Let’s Talk About It – Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey (September 1, 2022)

The second Let’s Talk About It program will be held on Thursday, September 1, 2022, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Library’s meeting room. Several copies of the book are available for checkout. Below is some information about the book and the speaker for September.

About the Book
Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey’s elegiac Native Guard is a deeply personal volume that brings together two legacies of the Deep South.
The title of the collection refers to the Mississippi Native Guards, a black regiment whose role in the Civil War has been largely overlooked by history. As a child in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the 1960s, Trethewey could gaze across the water to the fort on Ship Island where Confederate captives once were guarded by black soldiers serving the Union cause. The racial legacy of the South touched Trethewey’s life on a much more immediate level, too. Many of the poems in Native Guard pay loving tribute to her mother, whose marriage to a white man was illegal in her native Mississippi in the 1960s. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten. (Summary from amazon.com).

Some questions to think about while reading:

  • Do the themes of historical erasure and amnesia recall Edward Jones’ The Known World? The series theme of civil rights and equality? 
  • Did you like this book? Think of your experience of reading it and reflecting about it. 
  • In any book some subjects or situations must be left out, intentionally or otherwise. Which ones did you find yourself wanting to know about in Native Guard?

About the Speaker
Dr. Harbour Winn was involved with the “Let’s Talk About It” program as the state humanities scholar on the original committee that wrote the grant for the funding to begin the program in Oklahoma. He has been a scholar in more than 330 of these programs across the state of Oklahoma. For seventeen years, Dr. Harbour Winn taught as a Montessori teacher at Westminster School and at Oklahoma City University in the Master of Liberal Arts Program and the Montessori Early Childhood Program. In 2013 he received the Oklahoma Humanities Council’s State Public Humanities Award; was chosen a DaVinci Fellow, DaVinci Institute, in 2012; and received the 2011 Award for Distinguished Service from the Oklahoma Film & Video Studies Society State Film Consortium. 


Why Libraries Matter: Healthy Living

What do public libraries do? 

There are countless examples of innovative library programs and services that help to support local communities while addressing specific needs. Many libraries expand far beyond what many people think of as traditional library services and find new ways to give people access to information and resources. Each month, this article will highlight some of the many ways in which public libraries are essential to maintaining their communities’ well-being while also providing for the greater good. 

Public health has been a focus for many people and organizations over the past few years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Public libraries around the country encourage healthy living by giving people the knowledge and tools they need to do so, including meals, exercise classes, mental health awareness and resources, and more. The following are just a few examples of public libraries’ health initiatives that are improving the health of individuals and communities.

The Chicago Public Library has a comprehensive Eat Smart, Live Strong class series that covers the importance of physical activity, how to exercise safely, how to save money on food, and eating more fruits and vegetables. In 2020, the Queens Public Library in New York City partnered with local hospitals to provide free virtual programs about healthy living, recipes, and COVID-related information. 

Many libraries offer exercise classes such as yoga and tai chi to give people opportunities and space for physical activity. StoryWalks, such as the one in Chickasha, have become a popular way to combine reading with walking. The Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma offers a class in Yoga Fusion, described as “a trend that blends yoga poses with other fitness regimens, such as Pilates, strength training, [and] dance,” as well as yoga and tai chi classes. The Metropolitan Library System offers yoga classes for both adults and children.

Navigating the complexities of health insurance can also be overwhelming for many people, so the Dallas Public Library has the Health Care Navigators/Health Insurance Enrollment Assistance program, where “trained health care navigators will assist you with selecting and enrolling in a health insurance program through the health insurance marketplace.” 

Finally, mental health is an important area in which libraries are actively working to address and improve. Many state and national library organizations have lists of mental health resources and ideas for implementing services. One example from Texas is Libraries for Health, an initiative that “employs trained and culturally competent lay people with support from mental health clinicians to help identify and address mental health concerns where there is limited access to clinical mental health care.” Seymour Library in Auburn, New York, has created mental health kits to help children identify and understand emotion, along with curated lists of books (both print and digital) for all ages about a variety of mental health issues. Many larger libraries and library systems have added social workers and mental health professionals to their staff to provide evaluations and treatment options for people. 

Libraries can connect people with the resources to improve their health, access care, and learn many useful skills for healthy living. Besides providing print and digital information about mental and physical health (health books can be found in NF 600-620 at Chickasha Public Library), there are many unique possibilities for expanding library services to include programs and services for public health improvement and education.

Learning with HelpNow

The Chickasha Public Library now has access to HelpNow, a Brainfuse database with a variety of helpful learning tools for the new school year. HelpNow is divided into three broad sections, Expert Help, Study, and Collaborate. Expert Help includes live tutoring, a writing lab, language learning help, and you can receive answers to specific questions. For those who want general education enrichment, the Skill Surfer tab on Expert Help has lessons in reading, math, social studies, and science by grade level from kindergarten through high school. Skill Surfer also has a section with college entrance exams, lessons about the college application process, and academic skills to prepare for college. For parents and guardians who would like resources on ways in which they can be actively involved with their children’s learning, there is a Parent Corner and El rincón de los padres with articles and information.

