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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

'Read with Me, Sign with Me' Storytime is Quality Time for Families

By: Marcey Wright

"Read with Me, Sign with Me" storytime is 'quality time' for families with deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing children.More than just a storytime alone, “Read with Me, Sign with Me” is family time – a chance for families with deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing children to enjoy a story that’s read aloud and signed at the same time.

“‘Read with Me, Sign with Me’ brings a diverse group of people together – young and old, hearing, hard-of-hearing, and deaf – to practice signing everyday words, to learn best practices for helping deaf children learn to read, and to enjoy stories together,” explained Children’s Librarian Susan Penn. “The program also offers time for interaction between those who sign and those who don’t. There is a strong sense of community-building taking place,” she said.

Families with children ages 2 – 12 are invited to attend storytimes at 11 am on Saturdays, January 11, February 1, March 1, April 5, and May 3 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue).

During storytimes, an age appropriate story is read and signed, followed by sign language practice, conversation, and arts and crafts related to the story. “We try to make the program a learning opportunity for children and parents as well,” Penn noted. “Children usually make something to take with them. Tips to broaden parents’ understanding of early literacy, writing, vocabulary, child development, the deaf culture, and more are shared at each program also”.

“Read with Me, Sign with Me” results from a partnership between the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Deaf Family Literacy Mid-South, and Rhodes College. The trio works together to bring the storytime to families who make it a regular activity. “Each program draws between 25 and 65 Library customers on any Saturday and, yes, we have regular attendants,” Penn said. “‘Read with Me, Sign with Me’ has helped to encourage families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children to use the Library and trust that the Library has something to offer them,” she concluded.

For more information about “Read with Me, Sign with Me,” call (901) 415-2739.

Free ‘Speed Pitch’ Event to Help Customers Promote Small Business Ideas

Top three sales pitches will receive $100 cash prize!

Click here to register!

Have a great small business idea? The Memphis Public Library and Information Center, in partnership with Start Co., is here to help you pitch it! A special Speed Pitch Event and Information Session will be held Thursday, January 23, 2014, 11 am – 3 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting rooms A – C).

The day will be filled with educational exercises, a “speed pitch” competition, and one-on-one training from business leaders. Free sales pitch training and practice will begin at 11 am. Then, at noon, aspiring entrepreneurs will test their pitch during the “Small Business Speed Pitch Competition,” a chance to effectively sell their small business ideas in two minutes. The top three sales pitches will receive a $100 cash prize! From 1 pm – 3 pm, participants will receive individual training on business development to help launch their businesses. Lunch will be provided.

 Click here to register!

Entrepreneurs and other local industry leaders will speak and offer information about MEMx, a strategic plan to transform and grow the Memphis economy.

For more information about the Speed Pitch Event and Information Session, contact Start Co. Relationship Manager Rachel Wilhite at rachel@neverstop.co.

Surprise in Store for Teen Tech Camp 2014

Organizers encourage teens to apply early!

By: Marcey Wright

Teen Tech campers 2013 had a blast learning to create their own video games with the help of industry professionals from SIM.Keeping up with the latest technology in today’s world is a task, but each year the Memphis Public Library and Information Center makes the task a lot easier for teens during Teen Tech Camp (TTC), an interactive, five-day workshop that allows young techies a chance to learn cutting-edge software from industry professionals of the Society for Information Management (SIM).

“Teen Tech Camp gives teens the opportunity to explore what is out there for them in the technological field,” explained Keshia Williams, event organizer and Humanities librarian. “Hearing SIM representatives talk about their college backgrounds and careers also offers campers a more concrete way of setting their goals toward a future in the world of technology.”

In previous camps, teens have learned to create their own video games using software like Scratch and Wings 3D, but organizers say TTC 2014 will provide campers with a new range of skills. “Instead of designing a game, campers will develop apps to use on cell phones,” Williams said. “They can expect to plan and develop their apps, have lots of fun, and make new friends from all over the City!”

