Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit

Posted on Monday, May 8, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

May is Mental Health Month. Having a designated month reminds us to think about our own mental health and consider whether any peers or loved ones need our attention.

Here are a few facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
*One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness.
*Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-fourths by the age of 24.
*Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
*Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.
*African Americans and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about half the rate of white Americans in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
*Approximately 10.2 million Americans have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S.
*Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”
*Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.

There are many different types of mental illness with varying degrees of severity. There is, unfortunately, still a stigma surrounding mental illness that leaves some people reluctant to seek help. If we, as a society, considered mental illness as we would any other physical condition, it would help bring the problem out of the shadows. If more people felt free to discuss their experiences, they could more readily find the help they need. Mental illness should not be viewed as a weakness or a short-coming, but as a condition that needs treatment and understanding. Continue reading “Mental Health Month: Information and Resources to Stay Mentally Fit”

April Is National Card and Letter Writing Month

Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017 by Larkspur

When you check your mailbox for the day’s mail, how excited are you to find a few pieces of junk mail you never solicited? Probably not very. Add to that let-down feeling the worry about the unnecessary waste of paper. Sigh. By contrast, what do you feel when you pull a handwritten card or letter from your mailbox? A happy little thrill? Mm hmm, I thought so.

To the Letter book coverWith the advent of electronic communication we have experienced the decline of this happy little thrill in our lives. Handwritten cards and letters have been replaced with emails, text messages, live phone calls or voice mails, except, fortunately, around holidays and birthdays, when we still get to experience this dear form of communication as it comes through the snail mail. Continue reading “April Is National Card and Letter Writing Month”

Revolutionary War Fiction

Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Anne

Today, April 19, marks the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. The war was long, lasting over 8 years. Countless lives throughout the colonies were affected by those seemingly endless years of fighting as the new nation came into being. The Revolutionary War years were filled with drama, so it is not surprising how many fiction titles are set during that time. Here are some novels at the library that readers who enjoy historical fiction may want to explore:

America’s First Daughter” by Stephanie Dray: we’ve heard America's First Daughter book coverstories about our Founding Fathers, but what about the rest of their families? Dray’s book offers a fictionalized look into the life of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. Patsy was close to her father and served as a stand-in First Lady to her widowed father. Dray’s book, which is based on letters and historical documents, follows Patsy’s journey from Monticello to Paris and ultimately to the White House, and offers insight into the personal sacrifices she made in order to help her father achieve the presidency. Continue reading “Revolutionary War Fiction”

Knowledge at Your Fingertips: Encyclopedias Offered at Your Library

Posted on Friday, April 7, 2017 by cs

Last month, our book club read “The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio,” a memoir about a struggling family in the 1950s and a mother who enters contests to augment the family’s income. Our conversation about the book morphed into a discussion of what those times were like. It was a time when “housewives” were courted to submit jingles for popular products, when radio broadcasts and newspapers were still the main source of information about the world and traveling salesmen were regular visitors to households around America. Salesmen went door to door selling everything from “Fuller Brushes” to encyclopedias.

I didn’t anticipate how animated the discussion would become around our memories of using encyclopedias — for doing homework, looking at the sometimes exotic pictures and just the sense of pride over a family owning their own set. Encyclopedia sets were displayed proudly, and usually in a prominent place, in the home. I can remember how fascinating it was to turn each page and see information and beautiful pictures on a variety of subjects. It probably wasn’t that dissimilar to the feeling one has when accessing the internet for the first time and realizing you could instantly receive information on almost anything with the touch of your fingertips. Yet, the information on the internet can come from a variety of sources, some trusted, some not so much. Continue reading “Knowledge at Your Fingertips: Encyclopedias Offered at Your Library”

Job Searching Tips for Everyone

Posted on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 by cs

photo of newspaper- job searchingHaving lived in college towns for much of my adult life, I have come to recognize a feeling of anticipation during the spring semester. It seems to be connected to the reality of students graduating and moving on to the next phase of their lives. For some it is graduate school, for others perhaps travel, but for many (and to the relief of their parents) they are beginning to work on obtaining employment. There are newly retired individuals looking for part-time jobs to augment their income and stay involved in the community. Spring also seems to be a time to job hunt for a better salary or to increase job satisfaction. Continue reading “Job Searching Tips for Everyone”

