Fauquier County Public Library

Library Updates

Kiddosphere: 10 Years Ago – Books About Hurricane Katrina

Posted by jennifers on

If you’ve watched or read any type of media recently, you’re probably aware that August 29th is the 10th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall. I didn’t want the day to pass without letting you know about some truly excellent books for children and teens about this historic hurricane:

Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith book cover

Another Kind of Hurricane is a moving, sensitive, and ultimately hopeful book about two very different young boys who are affected by Hurricane Katrina’s wrath (Henry lives in Vermont; Zavion lives in New Orleans) and form a deeply personal bond based on their shared experiences of grief and loss. This is Tamara Ellis Smith’s debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what she creates next.

Don Brown’s The Great American Dust Bowl is an intensely gripping and powerful narrative in graphic novel format about the Dust Bowl, so it was no surprise that Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is equally as compelling. (I say graphic novel, but these are straight nonfiction books). Written and drawn for YA audiences, this is an honest and intimate examination of the hurricane, as well as the aftermath.

Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival is based on the true story of a cat and a dog, left behind by their owners (many pet owners were forced to leave their pets behind because many hotels, shelters and authorities refused to let pets accompany their owners; laws were changed in the aftermath of Katrina in order to prevent massive amounts of animals left behind in the wake of evacuations and rescues). This is a remarkable and unforgettable story about friendship and survival.

If you are interested in adult nonfiction books about Hurricane Katrina, please see my review of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital from November 2013.

Next week, I’ll have something much more cheerful to discuss: Fall 2015 books!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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Reading Roundup: Bealeton Book Club Plans for the Upcoming Year

Posted by marysue on

Book Club meeting men and womenThe Bealeton Book Club offers two meeting dates each month – one in the afternoon and one in the evening – to accommodate the busy schedule of members. The group reads and discusses books from September – July. In June and July, members vote on titles in several genres. In August, we have our annual planning meeting, with the big reveal of reading selections for the next 12 months.  Other planning takes place at the August meeting, including a discussion of meeting format, refreshments, scheduling and other matters.

Book Club Meetings:
Bealeton Book Club meetings are held once per month.

  • Bealeton Evening Book Club
    Beginning in September, 2015, meetings will usually be held the
    3rd Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m.
    (PLEASE NOTE this is a change from Mondays to Wednesdays )
  • Bealeton Afternoon Book Club
    Meetings are usually held the 3rd Thursday of the month, 2:30 p.m.

New members are always welcome.  If you would like to join us, please check the book club schedule for dates, times and reading selections.

Book Club Selections:
The Bealeton Book Club reads a mix of popular fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, biography / memoir, and classic titles. The members are excited about this year’s reading possibilities.  A complete list of the new selections is now available and includes The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Dead Wake by Erik Larson and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

The book club members had many interesting discussions about this past year’s titles.

If you missed a meeting or are just curious about what book clubs discuss, check out Reading Roundup, our weekly column that summarizes discussions by Fauquier County Public Library book clubs.

Happy Reading!

Mary Sue, Adult Reference, Bealeton branch library

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Catalog Tip: Manage Your Library Account

Posted by alison on

Screenshot of library catalog My Account sectionIf you have a Fauquier County Public Library card and Internet access, you can access your online account and take advantage of a number of convenient services. With National Library Card Signup month on the horizon, now is a good time to learn more about how to leverage your library account – or how to sign up for a library card.

Manage your library “business”
Not sure if you still have that one book checked out, or wonder if you put a hold on the latest best seller? You can log in to your online account and check due dates; place, freeze and cancel holds; renew items you have checked out; or check to see if you have any pending fines/fees.

Modify your personal information on file (address, e-mail, etc.)
If you have a new e-mail address or would like to get notices sent to your mobile phone, you can update that information online without making a trip to the library.

Get the library’s latest items from your favorite authors
Set up preferred searches to be alerted when new items are added to the collection that cover your favorite topics or are by your favorite authors.

Track books you’ve read
If you want to track the books, movies, etc., that you’ve checked out from the library, be sure to opt in to the library’s Reading History feature. This feature is only available through your online account – library staff do not have access to your reading history.

How do I get an online account?

  1. If you don’t already have a library card, apply for one online or at your local library.
  2. Once you have a library card, click on the My Account/Log In link from the online catalog home page or the My account link on upper right corner of the library’s website.
  3. Enter your complete 10-digit library card number (“20000……”).
  4. Enter or create your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

If you have any problems with your online account, contact us by e-mail or ring your local library branch for assistance.

Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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Credo Reference – Great Tool for Homeschool Students

Posted by lisap on

publichs-content-handout-7aug2015Literati/CREDO Reference is a useful tool for finding topics and basic information in high school or first-year college courses. The site includes over 10,000 “Topic Pages” containing authoritative background information, context and customized links to online reference materials and other vetted library resources. It is a great resource for homeschooled students.

In addition, the site offers Live Homework Help to give real time access to state certified teachers for students in grades 3-12.

Credo Reference is hosting a live, online tour of its student friendly ebooks on Wednesday, September 2, 2 p.m. Registration is required. To register, email training@credoreference.com.

If you need help with this or any of the library’s research resources,  e-mail a librarian or call the Adult Reference Desk at (540) 422-8500 ext. 6862.


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Reading Riot: Add TAG to Your List of Accomplishments

Posted by librarystaff on

TAG logoGoing back to school can be exciting – and stressful. New teachers, new classes, new clothes! And there’s the added pressure to make good grades, make the team or win college scholarships. If you’d like to add a notch to your future applications and resumes, consider joining the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) at the library.

Being a TAG member is a great way to get involved at the library, make new friends, plan events and have fun. Many schools accept TAG activities as community service hours. This year TAG members will be focusing on volunteer projects. Come to our first meeting to share ideas and suggestions. We generally meet the second Tuesday of each month.

Just complete the membership form or ask your librarian how to get involved.

Bealeton Library – 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8

Contact ann.mcduffie@fauquiercounty.gov or call (540) 422-8535 for more information.

Have a happy and successful school year!

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.

Ann McDuffie, youth services librarian, Bealeton branch library

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Staff Picks: Summer Readin’ & “Pole Vaulting Into Eternity”

Posted by dawn on

116063[1]Many of us who love to read find that during the summer months, when we are busy with vacations and lawn and garden projects,  we tend to read lighter fair–the type of book you can read and put down and pick up again even if you’ve been away from it for a few days. As you can see, that’s exactly the type of material some of the members of library administration have spent reading after busy summer days and evenings.

Like everybody else, I can’t seem to get enough of books like Downton Abbey. Luckily there have been a number of books published about that time in England, some from the perspective of the downstairs staff, some from the gentry upstairs. Recently, I discovered The Passing Bells Trilogy by Phillip Rock. Published in the early 1980’s,  the books – “The Passing Bells,” “Circles of Time” and “A Future Arrived” – follow the Greville family and its friends from parties, dances and romances to the battlefields of the Great War and onto the transitional years leading up to WW II. The books are, as one review states, “immensely energetic, top entertainment in the Upstairs, Downstairs vein, complete with bubbling family gossip.”
–Maria, Library Director, Warrenton central library

I recently discovered the author Julia Glass.  Having read several of her novels,  Three Junes is definitely my favorite. Featuring the Scottish McLeod family, in particular Paul and later son, Fenno, we watch as a family that loves each other weaves in and out of each others lives in unexpected ways.  And we are reminded that even as adults, the family dynamic that is developed during childhood remains intact well into middle age; sometimes family becomes those we have no blood relation to. After enjoying “Three Junes,” I moved on to And the Dark Sacred Night because the complicated family of Malachy Burns, a key figure in “Three Junes” —is at the center of the story.  While “Dark Sacred Night” is a good read, it doesn’t have the depth of “Three Junes.”  I’ll keep Julia Glass as an author to turn to again, but maybe not right away.

My other favorite read of the summer was Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) authored by Bill Gifford.  Gifford, a journalist who writes primarily about science, sports, health and fitness, provides a broad examination of the science around aging and longevity.  While one might think this would be “heavy read,” it really isn’t.  Gifford’s journalistic skills and personalization of the topic make it a very readable work of nonfiction.  He introduces the reader to pole vaulting senior citizens, a 106 year-old man who still runs the family financial business, and the search for the fountain of youth by celebrities such as Suzanne Somers.  The nugget of wisdom I drew from this book is that longevity is chalked up to good genes and to a certain extent, common sense in regarding food consumption and exercise.  On that note—may we all live long and prosper.
–Dawn, Public Services Manager, Warrenton central library 

Looking for more book lists and staff suggestions?  Stop by the reference desk at your local library. Additional staff picks and book club roundups are available online.



