Fauquier County Public Library

Library Updates

Reading Riot: Battle of the Books for Middle School

Posted by librarystaff on

Because of frigid weather last weekend, the Piedmont Region Battle of the Books (BOB) tournament was postponed until Feb. 28. Don’t despair – that just means the library will have these exceptional books on display for a while longer.

If you’re unfamiliar with BOB, it’s a motivational reading program in many of the Fauquier County Public Schools that provides a fun challenge and encourages students to read good books. Each year teachers and librarians select 20 outstanding books and school teams read them all. The students then compete in the BOB tournament to test their knowledge of random facts and quotes from the books. The team with the highest score wins.

Battle of the Books SampleThe library supports this exciting program by stocking multiple copies of each title in our collection and putting them on display in a special area. Check out the 2014-15 Battle of the Books for Middle School at your nearest library branch. And remember, we also carry multiple copies of the Battle of the Books for Elementary School.

The BOB list for 2015-2016 will be posted as soon as it’s available; stay tuned!

Good luck in the tournaments and may the best team win!

Ann, Youth Services, Bealeton branch library

For book lists, program highlights and staff suggestions for young adult readers published prior to January 2015, visit Reading Riot, our blog about the best books, events and websites for teen.

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Kiddosphere: Oink Oink! March 1 is National Pig Day

Posted by jennifers on

When I’m at a loss for topics to blog about, I consult the Brownie Locks website. I’m guaranteed to find something that will inspire a post. When I learned that March 1 is National Pig Day, I immediately knew that I had tons of fabulous children’s books to discuss!

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Mary Rawner book cover

If you think Babe (the movie) is adorable and clever (which it is!), you need to read the book upon which it was based. Although a story about a pig saved by the cleverness of a fellow farm animal sounds awfully familiar, Dick King-Smith’s tale of a sheep-herding pig is hilarious, charming, original, and has one of the most satisfying endings in children’s literature.

Charlotte’s Web is inarguably the ultimate children’s novel about a pig (and perhaps the biggest upset in Newbery Medal history). If you reread it, you’ll be struck by its timelessness and maturity. E.B. White’s recording is worth a listen. If children’s literature history is an interest, you need to read The Story of Charlotte’s Web to learn about the creation of this modern classic.

Who’s the best pig detective in the world? Mercy Watson, that’s who! I regularly recommend the Mercy Watson series for families who want to start chapter book read-alouds as well as independent readers ready for chapter books.

Elephant (also known as Gerald) and Piggie is one of the most consistently funny and clever couples in children’s books. Although they are quite different (Gerald is a bit more high-strung and goofy at times), they are forever friends. My favorite is We Are in a Book, which is quite meta.

Olivia (the original is a 2001 Caldecott Honor book) turns 15 this year, but this spunky pig (who’s very good at “wearing people out”) is still going strong!

Piggies in Pajamas is one of my favorite “not so sleepy” bedtime stories. This rollicking and rhyming story of a bunch of rambunctious pigs who are definitely not interested in bedtime requires some practice if you don’t want to trip over your tongue while reading it aloud.

Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore! is a great read aloud for preschool and elementary school children; they will love this tale of partying pigs and the hapless man whose house they invade.
Finally, if you’re in the mood for some porcine-related nonfiction, check these out:

All Pigs Are Beautiful by Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Anita Jeram book cover

Dick King-Smith’s novels often included pigs, but did you know that he wrote an adorable nonfiction title about one of his favorite animals? All Pigs Are Beautiful is suitable for newly independent readers who want to learn about the habits of these fascinating creatures.

Gail Gibbons’s books are ideal for young independent readers. Pigs teaches readers about the typical characteristics of pigs, their life cycle, and their intelligence.

Although there may not be any pig-related books in this week’s edition of Wowbrary, I can guarantee that there are some awesome titles to discover.

For book lists, reviews and staff suggestions for children published prior to January 2015, visit Kiddosphere, our blog about children/young adult fiction and non-fiction.  Looking for some brand-new reads!

I participated in Grace Miller Elementary’s Family Reading Night last Tuesday and had a fabulous time. I wrote about several of my read aloud choices in an ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children_ post about funny read alouds for elementary school children. Check out the comments for more great suggestions.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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Staff Picks: Favorites From the John Marshall Branch Library Staff

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There will never be enough to time to get to all the books on our reading lists. For those us us who work in libraries,reading in front of fireplce we are regularly delighted and frustrated by the numbers of books, both new and old, that pass through our hands each day. There are so many good books to consider! Book lovers have to make choices, and that is why it is so helpful to get recommendations from fellow readers. The John Marshall branch library staff would like to share a few of their favorites in hopes that you might find a good book for your next snowy day.