The Study section has summer learning, flashcards, and a place to explore college majors and career interests. The Collaborate section allows people to schedule virtual study sessions with others and share ideas. This can be a useful way to complete group projects or simply to learn from and with others.

Whether you are a student getting ready to start the school year, parent or guardian of a child, or an adult learner who wants to increase their knowledge of specific areas, there is something for everyone to explore. HelpNow is brought to you by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and can be found by visiting the E-Resources page on the Chickasha Public Library website.

Genealogy Workshop: Using the Chickasha Newspapers Online

The Chickasha Public Library will be hosting a genealogy workshop at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, in the library’s meeting room. The topic for this workshop is Using the Chickasha Newspapers Online.

The library’s microfilm newspaper collection was recently digitized through an Oklahoma Historical Preservation Grant from the Oklahoma Historical Society, along with a contribution from the Friends of the Library. All the Chickasha newspapers from 1892-2019 are now freely accessible on the Gateway to Oklahoma History and can be accessed on any internet-capable device. The library also provides public access computers that can be used for exploring the newspaper collection.

Participants in this workshop will discover how to navigate the Gateway to Oklahoma History, search strategies to help with finding obituaries and articles for family history research, and using keywords and time frames to find information about specific people or events. Participants are welcome to bring their laptops or other devices if they wish so that they can access the collection during the workshop. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and to receive help with individual searches at the end.

Registration is encouraged as space is limited. To register, call the library at 405-222-6075, email library@chickasha.org, or talk to staff in person at the front desk.

Brainfuse databases are now available!

Brainfuse HelpNow, JobNow, and VetNow are all now available for free on the Chickasha Public Library website! These databases offer online tutoring, career assistance, job and academic assistance for veterans transitioning to civilian life, and more. There are resources to help with many different facets of both academic and career goals.

In addition, they have information about creating resumes, developing and improving writing skills, and practice tests. HelpNow, JobNow, and VetNow are brought to you by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and can be found by visiting the E-Resources page.

Let’s Talk About It – The Known World by Edward P. Jones (August 4, 2022)

The first Let’s Talk About It program will be held on Thursday, August 4, 2022, from 6:30-8:30 in the Library’s meeting room. Several copies of the book are available for checkout. Below is some information about the book and the speaker for August.

About the Book

From National Book Award-nominated author Edward P. Jones comes a debut novel of stunning emotional depth and unequaled literary power. Henry Townsend, a farmer, boot maker, and former slave, through the surprising twists and unforeseen turns of life in antebellum Virginia, becomes proprietor of his own plantation―as well his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love under the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend household, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave “speculators” sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.

An ambitious, courageous, luminously written masterwork, The Known World seamlessly weaves the lives of the freed and the enslaved―and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery. The Known World not only marks the return of an extraordinarily gifted writer, it heralds the publication of a remarkable contribution to the canon of American classic literature. (Summary from amazon.com)

About the Speaker

Dr. Kalenda Eaton is a humanities scholar whose research interests include studies of the American west; intersections of Black literary and gender studies; Black social and cultural history; and Black Diaspora studies. Recent publications can be found in Gender and the American West, American Studies Journal, Teaching Western American Literature, and Africa Today. She is a Fulbright scholar, experienced administrator, and advocate for the public humanities. (More information from the University of Oklahoma)

Building Resilience Through Playfulness

Join Virginia Savage, LCSW, Art Therapist, on Saturday, July 23, from 10 AM – 12 PM and continue our conversation about mental health as we engage playfully with art materials. Then, using found objects and our imaginations, we will create a three-dimensional figure that will serve to invite us to be more light hearted and have fun this summer.

We will talk about the importance of self-awareness for improving our feeling state. You may not know it, but what you say to yourself, what’s called our inner dialogue, can make a big difference in how we feel and act in the world. We will look at some common cognitive distortions (thinking errors) that can create unnecessary inner turmoil and then will use a method called re-framing to reword our negative inner dialogue to a more balanced way of thinking. This process promotes peace of mind. 

We will be using some art materials to create visual reminder to be more self-aware of how our thoughts impact our feelings.

This program is free; however, space is limited, so registration is required.

Call (405) 222-6075 or email library@chickasha.org to register for a program. 

This program is funded in part through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Newspaper Digitization Project

Chickasha Public Library’s collection of newspapers on microfilm has been digitized and is now freely accessible to the public on the Gateway to Oklahoma History.

The Chickasha Public Library was awarded $20,000 through the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program provided by Oklahoma Historical Society. In addition, the Friends of the Library contributed $3,700 towards the total cost of the project. This money paid for the cost of digitizing 473 microfilm rolls containing Chickasha newspaper records from 1923–2018. The newspapers are now hosted on the Gateway to Oklahoma History for public access.

