Keep Calm and Cast On

I’m going to type something here that I never in my life thought I would be saying: I, Stephanie, have begun to knit.


I, Stephanie, love to knit.

knitting - yarn

It’s all I talk about now. Ask my coworkers, my friends, my family. I’m sure they’ll all nod and roll their eyes. But listen, and lean in close because I’m only going to say this once, here, right now: knitting. is. amazing. Don’t worry, I have my reasons:

1. It’s good for your health! Knitting calms me. I have (multiple times now might I add) sat down in the evening to add a few rows to the Gryffindor scarf I am working on for a friend, and before I know it three hours have passed and my mind has had all of that time to just relax and do its thing. Here’s a great piece CNN did titled, This is Your Brain on Knitting, and here is a video that the Craft Yarn Council released titled, Changing Global Health One Stitch at a Time, which will then lead you to this article, The Truth about Knitting and Crochet… They’re Good for You! by Leslie Petrovski. Lastly, check out one of our new resources through NC Life, ProQuest, which is filled with information on not only knitting therapy, but tons of other topics as well.

2. Compared to a number of hobbies I can think of, it is reasonably priced. I can get a ball of yarn from $1-3, and there are lots of good deals you can find online for needles. (Example: a group of gals and I recently put in an order of 10 knitting needles for $10.)

3. You can make things for friends and family (and yourself, of course)! I mean, how many people can go around and casually say, “Oh, yeah, my friend hand knitted me this hat.” Being able to make something is always a very good feeling, and your friends and family will love you for it. (Especially this time of year when winter is most definitely coming.)

If I’ve snagged your attention and you’re interested, go HERE to peruse the knitting resources in our catalog.

Knitting Help is a really useful resource as well, especially if you’re a visual person and want to watch videos that will teach you how to knit.

Lastly, if knitting interests you but you’re not sure about diving in headfirst, there will be an Arm Knitting class at the Jackson County Public Library from 11:00AM-12:15PM on December 13th where you can dip your toes in to test the water. (This is the first in our series of Creating Community art programs.)

And now, because I believe I’ve thrown enough info at you, I will leave you.

Have fun!

Keep Calm and Knit On

Check-in with Yourself, Check-out a Book

By Amy

So it’s January 15th, how’s your new year’s resolution coming along? By this time in the New Year, 30% of resolution setters have already given up. But that doesn’t mean you have to!

Back in September, I wrote “Happy New You” where I talked about how to set SMARTER goals. One of the things you should do when trying to achieve your goals is evaluate your progress. Are you on track to meet your first “goal post?”

Do you need to adjust your goal? Don’t let your lack of progress sabotage you. Now is a great time to see if what you’ve been doing is working or whether you need to shake things up a bit. As long as you’re working towards your goals, you will get there- even if it’s not as quickly as you’d wanted.

It’s always better late than never! If you forgot to make a resolution for the New Year, take a look at the top 10 resolutions made for 2014 below. Pick one and get started!

Enough nagging, on to the good stuff!

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for 2014 

(click the book covers to see FRL catalog availability!)

  1. Lose Weight

    Weight watchers ultimate chicken cookbook : more than 250 fresh, fabulous recipes for every day
    Weight watchers ultimate chicken cookbook : more than 250 fresh, fabulous recipes for every day
  2. Get Organized

    The 8-minute organizer : easy solutions to simplify your life in your spare time
    The 8-minute organizer : easy solutions to simplify your life in your spare time
    By Regina Leeds
  3. Spend Less, Save More

     Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending
    Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending
    By Elizabeth Dunn
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

    9 Days to Feel Fantastic: How to Create Happiness from the Inside Out
    9 Days to Feel Fantastic: How to Create Happiness from the Inside Out (eBook)
    By John Whiteman
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy

    Yoga: Critical Alignment: Building a Strong, Flexible Practice through Intelligent Sequencing and Mindful Movement
    Yoga: Critical Alignment: Building a Strong, Flexible Practice through Intelligent Sequencing and Mindful Movement
    By Gert van Leeuwen
  6. Learn Something Exciting

    Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking
    Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker’s Guide to Ultralight Hiking and Backpacking
    By Justin Lichter
  7. Quit Smoking

    Quit Smoking for Life: A Simple, Proven 5-Step Plan
    Quit Smoking for Life: A Simple, Proven 5-Step Plan
    By Suzanne Schlosberg
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams

    Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins: How Absolutely Anyone Can Pitch in, Help Out, Give Back, and Make the World a Better Place
    Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins: How Absolutely Anyone Can Pitch in, Help Out, Give Back, and Make the World a Better Place
    By David T. Levinson
  9. Fall in Love

    Fall in Love for Life: Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage
    Fall in Love for Life: Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage (eBook)
    By Barbara Cooper
  10. Spend More Time with Family

    The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day
    The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day (eBook)
    by Meg Cox

Happy New You!