Joan admits that she loves lighthouses, so when she saw the cover of M.L. Stedman’s book, The Light Between Oceans, she knew it had to be her next read. This is a captivating story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Australia. Decisions the couple make after the discovery of a small boat washed ashore with its surprising contents will change their lives forever. Joan found herself desperately wanting to warn the characters  they were making terrible choices, but one can only read on and hope the consequences won’t be too bad. This book is a page turner, from that first fateful decision made in love, to all of those following. You won’t be disappointed with this one. Read it before the movie version is released later this year. Joan, Library Clerk

Another recommendation is Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis And Compromise, 1848-1877. Gloria describes herself as “a gal who was taught only the version of history accepted as true in Old Virginia.” She found this book to be a real eye-opener. Brenda Wineapple has written a very readable, detailed account of the events surrounding the Civil War. Gloria, Library Associate

For those of you who enjoy listening to a book, Ladies of Letters..and More, by Lou Wakefield and Carole Hayman is a wonderful choice. Taken from the very funny BBC radio program, it features Patricia Routledge of Keeping Up Appearances and Prunella Scales of Fawlty Towers. The series follows the adventures of two eccentric families, led by their matriarchs who are the best of friends when they correspond and a disaster when they are actually together. This one will have you laughing as you travel. Gloria, Library Associate

Veronica recommends The Golem and The Jinni, by Helene Wecker. Set in New York in the late 19th century, two mythical creatures from very different cultures manage to pass as human. Beautifully written, it raises questions about the meaning of being human, and the importance of religion and culture in everyday life. Part folktale, part fantasy, and even part historical fiction, this book is ultimately a story of how people with such diverse backgrounds learn to get along and even love each other. Veronica, Library Page.

“Can you recommend a good book?” Yes, indeed – we can recommend several.

Looking for more book lists and staff suggestions? Stop by the reference desk at your local library. For online book lists published prior to January 2015, visit Book Notes, our blog all about books.


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Reading Roundup: Bealeton Book Club Reads The Dovekeepers

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The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, was the February selection of the Bealeton Book Club. This rich Dovekeepers book cover with pictures from the tv movie adaptationhistorical narrative is told from the perspectives of four Jewish woman, woven around the story of Masada between 70-73 C.E. The four women are Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah; they each have interesting backgrounds and their lives intertwine as they each become dovekeepers at the fortress Masada. These strong female characters overcome tragic loss and show great physical and spiritual strength in the face of the Roman siege of Masada.

Our book club members had different favorites among the characters.
Yael is from a family of assassins, who must overcome her past to face her future.
Revka is a baker’s wife who witnessed horrifying loss and must stay strong for her grandsons.
Aziza is the daughter of Shirah, but is a warrior at heart who desires to join in the fight against the Roman soldiers.
Shirah is a woman with many secrets who is also a mystic and healer.

The four voices resonated with our book club members, as the roles of women during the time period of Masada were contrasted to women’s changing roles throughout history and currently. The history of Masada, as told by Josephus, was also discussed, along with conversation about the current situation in the Middle East.

Also of note, The Dovekeepers is being produced as a four-hour TV miniseries event on CBS from March 31st – April 1st, 2015.

The members of the Bealeton Book Club recommend this novel as a good historical read; they particularly appreciated the four different perspectives explored in the book.

If you are looking for similar reads, try the following books:

After This by Alice McDermott
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Celestial Navigation by Anne Tyler
Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
Green Darkness by Anya Seton
Helen of Troy by Margaret George
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
Life Mask by Emma Donoghue
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Sandcastles Girls by Chris Bohjalian

The Bealeton Book Clubs meet once per month. If you would like to join us, please check our schedule for dates, times, and reading selections:

Bealeton Evening Book Club,  Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Bealeton Afternoon Book Club, Thursday 2:30 p.m.

Happy Reading!

Mary Sue, Adult Reference, Bealeton branch library

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Fauquier County Public Library Joins in READ Across America

Posted by lisap on

(Warrenton, VA) Feb 23, 2015 — For the second year, Fauquier County Public Library is partnering with the Fauquier County Education Association to celebrate Read Across America Day (READ).

READ is the annual reading program that encourages children in every community to celebrate the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss by reading. The program was started by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998.

Fauquier County Public Library is partnering with the Fauquier County Education Association (FEA) to host a county-wide READ program Saturday, February 28 at 10 a.m. The program will be offered at all three library locations. The celebration will include a special reading of a Dr. Seuss favorite book, crafts, refreshments and other activities.  The Cat in the Hat, an iconic Dr. Seuss character, will also be at each library location.

