Presidential Election 2016

By Sharon Reily, Reference Department

Undecided? If you haven’t been able to decide about a candidate in the presidential election, here is a sampling of the many titles at library on both candidates and the 2016 election. Learn more about Clinton and Trump from these books and other resources at the Library.

THE ELECTIONpresidential-1311753_1280

  • Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government by David Brock (324.70973 BRO)
  • We’re Still Right, They’re Still Wrong: The Democrats’ Case for 2016 by James Carville (324.2734 CAR)
  • The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative Contentious Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House by McKay Choppins (324.2734 COP)
  • Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party by Dinesh D’Souza (324.2736 D’SOU)
  • The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics by Maureen Dowd (324.973 DOW)
  • Talking Politics? What You Need to Know Before Opening Your Mouth by Sheila Suess Kennedy (320.973 KEN)
  • Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary by Dick Morris & Eileen McGann (324.973 MOR)

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropHILLARY CLINTON

  • Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox ed. by Joanne Cronrath Bamberger (324.973 LOV)
  • A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Carl Bernstein (92 CLINTON)
  • Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary by Edward Cline (92 CLINTON)
  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton (92 CLINTON)
  • Living History by Hillary Clinton (92 CLINTON)
  • Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power by Mark Landler (327.73 LAN)
  • Thirty Ways of Looking At Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers ed. by Susan  Morrison (973.929092 THI)
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Rebecca Traister (324.9730931 TR)

donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore_10Donald Trump

  • In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! by Ann Coulter (324.973 COU)
  • Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit Of Success by Michael D’Antonio (92 TRUMP)
  • Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power by Michael Kranish & Marc Fisher (92 TRUMP)
  • Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again by Donald Trump (320.973 TRU)
  • The American We Deserve by Donald Trump (320.973 TRU)
  • Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump (92 TRUMP)
  • Trump: The Art of the Comeback by Donald Trump (92 TRUMP)

It’s National Friends of the Library Week!

By Jeffie Nicholson, Reference Departmentfotl-wcpltn

What is a Friends of the Library group?  They are outstanding individuals who value the services a public library provides to a community.  They are willing to volunteer their time and talents plus dedicate themselves to the promotion and support of their local library.

To recognize and celebrate the volunteer and fundraising work of Friends in local community libraries, the United for Libraries division of the American Library Association designates one week in October as the National Friends of Libraries Week.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed October 16-22, 2016, as Friends of Libraries Week in Tennessee and encourages all citizens to join in this worthy observance.fotl-1

Our own Friends of the Williamson County Public Library group was established in 1961.  They held their first meeting on December 3 at the War Memorial Public Library. Over the years, they have contributed thousands of dollars to our  library.  Nearly $15,000 for books was raised this year. They also provide support for staff training and education, and other endeavors as they arise.fotl-2

Our Friends raise these funds via membership fees, their book sales and events such as the Special Children’s Book Sales and by selling t-shirts and book bags. Members volunteer to help out with these and library events plus special Friends events like October’s “Boo Books” on October 24.fotl-summer-2012-book-sale

“The library has always played such an important role in my life and in my family’s life,” said Friends president Debbie Eades. “I truly enjoy being able to give something back – and being an active member of this group is fun!”

Our Friends of the Library are truly priceless and our library system would be bereft without their contributions. Did you know that the value of a volunteer hour is now assessed at $20.56? It leaves you speechless when you think about all the time our Friends give to the library.

“Our library would be much poorer without the Friends,” said Library Director Dolores Greenwald. “The funds they raise are such a valuable contribution to our community. I think most patrons would be surprised to learn how much support is provided by our local Friends groups.”

— andrew gold video : Thank You for Being a Friend!

Want to learn more?

Want to join your local Friends group? Here are the groups in our Williamson County Public Library System:


Internet Safety for Kids

By Katy Searcy, Children’s Department

Let’s talk about the Internet for a minute. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what I would do without the Internet. We have access to information literally at our fingertips, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I love being able to find answers to the random questions zipping through my head. Of course, I don’t have to list off all the benefits of the Internet, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you the dangers of the Internet either.

