What’s your story?

National Library week is April 13-19th and we want to hear about how the library affects you! What’s your favorite activity at the library? Is there a program you come to every week? Do you have a book addiction that would empty your bank account if you had to buy books out-of-pocket? We want to hear your story!


At Fontana Regional Library, we have something for everyone! We’re not just a giant warehouse for books!

We’ve got study rooms, computers, wireless internet, reading/study spaces, meeting rooms. We plan activities for children, teens, and adults- from storytimes to reader’s theatre to lecture series to computer classes.

We provide spaces for many organizations and community groups- rug hookers, homeschool groups, gamers, homeowner’s associations, bird watchers, garden clubs, hikers, genealogical & historical groups, book clubs, writer’s groups, and so many more. Fontana Regional Library strives to be the heart of our community.

Here’s just a taste of some of the things you could find at the library:


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For more information, check out some other articles about what we do at the library:

Leave a comment or visit your local library and tell us your library story!

Monuments Men

Robert M. Edsel has made a career out of telling the story of American soldiers who spent World War II tracking down works of art the Germans stole from the countries they had conquered and returning them to their rightful owners.  He has written two best-selling books:  The Monuments Men and Saving Italy, and traveled across the United States giving programs calling attention to the work these men did saving masterpieces from destruction in the closing days of  World War II.  The former book was adapted for a motion picture following the men of the MFAA (Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives) section of the United States Army in Western Europe after D-Day (June 6, 1944). However, they were not the first men from that section to land on the European continent. Actually the soldiers assigned to the  MFAA landed with Allies in Sicily and Italy in 1943.

The the story of the MFAA goes back almost two years before the invasion of mainland Europe  when the United States entered World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  By that time Europeans and Britons had been suffering through two years of war and most American were wondering when other shoe was going to drop, despite Roosevelt’s promise to keep the country out the European war.  After the Japanese attack, Hitler declared war on the the United States.  The directors of a number art museums in the United States decided on a plan to save valuable works of art in case the country was bombed or invaded.    Museums on the coasts would sent works of art to institutions in the Mid-West, or at least further inland.  For example, the brand new Nation Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. sent some paintings to the Biltmore House in Asheville.  At the same time that group lobbied the government for a group to rescue the art works of Europe the Allies invaded occupied countries.

In Europe, museum directors in countries in countries threatened by Germany had already stashed away valuable works of art so the invading Germans wouldn’t be able to find them.  But Germans didn’t stop at raiding just museums, they also stole from private collections, mostly from wealthy Jewish owners who were sent to the gas chambers.  The Nazis then hid the stolen art treasures in various place in the fatherland making the Monuments Men’s job more difficult, especially after Hitler’s order in the closing days of the war to destroy the German’s ill gotten gain so the Allies couldn’t lay hands on them.  Edsel’s books are like fiction thrillers as the Monuments Men race to find the treasures the Germans had hidden away before Hitler’s minions followed their master’s order.

In Italy, the problem was even more complex, especially after the Italians withdrew from the war once Allies threatened invasion of their country.  Most of Italy’s big cities were in the northern third of the country and were legitimate bombing targets. Eisenhower wanted to declare Rome an open city, but Winston Churchill refused. Rome, Milan, Florence were important transportation centers as well as housing priceless art treasures.  Rome with its Roman ruins, Milan with Da Vinci’s  “Last Supper,” and Florence’s churches, and  bridges were threatened with destruction.   The Roman ruins were spared.  The “Last Supper” had a close shave after an errant Allied bomb came close.  One of Florence’s priceless bridges was destroyed under orders from German General Albert Kesselring. Luckily the Italians had already saved their most valuable statues by bricking them up to protect them damage from the fighting.

Prior his best-sellers, Edsel published a coffee table sized book called Rescuing Da Vinci, which tells the story of the Monuments Men primarily in pictures.  In addition to Edsel’s programs and books, there is a Moments Men website, which lists artworks that have yet to be found.