Only 20 campers, ages 13 – 15, will be admitted into TTC 2014, which is completely free of charge. Applications will be available starting in May. “It is very important for teens to submit their applications on time, making sure it is filled out completely,” Williams noted. Since admission to the camp is so competitive, Williams offered a few pointers on how land a spot. “We base our selections on the essay questions that teens must submit, as well as the required teacher recommendation,” she said.

Currently, plans are still underway for TTC 2014, but parents are encouraged to get applications for their teens as soon as they are available. “Apply, apply, apply!” Williams concluded.

For more information about Teen Tech Camp 2014, call (901) 415-2726.

This event is sponsored by Memphis Public Libraries, the City of Memphis, and the Memphis chapter of the Society for Information Management.

Library Employees Prepare to Bowl Toward Achievement

Junior Achievement Bowl-a-thon Coming in March 2014!

By: Marcey Wright

Memphis Public Library employees and their families support Junior Achievement at Bowl-a-thon 2013.Smiles come to the faces of Library employees during this special time of year – the Junior Achievement Bowl-a-thon!

Equipping students with work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills, Junior Achievement uses the annual Bowl-a-thon as its premier fundraiser. The City of Memphis, represented by its Divisions, participates each year. Memphis Public Libraries represent the Parks and Neighborhoods Division.

“The City of Memphis and numerous other companies assist Junior Achievement in meeting their objective of preparing youth for a brighter tomorrow,” said Ralph Bridgewater, event organizer and delivery and distribution supervisor for Memphis Public Libraries. “Winning this event does not bring us great status or a championship ring, but it shows that we are a group that takes public service beyond the walls of the Library and its branches.”

Competition is fierce, yet fun, as Library employees bowl to support Junior Achievement.Bridgewater said bowling teams are now forming for this year’s event, which will be held March 1, 2014. The general public is invited to help Library employees “bowl toward achievement” by joining an existing team or creating their own. To register, call (901) 415-2865 or (901) 415-2777.

“Come out and support this great cause,” Bridgewater concluded.

Foundation's Luncheon to Honor Long-Serving Board Members

Click here or call (901) 415-2831 to purchase your tickets today!

The Memphis Library Foundation is hosting an Appreciation Luncheon for long-standing board members on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Call (901) 415-2831.

The Memphis Library Foundation was formed in 1994 to organize and raise funds for a new Central Library. Several dedicated volunteers with a passion for libraries banned together and worked untiringly alongside Library staff to raise more than $21.5M for the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, which opened its doors in 2001.

To celebrate 20 years of service, vision, and support of Memphis Public Libraries, the Memphis Library Foundation will recognize several of its long-standing board members with an Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, February 6, 2014, 11:30 am at the Peabody Hotel (149 Union Avenue). Honorees include Dunbar Abston, Jack Belz, Mike Cody, Leslie Dale, John Paul Jones, and Honey Scheidt. Former Board President and Campaign Chairman the late Charles Leonard will be honored as well.

“These individuals made extraordinary contributions to the establishment of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library,” said Diane Jalfon, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are pleased to commend their efforts as we celebrate the success of our Library – one of our community’s greatest resources.”

The public is invited to attend the event and hear fascinating stories of how the iconic Central Library building came into existence. Individual tickets to the luncheon are $60 and can be purchased by calling (901) 415-2831 or by visiting www.memphislibraryfoundation.org/donation-center.

Today, the Foundation continues to support all 18 branches of the Memphis Public Library System and the nearly three million customers who visit them annually. Because of these ongoing efforts and others, more than 600 computers are available for public use throughout Memphis Public Libraries and more than 2,800 programs were offered in 2013 alone. The Foundation continues to raise private dollars to enhance the Library, its collections, technology, and programs.

For more information about the Appreciation Luncheon or the Memphis Library Foundation, contact Diane Jalfon at (901) 415-2831 or email diane.jalfon@memphistn.gov.

