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Previous Stories From What's New

Library Gives Summer Reading a Facelift – Now EXPLORE MEMPHIS!

By: Marcey Wright

Click image to visit Explore Memphis website!Memphis Public Libraries have given their 30-year-old Summer Reading Program a facelift! The new and improved EXPLORE MEMPHIS is planned for June 2 - July 25, 2014 at each Memphis Public Library location. An expanded version of the traditional program, EXPLORE MEMPHIS will offer Library customers of all ages a chance to explore their interests, while exploring the Bluff City with free trips to several local attractions!

“We want customers to know that Memphis is more than any one community. We want them to learn new skills and to broaden their horizons personally and professionally,” emphasized Jason Sharp, an EXPLORE MEMPHIS organizer and youth services senior librarian at Whitehaven Library. “EXPLORE MEMPHIS is a way for kids, teens, adults, and even book clubs to find what they love and to explore that!”

Customers can choose from a few areas of “exploration,” centered on this year’s theme – Fizz, Boom, READ! – and the acronym STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Customers are encouraged to pick a STEAM category that interests them and read books, magazines, articles, or other material to learn more about it. Then, let the exploration begin! With a Library-issued “passport” in hand, customers can continue learning by visiting places like the Memphis Zoo, Pink Palace Museum, Dixon Art Gallery, Brooks Museum, Stax Museum, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, Lichterman Nature Center, Theatre Memphis, and the Magevney House on designated dates and times to gain free admission! At each destination, teen and adult customers will receive a claim code that they can enter into the EXPLORE MEMPHIS website to receive a digital badge! (Children ages 12 and under will receive sticker badges for participating.) Customers are also invited to EXPLORE MEMPHIS by attending exciting STEAM programs throughout the Memphis Public Library System!

Families can compete to earn a badge in each STEAM category for reading, exploring, participating, and sharing their new skills! Each badge earns them points on the EXPLORE MEMPHIS website leaderboard, and at the summer’s end, customers will showcase what they’ve learned.

“We want to comply with and support Shelby County Schools’ Common Core Curriculum. Plus, parents can model for their children the importance of reading, as families EXPLORE MEMPHIS together,” noted Adult Services Coordinator Wang-Ying Glasgow. “By reading and participating, we plan to make programs fun enough to educate and entertain at the same time,” Sharp added.

Customers who want to beat the summer heat indoors can still participate in EXPLORE MEMPHIS by reading books and winning prizes! As under the traditional Summer Reading Program, customers can still enjoy the perks of Summer Reading at the Library, including the popular Baby Bingo and winning weekly prizes like free books and gift cards. The grand prize at the summer’s end will be a Kindle Fire! Plus, The Urban Child Institute (EXPLORE MEMPHIS event sponsor) will give a free activity book to each child ages three to five – just for participating.

To get started with EXPLORE MEMPHIS, kids ages 12 and under can visit any Memphis Public Library location. Teen and adult customers can visit the EXPLORE MEMPHIS website or any Library location.

“We want customers to EXPLORE MEMPHIS this summer but to start at your local Library!” Sharp concluded.

This event is a collaboration between the Memphis Public Library & Information Center, the City of Memphis, The Urban Child Institute, the Memphis Library Foundation, and Friends of the Library. Event partners include the Memphis Zoo, Pink Palace Museum, Dixon Art Gallery, Brooks Museum, Stax Museum, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art, Lichterman Nature Center, Theatre Memphis, the Magevney House, and others.

For more information about EXPLORE MEMPHIS, call (901) 415-2700 or visit www.explorememphis.org.

The SPOTLIGHT is ON May 10 at Central Library!

By: Marcey Wright

Cameras flashed and captured Memphis history! Meet the man behind the camera May 10, 2 pm at Central Library (4th floor).The Memphis Public Library & Information Center will cast the “Spotlight on Bob Williams,” a renowned photographer formerly of The Commercial Appeal. Library customers will see Williams’ historic photos and meet the man behind the camera Saturday, May 10, 2014, 2 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, 4th floor)!

Click here or call (901) 415-2742 for more information.

From presidents, celebrities, and politicians to business leaders, sports figures, and even beauty queens, Williams photographed them all! A list of names is below.