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Reading Roundup: Great Books Club Discusses Sonny’s Blues

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Great Books Discussion Group Roundup

The Great Books Discussion Group met recently to discuss “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin. This thought-provoking short story stimulated a good discussion about the problems associated with taking care of someone else. Issues of race and racism are like solid walls in this story as the characters move within them toward their own humanity. We probed the difficulties the narrator encounters as he tries to take care of his brother Sonny. His promise to keep his brother safe is an enormous burden to him and yet, often in spite of the object of his efforts, he comes to know his brother and learns to listen to him.Book Club

Upcoming selection

The group will discuss “Argument and Persuasion” by Donald Hall on Tuesday, September 15th at 7 pm. (Note: this special date for the September meeting.)  This story will further probe the dimensions of one person’s sense of responsibility for another. A question to keep in mind while reading this story: To what extent are a person’s particular past sufferings essential to his or her ability to understand someone else?

We hope you will join us for another Great Books Discussion!

Jeanne, Great Books discussion leader


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The King in the Car Park

Posted by vicky on

king_richard_iiiIf you’re interested in medieval English history or the Wars of the Roses, I’m sure you’ve followed the recent news stories on the finding of King Richard III’s skeleton. Richard III is one of England’s most controversial monarchs, immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play Richard III as an evil, deformed monster. Richard III reigned for only two years (1483-1485); his short reign was marred by rumor, deception and scandal.

Who was King Richard III?

For those not familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell.Richard’s older brother, Edward, reigned as King Edward IV from 1461-1470 and 1471-1483.  At Edward’s untimely death in 1483, his 12-year-old son succeeded him as King Edward V. Richard was named as Lord Protector until the young Edward came of age. But within a few months, Richard seized the throne and was crowned as King Richard III. Why? What circumstances led to his coronation? Most importantly, did Richard kill or order the killings of his two nephews, Edward V and his younger brother Richard? These questions have puzzled historians for centuries. Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on August 22, 1485, the last English king to die in battle. He was defeated by the forces of Henry Tudor, later crowned as Henry VII, thus ushering in the Tudor era. Richard’s body was brought to the town of Leicester and given over to the Franciscan friars after the battle. After that, history was unclear as to exactly what happened to his body.

In 2012, in a collaborative effort by the University of Leicester, the Richard III Society and the Leicester City Council, Richard III’s skeleton was found buried under a Leicester car park, on the site of the old Grey Friars priory. This find does not answer the questions about Richard III’s reign or the ultimate fate of the “Princes in the Tower,” but scientific analysis of the bones gives us a fascinating glimpse into his lifestyle and diet, his spinal deformity, and exactly what wounds he suffered at the Battle of Bosworth. For more information on the archaeology dig, the University of Leicester hosts an informative website.

Learn More at Your Library

If you want to find out more about Richard III and late Medieval England in general, the Fauquier County Public Library has several sources you can explore. For a good overview of the time period, check out Dan Jones’s The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors, published in 2014. Philippa Gregory’s The Women of the Cousins’ War, Desmond Seward’s The Wars of the Roses Through the Lives of Five Men and Women of the Fifteenth Century, and Alison Weir’s Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World are good biographical studies of people involved in the Wars of the Roses. For information on the controversy on the two young princes, see The Princes in the Tower by Elizabeth Jenkins. A recent PBS Secrets of the Dead episode, Resurrecting Richard III, focused on Richard’s skeleton and how he could have ridden horseback and been an effective fighter with such a severe spinal deformity.

For those of you who prefer fiction, there are many fictional works set during this time period. One of my favorites is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, focusing on the love story of Richard III and his wife Anne Neville. Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series focuses on the women involved–Anne Neville, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York, and others. P.C. Doherty’s The Fate of Princes explores a possible fate for the two young princes. Kate Sedley’s Roger the Chapman mystery series takes place during the late 1400s, and in the book The Tintern Treasure, Roger is caught up in a rebellion against King Richard III. And in a book I’ve mentioned before, Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant, while recuperating from a broken leg, researches the story of Richard III and the princes.

Intrigued? To learn more, stop by and browse the book display on this topic at the Warrenton central library, or ask at the Reference Desk.

Happy reading!

Vicky, Adult Reference Librarian, Warrenton central library

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Kiddosphere: Books to Bark About: Celebrate National Dog Day (Aug. 26)

Posted by jennifers on

Since we celebrated World Cat Day recently, it’s only fitting that we pay tribute to man’s best friend on August 26. National Dog Day is the perfect day to grab a few awesome books and cuddle with your favorite pup. Children’s literature is filled with many stories about amazing pups: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Harry the Dirty Dog, Biscuit, Spot, Lassie, and Because of Winn Dixie, just to name a few enduring classics. Throughout history, dogs have been trained to do an amazing variety of jobs; here are my favorite children’s books about real-life canine heroes:

Dogs to the Rescue: Police Dogs by Sara Green book cover

Our Dogs to the Rescue! series was an enormous hit during our summer reading program; they were (and still are) constantly checked out. These nonfiction titles for newly independent readers feature dogs who sniff out bombs, guide dogs, wilderness search dogs, and more.

