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Previous Stories From What's New

These are stories that are between 90 days and a year old.

Previous Stories From What's New

Memphis Library Friends' Online Bookstore has Aisles of Hidden Treasures

By: Marcey Wright

Click here to visit the Library's Online Bookstore now!

Memphis Library Friends' Online Bookstore is a virtual bookstore available to Library customers worldwide! See the article for details.

Library customers can browse the aisles of the Memphis Library Friends’ Online Bookstore any time of the day or night. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, this virtual store is reaching booklovers around the world with affordable prices, speedy delivery, and great customer service that keeps readers coming back.

“We have a very good standing in the Amazon community and very good ratings with our customers,” noted Louise Brown, online bookstore manager. “We have a 100 percent customer satisfaction rating, and we work very hard to keep it. That’s very important to us!”

Rescuing and recycling gently-used book donations to Memphis Public Libraries, the Online Bookstore has had 30,000 books in stock since it opened in 2009 and currently has more than 11,000 books on a variety of topics, including textbooks, classics, and even specialty books in the medical and technical fields, to name a few. “We do not buy our inventory, so it is ever-changing,” Brown said. “Our items are all gifted to us.”

The Online Bookstore doesn’t just receive but also gives proceeds raised in the store to support Memphis Public Libraries. “Every penny that we make that’s not used for shipping goes to the Library,” Brown emphasized.

Customers can click here to "visit" the Bookstore and explore which titles are currently in stock. Items may also be found by visiting Amazon.com and searching for the title of a desired book. If the item is in stock, "Memphis Library Friends" will appear among the list of book retailers.

Longtime bookstore volunteers like Ilene Markell said that when customers shop at Memphis Library Friends Online Bookstore, they will find accurate book descriptions to help them make the best selections. “We want to make it feel like customers have the book in their hands,” Markell said. “In describing books, we include photos as a visual for customers, instead of text alone.” Brown added, “While Amazon provides information on a book’s storyline, we carefully provide details about every aspect of the book’s condition from cover to cover, even the look and smell!”

Selling up to 100 books weekly, the Online Bookstore ships five or six days each week. The volunteer-driven store is open Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays, responding to customers’ requests and shipping books to their doorsteps.

For more information about the Memphis Library Friends’ Online Bookstore or to volunteer in the Bookstore, call (901) 415-2871.

“We want everyone to know that the Friends’ Online Bookstore is here and available,” Brown stressed. “Whether Library customers would like to donate items or take advantage of our affordable prices, we’re always glad to help!”

Library Customers Learn Used Car Buying From A to Z

By: Marcey Wright

Don't waste your income tax return on a "lemon"! Learn how to buy a quality used car at Central Library!Income tax season means more money and more options for some Library customers shopping for used cars. Memphis Public Libraries have teamed up with AutoZone and Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) for “A to Z of Used Car Buying,” educational sessions for customers planning to purchase quality used vehicles.

One program in two parts, “A to Z of Used Car Buying” consists of a video presentation by mechanics and a speaker, an attorney from MALS. “Mechanics point out specifics to look for when purchasing a car, like uneven wear on tires, and attorneys talk about the legal side of car buying, like the Lemon Law,” explained Library Business and Sciences Department Manager Jessie Marshall.

Library customers can cash in at 11:15 am and again at noon, Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). “Customers will learn troubleshooting tips and the mechanics of how cars should or should not look and sound,” she said. “They will also learn about consumer rights and common myths.”

Marshall said the program is useful for anyone who owns a vehicle, namely people with little mechanical knowledge. “After ‘A to Z of Used Car Buying,’ customers will be more prepared and confident when they shop for a used car,” she concluded.

For more information about “A to Z of Used Car Buying” events at Central Library, call (901) 415-2734.

Bookstock Jr. 2014 to Bring Fun, Literacy, and Learning to Central Library

By: Marcey Wright

Bookstock Jr. 2014 is coming early this year to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library! See the article for details.Very few places offer a day of educational fun, literacy, and learning in a family atmosphere – completely free of charge. The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) is just the place on Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm for Bookstock Jr.

The highly-anticipated annual festival offers kids and families a chance to meet local children’s authors, while enjoying balloon artists, face painting, live music, a scavenger hunt, food trucks, and lots of great books!

Forty local authors are slated to attend Bookstock 2014, also happening April 26 at Central Library. Both events are designed to entertain Library customers and encourage literacy among all ages. “Customers like meeting authors – always hoping they’ll discover a new favorite,” said Bookstock Jr. organizer and Youth Services Coordinator Mary Seratt. “Authors also benefit because they have an opportunity to meet like-minded people and get the word out about their books,” she said.

No registration is required for customers attending Bookstock Jr. For more information about the event, call (901) 415-2739.