By Amy

Happy new you!Celebration

Ok, so it’s not January 1st but don’t let that stop you from achieving your goals! There’s no time like the present to start improving yourself!
Research indicates the best way to improve yourself and meet your personal goals is to make sure your goals are SMARTER:
  • Specific – Answer the 5 “W’s”: who, what, where, which ,and why?
  • Measurable – How much, how many, how will you know it’s accomplished?
  • Attainable-  How can the goal be accomplished?
  • Relevant- Choose a goal that really matters to you.
  • Time-bound- When? Set a timeline for achieving your goal.
  • Evaluate- How are you progressing?
  • Revise- Adapt your goal if needed.
People who make formal goals are ten times more likely to succeed at achieving their goals! Only 4% of those without formal goals will succeed whereas 46% of those who set specific goals achieve results. While this may seem depressing, consider the success rate of those who never try: 0%.
So whether you’re itching to read some new books and broaden your intellectual horizons, lose 20 pounds, or develop a skill set you’ve always wanted- there’s always a SMARTER way to go about achieving what you want!

Check out these books for inspiration:

Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life – Jillian Michaels

Willpower : rediscovering the greatest human strength– Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Cultivating your creative life : exercises, activities & inspiration for finding balance, beauty & success as an artist– Alena Hennessy

The now habit at work : perform optimally, maintain focus, and ignite motivation in yourself and others– Neil A. Fiore

No excuses! : the power of self-discipline : 21 ways to achieve lasting happiness and success– Brian Tracy

Don’t forget that your local library is always a great source of information for your specific goals, whether you’re looking for guidance with health, hobbies, skills, or personal enrichment!

Spring Break? Time for an Adventure!

Delphi, Greece
Delphi, Greece

By Erika

What do monkeys, monasteries, and banana milkshakes all have in common?  They are all part of my most memorable travel moments.  Whether it’s a last-minute weekend camping getaway or a more extensive planned out affair, travel feeds my adventurous heart.  Each year I anxiously await the arrival of Spring – the season of spring breaks.  It’s the time to break free from our normal lives and go on an adventure!

Before I start planning any adventure, I ask myself a few questions:  How much time and money do I have?  Do I want to immerse myself in another culture?  Do I want to relax on the beach?  Do I want to have an active vacation?  Answers to all of these questions help to determine what kind of adventure to plan for.  The library should be any traveler’s first stop on their journey.  Fontana Regional Library has many books to help dream, plan, and realize a multitude of trips.

For the armchair traveler or for those that are dreaming of trips to come, check out our NextReads Armchair Travel Newsletter for a number of titles to whet your appetite for adventure.  National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips and Secret Journey’s of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems provide stunning visual trip ideas.

If the previous suggestions failed to inspire an adventure, there is always Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die or Frommer’s 500 Places to See Before They Disappear.  Conversely, if you are looking for places to avoid on your travels then Catherine Price’s humourous 101 Places Not to See Before You Die should be right up your alley.  If humanitarian work is what you seek, check out Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others by McMillon, Cutchins, and Geissinger.

Tulum, Mexico
Tulum, Mexico

Once a destination and trip type has been decided upon, it’s time to plan!  Different travelers plan to different extents.  Some travelers pick up a guidebook, hop on a plane or in a car and leave the rest to fate.  Others spend hours doing research and planning everything out.  The rest fall somewhere in between.  Regardless of travel style, most people have an idea of what they would like to accomplish on their adventures.  Guidebooks help travelers learn about what’s available in certain destinations from food to lodging to attractions and activities.  Before heading out the door, The Smart Traveler’s Passport: 399 Tips from Seasoned Travelers by Erik Torkells is a fun read and provides a variety of unique travel tips.