The timeless debate: book or film? Whether you’re a bookie (can I get a whoop whoop?) or a film guru, here’s a list of books whose counterparts will be available for viewing in your theater this year:

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Movie release date: January 31
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin
About: “The unforgettable story of a mother and son forever changed during a long summer weekend when a mysterious man comes into their lives.”
Find it in our collection HERE

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Movie release date: February 7
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Sarah Hyland
About: “St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden     place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .”
Find it in our collection HERE

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Movie release date: February 14
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe
About: “Mark Helprin’s masterpiece will transport you to New York of the Belle Epoque, to a city clarified by a siege of unprecedented snows. One winter night, Peter Lake – master mechanic and second-storey man – attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter Lake, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.”
Find it in our collection HERE

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Movie release date: March 21
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
About: “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.”
Find it in our collection HERE

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Movie release date: June 6
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort
About: “Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”
Find it in our collection HERE

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
The Hundred-Foot Journey
by Richard C. Morais
Movie release date: August 8
Cast: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal
About: “The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—that of the famous chef Madame Mallory—and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.”
Find it in our collection HERE

The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Movie release date: August 15
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Swift
About: “Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”
Find it in our collection HERE

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
This Is Where I Leave You
by Jonathan Tropper
Movie release date: September 12
Cast: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver
About: “The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she’s pregnant.”
Find it in our collection HERE

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Movie release date: September 19
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario
About: “When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. . . . Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade. . . . Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. . . . Everything is going to change. . . . Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. . . . Remember. Survive. Run.”
Find it in our collection HERE

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Movie release date: October 3
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
About: “On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?”
Find it in our collection HERE

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst
Movie release date: October 10
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Steve Carell, Bella Thorne
About: “Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair. . . . And it got worse. . . . His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!”
Find it in our collection HERE

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
(Part 1) by Suzanne Collins
Movie release date: November 21
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
About: “Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. . . . District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she’s long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her. . . . The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the cost.”
Find it in our collection HERE

What do you guys think? Are you a bookie or a film guru? Which film adaptation are you most excited to see hit the big screen?

* All “About” quotes come directly to you from Amazon.

Tell a Fairy Tale

Do you believe in magic? My daughter does (she’s 5)! She loves stories about fairies and mermaids. She still asks me sometimes, “Mom, when will I get my fairy wings so I can fly?”

My daughter's magical princess

My daughter’s magical princess

Her grandmother bought her a “magic wand” for Christmas. She waved it in the air and said some magic words. “I think it’s broken…” she said when she was unable to achieve the desired results. It didn’t really seem to phase her though, and she still bounds around the house waving her wand. It’s her preferred method of cleaning.

Part of me struggles with the impulse to get all scientific with her, “realistic” if you will. But magic is such a special thing for children. Her wonder and amazement with fairy tales amaze me. It inspires me to be more creative every day.

“Tell a Fairy Tale Day” is today!

It is celebrated every February 26th.

For children, fairy tales help to spark imagination and creativity, relay morals and, historically, act as cautionary tales.  From an excerpt from Neil Gaiman’s lecture “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming,” he states :

“If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.”

Walther Firle - The Fairy Tale

Walther Firle – The Fairy Tale

Fairy tales are so important because they capture children’s imaginations at such a crucial time in their development. Not only do fairy tales stimulate imagination and creativity, they also get children to enjoy reading! Research from the Institute of Education at the University of London suggests that “children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers.” The research also suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for a child’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education. Reading for pleasure positively impacts achievement in mathematics as well as vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension.

Imagination is also important for children’s development. Studies suggest that imagination develops problem solving skills, increases the capacity to understand events that aren’t directly experienced (such as learning about history, other cultures, and developing empathy), develops abstract thinking skills (thinking symbolically), and builds self-confidence.

Albert Einstein was once asked how we could make our children intelligent. He reportedly replied,

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

So to celebrate today, stop by your library and pick up a fairy tale, pull one off the shelf at home, load one up on your eReader- and don’t wait til next February to read another!