Central Library’s Teen Tech Week Lets Teens ‘Do It Yourself'

By: Na’Tasha Farr, Special to MPLIC

Teen Tech Week 2013 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library was a blast! Make plans to attend Teen Tech Week 2014.Where’s a place that teen computer whizzes and a do-it-yourself fanatics can come together to create, explore, and share content? It's at this year's Teen Tech Week: Do It Yourself @ Your Library, a national event celebrated on March 8 and 11, 2014 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting room A).

To kick off the fun, Clockwork Mechanalists, Memphis’ premiere Steampunk group, will present a program called Literacy Through Steampunk on Saturday, March 8 at 2 pm. Donning their Steampunk costumes, the group will host a fashion show, do dramatic readings, and lead a book discussion for teens to enjoy. They will also display Steampunk devices that they have created.

Teen Librarian Keshia Williams said she encourages teens to get involved in this event. “Simply show up and bring a friend or two! Help to get the word out about Teen Tech Week on Twitter with the hashtag #TTW14.”

Then on March 11 at 2:30 pm, during Teen Tech Tuesday, the Library will open its creativity lab for teens to use apps like GarageBand, Movie Maker, Storybird, and Photo Booth. Teen Tech Tuesday will offer these future professionals an opportunity to explore critical thinking, computer programming, graphic arts and design, and composition skills by composing their own songs, doing voiceovers, creating their own movies, and artistically re-touching photos.

“Teens can learn about technology and have fun at the same time,” said Williams. “Maybe, it will influence them to pursue a related career in the future!”

For more information on Teen Tech Week or other upcoming teen events at the Library, call (901) 415-2726.

Bookstock 2014 ‘Spring’-ing into Central Library Earlier this Year

By: Marcey Wright

Click here to see which New York Times best-selling author is coming to Bookstock 2014!

Bookstock 2014 is coming early this year to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library! See the article for details.One of the area’s largest local author events is coming to Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) a bit earlier this year. Formerly scheduled in the fall, this year’s literary festival will be held in the spring on Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm.

Bookstock 2014 is a writer’s chance to meet readers one on one, network with other authors, and promote books directly to buyers in a family-friendly setting. Event organizers say that authors and customers are sure to enjoy the list of activities. “Bookstock gives 40 local authors a platform for showcasing their work. Customers can meet these authors in person, buy their books, and get autographs,” explained Adult Services Coordinator Wang-Ying Glasgow. “In addition, customers can enjoy a family fun day in a festival atmosphere!”

A special Writers’ Workshop is planned for aspiring authors, a new addition to this year’s event, along with cooking demonstrations and tastings, author interviews, and live music. Several prominent authors are also slated to attend Bookstock 2014. “We are in the process of securing several big-name authors, so stay tuned for details,” Glasgow advised.

Parents interested in attending Bookstock can bring their children to Bookstock Jr., which will feature lots of interactive fun for kids like face painting, food trucks, chalk art, balloon artists, a scavenger hunt, and more!

For more information about Bookstock 2014, call (901) 415-2709.

Cordova Library Chases Fears of Learning English for ESL Customers

By: Marcey Wright

Join the conversation! The English Language Learners' Conversation Group at Cordova Branch Library is your chance to learn English at your own pace.The fear of learning English is fading at Cordova Branch Library (8457 Trinity Road), where customers learning to speak the nation’s official language can attend free English Language Learners’ Conversation Groups. Offered each Saturday (1 pm – 2 pm) and fourth Thursdays of each month (2:30 pm – 4 pm), groups give English as a Second Language (ESL) customers a chance to learn at their own pace.

“Non-native English speakers can gain confidence, build their vocabularies, reduce their accents, practice pronunciation, and become more fluent in speaking English,” said Philip Williams, Cordova Library branch manager. “The atmosphere is always welcoming and friendly, never threatening or stressful,” he promised.

Native English-speaking volunteers with specialized ESL tutoring experience have helped customers from Ethiopia, Turkey, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Iraq to name a few. During sessions, attendants learn practical skills for daily use. “The emphasis is on informal, everyday English,” Williams said, “but participants also learn more about American society and culture, and get answers to their questions about everyday life in America, like how to order food, shop for groceries, or even visit the Library!”

In addition to learning everyday English, organizers say the program’s benefits will reach far into the future. “Helping [ESL] Library customers become more proficient in English will help them to accomplish their goals in life, like getting new or better jobs, pursuing higher education, addressing health issues by communicating with doctors and pharmacists, purchasing a home, or even obtaining U.S. citizenship,” Williams said. “Becoming more proficient in English can be a life-changing event that begins here at Cordova Library.”

For more information about English Language Learners’ Conversation Groups or other programs at Cordova Branch Library, call (901) 415-2764.

Customers From Around the World Call Cordova Library 'Home'

By: Marcey Wright

Citizenship Workshops at Cordova Branch Library help customers to feel at home while earning their American citizenship!There’s no place like home. Library customers from around the globe are one step closer to making America their home, thanks to Citizenship Workshops at Cordova Branch Library.