Of course, regardless of how much you prepare, everything doesn’t always go as planned.  You may miss a flight or an attraction you desperately wanted to visit is closed or you have to suddenly leave a country in the midst of a revolution.  Nevertheless, travelers have to learn to be flexible.  In fact, many great travel stories evolve out of situations that were unexpected.  So enjoy your spring break adventures and create your own memorable travel moments!

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

You can find all of the books discussed in this blog post by clicking HERE.

See What We Are Reading, Read What We Are Watching

Recognize any of these people?

The Clone Wars TV showSupernatural TV showThe Big Bang Theory TV showThe Walking Dead TV showTrue Blood TV show

Chances are, you’ve seen one of these shows, or have heard of them. It’s a varied bunch, too – we’ve got nerds, monster hunters, zombies, Southern vampires, and Star Wars. Even if you’re not a fan of any of these shows, you might be in interested in the subject matter, and in that case, we’ve got some recommendations for you.

Christina: Let’s take Supernatural. Two brothers, travelling across the country to save innocent people from monsters and ghosts, occasionally stopping the Apocalypse on the way with some help from angels and demons. What’s not to love about that?

If you’re looking to doing some of your own detective work on the supernatural and strange, you can always check out Dewey numbers 133.4 and 398.3 in the nonfiction section at your local library, but of course there are plenty of fictional ghosts and goblins out there. One that comes to mind is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, a young adult novel that tells the story of Cas, a ghost hunter. He’s taken over his father’s job of disposing of dangerous spirits, and his latest conquest is the violent Anna Dressed in Blood. What’s supposed to be a routine ghost killing turns into something much more personal and deadly, and soon Cas finds himself drawn to the tortured soul of a young girl who still wears the bloody dress she wore on the night she was killed.

Another take on the ghost genre is Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Judas Coyne is an aging rock star, complete with a young girlfriend and a taste for the strange. His assistant buys a haunted suit for him online, and it doesn’t take long until Judas realizes that the ghost is a vengeful spirit who is intent on destroying Judas and everyone around him. Soon Judas realizes that he and his girlfriend (Marybeth, aka Georgia) have to find a way to keep the ghost from killing them.

Chris:  Since we are talking about the supernatural let me mention the Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris.  There are 12 novels in the series and counting, and a television adaptation called True Blood.  Set in rural Louisiana, the protagonist is a waitress by the name of Sookie Stackhouse.  Sookie is a telepath, a talent that always made her life very difficult.  But when the vampires and werewolves come out of hiding she finds that she is no longer such an oddity, and her life grows far more complicated.  It can be fun to note the differences between the show and the books.

One type of creature Sookie doesn’t have to deal with is zombies.  You can find plenty of them in The Walking Dead.  Originally a comic book, it has also been adapted to the small screen.  This series focuses on everyday people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.  It does a nice job of focusing on the day to day trials and horrors they go through.  The graphic novels in particular are unrelentingly grim.

On a lighter note we have Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  I say lighter because this is a series aimed at kids.  I know some people take their Star Wars very seriously.  (I think my wife agrees, as she eyes my 70+ LEGO Star Wars sets.)  Anyway, The Clone Wars is a show that focuses on the adventures of Anakin Skywalker (before he becomes Darth Vader, of course), Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano.  It is animated, so the accompanying Clone Wars Adventures books are comics.

Christina:  Anyone who can relate to being the nerd or geek in high school probably loves The Big Bang Theory. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a show about two physicists, Leonard and Sheldon, and their relationship with their fellow nerd friends and Penny, the beautiful blond who lives in the apartment across from theirs. The show is chock full of geeky references, like superheroes, science, science fiction, and technology.

Sheldon often brags about his impressive accomplishments as a child (writing dissertations, graduating from high school and college with honors), and would probably get along with The Radioactive Boy Scout, which is a true story about a boy who built a nuclear conductor in his backyard. Needless to say, his parents were less than pleased.  David Anderegg has a great book titled Nerds : how dorks, dweebs, techies, and trekkies can save America and why they might be our last hope. It’s a great take on nerd culture and how nerds are bullied in school and often fawned over in adulthood.

If you’d prefer something a little more animated, you could peruse through the Dewey call number 741.5 in both nonfiction and the YA section, where you can find graphic novels featuring the likes of Batman, the X-Men, and other superheroes. You can also find The Walking Dead and Star Wars in there as well.

