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)

Look Up! Step Back in Time with The James Webb Space Telescope on Beanstack!

Explore our universe with the James Webb Space Telescope Challenge. Learn all about the science behind NASA’s newest space telescope mission, the James Webb Space Telescope. Scheduled to launch this winter, JWST is the most advanced infrared space telescope ever launched and will allow us to look deeper into time and space than ever before! Help your library win a collection of programming materials from NASA @ My Library by logging your reading and completing activities. Earn new badges all month long! NASA @ My Library is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant No. NNX16AE30A. The work was also assisted and supported by the Space Science Institute, which was the recipient of the grant. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA or the Space Science Institute

To join this challenge and more visit https://chickashapl.beanstack.org/reader365

Readers’ Advisory The Gothic Novel

Spooky path through the woods sets the tone for this gothic readers' advisory article.

Gothic novels have become some of the most well-known classics. But what sets a book apart from the horror genre as Gothic?  

Like every genre of literature, horror novels can be broken down into many subgenres from paranormal, like The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, to The Last Astronaut by David Wellington with its outer space setting and science fiction theme. But horror novels started long before Regan met Fathers Karras and Merrin when in 1764, Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto. This book created many of the elements of what would become known as the Gothic style of literature. 

In Gothic novels, the setting tends to be an essential element of the story. Think dark, dreary, dripping 

castles like the one where Jonathan Harker finds himself in Dracula. More recent Gothic novels like Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas may be set in a modern-day boarding school. Still, the oppressive atmosphere of the buildings and ground is an essential element. Seclusion is crucial in the setting of the home as well. For example, traveling to Dracula’s castle can only be reached via a treacherous coach ride through the Carpathian mountains. While the Catherine House is merely at the end of a long driveway, it is still secluded deep in the Pennsylvania woods. 

It is not always the physical building that needs to be dark and dreary to create the atmosphere necessary for a Gothic novel. Emily Bronte brought used weather in her novel Wuthering Heights to create a foreboding atmosphere. We also find many Gothic heroines forced into precarious circumstances by the weather. For example, after Jane leaves Thornfield Hall, a storm rises and blows her onto the doorstep of the Rivers siblings, who allow her to stay. 

Exploring crumbling country homes while a thunderstorm rages outside is undoubtedly creepy. However, to reach the level of true Gothic horror, something needs to leap out from the shadows. Gothic novels lean heavily into the paranormal and supernatural elements when creating their villains, filling them with vampires, ghosts, and even manufactured monsters like Mr. Hyde. However, sometimes the monster making is out of our character’s control – the Castle of Otranto itself is under a prophecy that any family who owns it will meet tragic ends. The current lord, Manfred, is aware of this and goes to great lengths to preserve his lineage and slowly becomes the novel’s villain. 

Gothic literature, like all literature, has evolved through the years. For example, in 2022, an abandoned mid-century home could create an atmosphere just as disheartening as the Halloran House in Shirley Jackson’s The Sundial and a Vacation. Likewise, no cellphone service would be as much of a deterrent as the wolves that attack Jonathan Harker’s coach as he makes his way to Count Dracula’s castle. But underneath all the changes, Gothic literature still contains several elements that send a shiver up our collective spines. 

Chickasha Public Library FREE Summer Reading Program

Readers of all ages will dive deep during our Oceans of Possibilities summer program! 

Participating in a summer reading program helps keep students on track to learn in the next school year and can positively impact their future success. 

This year participants will set a goal and track their reading minutes to earn prizes throughout the summer. 

In June and July we will have weekly programs, a reading club, virtual access to recipes, games, awesome prize drawings, and more!

Kids of all ages will enjoy out live performances of Uncharted Waters and Mad Science. 

The Chickasha Public Library is offering programs for all ages. Mark your calendars, Registration opens May 20, and the fun will start on June 2. Dive in with us! You can register for the Summer Reading program using Beanstack or in-person at the Chickasha Public Library located at 527 W Iowa Ave. All programs are free. Participants will set a reading goal, track their minutes spent reading, and earn incentives over the summer. The tracking can all be done online or by using the Beanstack mobile app. There is also an option to track minutes using paper and sticker logs.

Summer Reading Program age groups

Early Readers Summer Reading for ages 4-6

Children Summer Reading for ages 6 – 10

Tween Summer Reading for ages 10 – 15

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.