Jimmy Carter
George Bush, Sr.
Lyndon Johnson
Dwight Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Robert Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Billy Graham
Martin Luther King
Joe Lewis
Wilt Chamberlain
Lou Costello
Eddie Fisher
Sammie Davis, Jr.
Frank Sinatra
Art Linkletter
Wink Martindale
Doris Day
Sonja Henie
Ernest Withers
Dewey Phillips
Pricilla Presley
Lisa Marie Presley
Natalie Wood
Joe Namath
Jane Russell
Minnie Pearl
Anita Wood
Nick Adams
Red West
Dorothy Harmony
Billy Carter
Mickey Rooney
Evonne Lime
June Carter
Memphis Belle Crew
Eleanor Roosevelt
Oral Roberts
Joan Crawford
Jimmy Hoffa
Danny Thomas
Louis Armstong
Count Basie
Gus Cameron
Joe DiMaggio
Chet Atkins
Elvis Presley
Vernon Presley
Gladys Presley
Marguerite Piazza
Kemmons Wilson
Bear Bryant
Lynda Meade Shea
Barbara Walker Hummel
Wallace Johnson
Adlai Stevenson
Dean Martin
Jerry Lewis
Andy Griffith
Don Knott
Ferlin Husky
Dolly Parton
Pat Boone
Roy Rogers
Dale Evans
Jimmy Stewart
Linda Thompson
Bob Hope
The Beatles
Susan Hayward
Albert Gore, Sr.
Larry Finch
Arnold Palmer
Walter Brennan
Carry Middlecoff
Jack Nichlaus
Gary Player
Henry Loeb

Library Shines Spotlight on Noted Photographer Bob Williams

Click here to see a list of prominent people Williams photographed!

By: Marcey Wright

Memphis Public Libraries are shining the "Spotlight on Bob Williams" at Central Library!Although renowned photographer Bob Williams spent his career behind the camera, his life and contributions will be spotlighted Saturday, May 10, 2014, 2 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). This program, held in the Memphis & Shelby County Room (4th floor), will offer Library customers a nostalgic look back at Memphis history through the lens of Bob Williams.

“The mission of the Memphis Room is to tell Memphis’ story,” explained Central Library History Department Manager Wayne Dowdy. “We think Mr. Williams should be recognized as one of the greatest photojournalists of our time. His photographs are unique. Very few photographers could set a scene and tell a story like he did.”

A longtime photojournalist for The Commercial Appeal, Williams told the story of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., former Presidents Lyndon Johnson’s and Richard Nixon’s visits to Memphis, and rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, to name a few. Through his camera lens, Williams captured the nation’s news from Memphis’ point of view. “One of the fascinating things about Bob Williams’ photos is that he would tell a little story that revealed a lot about how Memphians lived at that time (latter part of the 20th century),” Dowdy commented.

During the program, Library customers will see an exhibit of carefully-selected photos from the Library’s collection of Williams’ work. Several speakers will take customers on a trip through Memphis’ history, using the photographic display. Bob Williams will attend also.

Dowdy concluded, “Doing programs like this, we can – in a short time – introduce Memphians to a hidden part of their culture. Bob Williams is a part of that culture. With his photographs, he tells everyone’s story.” Click here to see a list of prominent people Williams photographed!

For more information about the “Spotlight on Bob Williams” program at Central Library, call (901) 415-2742.

Countdown is On to Bookstock 2014 at Central Library

By: Marcey Wright

Click image to see full list of Bookstock authors!Bookstock 2014 is tomorrow – Saturday, April 26, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). Several New York Times best-selling authors are slated to attend, alongside featured guest and keynote speaker Eric Jerome Dickey.

Click here for a complete list of Bookstock 2014 authors!

More than 50 authors, their fans, and booklovers of all ages will attend the festival, which will include live music, food trucks, a scavenger hunt, face painting for kids, balloon artistry, and lots of books!

New this year is More Than Ingredients cookbook discussion with author and old-fashioned chef Alexe Van Beuren; Romancing the Story panel with authors Patricia Potter and Carolyn McSparren; and Summertime is Crime Time panel with award-winning mystery writers Megan Abbott, Ace Atkins, Scott Phillips, and Michael Kardos. Another panel – Aspiring Writers Under Scrutiny – is for beginning writers and will be hosted by Sheila Lipsey and Courtney Miller Santos. Then, keynote speaker and panelist Eric Jerome Dickey will team up with other authors Mark Greaney and Keith Thomson to take customers From the South to Around the World with International Spy Thrillers.

“Bring your family out to meet and greet nationally-renowned authors and local ones too,” encouraged Wang-Ying Glasgow, event organizer and Library adult services coordinator. “Customers will realize that there are so many local writers that they’ve never met, and they will be inspired to write their own stories!”