The Internet can be a scary place for anyone. There are creeps and weirdos galore, and who knows whether or not our information is really private? It’s tough enough for many adults to navigate, so it’s no wonder we receive lots of requests for books about Internet safety for kids. Kids use a variety of online services, from social media to games, and each one hosts its own safety concerns. Below are a few basic tips parents can be sure to implement no matter how their kids use the Internet, as well as a list of resources to use for talking about Internet safety with kids:

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites kids can visit and for how long.
  • Remember that the Internet is mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
  • Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social media, instant messaging, email, online gaming, and using webcams.
  • Continually talk with your children about online safety.

The following websites provide more in depth tips and suggestions for talking about Internet safety with children:

    • A program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NetSmartz Workshop provides interactive, age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safe online. This website features videos, games, presentations, and other activities for kids ages 5 through 17, as well as guides for parents and educators.
    • PBS Parents is a great resource for information about all aspects of child development and early learning, and the “Children and Media” section is especially helpful for talking to kids about online safety. Featuring numerous articles and age-by-age tips for helping children and teens get the most out of media and technology, this website provides information for parents of children ages 3 through 18.
    • Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization that provides information and advice to help parents navigate the issues surrounding raising children in the digital age. The website’s extensive FAQ section features questions from real parents that are broken down by age group or topic.

And finally, here’s a list of books we have here at WCPL about Internet safety and security for both kids and parents:

  • “Berenstain Bears’ Computer Trouble” (part of 5 Minute Berenstain Bears Stories) (J E BERENSTAIN)
  • Savvy Cyber Kids (J E HALPERT)
  • What Does It Mean to be Safe? (J E DIORIO)
  • Online Privacy (J 005.8 MAR)
  • Safe Social Networking (J 006.754 LIN)
  • The Smart Girl’s Guide to the Internet: How to Connect with Friends, Find What You Need, and Stay Safe Online (J 006.754083 CIN) American Girl nonfiction
  • A Smart Kid’s Guide to Social Networking Online (J 006.754083 JAK)
  • Information Insecurity: Privacy Under Siege (YA 323.448 JAN)
  • iRules: What Every Tech-Healthy Family Needs to Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up (004.678083 HOF)
  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (302.2310835 PAL)
  • It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (302.30285 BOY)
  • How to Protect Your Children on the Internet: A Roadmap for Parents and Teachers (305.235 SMI)
  • Cyber Self-Defense: Expert Advice to Avoid Online Predators, Identity Theft, and Cyberbullying (613.602854678 MOO)


Zen and the Art of Winnie-the-Pooh

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

After a particularly nerve-shredding week that saw citizens foaming at the mouth over the divorce announcement of a high-profile celebrity couple, schools placed on lockout over bizarre and inexplicable clown sightings, and a media frenzy surrounding the alleged armed robbery of millions of dollars in jewelry from a woman who is famous merely for being famous (and saying and doing obnoxious things), I was desperate for some calm.  (Fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” may insert a quote here from the delightful and unparalleled Daryl Dixon:  “Am I the only one Zen around here?  Good Lord!”)   I needed some Zen and I needed it fast.  How utterly fortuitous it is that I am employed in the Children’s Department of Williamson County Public Library, by which I was granted an unrestricted, all-access pass to some books about Alan Alexander Milne’s deceptively simple but actually quite wise “Silly Old Bear,” that delightful creature who has won the hearts of readers for more than nine decades, Winnie The Pooh.


Winnie the Pooh, aka Pooh Bear, first appeared as Edward Bear in a poem in A.A. Milne’s1924 children’s verse book When We Were Very Young.  The first collection of stories about Pooh and his friends was Winnie-the-Pooh, published in October of 1926 and followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928.  Milne named the character for a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was of course the inspiration for the character Christopher Robin.  Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, and Tigger were also toys belonging to Christopher Robin Milne and were incorporated into A.A. Milne’s stories.  Owl and Rabbit were created from Milne’s imagination, and Gopher was later added in the Disney theatrical adaptation.  Some of Christopher Robin Milne’s original toys have been on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City.