Chris:  Anyone who watches television these days is well aware of the plethora of reality shows.  One that we like is Pawn Stars.  Filmed at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, it takes a close look at some of the fascinating and historical items people bring in to pawn and sell.  It goes beyond the daily drama of the shop, as you learn about the history of many of these items.  And of course the library has owner Rick Harrison’s book License to pawn : deals, steals, and my life at the Gold & Silver.

So while we love reading, reading, and more reading, we also enjoy tv, and we know that many of you do as well.  And we really enjoy it when these two pastimes come together.

Find the titles mentioned in this blog in our library catalog here:;page=0;locg=155;depth=0

(Edited 10/31/14 to fix broken links, correct typos, and add bookbag)

Astronomy is out of this world!

By Amy

This past December, I let my 3 year-old daughter stay up past her bedtime and took her outside to see the Geminids meteor shower for her first experience of star-gazing. I told her we were going to see the shooting stars. We bundled up and set up camp on our back porch. “Wow! Is that the moon? What’s that mommy?! Is those stars?” Though she was sometimes more enthralled by the airplanes passing in the night, she developed a love for the mystery of space. What is all that stuff up there?

Milky Way
The Milky Way galaxy is visible from Earth in the winter and summer.
(Copyright: Ben Canales)

Not all of us can be astronauts, but anyone can open a book and explore our vast, inky home vicariously. That knowledge can then be taken into our back yards, where we can tilt our heads back and behold the wonders of the universe.

The library is the perfect place to begin your journey into space. The Fontana Regional Library has a number of resources for fledgling astronomers, from star maps and guides to navigating the sky to the more complex science and theories of black holes, dark matter, and the beautiful, sometimes mysterious, wonders of the universe.

The large Whirlpool Galaxy
The large Whirlpool Galaxy
More advanced readers may enjoy the works of Stephen Hawking, an author and theoretical physicist who has made the physics of the universe accessible to the general public. Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design, delves into cutting edge physics to attempt to answer such questions as “When and how did the universe begin?”, “Why are we here?” and many other philosophical and scientific questions about the existence of our universe.

You can also access NCLive through to search for magazines, e-books, videos, and more for information on astronomy and other topics of interest, right from home or in our computer labs!

At around sunset on June 5th, most of North America will be able to view the planet Venus pass in front of the Sun, an astrological event that will not take place again until the year 2117! The transit of Venus is viewable without the use of binoculars or telescopes. All one needs to see the shadow of Venus passing in front of the sun is a safe solar filter (Sky and Telescope Magazine has an article on viewing safety).

The Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library will be hosting a Transit of Venus viewing party Tuesday June 5:

We’ll be gathering in the field behind the library at 5:30pm to watch this last chance of our lifetimes celestial show. The transit begins shortly after 6pm and will last until sunset. Eye protection for direct solar viewing will be provided.

“Like” Fontana Regional Library on Facebook for up-to-date information.

The Astronomy Club of Asheville will also have solar safe telescopes set up for viewing the Venus transit. More information about the organization’s event can be found here.

2004 Venus Transit
The 2004 Venus transit
as seen from NASA’s Sun-observing TRACE spacecraft.

There Were Two Trains…

By Loretta

My friend carved out a trail through a tangled bog  once and allowed me the pleasure of walking it when I had time and good weather.  For the privilege, I would take along my cutters and clip back the encroachments.  There were places along the trail where Multiflora Rose had taken over and when it bloomed, in May or June, it was like a beautiful waterfall of flowers.  My friend didn’t like the rose, because it tended to take over everything, willfully going wherever it wanted, and she was ruthless in cutting it back.  I thought it was beautiful and added enormously to the walk, so I only clipped the worst offenders and kept it to myself.

My thought patterns are a little like the rose:  they start out small, take root, proliferate, and there’s no telling where they will end up.    Others like to keep them contained;  I like to just let them run.

