Posts Tagged ‘Libraries’

The temperatures and dropping outside and before you know it cabin fever will begin to set in. Fight off the boredom of being stuck inside with these five great digital resources we have to offer:
1. The Our State Magazine Digital Collection, where you can explore issues of one of North Carolina’s premiere publications dating back to 1933 any time for free.
Our State Digital Collection
2. Our This Day in North Carolina History Project, which tells some of most interesting (and bizarre) tales from our state’s past, including the story of North Carolina’s “Year Without a Summer” in 1816.
This Day in N.C. History
3. The State Archives Flickr site, where you can find nearly 7,000 images of everything from Civil War battles to snake handlers in Durham and beyond, including some great historical shots of snow.
State Archives Flickr
4. NCpedia, an online encyclopedia about all things North Carolina.
5. The State Library’s ExploreNC topic guides, which provide a centralized list of resources on a number of different topics including weather.
Enjoy the weather, and stay warm!

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Salisbury Rotary Club“Mayor. Pat. I want you to be my secretary of cultural resources.”

That’s how Sec. Susan Kluttz was asked to lead the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources by Gov. Pat McCrory more than year ago, and in a speech to the Salisbury Rotary Club earlier this month, the Secretary emphasized how her 14-year term as mayor of that city inspires her work today.

Among the many lessons she learned in Salisbury, Sec. Kluttz cited the importance of assembling a good team around her and the difference face-to-face communication—even with detractors—can make. She also noted how her years in Salisbury gave her concrete examples of the importance the arts, libraries, museums and historic preservation was to economic development, beyond being just “fluff.” She specifically mentioned using the arts for gang prevention activities, partnering with Rowan County Library to promote reading and leveraging historic preservation tax credits to spur millions of dollars in development and revitalization downtown.

Though the year has been a whirlwind, she still gets up excited to come to work for the people of North Carolina each day.

“What an extraordinary year this has been,” she said in her speech. “And what a wonderful opportunity I have had to work for a governor I respect and admire and believe in … to take the message from Salisbury that arts, libraries and historic preservation translate into making the state an even better place, just like it has in Salisbury.”

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Sec. Kluttz and State Librarian Cal Shepard touch a rabbit

What exactly does a baby rat feel like? Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz found out late last week when she participated in an innovative program to help visually-impaired people engage with the world around them. The program was hosted by the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, and focused on tactile learning or learning through touch.

Program participants get ready to touch a few baby rats

Though she was a bit hesitant at first, by the end of the hour-long program the Secretary had touched a newly-born baby rat and a rabbit, among several other small mammals. She also heard some of the sounds a hedgehog makes when it is experiencing stress and learned about what makes mammals unique from the rest of animal kingdom.

The goal of the program was simple—to help those who are visually-impaired learn on their terms through touch and sound. Probably the best part is this program is just the first in a series of several tactile programs that the LBPH—part of Cultural Resources’ State Library of North Carolina—plans to offer. Check back here for details on future programs.

Sec. Kluttz was joined at the program by State Librarian Cal Shepard, LBPH Branch Head Carl Keehn and LBPH Assistant Regional Librarian Catherine Rubin.

Click here to learn more about the LBPH and its mission, and here to see more pictures from the program.

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This post is the second in a three-part series we’re doing on summer reading. Click here to read part one. Check back here on the next Friday for part three. 

From Cullowhee to Pine Knoll Shores and from quirky humor to murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer at the beach or at home in your favorite chair. North Carolina Arts Council Literature Director David Potorti has selected a few of the 2013 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore:

1.  A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa by Elaine Neil Orr (Berkley Trade, 2013): This debut novel from NC State professor of English Elaine Neil Orr, born and raised in Nigeria, tells a tale of social and spiritual awakening. Orr is a 2002 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient in literature.

2.  Allegiance and Betrayal by Peter Makuck (Syracuse University Press, 2013): Pine Knoll Shores resident Peter Makuck’s third story collection explores the mystery surrounding family relations, love, generational rifts, marriage, and the inevitability of loss.

3.  At Random by Lee Zacharias (Fugitive Poets Press, 2013): Zacharias, an emerita professor of English at UNC Greensboro, tells the story of a middle-aged couple struggling to survive a tragedy, and the tale of a refugee family caught between a younger generation’s desire to assimilate and the older generation’s desire to preserve their culture. Zacharias is the recipient of a 1986 and 2005 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship in literature.

4.  A Town of Empty Rooms by Karen E. Bender (Counterpoint Press, 2013): Karen E. Bender, who teaches creative writing at UNC Wilmington, presents the story of Serena and Dan Shine, estranged from one another as they separately grieve over the recent loss of Serena’s father and Dan’s older brother.