Research shows that children who spend time reading do better in school. Encouraging lifelong reading and providing children with opportunities to read and succeed are goals shared by the NEA and libraries across America.

“Children of all ages love Dr. Seuss and we are thrilled to be able to bring his stories to life. Working with the FEA, we are encouraging a lifelong love for books and learning, a goal very central to both our missions,” said Maria Del Rosso, Director, Fauquier County Public Library.

The program is free and no registration is required. Children from throughout Fauquier County are invited to attend and READ at their library.

Fauquier County Public Library locations are: Warrenton central library, 11 Winchester St.; Bealeton branch library, 10877 Willow Drive North; and John Marshall branch library, 4133 Rectortown Road, Marshall. Call (540) 422-8500 for more information about library events or locations.

Contact: Lisa Pavlock, Public Information Coordinator
Phone: (540) 422-8518
11 Winchester Street
Warrenton, VA 20186

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Kiddosphere: Ridiculously Good Reads

Posted by jennifers on

How’s 2015 working out for you? Have you read any fantastically awesome books so far? As a youth services librarian, I need to read books outside my personal interests. (If I didn’t, I’d read nothing but realistic fiction, historical fiction, and biographies). I also need to remind myself to not focus on the bright and shiny new reads, but to go deeper into the collection and find titles that I missed. Happily, this often turns up some welcome surprises!

Across a War-Tossed Sea by L.M. Elliott book cover

For 2015, I’m going to start a “Ridiculously Good Reads” feature. This will be similar to Reading Roundup, but it will only focus on books that I thought were outstanding. Not just in a literary sense, but books that, for whatever reason, weren’t forgotten the second I returned them. Here are my Ridiculously Good Reads for January and February:I recommend Annie Between the States whenever possible for middle or high school historical fiction assignments; not only it is a fantastic Civil War era read, but much of the action takes place in Fauquier County (Upperville and Warrenton) and the surrounding areas. Across a War-Tossed Sea has joined my top recommended reads for historical fiction, as it’s a moving, gripping, occasionally funny, and occasionally heartbreaking tale of British brothers living in the Tidewater region during World War II. Not only do the brothers struggle with homesickness and guilt over leaving friends and family behind in Britain, but they have to deal with cultural differences, especially segregation laws and customs.  A subplot involving a nearby German POW camp is tremendously affecting and startling; Elliott’s research notes on German POW camps and the importance of the Tidewater region during World War II are informative and fascinating.

I’ve become more and more impatient with epic 400+ children’s/YA novels and endless series. Ugh! Enough! You better have a really good reason for having such a huge book and for extending the story into a trilogy (or more). Thankfully, there are still authors and publishers out there who haven’t forgetten about reluctant readers, or readers who just want a quick read every now and then. Bridge is part of the Alternative series, which is set at Rondo Alternative High School. This is Jose’s last chance to graduate; family issues such as his dad’s unemployment (due to medical issues) and difficulty concentrating in class due to his work schedule make school a challenge. At 92 pages and written with reluctant readers in mind, this is a realistic and empathetic look at situations that befall many high school students. Patrick Jones worked with teens at juvenile detention centers and alternative education centers, so he’s very familiar with the issues and situations that these young people face. I’m definitely planning to add more books in the Alternative series.

I’m a huge fan of Lucy Knisley’s graphic memoirs; Displacement, in my opinion, is her finest so far (and I thought it would be hard to top Relish). As always, family relationships play a huge part in her latest graphic memoir (food is also a Knisley trademark, but less so in this one). As her grandparents are dealing with the physical and mental realities of aging (as Knisley includes her musings on twenty-something issues, this is a remarkable juxtaposition), this cruise is probably their last big trip. Her sorrow over their decline, her befuddlement over typical cruise activities, and the differences in her relationships with each grandparent are sensitively, humorously, and achingly depicted in both art and prose. Excerpts from her grandfather’s World War II memoir are included throughout the memoir, which adds a poignant and admirable touch. This is graphic memoir writing and drawing at its finest.

Finding Spring by Carin Berger book cover

I’ll bet you’re anxious to find spring. (Pitchers and catchers report this week, so it’s on its way!) Finding Spring is a charming beauty of a picture book. This little bear cub is dismayed to learn that he has to hibernate during winter before spring arrives; when he sets off to find the mysterious spring, he finds something quite marvelous, indeed.  This sweet book has constantly been checked out since we received it early this year; it’s a superbly created book that’s perfect for late winter.

Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution is one of our staff’s early favorites for 2015. 2015’s summer reading program is “Every Hero Has a Story,” and this unique story ties in perfectly! Christopher Ludwick’s story shows that everyone has talents and qualities to contribute, even in unexpected ways. Finding picture books about historical eras that are excellent read alouds is rare; there are plenty of fine historical fiction picture books, but not many that are suitable for reading aloud. This is a terrific read aloud for elementary school students studying the American Revolution.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley book cover

I was extremely hesitant to read Noggin. I wanted to read all finalists for the National Book Award (Young People’s Literature division), but I had a hard time getting past the premise of the story. Once I decided to read it, I was completely engrossed. It’s a mature, unsettling, unforgettable, and provocative science fiction novel that raises tough questions about scientific advancements and mortality.

Supertruck is another early 2015 title that has been constantly checked out since we received it (and very appropriate for winter reading!). A blizzard has overpowered the city; luckily, an unlikely hero in the form of a garbage truck saves the day. So adorable and clever!

At 990 pages of text, Truman is an enormous biography (took me nearly seven weeks to get through it), but it’s one of the best presidential biographies I’ve ever read (I’ve been reading a biography of each president–off and on– since October 2012). Truman’s late-in-life political career, the chaos of the 1944 Democratic convention (where it was an unspoken understanding that Roosevelt would likely die in office, thus making the VP nominee more critical than it had ever been), the decision to launch the atomic bomb, the firing of General MacArthur and the Korean War crisis, the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy, the enormous loss of popularity and calls for impeachment, and much, much more are brilliantly brought to life. Moreover, his undying love for his wife, Bess, and daughter, Margaret, is touchingly depicted. Truman was a complicated character (his views on civil rights did not mean that he was incapable of making unsettling statements) at an extraordinary time. An outstanding biography. The Roosevelt-Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy biographies era is very reminiscent of the Washington-Adams-Jefferson-Madison biographies era; their political careers intertwine with each other on a greater scale than other eras in American history (Roosevelt to a lesser extent, since he was an established icon by the time Truman began his political career) but definitely true for Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy). Very intriguing to observe!

For book lists, reviews and staff suggestions for children published prior to January 2015, visit Kiddosphere, our blog about children/young adult fiction and non-fiction.  Looking for some brand-new reads! Check out our latest and back issues of Wowbrary.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library 

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Mark Your Calendar for a Seuss-tastic Saturday!

Posted by lisap on

Green Eggs and HamBooks by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears a Who
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Cat in the Hat

Ahh… the wonderful, wacky and imaginative world of Dr. Seuss!

Whether you are a young child or merely young at heart, you can probably name your favorite Dr. Seuss story. The legendary writer and cartoonist delighted children of all ages with 46 published children’s books filled with imaginative characters and catchy rhymes.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss
Children across America will join together for an annual celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday as part of National Read Across America Day. The Fauquier County Public Library and the Fauquier County Education Association will again host a special program at all three Fauquier County Public Library locations to wish Dr. Seuss happy birthday. Hear a special reading of a Dr. Seuss favorite and enjoy crafts, refreshments and other activities. The Cat in the Hat, an iconic Dr. Seuss character, will be on hand too!

Program DetailsDr. Seuss Celebration
All Fauquier County Public Library locations
Saturday, February 28
10 a.m.
Free; no registration required
*In case of inclement weather, this program will be held Saturday, March 7.

Fun Facts
To get you ready to READ and celebrate, here are a few fun facts about Dr. Seuss:
Dr. Seuss was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel.
Dr. Seuss’ works have been adapted for television, film and even Broadway.
Dr. Seuss’ works are noted for their use of anapestic meter.
In addition to his work as a children’s author and cartoonist, Dr. Seuss also worked as an illustrator, political cartoonist and animator for the United States Army.

The program is part of National Read Across America Day (READ), started by the National Education Association in 1998 to encourage and motivate children to read.

Happy Birthday Dr.Seuss and happy reading!

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Reading Riot: Bibliotherapy for Teens

Posted by librarystaff on

book cover collage

Would you know how to help a friend who was sad, lonely or depressed? A recent article in School Library Journal stressed the prevalence of teen depression and suggested that bibliotherapy  – the use of select reading material to aid recovery from mental or emotional problems – could be a way to reach troubled teens.

No doubt, reading can be therapeutic, relieving stress and increasing coping skills, especially if the reader finds a personal connection to a character. Fiction, even realistic fiction, offers an escape, and while reading is not a replacement for professional help, books might provide some comfort.