World War I (Part 2)

On the western front in 1914, the Germans invaded France through Belgium and soon faced a counter-attack by the French and British.  The invaders were pushed back to the Aisne River, where both sides dug in, in what one writer says was the “last Nineteenth Century war.”  What he meant was, instead of armies moving, trench warfare made them static; and as a result, the front in the west stayed pretty the same until the end of the war.  Offensives,  such the Somme, provided a level of casualties never before seen (1.2 million in both sides) in modern warfare, all for the gain of a few yards.

Staying in trenches didn’t mean soldiers were safe.  Gas injured and killed a large number of men from the first time it was used by the Germans at the second Battle of Ypres in April 2015, soon both sides were using the silent killer.  Artillery duels were particularly devastating to trench inhabitants, since the big guns were used soften opponents before either side launched an offensive.  In fact, most battlefield deaths were the result of artillery barrages.  The Allies also used tanks, heavily armored machines that ran on continuous treads making them easier to drive on irregular terrain than vehicles with ordinary wheels.  Soldiers run over by tanks often disappeared in the mud, never to be found again.  Both sides also used sappers to plant mines under enemy trenches with deadly results.

Both the allies and the Central Powers were fighting a multi-front war.  The Germans were able shift more troops to the western front after Russians pulled out of the war; following their revolution, when the Communists took  0ver the government.   Great Britain and France fought against the remains of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, both in modern Iraq and in Saudi Arabia.  In the latter area an Arab revolt was led by Lawrence of Arabia.   In addition, there was an ill fated  direct attack on Turkey on the Gallipoli peninsula.

Most historians agree that the United States entering the war in 1917 tilted the scales in favor of the Allies.  The secondary reason for this action was the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.  But more important was the Zimmerman telegram which promised Mexico some territory it had lost in the war with the United States in the 1840s, if it joined Germany in the war against the U.S.   In 2003, Richard Rubin published The Last of the Doughboys, the result of his finding and interviewing veterans of the American experience in Europe in 1917-1918.  All the men he talked to were between 106 and 110 and all had died by time the book came out.   James Carl Nelson used archival material to tell the stories of five young graduates of Harvard who fought in France in 1918 in The Five  Lieutenants.

The American army participated in the last Allied offensive that led to the armistice been declared on November 11, 1918, at 11 A.M. (the eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour)  The United States suffered 110 thousand deaths which was miniscule when compared with death toll of the European nations:  United Kingdom: 908,300; France: 1.3 million; and  Germany: 2.1 million. Russian death are harder to estimate, but they were somewhere over 2 million.

Not all the dead were identified. The United Kingdom, France and the United States dedicated monuments to Unknown Soldiers after the war.   France’s La tombe du soldat inconnu was placed in the Arc de Triomphe, Britain’s in Westminster Abbey, and the United States’ in Arlington National Cemetery.  The British also placed a memorial in Whitehall in London, the Cenotaph, which memorializes all United Kingdom soldiers who have given their lives  in service to their country.  Every year on Remembrance Sunday (The Sunday before November 11),  at 11 o’clock in the  morning, the time the armistice took effect, two minutes of silence are observed across the nation.   One minute to remember the death and one to honor the survivors.

Germany was defeated and the Allies made sure that country paid dearly at the peace conference in Paris.  The victors drafted the Versailles Peace Treaty which called for an international body called the League of Nations.  Reparations, called for in the treaty, ruined the German economy to the point inflation made money worthless in the 1920s and the resulting unrest sowed the seeds of World War II.  But that is another story.

Footnote:  An uncle on my mother’s side, Patrick Morrison, served in the Great War in Gordon Highlanders on both the Western front and Gallipoli.  He was one of the fortunate ones who survived.