These are a few of the ruminations I’ve enjoyed lately.  I’ll bet you’ve had similar ones:

  • Do the folks at PETA use sponges to clean their homes?
  • If you pour used alcohol into clean alcohol, will it disinfect itself?
  • Everything is made of atoms, so how do atoms know what to be?  And what binds certain ones together to form an object (outside the covalent or ionic bonds)?  In other words, how do they choose their friends?  And what keeps them from moving independently from one object to another and taking up residence?
  • If there were no stars, there would be nothing else.  No planets, no life as we know it, no nothing.  Imagine how cold and dark it would be.  I would never get the ice off my windshield!
  • Though the night sky is full of thousands of stars, space is mostly SPACE.  Think of the enormous distances between things.  New galaxies could move into distant neighborhoods and no one would know.  I wonder if we ever pick up refugees from other universes?
  • I saw long grass growing in the fork of a tree the other day.  One of them has adapted, but I’m not sure which.  Maybe both?
  • What would really happen if you threw a couple of shrimp on the Barbie?
  • And from my friend, Evelyn: why does everyone get sick when there is a stretch of warm weather in the winter, but they don’t in the heat of the summer.
Shrimp makes a very good hat!
If you would like some brain-teasers to help pass the cold (?) winter days, try one of these books from the library:

Do Penguins Have Knees?

When Do Fish Sleep?

Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?

Go Figure.

The Paper Chase

By Loretta

You’ll be reading along, minding your own business, and there it is – a quote from some obscure author in some long-forgotten book that was published in 1923 by a publisher who went out of business during the Depression.  The quote is just the appetizer; you want the whole enchilada.  Where O where do you go from here?

Your first stop should be your local library.  There’s a possibility the very book you want is on our shelves.   But even if it isn’t, we have this wonderful thing called INTERLIBRARY LOAN, the greatest thing since the combustible engine.  You come looking for a book, we don’t have it, BUT we search until we find it at another library and then we borrow it for you.  It is shipped to us and you pick it up at our front desk, just like any other book. What a concept!   And, believe it or not, our trusty ILL Librarian almost always finds what you’re looking for.  Your only obligation with ILLs is to pay their return ticket home.  Usually that amounts to about $3.00 (give or take) for a single regular-sized volume.  Not too bad, for that “can’t-live-without-it” book.

OK, but what if we can’t get the book on ILL?  It does happen now and then, sad to say.  Your next best bet is a digitized version online.  First you could try our new e-book site at e-iNC.  (The link is also on our homepage.)  When you get to e-iNC, you just log-in with your Fontana library card and you’re good to go.   Of course, most of the books there are new bestsellers, so you may have a little difficulty finding that depression-era tome.  You might like to try a few of the e-book sites that deal mainly in classic works.  Project Gutenberg has over 36,000 free ebooks, many of them important scholarly works with great historical significance, like some of the rare books published in the Middle Ages. (And while you are there you can read about Michael Hart, who invented eBooks in 1971.)   You might get lucky and find your book there.  Or you could try Classic Reader or Planet eBook. They have thousands of classic ebooks free for the reading.  Another huge library is available at the University of Pennsylvania site, called The Online Books Page, with over one million free ebooks available.  Your search could end at one of these sites.  But, then again, it might not.

At this point, if you haven’t found a reading copy, you will probably have to buy the book – if you can find it for sale.  You can begin this type of search right in your own backyard, so to speak.  We have both new and used bookstores right in the community.  If they don’t have it and can’t get it from their regular vendors, some bookstores offer a finders service and will complete the search for you.  Just ask.  Please don’t forget to check our Friends of the Library used bookstore, though.  They offer thousands of titles at very good prices.  Maybe the book you want is just sitting there waiting for you.  But if it isn’t…

Move on to one of the many booksellers on the Web.  Amazon, of course, comes to mind first.  You can often find older books at Amazon for a very reasonable price.  And when you search their marketplace sellers, you are searching all over the U.S.   If Amazon doesn’t have it, there are other sellers who are as reliable, like Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Bookfinder, and AbeBooks, just to name a very few.

When all else fails, you might special-order the book.  Lightning Source, a print-on-demand (POD) book publisher and a division of Ingram Book Company, is a good starting point, if you hope to buy something that has long been out-of-print.  If the title is one they offer in their catalog, they will print you up a new copy of the book at a very reasonable price, usually, especially considering the high quality of the paper and bindings.

(Not all POD publishers offer a catalog of works to be reprinted, however.  Some of them are in business strictly to publish works created by their customers. You will probably need to research that a bit.   This site (click here) lists a comparison of publishers, but you would need to verify if they can print a random book, rather than your own work.)

I hope you’ve found your book by this point.  If not, I hope you have at least enjoyed the chase.  But always be sure to check with your library first.  It might save you a lot of time and money!