Library Encourages Customers to Welcome New Year with New Challenges

Memphis Public Library's College Fair 2014 is coming to Central Library January 14 - 15

The Memphis Public Library & Information Center (MPLIC), in partnership with the Memphis Talent Dividend, is hosting College Fair 2014 on January 14 - 15 at Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue)!By: Marcey Wright

The Memphis Public Library and Information Center (MPLIC), in partnership with the Memphis Talent Dividend, is helping customers to reach their full potential in the New Year with the Library’s College Fair 2014, coming to the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting rooms A – C ) on January 14 – 15.

Each day of the fair is uniquely designed to meet the specific needs of Memphis citizens of all ages. On Tuesday, January 14, 10 am – 4 pm, high school students and recent graduates are invited to talk to college recruiters, ask questions about financial aid, take a look at dorm life, followed by a tour of the Library, and a crash course in Greek life!(High school students and recent graduates are asked to register prior to the event.) Working adults and other nontraditional students considering college are encouraged to attend the fair on Wednesday, January 15, noon – 5 pm. College recruiters will be on hand to help them navigate through the college admissions process, locate resources for financial aid, and answer questions.

College Fair attendants also will receive other helpful information like a sample college essay, an ACT writing test sample, a dorm room checklist, and earning statistics for college graduates.

To register or learn more about the Memphis Public Library’s College Fair 2014, call (901) 415-2847.

Downloadable Music Now Available for Free at Memphis Public Libraries

Click here to start downloading your favorite tunes today!

By: Marcey Wright

Memphis Public Libraries now offer free downloadable music to Library customers through Freegal Music Service!The search for affordable music to download is over. The Memphis Public Library and Information Center now offers The Freegal Music Service for the best price in town – FREE!

With more than 7 million songs from Sony Music and many other labels, Library customers now have access to Top 10 Music Billboard picks in R&B, Pop, Rock, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Classical, and more.

“This is a service we think our customers will really appreciate,” said Library Collections Development Manager Alan Stewart. “Memphis Public Libraries have always provided music in whatever the current format was at the time, and the public has moved to digital formats for music. Thanks to more money in the budget from the City of Memphis, we can do more in the digital realm.”

While entering the digital music world, Memphis Public Libraries are also offering customers the chance to keep downloaded songs without worry of “returning” it to the Library! “This is a different model for us – the idea of offerings to keep,” Stewart noted, “but I’m sure our customers won’t mind. It’s about access to the material.”

To use the service, music lovers must own a Library card, create an account through the Library’s website, and type in their Library card number. Three music downloads are allowable each week, and music videos occupy two downloads. “We’re confident our customers will really enjoy Freegal,” Stewart said.

Director of Libraries Keenon McCloy also commented on the new music download service. “The Library’s mission is to satisfy the customers’ need to know, and we firmly believe that ‘need’ includes musical education and entertainment. This new service meets those needs and complements other Library programs and services as well. Once customers enter the Library’s doors, there is an endless supply of services at their fingertips. Freegal Music Service allows them to download music while visiting the Library or from home; either way they will receive the same great Library service!”

Click here to start downloading music today!

For more information on Memphis Public Library’s downloadable collections, call 415-2708.

Library Customers Can Help to 'Bridge Cultures' at Central Library

 The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” by Eboo PatelLibrary customers can learn about Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim and the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, a book by Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s inaugural advisory council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

A panel discussion, themed “Bridging Cultures and Acts of Faith,” is Sunday, November 10, 2013, 2 pm – 4 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). Patel’s book, the topic of discussion, is about the appeal of religious fundamentalism to youth and how young people’s spiritual hunger entwines with their desire to make a mark on the whole. A memoir chronicling the author’s own experiences, with every page Patel encourages readers to reach an interfaith understanding and respect through camaraderie in service and justice.

The event is free and open to the public. All Library customers can participate in this nationally-sponsored program and community read with Memphis Public Libraries and its partners.

For more information about “Bridging Cultures and Acts of Faith,” call 415-2709 or visit http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/.

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.

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