Dear Reader, you’ll be thrilled to learn that after spending some time reminiscing with Pooh and his friends (and a delicious cup of black chai tea), I was able to regain my sense of Zen.  While contemplating a second cup of tea, it occurred to me that Pooh is quite fond of snacks, and I think he would wholeheartedly encourage me to have another, and accompany it with a “smackerel” of something.  If you recall, Pooh makes it a habit to eat a snack at around eleven in the morning.  Seeing as how all the clocks in Pooh’s house “stopped at five minutes to eleven some weeks ago,” then pretty much any time of day or night can be considered Pooh’s snack time.

“Christopher Robin was at home by this time,

because it was the afternoon, and he was so glad     

to see them that they stayed there until very nearly

tea-time, and then they had a Very Nearly Tea,

which is one you forget about afterwards, and

hurried on to Pooh Corner, so as to see Eeyore before

it was too late to have a Proper Tea with Owl.”

–“The House at Pooh Corner”

So as my tea was brewing, I pondered to myself (ok, I might have actually verbalized some of my random thoughts to my cat Blackie Lawless, who was hovering around hoping for a “smackerel” of something herself, and was more than willing to hedge her bets and pretend to listen to my idle musings, if it resulted in her getting some food) how fabulous it would be if we all—librarians, movie stars, Department of Motor Vehicles employees, politicians, pizza delivery guys, rappers, and plumbers—were to manifest more of Pooh’s characteristics in our own lives.  For instance, Pooh is portrayed in Milne’s books as naïve and often a little slow on the uptake, but occasionally Pooh has a really clever idea, often sparked by urgency and fueled by common sense.  Pooh showed remarkable initiative the time he used one of his honey pots, which he christened The Floating Bear, to navigate to Christopher Robin’s house during a flood, and then together they utilized Christopher Robin’s umbrella to rescue little Piglet from rising floodwaters.  How glorious it would be if we all shared our umbrellas, so to speak, with friends and strangers alike.

Pooh is also an extremely social animal (see what I did there?) and also very loving toward his friends, who are really more family than friends, in my opinion.  In Pooh’s own words, “It’s always useful to know where a friend-and-relation is, whether you want him or whether you don’t.”  Although Pooh chooses to spend most of his time with Christopher Robin and Piglet, he habitually pays visits to Kanga and Roo, Rabbit, Tigger, Owl, and Eeyore.  Pooh’s thoughtfulness and kindhearted nature compel him to go out of his way to be especially friendly to gloomy Eeyore, visiting him frequently and even building him a house (with Piglet’s help), despite getting lukewarm sentiments from Eeyore in return.  How fabulous that would be, if we all followed Pooh’s example and put the needs of others ahead of our own from time to time, with disregard to personal gain.

Dear Reader, thanks for dropping by for another installment of my kid-lit-inspired mental meanderings.  I believe that this charming, thought-provoking Silly Old Bear and his friends will continue to delight and inspire readers far beyond the century mark.



*All opinions and viewpoints advanced herein the above blog belong solely to the author and her cats: Blackie Lawless, Roxy Blue, Jack Bauer, and Pearl.

Sources and suggested reading:

  • A.A. Milne, Author of Winnie the Pooh by Marlene Toby (J 92 MILNE)
  • The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (J F MIL)
  • Disney’s Winnie the Pooh:   A Celebration of the Silly Old Bear by Christopher Finch (791.43  FIN)
  • Pooh and the Psychologists (In Which It Is Proven That Pooh Bear Is a Brilliant Psychotherapist) by John Tyerman Williams (823.912  WIL)
  • The Pooh Dictionary:  The Complete Guide To The Words Of  Pooh & All The Animals In The Forest by A.R. Melrose (J 828.91209  MEL)
  • Postmodern Pooh by Frederick Crews (823.912  CRE)
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (828.91209  HOF)
  • Winnie the Pooh:  The Essential Guide by Beth Landis Hester (J 791.4372 HES)

(Informed) Decision 2016: Part 3

By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department

It’s an election year again and whether you’re thrilled with your presidential options or depressed by the slate of candidates, someone needs to be elected and it’s our civic duty to elect them. Everyone needs to get out and vote, not just this election but every election. If you need to register to vote you can get an application from the Williamson County Election Commission, from your LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY or just click here and print one. The deadline to register to vote in the November elections is Oct. 11.