Library customers will also meet Barry Wolverton (Neversink), Deborah Johnson (The Air Between Us), Wei Chen (Around the World in 69 Days), Scott Phillips (The Ice Harvest), Dr. Miriam DeCosta Willis of the Owen College History Committee (The Legacy of Owen College), and many more. From fiction to nonfiction, mystery to inspirational, and even children’s books, Bookstock 2014 has something for readers of all ages and interests.

Kids will enjoy Bookstock Jr., which will include PAWs for Reading with therapy dog Olly and her human companion Luciana, chalk drawing in the Library’s courtyard, and even movie clip showings of The Tales of Despereaux and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

“The benefits of Bookstock are three-fold,” Glasgow concluded. “Customers meet authors and enjoy the day of festivities. Authors promote their work directly to readers, and the Library further develops as the convener and connector of authors and readers. We hope to develop a love for literacy and lifelong learning citywide!”

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

Bookstock 2014 Welcomes Noted Authors to Central Library!

By: Marcey Wright


Click here for a complete list of Bookstock 2014 authors!

Click here to learn more about Bookstock Jr., activities especially for kids!

New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey is coming to Central Library on Saturday, April 26 for Bookstock 2014! Photo - Joseph Jones PhotographyThe Memphis Public Library & Information Center is offering customers a chance to meet New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey and several other noted authors at this year’s Bookstock held Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue).

The annual event has several new additions this year like a Writers’ Workshop for aspiring authors, a “Summertime is Crime Time” panel with award-winning crime fiction writers discussing their upcoming novels, a cooking demonstration and book talk entitled “More Than Ingredients,” and other headlining authors. These festivities will add to the carnival-like setting of face painting, live music, balloon artistry, a scavenger hunt, food trucks, and lots of books!

“Bring your family out to meet and greet authors,” encouraged Wang-Ying Glasgow, event organizer and Library adult services coordinator. “Customers will realize that there are so many local authors that they’ve never met. They will be inspired to write their own stories and can take pride that Memphis has so much talent!”

More than 40 local authors are slated to attend Bookstock 2014 with featured guest Eric Jerome Dickey, renowned romance writer of more than 20 books and a six-issue mini-series of graphic novels along with his latest novel A Wanted Woman.

“Many people are eager to meet Eric Jerome Dickey,” Glasgow commented. “After reading a book and ‘hearing’ an author’s voice, meeting him or her and getting an autograph is an exciting experience. Customers can also ask questions to learn more about Dickey’s work.”

Other authors spanning several genres will also attend including Barry Wolverton (Neversink), Megan Abbott (Dare Me), Deborah Johnson (The Air Between Us), Mark Greaney (The Gray Man), Wei Chen (Around the World in 69 Days), Michael Kardos (The Three-Day Affair), Scott Phillips (The Ice Harvest), Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis (The Legacy of Owen College), and many more. From fiction to nonfiction, mystery to inspirational, and even children’s books, this year’s event has something for readers of all ages and interests.

Not just for published writers, this year’s Bookstock also focuses on aspiring authors as well. “The Writers’ Workshop is designed for people who want to take their writing to the next level,” Glasgow explained. “They may already have a manuscript and need guidance getting it published. This event will help them to overcome those barriers. Aspiring authors can also take notes at the new ‘Summertime is Crime Time’ panel discussion with authors who have written crime novels.”

Whether learning to write or looking for a free day of entertainment and family fun, everyone is sure to find their niche at Bookstock 2014. “The benefits of Bookstock are three-fold,” said Glasgow. “Customers meet authors and enjoy the day. Authors promote their work directly to readers, and the Library further develops as the convener and connector of authors and readers. We hope to develop a love for literacy and lifelong learning citywide,” she concluded.

Teens Can Apply Now for Teen Tech Camp 2014

IT professionals will teach teens to create their own video games!

By: Marcey Wright

Apply now for Teen Tech Camp 2014 at your Library!Today’s teens hoping to become tomorrow’s IT experts are encouraged to apply now for the Library’s Teen Tech Camp 2014, an interactive workshop July 21 – 26, 2014 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) for young techies to learn cutting-edge software from industry professionals.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Teen Tech Camp, organizers say participants should beat the last-minute rush and apply early. The application deadline is Friday, May 23, 2014. Click here for an application.

Teens ages 13 to 15 will learn coding, how to create their own video games, and how to use Scratch, specialized software designed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). IT experts from the Society for Information Management (Memphis chapter) will be on hand to teach new skills, answer questions, and to offer advice on pursuing technical careers.

“In this camp, teens will get a good foundation to start their careers. Our goal is to get teens interested in tech careers at an early age,” explained Keshia Williams, Humanities librarian and event organizer. “If we succeed in lighting the spark in teens’ eyes, there is no limit to where technology will lead them in the future!”

