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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

Richland Library Director Offers Advice on Improving Customer Service

By: Marcey Wright

Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins (center) told Memphis Library administrators to aim high in performing everyday customer service.Strategic planning is underway at Memphis Public Libraries to improve the overall customer experience, and Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins recently visited the Bluff City to offer her expertise in this area.

Huggins advised Library administrators to establish “brand promises” that outline what Memphis Public Libraries vow to deliver to all customers. Offering examples, Huggins shared Richland County Libraries’ promises, which include being welcoming, caring, and committed, among other customer-friendly goals.

“Branding is not a company’s logo,” Huggins said, “but it’s a customer’s gut feeling about your services, products, programs, and resources. Your brand is not what you say it is but what your customers say it is,” she stated.

Memphis Library administrators and managers offered their individual and group opinions on the best customer experiences and the worst ones as well. Breaking down each experience through careful analysis, supervisors identified what made each customer experience good or bad.

Director of Memphis Libraries Keenon McCloy (left) and Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins (right) were all grins during Huggins' special visit to Central Library.During the two days of Huggins' visit, which was funded by the Friends of the Library, she visited Library branches, met with Memphis Library personnel, and attended a luncheon with the Library's Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library.

Several Library managers expressed their gratitude for the wealth of information Huggins shared. “Melanie is amazing, and our staff and customers will benefit from her guidance,” said Director of (Memphis) Libraries Keenon McCloy. “Richland County Library is fortunate to have her!”

Prices and Exceptional Products Keep Customers Raking Through Shelves at Library’s Annual Fall Book Sale

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

It’s not just the prices that keep Library customers coming back each year to the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale. It’s the products!

With rows of more than 15,000 items for sale – all $2 or less – readers will have their picks from hardback and paperback books, children’s books, magazines, records, cassettes, CDs, and videos. It’s all coming to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue), 10 am – 4:30 pm on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26, 2013. A special sneak-peek sale for Friends of the Library members will be held from 8 am to 10 am on Friday, October 25.

“Our regular customers wait months to stock up at the Friends of the Library book sale,” said Friends member and volunteer Cynthia Hawes. “This year’s categories will include signed books, John Grisham, Christmas material, coffee table books, Judaica, and large print books to name a few,” added Herman Markell, another Friends member and volunteer.

Offering books on countless topics carefully sorted and arranged, the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale is also known for its community contributions. Friends of the Library President Jacque Jenkins said, “The Friends organization invests a lot of our income to early learning, youth, and teen programs and services. These funds play a big part in supporting literacy programs throughout the city, Central Library, the branches, many neighborhoods, and in schools!”

Friends volunteer Sherman Dixon said he agrees. “These sales are vehicles for recycling gently-used books for new readers to enjoy! They keep thousands of books alive and relevant at affordable prices!”

See the complete price list below.

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale Price List
Children's Hardbacks$1.00
Children's Paperbacks$0.50
Children's Board Books$0.50
Loose Magazines$0.25
Videos & CDs$1.00
Readers' Digest$0.25

Each year the Friends of the Library, consisting of 99 percent volunteers, filters through more than 300,000 items donated to the Library, along with discards from Library collections. To keep these items on bookshelves in Greater Memphis homes instead of landfills, community volunteers organize and revive materials for readers of all ages!

“The Friends of the Library book sales and other revenue streams have contributed up to $400,000 for our Library during each of the last three years, and we can do more,” Markell said excitedly.

For more information on the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale or how to become a Friends member, call 415-2840.

We Want YOU! Join the Library’s Teen Advisory Council TODAY!

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

The Memphis Public Library & Information Center is looking for a few good young men and women to serve on the Library’s Teen Advisory Council. So, if you want your voice to be heard, to build your resume, and to help improve Memphis Public Libraries, we want you!

“We want to know what teens want, what teens like, what teens read, and we want to give it to them,” said Nancy Knight, assistant director of community outreach and special projects. “It is important to pay attention to the things teens are interested in, as they are the next generation of leaders and professionals.”

The council’s primary order of business will be to represent Memphis Public Libraries. Once a month, the group will meet to offer technology and book recommendations, make decisions on teen-related activities at the Library, help to design the Library’s teen newsletter, write blogs and articles for the Teen Page on the Library’s website, and brainstorm book display ideas, and much more.

“The Library wants to play an active role in helping teens to become better prepared for their futures in terms of literacy, college readiness, and technology skills,” Knight said, “so the council – in a way – will be a voice for all teens in Memphis.”