If you’re new to voting or an old pro there’s no need to go into that voting booth uninformed. This is my Joe Friday, “Just the facts, Ma’am” review of the candidates for president in this year’s election. The information is coming from the web sites[i] and first person writings of the candidates themselves and their parties[ii]. The issues chosen to be presented here are the top ten issues relevant to electors as determined by the Pew Research Center in July of 2016.[iii] There is no attempt to influence anyone in a particular direction and no bias is intentional. While there are many other parties running I am only including those candidates who are on the ballot in enough states to gain the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the election (presented in alphabetical order to avoid hints of bias)[iv].

The Republicans


donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore_10Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York, in 1946. He attended the Kew-Forest School for several years before moving to the New York Military Academy. After graduating as a captain from NYMA he began studying at Fordham University in the Bronx before he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics in 1968. He began working at his father and grandmother’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, while still in college. Three years after graduating he was given control of the company and changed the name to the Trump Organization. Since then he has expanded from his role as a real estate speculator and developer to add sports owner, entertainment promoter, and television personality to his resume.

mike_pence_official_portrait_112th_congressMike Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana, in 1959. After graduating from Columbus North High School he went on to Hanover College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1981. He then went on to the School of Law at Indiana University where he received his Juris Doctor. After working in private practice he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1988 and 1990. In 1991, he became the president of a think tank called the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and a member of the State Policy Network but left in 1994 to host conservative political radio shows. In 2000 a third run for Congress was successful and Mr. Pence took over the seat for the Second Congressional District (now renumbered the sixth district) of Indiana. He remained in Congress until 2012, even declining to run for one of Indiana’s Senate seats in 2010. During these terms he was elected to the third-highest-ranking Republican leadership position, the Republican Conference Chairman. He left Washington in 2012 to run for Governor of Indiana, the post he currently holds. He abandoned his gubernatorial re-election campaign to accept his nomination as Republican Vice Presidential candidate.


Economy: Mr. Trump intends to create 25 million new jobs by increasing the GDP by 1.5%. He also plans to reform taxes and trade agreements to fit an America first ideal and boost growth to 3.5-4%

Terrorism: The Trump campaign wants to establish new screening procedures to keep terrorists out of the United States, temporarily halt immigration from the states where terrorism is most prevalent, and “establish a Commission on Radical Islam to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

Foreign Policy: Trump believes that our foreign policy should be built around a core of peace through strength.  Our current strategy needs to end and we need to rebuild our military all the while advancing American national interests and lessening tensions through more stability in the world.

Health Care: Trump/Pence supports the repeal of Obamacare, working with Congress to create a new health care system,  allowing people to purchase health care in any state to allow for more competition and allowing states to tailor their own Medicare plans to meet the local need.

Gun Policy: Trump is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and does not believe that the right to keep and bear arms should be modified. He does, however, support enforcing the current laws more stringently and bringing back programs where illegal possession would be a federal crime with a mandatory five-year sentence.

Immigration: The Trump campaign wants to promote a legal system of immigration that keeps incoming populace at a percentage within statistical norms. He intends to do this by selecting immigrants who have the best chance of success in the U.S.

Social Security: The Republican Party believes that no option for saving Social Security should be discarded, including privatization.

Education: Mr. Trump believes in school choice, allowing students to choose the public or private school they want to attend and repurposing federal funding to allow this. He also believes higher education needs to look at reducing college expenses.

Supreme Court Appointments: Trump has stated that he intends to replace Justice Scalia with a person of comparable political stance and opinions.

Treatment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities: The Republican party decries discrimination in any form.

Sources & Notes:

[i],, &

[ii],, &


[iv] All website information was retrieved between 10 September and 1 October 2016.