The goal of this project is to preserve Chickasha’s history and to make that information more easily accessible. Previously, the Library’s newspapers records were on microfilm and could only be seen by one person at a time. Digitization allows that same information to be shared widely. Instead of scrolling through images on a microfilm screen, people can now access this information from any device with internet access. Computers with internet access are also available to the public at the Chickasha Public Library. Searching on the Gateway can be done by collection, date, keyword, or location, which makes it very efficient for anyone looking for relatives’ obituaries, specific articles, or who want to browse for information about a particular person, event, or topic.

The Gateway to Oklahoma History contains thousands of Oklahoma newspapers, photographs, postcards, and more. It is a great resource for researching local history, genealogy, or simply browsing through the items. Searching can be done in a variety of ways, and newspaper images can be easily enlarged, cropped, modified, and downloaded. This allows anyone to customize their searching and reading experience to reflect individual preferences.

According to Michelle Skinner, local newspapers are valuable resources for learning about the past. “The information contained within these newspapers gives a glimpse into everyday life in Grady County. Over 90 years of history have been preserved through digitization and are now freely available and searchable.”

Because Chickasha newspapers from before 1923 are already on the Gateway, this addition completes the online narrative record of Chickasha’s history and ensures that the information is preserved in a format that is both user-friendly and accessible to the public.

Chickasha Public Library offers free virtual Financial Literacy Mini Clinic

If you’re interested in setting yourself up for financial success, join the Chickasha Public Library’s free Financial Literacy Mini Clinic. This four-week virtual clinic will be taught by Leslie A. Sledge, a NACCC certified financial counselor and credit restoration specialist. 

Each session will cover a different financial topic, including:

  1. Becoming Financially Fit – Our Financial Well-Being is no different than our physical well-being. We set goals on becoming physically fit. Do we set goals for our finances as well? Together lets see what it takes to become Financially fit.
  2. Becoming Credit-Worthy – Very few of us can say that we got a financial education at home or in school. Learning a few basic financial concepts will help put us back on the road to Taking Control of our Finances.
  3. Becoming Debt Free –  Don’t let that three digit number, known as your “credit score” or purchasing goods and services without cash, known as “being extended credit”, confuse you. Lets learn how to build that score and learn how to use credit the way it was designed.
  4. Building Savings for Now, for Investments, and for Retirement – There are options out there when it comes to dealing with and understanding debt. We can look at different strategies for resolving financial dilemmas that some of us may find ourselves in.

“There are so many individuals struggling right now and don’t know where to turn, I just felt like this is the right time to offer the help that many are seeking,” Sledge said. “This is a valuable opportunity to expand your financial knowledge and to plan for the future.”

The classes will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on February 11, February 18, February 25 and March 4. Participants can register for one class or all four classes, and will receive a Zoom link for each class. There is a limit of 20 participants per class, so it is important to register early in order to reserve a spot. To register or for more information, call the Library at (405) 222-6075 or email library@chickasha.org

Sledge has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. She has been a credit restoration specialist for 6 years and a certified financial counselor for 4 years. Every class will include opportunities to ask individual questions and receive answers, and the final class will include a summary of the information covered in previous classes.

Making Memories

Memory Kit items

Many older adults experience dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other forms of memory loss. It can be difficult for family members and caregivers to know how to connect with people and to find meaningful conversation topics and activities. To help address some of these issues, the Chickasha Public Library has created memory kits with books and activities for both people who are experiencing memory loss, as well as their caregivers.

There are currently two kits available at the library. Each kit contains a copy of the book A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: Using Activities and Other Strategies to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Behavioral Symptoms by Laura N. Gitlin and Catherine Verrier Piersol, which contains information for caregivers about different activities and strategies to navigate daily challenges, effective communication, safety, and more. There is a set of conversation cards with photos to help facilitate memories and recollections, provide social interaction, and enhance cognitive functioning. Each kit also contains an activity pillow, which is brightly colored and full of various textures that can provide a relaxing and soothing activity.

In addition to the items mentioned above, Kit #1 contains a fidget board with various metal locks, chains, clasps, and zippers, which is ideal for people who enjoy tools and mechanical projects. There is also a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of an antique car, and a Greatest Hits of the 50s CD.

Kit #2 contains a color sorting board, a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of a cat drinking some milk, and a CD with relaxing music. CD players are also available upon request. Let library staff know if you would like a CD player at the time of checkout.

Each kit can be checked out for two weeks. These items are intended to help people connect with their loved one while providing a variety of activities for daily life. Caregivers and family members can also take a kit with them while visiting family members at their house or in a nursing home.

Memory kits are a great way to help people to remember important people and events in their lives, while also creating new memories with caregivers and loved ones. The library’s memory kits are currently on display on the table near the front desk, along with books about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and maintaining brain health. If you or someone you know has been affected by memory loss, this is a great resource to check out!