Additional Reading

Niall Ferguson.  The Pity of War:  Explaining World War I Niall Ferguson.   War of the World:  Twentieth Century Conflict and the  the Decline of the West Paul Fussel.  The Great War and Modern Memory. Martin Gilbert.  World War I . Adam Hochschild.  To End All Wars:  A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion. John Keegan.  World War I. Jay Winter and Blaine Baggett.  The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century

Lyn MacDonald.  Somme.  Neil Hanson.  Unknown Soldiers:  The Story of the Missing of the First World WarBarbara Tuchman.  The Zimmerman Telegram.


Slaughter  in the Trenches

Digging up the Trenches

Battle of the Somme

Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Cenotaph 

Where Were You: Events We Remember Part 2

In part one, which can be found here, talked about many memorable events.

Christina’s created this collage

Part two certainly feels different for us, since we were older and theoretically wiser and more mature when they happened.  There has also been a seismic shift in the way that news is watched and disseminated during this time period, and that certainly shows in our reflections.

Remember that these are listed in chronological order.

#10 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace  May 19, 1999

Chris: By far the greatest and most defining movie moment of my life was seeing Star Wars in the theater.  The star destroyer at the beginning just kept going and going.  Nothing since can compare to that.  So the anticipation for this movie was almost unbearable.  

I didn’t go too crazy, though.  I didn’t, like some did, buy tickets to other movies (such as A Bug’s Life and Wing Commander) just to watch the Phantom Menace trailer, and then leave before watching the movie I paid for.  I did go with friends to the midnight toy premiere at the local Toys R Us.  I didn’t buy much, since I was broke.  I was fascinated that it coincided with a new run of Hot Wheels coming out, and there were guys there just for that.  And I do mean guys.  The crowd that night was almost all male.  One thing that is cool over the last 15 years is seeing Star Wars fandom continue to expand.  Used to be a big deal when some girl showed up at a con in a Leia slave girl outfit.  Now they are everywhere.

I did see Episode I on opening night.  Downright giddy when those famous first words appear.  As for the movie itself, of course it couldn’t live up to the hype, and it remains my least favorite Star Wars movie.  But I did see it again that opening weekend.


Star Wars, Episode I, The Phantom Menace 

#9 Bush/Gore recounts  November/December 2000

Chris: Talk about surreal.  At that time I go into work at the library until after noon, so it was my “job” to watch the news and report any updates to my coworkers.  It is still hard to believe that this sort of thing could happen in this day and age.  And of course on TV we got to see the lawyers and political advisors and such go on and on and spin things, which was pretty unsavory.  Watching it all you felt like you could go in there and do better than the people on TV were doing.  But of course many of the people involved weren’t interested in the truth, necessarily, but in “winning”.  That was their job.

The habit of waking up and watching the news first thing persisted with me for a long time, fueled by 9/11 and the Iraq war, when I would look for the reports of where troops had been killed that day to see if anyone I knew might be one of them.

Too close to call : the thirty-six-day battle to decide the 2000 election

#8 9/11

Chris: I would literally bet money that everyone reading this recalls that day.  That morning I got up and took my boys to school, and then went to a friend’s house to help her with her two little guys.  So PBS was on the TV, and we didn’t hear about this right away.  I get that they wouldn’t interrupt Sesame Street with breaking news, but I’ve always felt they should have put something on a crawl at the bottom of the screen indicating that something was happening.

My friend suddenly says she got an email saying that the towers had fallen.  Of course I was skeptical, but changed the channel and watched in horror as events unfolded.  We didn’t talk much as I watched and she surfed, excepting some early sharing of rumors.  It was much more a case of sitting in stunned disbelief.

On a side note, one of those little guys I helped corral that day turned two the following February.  He had no memories of 9/11, but he did have an early interest in airplanes.  For his birthday I wanted to get him something similar to this, but no airplanes toys were to be had then.  No one was selling any.  The only airplanes I could find at all were fighter jets.  And now that I think of it, that tot turns 14 this month, so my opening statement for this section may be false.