Here are some reading recommendations available at the Fauquier County Public Library:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Reality Boy by A.S. King

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

More resources on the warning signs and prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide are available at the public library. A list of additional resources and books is also available from the American Library Association (ALA).

Ann, Youth Services librarian, Bealeton branch library

For book lists, program highlights and staff suggestions for young adult readers published prior to January 2015, visit Reading Riot, our blog about the best books, events and websites for teen.

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Staff Picks: Recent Favorites of Library Staff

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Book ClubsIf you visit the Warrenton central library, you have probably seen one of the adult reference librarians assisting patrons. Answering reference questions and locating materials are just some of the things our reference librarians do. Often they answer the question “What book do you recommend?” All three of us enjoy reading books in all genres, so our answers vary. Here is a sampling of some of our recent favorite reads.

Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson
This is the third book in Ms. Thompson’s Gaslight mystery series. Set in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century, the series follows Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy of the New York City Police and midwife Sarah Brandt, who assist him with many of his cases. In this book, famed magnetic healer Edmund Blackwell is found dead, an apparent suicide. But was it? Who might have wanted him dead–his young wife, his wealthy father-in-law, the husbands of his clients or his assistant? Filled with historic details and commentary on social issues, this series reminds me of Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series.

Vicky, Reference Librarian

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder; edited by Pamela Smith Hill
This is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s unedited and unpublished manuscript autobiography, which was written for an adult audience. It served as the basis for the Little House series of books for children.  I have been a fan of the Little House books since elementary school, and I have waited for many years to be able to read this manuscript. I am not disappointed. Ms. Hill and the Pioneer Girl Project Staff from the South Dakota Historical Society Press have done a wonderful job of researching the names and places in the manuscript and adding the many annotations. This is a book I will read again and again.

Vicky, Reference Librarian

The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein
The Teacher Wars is a balanced and engrossing history of educational reform in the United States. Recounting decades of fierce arguments about public education, this book sheds light on the modern controversies surrounding our public education system.

Becky, Reference Librarian

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
I, Robot is a classic novel that blends science fiction with mystery. It follows a technology company’s efforts to create increasingly sophisticated robots–and troubleshoot these machines when their programming produces unexpected results. I, Robot combines a good story with subtle commentary on the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Becky, Reference Librarian

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
This is a powerful story about courage and dreams. It is a historical fiction novel, inspired by actual historical figures (the Grimke family) set in Charleston, South Carolina. Sarah is turning eleven and is given ten-year-old Handful, a child of a slave to the Grimke family. Sarah pleads that she does not want to take ownership of Handful, but in time the two become friends. Sarah teaches Handful how to read and Handful keeps hoping that she will find the wings her mother told her about as a child. The story is told by both Sarah and Handful and we watch the girls grow up, Sarah having left the only life she knows and Handful finding answers in a story quilt left behind by her mother, who has mysteriously disappeared. this is a touching story told by the two girls that pulls at your heartstrings as you cheer them on to find peace for Sarah and wings for Handful.

Jody, Reference Librarian

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Family Program: Birds of Prey

Posted by vicky on

Birds of PreyMost of us know someone who likes to bird watch. It’s fun to put up a bird feeder and see which types of birds visit it—wrens, finches, cardinals, blue jays, maybe even a woodpecker or two.

What you probably won’t see at your backyard bird feeder are birds of prey, also known as raptors. These are birds that hunt and feed on other animals, such as hawks, eagles, buzzards, osprey and owls. If you are interested in learning more about these birds, the library has many resources to assist you.

Resources at Your Library

For a basic introduction to birds of prey, check out the book Birds of Prey by Floyd Scholz or Raptors of North America: Natural History and Conservation by Noel and Helen Snyder.

Owls are nocturnal birds of prey. You can often hear them at night, especially if you are near a wooded area.  The book Owls of the World: Their Lives, Behavior and Survival by James R. Duncan is a good introduction to owls. For information on the different types of owls, and beautiful color photographs, see the book Owls of the World:  A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola.

Learn More

Still curious? What do all birds of prey have in common? How do they hunt? Which birds of prey live in or around Fauquier County? Join us for Birds of Prey  a free program for the entire family. The seminar will be presented by Dr. David Wiedenfeld, Senior Conservation Scientist for the American Bird Conservancy.

Sunday, Feb 22, 2:00 p.m.
John Barton Payne Building
2 Courthouse Square
Old Town Warrenton

We hope to see you there!

Vicky, Adult Reference, Warrenton central library



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