Only 20 campers will be admitted into Teen Tech Camp 2014. Applications include essay questions and a teacher recommendation. “Essay questions are extremely important for admission, along with what teachers have to say,” noted Williams.

On the final day of camp, teens will attend a graduation and present their creations to family and friends. “Apply, apply, apply,” Williams concluded.

For more information about Teen Tech Camp or how to apply, click here or 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.

No Need To Fear; Tax Help Is Here at Memphis Public Libraries!

By: Marcey Wright

Filing income taxes is free and easy at Memphis Public Libraries! The story has details.

The April 15 deadline to file 2013 taxes has some taxpayers screaming for "help", but Memphis Public Library customers are taking advantage of free tax assistance offered at several Library locations.

A partnership with AARP and VITA, this community service gives customers a reliable and worry-free way to file their federal income taxes. To get started, Memphis Public Libraries maintains a webpage of community tax resources throughout Memphis, Shelby County, and the surrounding area.

"It can be a financial burden to pay a professional tax preparer for people with low to moderate income," noted Audrey May, LINC/2-1-1 public services supervisor. "Our role as the Library is to provide information and access to these services without the financial burden. We provide people with the information and tools to make life easier, and this is one of those tools!”

Primarily serving customers ages 60 and over, AARP volunteers work on a first come, first served basis at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Cordova Branch Library, and Bartlett Branch Library.

              Bartlett Branch Library (5884 Stage Road)
              Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Monday, April 14

              Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) 
              Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Tuesday, April 15 
              (Library is closed April 4.)

              Cordova Branch Library (8457 Trinity Road) 
              Thursdays, 10 am – 1:30 pm
              Through Thursday, April 10

Customers of all ages with low to moderate income can choose from several Library locations, where VITA tax professionals will be there to help.

              Cornelia Crenshaw Branch Library (531 Vance Avenue)
              Wednesday, April 2, 2014, noon – 4 pm

              Parkway Village Branch Library (4655 Knight Arnold Road)
              Thursday, April 3, 2014, 1 pm – 5 pm

              East Shelby Branch Library (7200 East Shelby Drive)
              Saturday, April 5, 21014, noon – 4 pm

              Frayser Branch Library (3712 Argonne Street) 
              Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 1 pm – 5 pm

              Gaston Park Library (1040 South Third Street)
              Thursday, April 10, noon – 4 pm

              Raleigh Branch Library (3157 Powers Road)
              Friday, April 11, 2014, noon – 4 pm

Customers are asked to bring their social security card, income and tax documents, and any other information noting medical fees and charitable contributions (if itemizing). The previous year's income tax return is also helpful but not mandatory.

“There are no rip-offs. Customers’ information is kept completely confidential,” added Adult Services Coordinator Wang-Ying Glasgow. “Credibility is essential. The Library, AARP, and VITA are reputable resources to help customers prepare their taxes. They are all trusted sources,” she stressed.

“Libraries are trusted guardians of information,” May added, “and we take that responsibility very seriously to make sure that information is accurate, unbiased, and reliable.”

In addition to its reliability, tax services at the Library offer quality and convenience, even for customers filing last-minute income tax returns. Super Tax Days will be held at Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting rooms A – C) from 10 am to 4:30 pm on April 12, 14, and 15. Tax preparers will be on-hand each day to help customers meet the last-minute rush!

“We appreciate our volunteers for their dedication and for volunteering to provide this much-needed service to the community,” Glasgow added. “And it’s free! It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Click here for more information about the Library’s free tax assistance or other community tax resources.

Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale Sprouts Lots of Great Deals

By: Na’Tasha Farr, Special to MPLIC

Friends of the Library spring Book Sale Sprouts lots of great deals for excited customers!Where’s a place that sells hardbacks and paperbacks, children’s books, records, cassettes, magazines, CDs, and videos all for $2 or less? It’s at the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale.

The action will take place at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue), 10 am – 4:30 pm on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24, 2014. A special pre-sale for the Friends of the Library members will be held from 8 am to 10 am on Friday, May 23.

“Our customers get the opportunity to purchase books at extremely reasonable prices,” said Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Special Projects Nancy Knight. “There will be a really broad variety of items that will include everything from children’s books to coffee table books, art books, and encyclopedias.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward Library programs and collections throughout the Memphis Public Library System. “The Friends of the Library has two book sales annually that bring in revenue to support the Library,” Knight said. “Plus, the sales give customers a chance to get great books and give back at the same time!”