5.  Flashes of War: Short Stories by Katey Schultz (Apprentice House, 2013): Illuminating the intimate, human faces of war, this series of short stories questions the stereotypes of modern war by bearing witness to the shared struggles of all who are touched by it.

6.  Flora by Gail Godwin (Bloomsbury, 2013): Asheville author Gail Godwin’s darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation is a story of love, regret, and the things we can’t undo.

7.  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Little, Brown and Company, 2013): Raleigh native son David Sedaris brings his quirky perspective to another collection of hilarious personal essays.

8.  Life after Life by Jill McCorkle (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013): This family saga by New York Times bestselling author Jill McCorkle weaves together the stories of multiple generations of the residents and staff of Pine Haven, a retirement community in Fulton, North Carolina.

9.  Lillian’s Garden by Carrie Knowles (Roundfire Books, 2013): Just when Helen thinks she can take charge of her life, a devil-hunting itinerant preacher upsets the delicate balance she has managed in a family locked in secrets and headed for trouble.

10.  Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble by Ann B. Ross (Viking, 2013): In Hendersonville, author Ann B. Ross’ latest installment in her popular series, Miss Julia deals with an internet scam, a crabby patient on bed rest, an overwhelmed lady of the house with a family to feed, and an unexpected guest with questionable intentions.

11.  Music of Ghosts by Sallie Bissell (Midnight Ink, 2013): Asheville author Sallie Bissell’s Mary Crow series continues in this story following a group of young thrill seekers as they head deep into the Appalachian woods to the old Fiddlesticks cabin, the scene of a bloody double murder from decades past.

12.  Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories by Ron Rash (Ecco, 2013): New York Times Notable Writer Ron Rash’s most recent collection of short stories is dark, beautiful and affecting.

13.  Sweet Souls and Other Stories by Charles Blackburn, Jr. (Main Street Rag, 2013): In this series of short stories, Raleigh writer Charles Blackburn, Jr., takes readers on a journey from the rural South to the Middle East. Blackburn earned a 1998 NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship in literature and was the 2008 winner of the Sam Ragan Award for Literature.

14.  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin’s Press, 2013): North Carolina author Therese Anne Fowler explores the early days of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, capturing the golden years of their marriage.

Additionally, the N.C. Arts Council has released two guidebooks to authentic travel experiences exploring the state’s literary heritage and the traditional music of the mountains and the foothills. Both books are available from UNC Press and at your public library or local bookstore.

15.  Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina allows readers to see the state’s landscape through the eyes of writers who have lived in worked in the 45 eastern and coastal counties featured in the guidebook. Written by Georgann Eubanks for the Arts Council the guidebook features stories, anecdotes and excerpts.

16.  Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina is a lively guidebook to music sites, artists and traditions of the mountains and foothills. The book, written by folklorist Fred C. Fussell with Steve Kruger, includes a CD with 20 music tracks.

If non-fiction is more your thing, look no further than North Carolina Historical Publications. The staff at Historical Publications recommend the following for a good summer read:

17.  The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate by David Beers Quinn: A discussion the composition of the Lost Colony of 1587, the conditions on Roanoke Island, and the activities of the English colonists after landing there.

18.  The Pirates of Colonial North Carolina by Hugh F. Rankin: Originally published in 1960, this paperback is the most popular title ever published by the Historical Publications Section and has never gone out of print.

19.  Gold Mining in North Carolina: A Bicentennial History by Richard F. Knapp and Brent D. Glass: The first documented discovery of gold in the United States was in 1799 at John Reed’s farm in Cabarrus County. This book traces the history of gold mining in North Carolina from that discovery to the 20th century.

20.  North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser: North Carolina is a place where history has been enriched by legends and folklore. The 48 colorful Tar Heel tales in this volume include well-known stories like “Virginia Dare and the White Doe” and “Old Dan Tucker” and some less-familiar ones, too!

21.  North Carolina as a Civil War Battleground by John G. Barrett: This popular title presents an overview of Civil War North Carolina, with information on secession, preparations for war, battles fought in North Carolina, blockade-running, and the coming of peace.

We want to know what you’re reading! Tell us about in the comments, and check back next week for some of best bookstores to discover North Carolina writers in your neck of the woods.

Coming up next week: the best bookshops to explore North Carolina writers from the N.C. Arts Council’s literature director.

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This post is the first in a three-part series we’re doing on summer reading. Check back here on the next two Fridays for parts two and three.

Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz “gets caught reading” at the Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir

During the past few weeks, we’ve shared a bunch of suggestions on books for your summer reading list, and we’ve gotten a great response. As a result, we’ve decided to collect them all in one place so you can have them for your reference.

First, the resources we’ve already shared:

And now, some more great resources focused on North Carolina writers and places that you might not know about:

Tell us about your experiences with summer reading. What books have you finished? What books do you want to try to finish before the end of the summer? Are you participating in a formal program with a local library? Tell us about it in the comments!