Lola Goes to Work is a short and sweet introduction to adorable Lola. Although Lola is a small terrier, she has a very big job as a therapy dog; she visits people in hospitals, listens to kids practice reading, and visits people in their home. Becoming a therapy dog wasn’t easy for Lola, as she had to pass difficult training sessions and tests (if you’ve spent time with terriers, you know that they are independent little thinkers, which can make training challenging). This is a simple and charming introduction to the work of a therapy dog (would be a great book to read to our Paws to Read dogs!), but also a testament to working hard and perseverance.

Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appel. Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal book cover

Mogie: The Heart of the House is based on the true story of Mogie, the Labradoodle – in-residence at the Houston Ronald McDonald House (RMH). Mogie’s littermates were quickly chosen and trained for guide dog positions, search and rescue work, dog show competition, and other jobs, but Mogie’s temperament wasn’t suitable for any such work. Luckily, it was figured out that Mogie was the ideal candidate for the Key Comfort Ambassador position at the Houston RMH, where he visits, cuddles, and plays with the families who stay there while they/their children receive long-term care at Houston hospitals. While not a very sad book, it is a sensitive portrayal of a dog who means a lot to children and families who are dealing with very serious situations (we are introduced to two children residing at the house), so pre-reading is important before reading it with little ones. Like Lola Goes to Work, this is an affirmative story of the contributions and gifts that everyone has and can give. You can learn more about the real Mogie on his website and see pictures on the Houston RMH’s site.

Tuesday Tucks Me In, based on Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan’s memoir, is a touching, age-appropriate, and unique look at a different kind of service dog. While many children may be aware that service dogs help people who are blind, deaf, or use a wheelchair, they may not know that dogs help people who struggle with feeling very scared or nervous (Capt. Montalvan has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is not specifically named in this book). When Capt. Montalvan feels very stressed or scared, Tuesday helps him calm down. This is a loving representation of a very special bond.

Need books on dog care and training? Look in our J 636.7 section.

Happy National Dog Day!

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.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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Reading Riot: Teen SRP Ends with a Bang

Posted by librarystaff on

Teen volunteers in funny hats

The Summer Reading Program has come to an end and what a great summer it was! More than 300 young adults joined our teen summer reading program and logged over 3,000 books! That’s a lot of un-required reading!

Many of you also enjoyed eight weeks of entertaining and informative teen programs. In Unmask Your Natural Awesomeness, we learned about skin care and made our own natural skin cleansers. All participants went home with decorated bottles of toner, sea salt scrub and facial smoother. The library smelled of peppermint for days!

We chilled out at an Avengers movie night, learned to finger knit, and had a robotics demonstration. Instructors also taught self-defense and babysitting safety. These popular and instructive classes were filled to capacity as teens got practical advice on personal safety and first aid.

We wrapped up the SRP for teens with a Finale Party at all the branches. Participants were invited to come dressed in the costume of their favorite superhero and several did with great enthusiasm. One teen girl dressed in an elaborate homemade cardboard robot complete with wings and helmet. Others came as Super Readers with cape and a bold S on their shirts.

While half the teens had fun making catapults, the rest decorated masks with feathers and mugged for the camera dressed in props we supplied. Even Chewbaca got the costume treatment. The teens mingled and danced and had a great time with music from the Beatles and One Direction blasting in the background.

Teens in superhero costumes

At the Bealeton branch library the grand prize drawing for the Kindle Fire went to Allison G., the girl in the robot costume! She left later that evening hugging her prize saying “This was the best night of my life.” Allison was one of our most enthusiastic patrons and says she can’t wait to be a volunteer next summer!

Megan A. was the Marshall grand prize winner. Also at the Marshall branch patron Mert Cook and her daughters, volunteers Katherine and Hannah, made the Super Hero cake and cupcakes. Branch Manager Debbie Cosby said they were a perfect (and delicious) addition to the theme of our summer program.

At Warrenton, Ben J. won the Kindle. Teens there also enjoyed making masks and playing games. Door prizes were a hit and everyone took home a free book.

Many of our participants were also teen volunteers this summer. So remember, if you’d like to get involved at the library this year, sign up for the Teen Advisory Group. This group of 6th graders and above meets monthly to plan and participate in library activities and service projects. Just complete the membership form or ask your librarian how to get involved.

Enjoy the school year!

Ann McDuffie, youth services librarian, Bealeton branch library


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