Christina: My memory of 9/11 begins with it being a beautiful morning. I was living in New Jersey at the time and was on my way to a graphic design class. The drive was a long one, so I put on Howard Stern, and they were debating about whether Pamela Anderson was flirting with Howard and/or his friends. Howard broke the news and they weren’t sure how serious it was, and like most people (including myself), they assumed it was an accident. After taking a look at the damage, they went back to teasing Howard about not getting to date Pamela Anderson. A few minutes passed, but then another interruption came, announcing that a second plane hit the towers. 

Howard asked if it was a terrorist attack, and his crew stopped making jokes and started talking about the carnage. They played news audio for their listeners, and gasped in shock when it showed the second plane hit. “We’re under attack,” Howard shouted, clearly frightened. “We’re at war.” 

Not too long after I got to my class, where my teacher and fellow students were perplexed by the internet being down and their cell phones not working. I told them what I’d heard and the teacher called his wife, who confirmed the attack on the World Trade Center. All of us sat around, unsure of what to do besides speculate, but then my teacher got a call from his wife telling him about the attack on the Pentagon. He dismissed the class and told us to be careful. I didn’t have a clear view of the New York City highline, but I could see smoke on my way home. 

The 9/11 report : the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States

#7 A New Pope  April 19, 2005

Christina: While I am not religious, I have family members who are, and Pope John Paul II’s death marked the end of an era for many people of all faiths. The world got to see the process for finding a new pope, and I remember watching it at work in the break room. The jubilation of the crowd when the white smoke appeared and Pope Benedict made his first appearance is powerful to witness, no matter what your beliefs may be. 

Pope Benedict is elected:

The rise of Benedict XVI : the inside story of how the Pope was elected and where he will take the catholic church

#6 Katrina  August 29, 2005

Christina: Those of us who have lived in Florida all have a hurricane story, and in 2004 Hurricane Charley directly hit my town. I worked in a bank at the time and we had to work out of a trailer with an armed guard we dubbed “Rambo”. The people of Louisiana had a much harder time, however, and watching the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was a sobering experience. 


Chris: I remember seeing the footage of refugees at the Superdome, and waiting for the helicopters to show up, bringing in supplies.  Seemed unfathomable that wasn’t happening.  With Hurricane Charley the response was very fast, and I was expecting the same for Katrina.  Different storm on a different scale.

After Charley we had a National Guard unit up from Miami bivouacking in the library meeting room.  This was Company Charlie, of course.  Some library patrons were quite startled to see soldiers with rifles using the library computers.

Holding out and hanging on : surviving Hurricane Katrina

#5 The Sopranos final episode  June 10, 2007

Christina: Even though I grew up in Florida and I was born in South America, I tell people that I’m from New Jersey because that’s where I spent my childhood and I feel a kinship with the often-mocked state. The Sopranos is a cultural milestone, especially in the NJ/NY area, and with Italian Americans. I should know, as my dad’s side of the family is Italian (I’m adopted). 

When a huge show like The Sopranos ends, there’s always mixed feelings, but it was certainly a huge event in the entertainment industry. My aunt confessed she was going to feel strange not being able to look forward to a new Sopranos episode, as it became such a part of her weekly routine. She, like millions of others, watched the final broadcast and mourned the unexpected death of James Gandolfini a few months ago.


Chris: I didn’t watch The Sopranos at first, not until I moved into an apartment with HBO.  Once I watched one episode there was no going back.  The buzz that everyone had about how the series would end, and the reactions once it did end, was fun to be part of.  It was also fun years later having my father-in-law driving us about New Jersey and pointing out landmarks from the opening credits of the show.

The Sopranos. Season six. Part II

#4 Obama wins 2008 election  November 4, 2008

Chris: Wow, what a night.  It didn’t seem like it could be true until that final countdown to when the west coast polls closed and it became official.  It was nice to see so much joy and celebration in politics, even if just for a little while.

