bag and a patriotic baseball cap. In all, our readers logged 284 hours 25 minutes of reading.

The children also were excited to find out the results of their “Name the Eagle” campaign, to name the stuffed eagle that’s encased in the children’s section of the library. When the envelope was opened, it revealed “Liberty” as the eagle’s new name. Thanks go to Sierra Goff and Kylee Weant for placing “Liberty” in nomination.

Annual book sale

Mark your calendars:The Charles Town Library’s largest fundraiser, our annual book sale, will take place Sept. 28 and 29.

New library catalog

In late July, the Charles Town Library introduced two new catalogs. One of the catalogs is designed especially for children. It is bright, colorful, and highly inviting, and most importantly, very easy for small children to use, both for searching and exploring library resources. The Kids Catalog features a category wheel with icons representing dozens of subject areas of interest to children. It also includes an interactive title display that magnifies book jackets to almost fill the screen.

The new adult catalog also is bright and colorful. After a search, the record display includes an image of the book jacket. It is easy to see if a book is available or how many times it has been checked out. It is also simple to place a book on hold provided a user has a library account. Library members may also post a review of a book. Searches also retrieve online content, especially valuable for non-fiction searches. There also is a colorful display of titles new to the library as well as a display of titles held by the library from the New York Times Bestseller List. And most fun, is the Book River, an appealing representation of the library’s titles that flows across the screen.

Both catalogs can be accessed at the library or from home. Visit our website at

Adult programs

The library’s Book Club meets Tuesday. August’s book is a true story – “Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman who Bound them Together” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

The switches back and forth to the two authors in memoirs that begin in two very different walks of life and intersect in a homeless shelter. One narrator is an unschooled black man who has lived a life of hardship and misfortune, starting on a Louisiana plantation. The other is an educated white gentleman of means. Ultimately it is a story of an unlikely friendship resulting from charity and challenged by tragedy.

Tuesday’s Book Club meeting happens from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All are welcome to join.

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