To become a Teen Advisory Council member, teens must be between the ages of 15 to 18, must be able to attend the council’s monthly meetings, and must attend at least two Library programs annually. “We want an avid reader, ideally someone who likes to write, and who has an opinion and doesn’t mind sharing it,” Knight added. “A love of books and literacy doesn’t hurt either!”

Recruiting for the council is ongoing, although Knight encouraged teens to apply as soon as possible. To become a member of the Library’s Teen Advisory Council, call (901) 415-2871.

“The Library is connected to every citizen in the community in some way. Becoming a council member is a great opportunity for teens to acquire leadership skills and be a part of important literacy decisions and economic development in our city. That’s pretty cool,” Knight concluded.

Teens Learn ‘Something New’ at Poplar-White Station Library’s Teen Book Club

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

Teens will learn “The Joys of Love” at the Poplar-White Station Library’s Teen Book Club on Thursdays, 3 pm - 4 pm, in October – December 2013.Yearning for love and all the joys that come with it, a young woman named Elizabeth decides to pursue her passion of becoming an actress. This – her first love – soon leads to another, Kurt Canitz, an attractive young director. Her story unfolds in the pages of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic The Joys of Love.

This novel, settled in the 1930s and 1940s, is a thought-provoking tale written especially for teen readers. It is also the subject of Poplar-White Station Library’s Teen Book Club discussions. Starting Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 3 pm teens are invited to a special kick-off meeting at Poplar-White Station Library (5094 Poplar Avenue) to get a copy of the book and join the conversation!

“Reading is important because it helps us learn something new,” explained teen librarian Andrea King, who will coordinate the teen book club. “Having peer discussions about books will hopefully help teens to realize that it’s cool to read, and they could learn something new for the day!”

King said teens can learn about the Depression Era, during which the book takes place, or the surprising differences in the cost of living from then to now. Whatever new knowledge teens uncover, King said that social interaction in the group will be an added benefit. “When teenagers witness their peers reading and discussing the same book, it will spark conversation among them and with me during the book club,” she said.

The Poplar-White Station Library Teen Book Club will meet on Thursdays, 3 pm - 4 pm, starting October 3 and ending December 5. Teens are encouraged to read act one of the four-act series by Thursday, October 17.

For more information on the teen book club or how to participate, call Poplar-White Station Library at (901) 415-2777 or email andrea.king@memphistn.gov.

Kids are Always ‘Happily Ever After’ at Library Storytimes

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers' storytimes at Memphis Public Libraries are a blast and a learning experience for kids!Children’s stories shouldn’t be confined to bedtime hours. At Memphis Public Libraries, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can enjoy storytime any time of day!

“Storytime captures the imagination,” said Youth Services Librarian Sharon Evrard, who does toddler and preschool storytimes at the Cordova Branch Library. “At our storytimes, we include movies, crafts, songs, puppet shows and even food as we open the world of books, learning and imagination.”

Programs are 20 to 30 minutes of reading, rhyming, songs, and exercises – all of which help to excite young and developing minds. Amy Chinn is a children’s librarian who does baby storytimes at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. “Babies thrive on repetition of patterns, sounds, and experiences. Starting to read to children at birth is ideal. It’s never too early to establish a habit of reading because reading, talking, singing, and playing are stimulating the growth of their brains and forming the building blocks for literacy and future learning,” Chinn said.

“All of this translates into better reading and learning once children get to school,” added Evrard, “and every week we have new families to join the fun!”

A list of storytimes is available on the Library’s website, www.memphislibrary.org, on the Calendar of Events.

For information on storytimes at your local Library, simply call the branch nearest you!

Bookstock Jr. 2013 Offers Fun for the Library’s Youngest Booklovers

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

Bookstock 2013 is more than a festival and book signing for local authors and adults. Bookstock Jr. – the youthful piece of Bookstock – was designed with the Library’s youngest readers in mind!

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue), kids and their parents will enjoy meet and greets with local children’s authors, along with special presentations, face painting, live music, balloon hats for kids, a crash course in journal making, and the popular Read with Me – Sign with Me Storytime for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing children.

Library Youth Services Coordinator and event organizer Mary Seratt noted, “Children are readers too, or at least we hope that they will become readers. So, we want them to get interested in books and reading.”