Christina: I’d had a headache and mistakenly taken pain pills with a sleep aid, so I was drowsy when Jon Stewart announced Barack Obama won the election. I asked my husband if I was dreaming, but he confirmed it. It was a historic occasion, regardless of political views and subsequent events. 

Kudos to Stephen Colbert for trying to stay in character, though you can see him noticeably tearing up.

Reactions from around the world:

Obama : the historic journey

#3 Michael Jackson dies  June 25, 2009

Chris: Such an iconic figure.  I remember how much of an event the Thriller video was when it was released.  I may not always have liked his music so much, usually enjoying the Weird Al parodies more, and I remember refusing to see Captain Eo on a trip to EPCOT, but I had been hoping that he would find some peace in his life.  His death was sad, and it was sad that it wasn’t very surprising.

The best part is at 3:38:

Christina: A tragic end to a tragic figure. I grew up in the 80s, when Michael Jackson was indeed the King of Pop, and watched him morph into an unrecognizable person who became fodder for late night talk show hosts. I personally loved Captain Eo and saw it about three times (but then again I was a little kid, so cut me some slack). It’s hard to look past the scandals and rumors, but I try to remember Michael Jackson as the ultimate entertainer, and not the obviously damaged man who didn’t know how to handle fame. 

Untouchable : the strange life and tragic death of Michael Jackson

#2 Royal wedding (William and Kate)  April 29, 2011

Chris: I was taken aback by how big a deal the royal wedding was.  I can remember Charles and Diana’s being a big deal, but I thought this one would be less hyped.  Boy was I wrong.  And with social media these days there was no escaping the frenzy. 


Christina: I’m not a royal family buff, but it was interesting to see all the hoopla about the royal wedding. Unlike his father, Prince William is rather handsome and likeable, and his then-fiance was a beautiful young woman, so it’s easy to see how the media was especially enamored with them. Those of us who had to work during the wedding didn’t have to worry about missing any pictures or footage, as social media replayed it all day and night. I’m just glad my wedding didn’t cause so much commotion. 

Kate style : chic and classic look

#1 Announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death  May 2, 2011

Christina: This breaking news update I got from Twitter, and once I saw it on news sites I turned on the TV to confirm it. People’s reactions were rather mixed, but it did feel like there was some closure after the attacks of September 11th. 

Chris: When watching the news and seeing people running up to the White House and chanting USA! USA! I was struck by the similarities to the footage of people in the Middle East reacting to the 9/11 attacks.  Human nature, I suppose.

No easy day : the firsthand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden : the autobiography of a Navy SEAL

Conclusion (Boston marathon)

Chris: It was fascinating while doing this blog to see the ways that news has changed over the years, both in the ways it is presented and in the ways that we watch it.  From everyone having a favorite news anchor (since we all watched the nightly news) to where the news reports on what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook things sure have changed over the years.

We saw such up-to-the-minute coverage of the Boston marathon bombing that we were virtually watching the hunt for the suspects in real time.  We have many different and new ways of getting our news these days, and also new ways of sharing key events and happenings with each other.

Christina: Like most breaking news stories these days, I learned about the Boston marathon bombing on Twitter. I kept people up to date and followed the story as it happened. While social media does give way to rumors and speculation, it is a good way to keep informed and actually witness history unfolding. 

The Boston Marathon : a century of blood, sweat, and cheers 

Christina’s third blog collage

Please share with us your own recollections of these any other events.  We would love to here from you!

A list of library books and DVDs related to this blog can be found here:  https://fontana.nccardinal.org/eg/opac/results?bookbag=24069;page=0;locg=155;depth=0

Ronda – Circulation Services

Ronda, Circulation Services Supervisor Macon County Public Library

Ronda, Circulation Services Supervisor
Macon County Public Library

Ronda (or Rondie, as she’s known to her co-workers) is best known for her love of honey badgers, but everyone around here knows –despite her cool exterior- Ronda cares very deeply about the library.

