From the corner of Washington and Samuel Street

Go green in March

Spring has almost arrived in Jefferson County. At the Charles Town Library, we are celebrating the advent of Spring with our “Go Green in March” theme. Whether you are interested in environmental concerns, Irish heritage, or the quintessential spring activity, gardening, we have books readily available to meet your interests.

In Youth Services, we are marking the month by asking for tips on ways to help our environment. What are the things we do to help our planet. We’d like to hear how you recycle, preserve wildlife habitat, how you are cutting back on energy use or any other planet saving tip you may have. On your next visit to the library, fill out a card telling us what you do. At the end of the month, a prize winner, drawn from the entries, will be announced.

Saturday program for children

To further celebrate the theme, on Saturday, March 31 at 10 a.m., we will read the Dr. Seuss classic, The Lorax. The Lorax is a tree advocate and lives in a Truffula tree. The Truffula tree comes in bright colors like orange, red, pink and yellow. The story chronicles the plight of the environment. After the reading, children will learn to finger-knit a “Truffula Tree” book mark and we will plant seeds. The program is designed for five to ten year olds, but all children are welcome.

Please sign up for the program during our regular hours or by calling 304-725-2208. We look forward to seeing you there.

Book club meets March 20

Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, published in 1997, is The Charles Town Library Book Club’s selection for March. American Pastoral examines the American Dream, the love of a father for his daughter, community and ultimately, the shattering of, and disillusionment with, it.

Ted Gioia describes American Pastoral like this: “Few novels are more acute in revealing our propensity for seeing what we want to see, and how reluctantly we recalibrate our vision in the face of new learnings. In this regard, American Pastoral joins those exquisite fictions of the past—Emma, Bouvard et Pécuchet and The Golden Bowl come to mind—that force us into painful examination of our stubborn insistence on deceiving ourselves.”

Some consider this to be Roth’s masterpiece. Please join us in the Perry Room on Tuesday, March 20 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for a discussion about a great contemporary American author.

Love the library

In February, the Charles Town Library celebrated “Love the Library” month. We asked children to write a poem about why they love the library. Our drawing winner was Keirston Dayley, a student at Small Scholars Academy. She won a gift certificate to Skipper’s Downtown Dips & Deli. Her poem reads:

The library is great.

The books are cool.

The Librarian is amazing

I go there with School.

Through our “Tell and Kiss” promotion, we asked adults what they love about the Charles Town Library. When members filled out one of our postcards, they received a kiss, a chocolate kiss. Our members find the staff to be kind and helpful; they enjoy the wide variety of books the library has available; the “huge kiddie section”; and, they find the atmosphere peaceful and relaxing. Some find the book club to be “enlightening, gratifying, and stimulating with a group of people who truly love reading.” Members also love our significant collection of Large Print books, the large variety of magazines and newspapers, great local history collection, and our growing DVD movie collection.

The Charles Town Library serves all of Jefferson County. The services the Charles Library provides are free to all who live and work in Jefferson County. In addition to the kind and helpful staff at the circulation desk who work with our members on a day-to-day basis, The Charles Town Library also has an accredited librarian on staff. She works primarily behind the scenes, but is available to answer any informational questions you might have, to help with job resumes and applications, and to entertain any suggestions for the improvement of The Charles Town Library. We will also order materials in keeping with the scope of our collection, if you don’t find what you need.

Missing books

Last year, The Charles Town Library lost nearly 500 books, totaling in value, nearly $9,000—more than a third of our annual book buying budget. When materials are not returned, it is not only a loss to the library collection, but also to the greater community. A library can only function through cooperation. That means when a book is checked out, it also needs to be returned in a timely fashion. When a book isn’t returned, no one else can check it out and read it. As spring cleaning begins, if you find a Charles Town Library book or other CTL resource in your midst, think about returning it. We can usually waive all fees and fines if necessary, because for the Library the important thing is to get all the books that have gone missing back. Fees and fines are simply incentives for returning books in a timely fashion. If you find that you’ve not been timely, please return our books anyway.

Library value

In times of economic downturns, or even nascent recoveries, the library is an especially strong value. The Charles Town Library provides limitless reading, listening, and viewing experiences—whether recreational or for growing knowledge. Each time a resource is checked out of the library, it is about a $20 value. If only one item is checked out for each month of the year, that is a savings of more than $250 a year. Very few people can afford to buy all the books they wish to read or the books they need to procure for information. The library provides a wonderful service by offering to the community far more books than any one person can easily own or read.

This is an especially wonderful thing for young children who, if read to early and often, can easily go through a ton of books; and for older children imbued with the reading habit, they can easily read several books a week—it all adds up. A ten year old child, reading three books a week, can easily read more than 150 books in a year. At $10/book (and most children’s books cost more), that is more than $1,500 a year in savings. Using the library can stretch a budget considerably.

We are happy to order items that you do not find in the collection if they are within our collecting scope—don’t hesitate to ask. Patron-driven collection development is one way to ensure we have the books (and other resources) the community wants and needs. Please don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to see available at The Charles Town Library.

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