To spur kids’ love for literacy, Bookstock Jr. will offer a rare chance for kids to meet authors who wrote the books and to create their own storylines as well. “We’ll have a ‘Once Upon a Time’ mural on the wall, where festivalgoers can write or draw part of a story that will grow throughout the day until ‘they all lived happily ever after’ at the end of the day,” Seratt exclaimed.

Other exciting events are also on the day’s agenda. “Artist Yancy Villa-Calvos will help children to recreate illustrations from Stephanie Painter’s book Liz Tames a Dragon in chalk on the ground in the courtyard of the Children’s Department. We’re planning activities that will engage children and their families,” Seratt concluded.

Parents can take home the fun of Bookstock Jr. by purchasing authors’ books, which each writer will have on hand.

Bookstock Jr. was funded by the Friends of the Library, a volunteer and philanthropic organization that supports Library collections, resources, programs, events, and services. Volunteers from White Station High School’s Helping Hands Club and the Junior League of Memphis helped to make the event possible.

For more information on Bookstock Jr., call (901) 415-2739.

Stretch Your Dollars a Lot Farther at the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale

All Items $2 or Less!

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

Forget your budget at the Friends of the Library Fall 2013 Book Sale! Everything is $2 or less!

CLICK HERE to see why so many people love the Fall Book Sale!

Two dollars doesn’t go a long way these days, but you can stretch your dollars a lot farther at the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale on Friday, October 25 - Saturday, October 26, 2013, 10 am – 4:30 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). A special sneak-peek sale will be held for Friends of the Library members on Friday, October 25, 2013 from 8 am to 10 am.

Book lovers will shop from rows of books – approximately 15,000 items – on a variety of topics, all at affordable prices. Large print books are also available.


 Book Sale Price List

Hardbacks$ 2.00
Paperbacks $ 0.50
Children's Hardbacks$ 1.00
Children's Paperbacks$ 0.50
Children's Board Books$ 0.50
Records$ 0.50
Cassettes$ 0.25
Loose Magazines$ 0.25
Videos & CDs$ 1.00
Readers' Digest$0.25


Proceeds from the event will help to expand Library collections and community resources.

So, what will you do with your $2 on October 25 and 26? Join us at Central Library for the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale!

CLICK HERE to see why so many people love the Fall Book Sale!

The Commercial Appeal Named "Smartest Company in Memphis" at CKB 2013

By: Marcey Evans-Wright

The Commercial Appeal won "Smartest Company in Memphis" at the Library's Corporate Knowledge Bowl 2013!They came. They fought. They conquered. On Friday, September 20, 2013, The Commercial Appeal was named the undisputed champion of the Memphis Public Library & Information Center’s 16th Annual Corporate Knowledge Bowl. In the final match, The Commercial Appeal defeated Valero by one point, and now the CA stands firm as the “Smartest Company in Memphis”.

“Local trivia buffs know that Corporate Knowledge Bowl is the best trivia contest in town,” said Diane Jalfon, executive director of the Memphis Library Foundation and event organizer. “Our librarians work hard writing questions all year in anticipation for the competition. So, questions are challenging, and the event is very professional.”

Seventeen teams representing 13 local companies began the bracket-style contest on Monday, September 16. With cheers from co-workers and other supporters, competitors came to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) each day on their lunch breaks to vie for the coveted titles. By the week’s end, Buckeye Technologies won “Knowledge Bowl Idol” for bringing the most enthusiastic group of relatives, friends, and co-workers. The University of Memphis took home the “Best Team Spirit” title, and St. Jude’s “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter” won “Most Creative Team Name”. “Win or lose, everyone had a great time,” Jalfon commented.

More than $7,500 was raised during this year’s event, which also serves as a fundraiser for Memphis Public Libraries. All proceeds from the event will be used to enhance the Library’s collections and services system wide. “Corporate Knowledge Bowl provides critical support for the three million customers served annually by the Memphis Public Library & Information Center,” Jalfon added.

In addition to said competitors, other Library supporters for Corporate Knowledge Bowl 2013 were FedEx (two teams), First Tennessee (two teams), Orion, The Memphis Flyer, Cargill, Ensafe, Rhodes College, MLGW, and St. Jude (three teams).

Jalfon said, “Each year we have at least one or two teams who are new to the competition, and we fine tune the event in response to feedback we get from (previous years’) teams. We strive to make it a great experience for everyone involved!”

To register your company for Corporate Knowledge Bowl 2014, contact Diane Jalfon (diane.jalfon@memphistn.gov), Kelly Wetter (kelly.wetter@memphistn.gov), or call (901) 415-2831.

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