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.