When asked to give one word to describe Ronda, her co-workers told me: compassionate, messy, and cluttered. I, for one, can’t hold the clutter against her! One co-worker said of Ronda, “She’s a very nice person. And she’s very patient. Infinitely patient!” Another says, “My favorite thing about Ronda is that she always knows what I’m thinking. She’s in my head.”

In this interview, I sit down with this self-described book-wrangling cowgirl to get the scoop on the big desk at Macon County Public Library: circulation services.

So Ronda, what do you do at the library? How long have you been at your job? I’m the circulation services supervisor. I’m not sure, probably 18 years! I started working at the library March 1st 1989.

What’s your first memory of working at the library? My first 2 days were spent watching and listening and picking up garbage outside the building because no one had time to train me! We were very busy in March. And that’s literally what I did- watched, listened, absorbed- and picked up trash outside!

What’s your favorite thing about working at the library? What do you dislike most? *laughter* Is this being recorded? My favorite thing about working at the library is, I guess- besides the wonderful books I have access to- is leaving every day knowing I’ve done my best and I’ve helped my coworkers as much as I can. I feel like I’ve done my job, my job is done, and I can go home and they’ve got it handled. My least favorite- trying to deal with unhappy patrons and not let it get to me personally.

What attracted you to library work? Books, of course! I’ve always enjoyed books and reading. And I enjoy helping people, enjoy helping them find things they like to read. Also, the people you work with.

What’s most surprised you about working at the library? It’s never boring! There’s always some kind of something that’s never happened before, some kind of situation. Very complex. 

What are the first 3 things you do when you get to work? Last 3? Say hello to everyone- how are you doing. Turn my computer on, and count money. Last three… say goodbye to everyone, turn off my computer, the last book drop pull of the day!

Library Insight – The “book drop” is the box located outside the library, where patrons can drive-through and deposit their books. The book drop is emptied several times a day and books are loaded into a bin, rolled inside, and processed or “checked-in.” They are then ready to place back onto the shelves!

What are you most excited or passionate about?  Finding something that unfindable, that’s lost, missing, misplaced. Thinking of where it could be and then finding it. That’s awesome!

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work?  Not so much the goals that are in your job description, but the goals you hold personally? Working in the library system this long has made me wonder why, in high school, it was never mentioned as a possibility. That I could go into Library science, get a degree, be a librarian. I would have loved it. Who knew? So I took business administration. I have considered going back to school to get my librarian certification- but there again I would be doing administrative type things rather than what I’m doing now.. so I’ll stay where I am- I like it!

Library Insight – Circulation services is basically the hub of library activity. Circulation workers are responsible for checking in and out or renewing library materials, processing books patrons have placed on reserve, creating and maintaining library user records, and so much more! When you sign up for a library card, need to pay a late fine, need a suggestion for what to read next, or need to book a space for your next meeting, circulation services is at your service!

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?  I enjoy it. I enjoy it. I enjoy it – even if there are bad times and bad patrons and arguments and things you’ve got to unravel, I enjoy my job and I enjoy the people I work with. [Someone yells out, "She loves us!"] I do!

Of which contribution, accomplishment or achievement are you most proud? Professionally? Personally? Personally, obvious answer there is my family.  My wonderful husband, very proud of my son, but a personal accomplishment of mine- hardest thing I’ve ever done and really stuck in and got through was when my son and I went to karate together and we both got brown belts. That was exceedingly hard.

We’re talking like- years ago when I was much younger but it was oh so hard then- I can’t imagine now! That was very, very good for internal building of character, because it really teaches you to be calm and try to not let anything get to ya. Nothing is so hard anymore- because when I start thinking something is hard I think, “No, this is not really hard because it’s not like that.” Because we had no air conditioning, sweated to death in a heavy white cotton gi. No complaining. If you had to throw up, you threw up out a window and came back. *Laughter* You did it barefoot so you had blisters on your feet, so yeah- nothing is hard after that! That’s where the optimistic pessimist in me comes in I guess!