During these interactive sessions, prospective citizens learn about the naturalization process and the responsibilities of U.S. citizenship, along with immigration laws, how to file paperwork, and tips on passing the U.S. citizenship exam. “The best part of Citizenship Workshops is that customers have the opportunity to ask questions,” noted Cordova Library Branch Manager Philip Williams. “Customers get the help they need to become U.S. citizens,” he added.

Cordova branch librarians, in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Memphis field office), are preparing for another Citizenship Workshop on Thursday, March 6, 2014, 5 pm – 7 pm at Cordova Library (8457 Trinity Road).

Workshops have been offered throughout the Memphis Public Library System at other branches like Bartlett Library, Randolph Library, Whitehaven Library, and the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Program organizers say all Citizenship Workshops have the same objective. “We help our customers who would like to become U.S. citizens reach their goals. Then, they will enjoy all the benefits of citizenship and have access to wonderful opportunities that come with being an American citizen,” Williams concluded.

For more information about Citizenship Workshops at Cordova Branch Library, call (901) 415-2764. Click here for a complete list of Memphis Public Library events.

Toddler Storytimes at Poplar-White Station Library Jumpstart Early Literacy

By: Na'Tasha Farr, Special to MPLIC

Toddler Storytimes at Poplar-White Station Library are each Tuesday in April 2014! See story for details.Parents can jumpstart their toddlers' love for literacy during Toddler Storytimes at Poplar-White Station Library (5094 Poplar Avenue). Kids, ages one to three, will gain the confidence they need to learn early reading skills like rhyming, singing songs, creating finger puppet plays, and working with board books.

During each storytime, toddlers repeat four rhymes to help them learn association. Along with rhyming, toddlers and parents read stories, review alphabet sounds while practicing words, and learn to associate words and actions using songs like "Itsy Bitsy Spider". Motor skills and creativity are also put to work at the end of every storytime when toddlers participate in arts and crafts.

Toddler Storytimes will be held 11 am – 11:25 am at Poplar-White Station Library on the following dates. 

  • April 1, 2014
  • April 8, 2014
  • April 15, 2014
  • April 22, 2014
  • April 29, 2014

“Toddler Storytimes give children a sense of reassurance,” said Senior Youth Services Librarian Michelle Allen. “All of these early reading skills that toddlers learn during storytime form a foundation that they will continue to build upon for the rest of their lives.”

For more information about Toddler Storytimes, call (901) 415-2777.

Black History Celebration: Library and Special Guests to Honor African American Trailblazers in Civil War Medicine

By: Marcey Wright

 African Americans in Civil War MedicineTo celebrate Black History Month and those who made it possible, Memphis Public Libraries are “pushing boundaries” with traveling exhibit – Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine.

Often lost from the pages of history, the names and faces of early African American physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare providers will be on display at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) from Saturday, February 8 – Saturday, March 29, 2014.

An official opening ceremony will be held Thursday, February 20, 2014, 6 pm – 7:30 pm, also at Central Library. Special guest author, historian, and Civil Rights activist Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis will be keynote speaker. LeMoyne-Owen College’s concert choir is set to perform for the Black History Month celebration.

Contraband working for the Union Army; Photo courtesy of MOLLUS U.S. Military History Institute

Through the tell-all exhibit and Dr. DeCosta-Willis’ presentation, Library customers will meet people like former slave-turned-caregiver Susie King, who in 1862 served the Union Army as an unpaid Civil War nurse, teacher, and laundress, alongside her husband – a soldier. She later published her memoirs, detailing her struggles to help emancipate enslaved African Americans.

Click here for more information about the Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit’s opening ceremony at Central Library, call (901) 415-2709.

Memphis Public Library Customers can Bypass the Theatre and Head to the Library

By: Marcey Wright

Adult Library customers can take a load off during the Wider Angle Film Series 2014 at Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library!Memphis Public Library customers can skip the movies and take a trip to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) for the 2014 Wider Angle Film Series, critically-acclaimed and award-winning foreign films suited for adult audiences.

“Films may be educational, culturally-enlightening, entertaining, or all of the above,” said Humanities librarian Nobuko Igarashi. “Our customers can expect to view great quality films that may not be widely released or shown elsewhere in a commercial movie theatre,” she added.

Funded by the Friends of the Library, films are shown on the second Wednesday of each month, 6 pm – 8 pm (unless otherwise noted), at Central Library (lobby level, meeting room C).

Movie screenings through June 2014 are listed below.

  • February 12 – Aliyah, directed by Elie Wajeman
  • March 12 – Broken, directed by Rufus Norris
  • April 9 – Three Worlds, directed by Catherine Corsini
  • May 14 – The Deflowering of Eva van End, directed by Michiel ten Horn
  • June 11 – Key of Life, directed by Kenji Uchida (starts at 5:45 pm)

“Celebrating our diversity as a community and learning about other cultures is an important part of what the Library does,” Igarashi noted, “but we provide further support through books and programs like A Wider Angle, which are educational and fun!”

For more information about the 2014 Wider Angle Film Series, call (901) 415-2726.

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