See the complete price list below

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











Knight concluded, “We offer a really great collection for any booklover, any book collector, or anyone who just wants to find a few good deals! The Friends of the Library Book Sale is your place!”

For more information about the Book Sale, call (901) 415-2871 or (901) 415-2840.

To become a Friends of the Library member, click here.

Earth Day - Cause for Celebrations at Memphis Public Libraries

By: Na'Tasha Farr, Special to MPLIC

Make plans to preserve the planet for Earth Day at Memphis Public Libraries!Keeping the earth clean can be a major task, but making it fun can inspire teens to recycle, throw away trash, or even to make art! Library customers can grab a friend, and get involved in Earth Day celebrations throughout the Memphis Public Library System.

Raleigh Branch Library (3157 Powers Road) will kick start the celebration on Earth Day (April 22), 3 pm with some friendly competition in the Trash to Art Contest. During the event, teens will work independently or as teams to design original artwork using their imaginations and art skills. Everyone will receive a prize, but the contest winner will have their artwork displayed in Raleigh Library’s Teen Section. Customers should call (901) 415-2778 to register, but walk-ins are welcome.

Teen Library Assistant Shelley Moore said she encourages all customers ages 13 to 18 to get involved. “We want teens to see ‘trash’ as a resource that can be reused in a new way or as a new item,” she commented. “The Library wants to engage teens by showing them how to use their imaginations to create art and to foster a passion for it also. After the program, we hope that teens will reuse, reduce, and recycle more to keep Memphis a clean and beautiful place to live, learn, and grow for future generations,” she said.

The celebration doesn’t end on Earth Day. On April 23, 2:30 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue), teens can create artwork and repurpose recycled items at “Crafts for Teens”. Then, on April 24, 2:30 pm, Central Library teens will view the movie “Hoot” and discuss how they can make the world a better place!

Teen Librarian Keshia Williams said she is excited about the upcoming celebrations. “We really want to convey the message of how important it is to take care of the earth,” Williams emphasized. “We will talk about ways that teens can contribute to making the world a better place for future generations!” For more information about Earth Day at Central Library, call (901) 415-2726.

Library Offers List of New Books on Brain Injuries, Thanks to Regional One Health Donation

By: Marcey Wright

Library customers needing information on traumatic brain injuries should visit the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library or Cordova Branch Library for MPLIC's new brain injury book collection donated by Regional One Health.To observe Brain Injury Awareness Month (March) and honor those who live with traumatic brain injuries, Regional One Health has donated a variety of books and other educational items about traumatic brain injuries to The Memphis Public Library & Information Center.

“From major car crashes to concussions from sports, brain injury awareness is a topic that is discussed more and more. When it affects families, it can be overwhelming,” noted Melissa Skipper, adult collection development librarian at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. “The Library is one of the places where people can come for helpful information. Here they will see that they’re not alone.”

With approximately 30 carefully-selected titles and more than 100 quick reference guides, this material will help patients of all ages and their families to navigate through traumatic experiences. Readers will better understand signs to recognize, questions to ask, actions to take, and how to complete them.

Children’s books such as Elvin the Elephant Who Forgets, Daddy’s Home, and My Parent has a Brain Injury: A Guide for Young People offer kids an age-appropriate insight into brain injuries that they or their parents may be facing. Other titles like Healing Together, Brain Injury: It Is a Journey, and Living with Blast Injuries, PTSD, and TBI are ideal for adult readers. Specialty books like Parents and Educators as Partners: A Workbook on Helping Your Child After Brain Injury and Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis are geared toward parents, teachers, and coaches.

“I know there are many in our community who need and will benefit from these resources. There is something in this collection for individuals of all ages,” related Carolyn Chambers, traumatic brain injury service coordinator at Regional One Health. Chambers further commented: “A brain injury can happen at any time, anywhere, to anyone. Brain injuries do not discriminate, and more than 1.7 million people sustain brain injuries each year bringing a lifetime of physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes. It is important for brain injury survivors, veterans, families, clinicians, caregivers, and advocates to access information based on the best clinical practices and most current research in the field of brain injury that is both practical and user-friendly.”

The collection was funded by proceeds from the 2013 Ride for Your Mind Bike Ride, an event to heighten awareness of traumatic brain injury in the local community and to promote wearing helmets to prevent brain injuries.

For more information about Traumatic Brain Injury Service, call (901) 545-8487.

For details about Memphis Public Library’s donated collection of books on traumatic brain injuries, visit the Business & Sciences’ Department (third floor) of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue) or call (901) 415-2734.

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