Professionally- definitely being here at the library. I never thought I would have a career working with books that I love and helping people and being where information comes- we find out about things- and we’re hooked up on the internet now so you have that also so it’s very enjoyable.

Tell me about some of the memorable characters at the library. Do you have a story or person who stands out in your mind? Many- oh as you get to know the patrons there are very many that are memorable and stand out- and coworkers, like Janet! There’ll never be another one like her, that Janet!

There was a young through-hiker that came here (young, cute little fella with red hair) and he’d just come off the trail, came in to use the internet and he needed his cell phone and his cell phone died.  And he did not have his charger- it was back home, wherever he came from, which is the other end of the Appalachian trail. I happened to have my phone charger with me and it fit his phone and it charged his phone up and he was soo happy. He was so happy, and it was just a small thing.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a library worker? Oh yeah- paper cuts! Stools, I have a yellow caution sign to “Watch for tilting stools.” Right there it is [she points to the sign above her desk] because for some reason stools and I sometimes have dancing contests. Like it will be at the end of the counter and then all of a sudden it’s behind me! Who knew!? And I’m dancing with it around and around and around.

Did you go to the library as a child? What’s your first memory of the library?  I did- I went to the library, the small library here in Franklin and the even smaller library at our school. We also had Ms. Evelyn Pangle that came by with the portable library- like our Rover Bookmobile- and that was so awesome. I loved that. My first memory of the library would be the very small library that was where the old jail was- now it’s a mineral museum. It was very dark and dusty and quiet, but it still had books so I braved it.

When you think of the future of libraries, what gives you a sense of hope?  What makes you concerned or worried? I have confidence that people are never going to not want books. Just from being on the ground, hearing what people say about it. And lots of people do eBook downloads now and go to the internet and read and watch and do whatever, but they still keep coming back to us for the books. And for a child especially, there’s nothing like a book. And if you’re a parent having a book you can read and share with that child- I remember being a child and I can still see in my mind’s eye the color on those pages and they way the book smelled. And the way it looked and just the weight of it. My favorite. I got a box full- my mom ordered a box of the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I had all the Nancy Drew books, the Hardy Boys (I didn’t care they were boys- it was good reading!), Trixie Belden- also very good, loved those stories and they are still here and being read and enjoyed.

I’m definitely worried. We are a kind of hidden benefit. Unless people use us and their family is grown around that sort of environment growing up – a lot of people have never come to the library and they don’t know what they’re missing. They really don’t. There are people that don’t enjoy reading because either their families didn’t do it or they’re just not that kind of person- it just doesn’t do it for them or whatever. Funding is a big worry and again that’s because were such a hidden benefit to the community. They just don’t realize what they have unless they use us so people that don’t come, they don’t know. They don’t understand.

If you weren’t working at the library, what might you be doing instead? I would enjoy, I think, being a veterinarian or working with animals because I love animals. Tour guide would be fun- my sister did that for a while and she enjoyed the heck outta that. But I enjoy the library.

What do you do when you aren’t working? Reading. Lots of reading, watching movies. I work out at my gym at home in the basement, read on the bike.

Real book or eBook? Real- I want to see the book, hold it. Just enjoy the whole experience. I read a book from front to back.  I read the acknowledgements; I look at the back part if the author explains where he got his story ideas and all that. I just like the whole thing.

What’s your favorite book? The Gunslinger- by Stephen King. Anything Stephen King. I love him!

What was the last book you read? I am not done yet, but I’m reading the most enjoyable book by Preston & Child – White Fire. Excellent!

What’s a skill or talent you wish you had? I’d like to be able to ride a bicycle again. For some reason I can’t do that. I’ve got a new bicycle and my sense of balance is shot. I want training wheels- my husband thought I was kidding- but I’m not. I’m serious! I want training wheels on my Huffy bike. My huffy bike classic with fenders and such- that’s what I want!

Do you have a message to share? Anything you’d like to say to people who don’t use the library?