Freezer Meals: Eating Well When Time is Limited (or You Just Need a Break from Cooking)

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017 by Larkspur

Freezer meals photo

Do you like to eat well in the sense that you want your food to be delicious and nutritious? I think most people would answer “yes” to that question. Is it challenging to provide meals that fit the delicious/nutritious definition for yourself and/or your family members? Most of us would have to answer “yes,” at least some of the time, because we all know life makes many competing demands of our time. Continue reading “Freezer Meals: Eating Well When Time is Limited (or You Just Need a Break from Cooking)”

March Is National Craft Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by Jerilyn

The Oxford Dictionary defines “craft” as “an activity involving skill in making things by hand.” In this day and age when everything is machine made, why should we make anything by hand?

The Creativity Cure book coverCarrie Barron, MD and Alton Barron, MD, authors of “The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness” have found that working with our hands and engaging in creative activities can improve our mood, give us a brain boost and help us focus on the present, instead of dwelling on problems in the past. “Making is crucial for happiness, health and mind expansion,” they explain. Continue reading “March Is National Craft Month”

Women’s History Month: Women in Labor and Business

Posted on Friday, March 3, 2017 by Ida

As a teen, I thought history was only about presidents, generals and Henry Ford. Perhaps that had something to do with the textbooks in use back in the day. I didn’t realize the biographies I loved to read — Amelia Earhart was a favorite — also counted as history.

For more than thirty years, the National Women’s History Project has tackled the “important work of writing women back into American history.” March is National Women’s History month, and the theme for 2017 is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Let’s learn about some of those women. Here are a few titles to begin with:

Grace and Grit book coverGrace and Grit” is Lilly Ledbetter’s story of working at Goodyear. After nineteen years as a manager, she discovered she was making forty percent less than men in the same position. She spent a decade seeking legal redress, sticking with the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Though she lost on appeal, her efforts led to the signing of the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Continue reading “Women’s History Month: Women in Labor and Business”

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by Seth

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its less severe cousin, concussion (also known as mild traumatic brain injury) have been getting a lot of attention lately, partly because of the concussion crisis in the National Football League. This attention is a good thing. TBI and concussion can be considered a silent epidemic in society; an estimated 1.5 million head injuries appear every year in United States emergency rooms, and at least 5 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from TBI. The suffering caused by the loss of mobility, career, hobbies and even family because of TBI is not often reported, partly because of the stigma attached to brain injury.

Unfortunately, from personal experience I can say that I’ve been there. In March of 2015 I had a bad spill on my bicycle that caused a head injury and serious concussion that took me over a year to recover from. I had a helmet on, thank God, or I would now be dead. It was a painful, long and sometimes completely disheartening journey, but I did indeed recover fully. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the library has some fantastic resources about recovering from and living with traumatic brain injury. Continue reading “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month”

In Appreciation of African-American Artists

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017 by The Biblio-Buckeroo

Photo of mural on staircase
Event Horizon, Kara Walker, 2005

The magic of visual art lies in its ability to communicate in ways not possible through words. Much like music, art is a universal language that can rise above cultural barriers. African-American art, specifically, is full of examples of this transcendence. Art in the black community has been used to exorcise pain, to rejoice and to record life. From artists like the silhouette artist, Kara Walker, or the painter, Jacob Lawrence, we can learn history not always taught in our schools. Art gives us a window into lives that may be different from our own or reveal how similar we all are when preconceived notions are stripped away.

Aesthetically, I gravitate towards art that is full of rich colors, bold shapes and dynamic compositions. There is a bounty of African-American art, in a variety of media, that fits this bill.

The Quilts of Gee's Bend book coverAfrican-American women, like so many women in history, expressed themselves through beautiful textile arts. One difference is explored in “Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad“; Jacqueline Tobin tells how quilt patterns were used to give encoded messages to men and women traveling on the Underground Railroad. Another selection, “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend” displays the talent of the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who have upheld a tradition of lively quilt-making through the generations going back two hundred years. I love these! Continue reading “In Appreciation of African-American Artists”