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2016 Newsletter

Churchland Branch by Melinda Brown I’d like to let you all be the first to know about a new initiative! I just met with the local American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and Veterans Manager, Jenn Cole. Churchland Branch Library will be a drop off point for handcrafted blankets, scarves and hats as part of the Knit Your Bit program. You can read more about the program here The blankets, scarves and hats are distributed by the Red Cross to patients at Navy Medical Center Portsmouth. This includes newborn babies, wounded veterans and cancer patients. They happily accept items that are knitted, crocheted or quilted. Please contact Melinda Brown at 757-686-2538 for more information

Manor Branch by Mary Goodman and Jackie Anas Adult attendees at this year’s Summer Reading Program, “Read for the Win”, activities have had an enjoyable time. They have tried their hand at learning to crochet, container flower gardening and had fun challenging staff in our board game day. Last Saturday enthusiastic participants got their heart rate up engaging in chair exercise. Upcoming events include healthy eating tips and a movie. The Summer Reading Program at Manor began on June 20th with our annual visit by Portsmouth Fire Department’s Children were given a “badge” sticker, a red fire hat, and a coloring book. An important part of the visit is the firefighter decked out in full gear with an oxygen mask; many small children hide during a house fire and are scared to come out—they see the firefighter as a “monster.” Hopefully, they now know this is someone who has come to help them. Besides Preschool Storytime on Tuesdays during the Summer Reading Program, we offer crafts on Thursdays for children of all ages; our last two sessions had over 40 participants! Several of our teens who attended teen programs for the last 3-4 years graduated from high school. We wish them all the best as they all attend college next year. Our summer events for teens are on Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. Events so far have included Wii U computer games, a Martial Arts demo, and Ultimate Sports & Board Games. Remaining programs are Weaving, a Movie afternoon, and Decorate the Art Car outdoor project. Additionally, in January we began a monthly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Program for preschooler ages 3-5.

Library Systems and Support Services by Gregg Grunow In the five months I have been Manager of Library Systems and Support Services I have been busily learning my new position. During this time we have had two major computer system upgrades. Our Evergreen Library System was upgraded from version 2.6 to version 2.9 and approximately a week later our book vendor, Baker & Taylor upgraded their online book ordering system. We all had a lot to learn in a very short period. We received twenty six surplus computers from the Department of Behavioral Services and The City IT Department which Maria Hitchings and I have been setting up for library purposes. These computers are newer than many of our public computers. These computers will be used to switch out with currently underperforming public computers. I have attended two major conferences to increase my skill level in my new position. I attended the Evergreen International Conference where I learned more about our library system and the American Library Association Annual Conference where I attended session mainly regarding technology in libraries.

A Gathering of Story Tellers by Lena Simmons “Our life is what our thoughts make it” Marcus Aurelius. Who is a story-teller? When we have a conversation about a day, express a viewpoint about a civic event, and write in our journals, we are story-tellers. The writer’s word for story-telling is a narrative. A narrative is a written or spoken account of connected events -( What are the reasons that writers communicate with words? The reasons are unique to the writer. There is not enough space to share all the reasons for writing words. The writer of this piece will provide one reason, the expansion of self and other people. It is a natural need to share an experience. When our yesterdays are out weighing our tomorrows on the scale of life, a legacy looms very important to our meaning of life. We enjoy the wonder of life, curiosity of life, and desire to share the awareness with our readers. It is important not to be intrusive and unwelcome, however build on another’s curiosity to read or listen to our expanded awareness. We allow our expanded awareness to speak for itself, and allow the manifestation of curiosity interest by the other. The Portsmouth Public Library and the Friends of Portsmouth Public Library presented the Portsmouth Public Library Local Author Expo, on June 25, 2016, at the Main Library, Court Street, Portsmouth, Virginia. The Expo was held from 11 am to 4 pm. The local authors shared their “expanded awareness’s” with the public and each other. The featured Local Author Expo Presenters were E. Ayers, historically correct western writer, Mary Jo Beswick, author and illustrator of” Lonely Lola Ladybug.” Her book won the 2016 Vinnie Ream Awards. She also has a blog titled, “Lean into the Dream.” Meriwether Ball has authored three book series. Feona Sharhran Huff is an author, motivational speaker, radio host, and Chief Executive Officer of Powerhouse Media Group. The local writers represented at the expo were E. Ayers, Merriwether Ball, Mary Jo Beswick, James R. Boyd, Alfreada Brown-Kelly, David Cariens, Clara Huff, Denise Jefferies, Jacqueline Johnson, Phyllis Johnson, Barry Jordan Jr, Michael Mahgerefteh, Allie Marie, Andrea Morgan, Elisabetta Redshaw, Feona Sharhran-Huff and Lena Simmons. The authors represented varied backgrounds. These authors are a sample of the diverse backgrounds of the authors, David Carien, author of “A Glossary of Intelligence and Crime Technology”, is a 31 years, retired CIA officer. He has taught intelligence skills to the Singapore Police. Feona Sharhran-Huff is Chief Executive Officer of Powerhouse Media Group. Lena Simmons is Chief Executive Officer, Synergy, Virginia Naturally partner, Environmental Education Resource Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Denise Jefferies, romance novel author, shared ,“Two things that will always go together …authors and books. What better way to mesh the emotion of the love of words? As technology reigns with the insurgence of E-Reader, it’s always great to network with fellow authors and readers. It was a pleasure to spend the day at the Portsmouth Library. Friendships were forged that will last a lifetime. My only hope, we do it again.” David Cariens, author and victim’s right advocate expressed, “The Portsmouth Public Library Local Artist Expo was a great way for someone from Northern Neck to be introduced to the talents of Portsmouth, Virginia. I was able to meet and talk to talented fellow artists and poets. The experience reinforced my feeling there is a large pool of talents in Hampton Roads. I was honored to be part of the first Portsmouth Public Library Local Artist Expo.” The Expo was also a nurturing and empowering event to sustain writing. There is a mantra, research, write, edit, publish and start again. This is a largely solitary experience for writer. The writer can spend a lot of time inside of her/his head. Clara Huff is a teen-age writer. She co-authored the book, “A Letter to My Bully”. She said, “I liked the empowering message that the other authors gave me because they could relate to what I am doing with my book.” Clara Huff has an inspirational role model with her mom. Feona Sharhran-Huff is the author of “Powerhouse Pointers: Motivational Messages for Personal and Professional Empowerment.” Feona’s words of encouragement were, “Today really inspired me to keep pushing because my message has a purpose.” The Expo was a sharing and talking to each other experience for the authors. Alfreada Brown-Kelly, author of “Why Women Weep” articulated, “I met new authors. I could share my story with them.” Elisabetta Redshaw, author of “A Plump Little Lady Finds Love” spoke, “I just love talking!!! I loved the encouragement from other authors to keep on writing.! Sometimes people eyes glaze over within a conversation about writing from the author, or the location, our process sounds so boring. The Expo provided an event to share your process with passionate writers. Allie Marie, author of True Color Series was excited about her books, “I liked the opportunity to speak with Portsmouth Virginia residents because my books take place right in their backyard (Olde Towne, Portsmouth)." Barry Jordan Jr. expressed the strength and legacy of Reading. He aptly discussed, “The Portsmouth Public Library Local Artist Expo gives one the opportunity to be part of a service that encourages reading. Reading is one of the most important tools in life. This service brings hope and light for children’s future to come.” Friends of the Portsmouth Public Library and Portsmouth Public Library, Portsmouth Virginia, thank you the legacy and defining moment within the authors and community lives. Thank you for a gathering of story-tellers.”

By Lena Simmons

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