More on summer reading coming up in the next two weeks:

  • The great folks at the N.C. Arts Council and N.C. Historical Publications suggest some titles you might particularly enjoy
  • The best bookshops to explore North Carolina writers from the N.C. Arts Council’s literature director

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Sec. Kluttz at ImaginOn with staff from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library

Sec. Kluttz at ImaginOn with staff from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library

In the tough economic times that our state has experienced during the past few years, libraries have become an increasingly important resource in education and for those looking for jobs. Sec. Kluttz saw this first-hand on her recent trips to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Caldwell County Public Libraries.

During Sec. Kluttz’s visit to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library branch on Thursday, the Secretary learned about the library’s early literacy programs and outreach after taking a short tour of the library’s revolutionary ImaginOn facility.

ImaginOn is a joint venture between the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. The facility includes state-of-the-art theatre spaces, a dedicated library space for kids 11-years-old and under, multi-use classrooms, a teen-only library, a multimedia production studio and an interactive exhibit space. Staffs from the theatre and library use it to put on unique programming designed to get young people to learn in many ways, through all five senses and “from the page to the stage.”

Friday, the Secretary visited the Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir. The county is the latest library to join the innovative N.C. Cardinal program supported by the State Library of North Carolina. While there, Sec. Kluttz learned all about its wonderful offerings.

Sec. Kluttz’s gets caught reading at the Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir

The program fosters a state-wide library community that gives North Carolinians greater access to collections that patrons may not have been able to access before. Basically, it allows patrons to get books in libraries across the state, at no charge, with only a few clicks on a website. Patrons can also use the card from their home library at any library in the network.

The system currently has 93 branch locations in 26 counties. That amounts to 9.7 million North Carolinians having access to 4.2 million library items statewide. The program has resulted in 6.6 million circulations since its inception in July 2010.

The program is support the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), but it’s made possible through the work of the State Library of North Carolina, a division of N. C. Department of Cultural Resources.

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Secretary Linda Carlisle today spoke at a Congressional briefing for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) concerning how libraries support the workforce.  State Librarian Cal Shepard was also in attendance.  Sec. Carlisle was introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan.  Following are excerpts of Sec. Carlisle’s remarks.

In January of 2009, I was appointed Secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources by Gov. Bev Perdue.  Her number one priority, given the state of the economy, was of course, jobs.  She encouraged all of her Cabinet to “think jobs” and to look for meaningful ways to collaborate.

Sec. Linda Carlisle with Sen. Kay Hagan at today’s IMLS Congressional briefing.

In one of my first meetings with our State Librarian of North Carolina, I heard reports of increased demand from job seekers at public libraries across our state.  One of the best examples is rural Duplin County in eastern North Carolina.

The local employment security commission in Duplin County did not have enough workstations to accommodate the demand so they turned to the public libraries and encouraged people to use their resources. As a result, patron computer use increased dramatically from October 2008 to February 2009 compared to the previous year, with an average increase across the five system libraries of 117.4%.  The main branch in Kenansville saw a 409% increase in computer usage over that same time period.

Those numbers, and others like them around the state and indeed around the nation, spurred us to ask ourselves how our libraries could be part of the solution, helping our citizens at a significant time of need, as a workforce development tool.  This included helping folks create resumes, giving assistance in navigating job searches online, even showing people, many of whom had never used a computer, how to fill out an online application.

Cultural Resources and the State Library of North Carolina worked with our state’s Employment Security Commission, and the N.C. Department of Commerce – all three agencies shared in funding for the project, with the State Library providing the training resources.

Our State Library Development section organized 9 Job Search workshops around the state for public library staff, co-presented by state library staff and local partner organizations.   Nearly 300 librarians were trained statewide.

The project became a national model.  Following our success in North Carolina , the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) requested that our State Library work with WebJunction to develop a national project based on the work we had done in North Carolina. The result was Project Compass, linking libraries nationwide in order to share strategies for helping unemployed patrons find work.

Project Compass featured regional summits where state library officers could share best practices on meeting the workforce needs of their communities, developed a national “Job Search Toolkit,” and provided training and training resources to public library staff across the United States. More than 2,000 library staffers were trained through in-person workshops in 38 states.  There were also two online workshops for staffers from 22 states.

Our public libraries have always been an important part of their communities, providing a wide range of programs and support.  However, one of the important things learned during this time has been that our libraries continue to play a critical role in the lives of our citizens – including assistance with meeting basis human needs, such as getting a job!

The wonderful North Carolina writer Robert Morgan once wrote, “A library is richer than Fort Knox and everybody has the key.” Not only do citizens have that key to our public libraries, but we also believe in giving job seekers the key to their future.

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