(Informed) Decision 2016: Part 2

By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department

It’s an election year again and whether you’re thrilled with your presidential options or depressed by the slate of candidates, someone needs to be elected and it’s our civic duty to elect them. Everyone needs to get out and vote, not just this election but every election. If you need to register to vote you can get an application from the Williamson County Election Commission, from your LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY or just click here and print one. The deadline to register to vote in the November elections is Oct. 11.

If you’re new to voting or an old pro there’s no need to go into that voting booth uninformed. This is my Joe Friday, “Just the facts, Ma’am” review of the candidates for president in this year’s election. The information is coming from the web sites[i] and first person writings of the candidates themselves and their parties[ii]. The issues chosen to be presented here are the top ten issues relevant to electors as determined by the Pew Research Center in July of 2016.[iii] There is no attempt to influence anyone in a particular direction and no bias is intentional. While there are many other parties running I am only including those candidates who are on the ballot in enough states to gain the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the election (presented in alphabetical order to avoid hints of bias)[iv].

The Green Party


jill_stein_by_gage_skidmoreJill Stein was born in 1950 and raised in the Chicago area. Stein did her undergraduate studies at Harvard, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1973. She continued at Harvard, attending their medical school, where she would later teach. As a physician she specialized in internal medicine. Her connection to politics came when she became interested in environmental concerns and how they were affecting her patients. Since 1998, she has served on the board of the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities in 2003. She was elected to two terms of the Lexington Town Meeting and has run for Governor of Massachusetts twice, in 2002 and 2010, State House member in 2004, and Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. She was the Green Party candidate for President in 2012.

static1-squarespace-comAjamu Baraka was born in Chicago in 1953. After serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam he attended Clark Atlanta University. While there he became involved with political activism. He has served on the boards of Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Africa Action. He was the founding executive director of the United States Human Rights Network. In 1998 Baraka was honored by then-United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan for his years of human rights work. Before his nomination he was an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.


Economy: The Stein campaign suggests paying a livable wage, tax reform, economic assistance for local communities and small businesses to help the economy.

Terrorism: The Greens plan to freeze the bank accounts of countries that are funding terrorism, including the Saudi royal family.

Foreign Policy: Stein’s foreign policy is one of peace and disarmament, working on Middle East peace settlement, and reforming the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to end exploitation of labor.

Health Care: The Green Party believes in treating health care as a right, and plans to expand Medicare to cover all Americans.

Gun Policy: no stated position

Immigration: Supporting immigrants’ rights, creating a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants, and halting deportations and detentions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants are all parts of the Green Party plans for immigration.

Social Security: Stein opposes the privatization of Social Security.

Education: Similar to their health care beliefs, Stein/Baraka believes in treating education as a right, including preschools and universities.

Supreme Court Appointments: Dr. Stein disagreed with the decision to not vote on a replacement for Justice Scalia.

Treatment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Ensuring equal pay for equal work, ending discrimination based on race, gender, or generation, ending police brutality and mass incarceration and institutional racism within our justice system, and supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement are all parts of the Green plan for race and ethnic tensions.


The Libertarians


gary_johnsonGary Johnson was born in Minot, North Dakota, on the first of January 1953. Later in his childhood the family moved to New Mexico where he graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque. From there he attended the University of New Mexico, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in political science. It was while he was at school that he began his career as an entrepreneur, working as a door-to-door handyman.  After school he took his know-how and formed a construction company. It started as a one man operation and became one of the leading construction companies in the state. In 1994 he entered politics and ran for Governor of New Mexico on the Republican ticket. He won that election and the succeeding one in 1998. Since leaving the governorship he has served on the Advisory Council of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and on the board of directors of Students for Liberty. He has run for president before, in 2012, on the Libertarian ticket.avatar-jpg-320x320px

William Weld was born into a prominent New England family in 1945. He received a Bachelor of Arts in the classics from Harvard in 1966, studied economics at Oxford and completed his Juris Doctor in 1970 after returning to Harvard. Both times he was at Harvard he graduated Cum Laude.


Economy: The Johnson campaign believes in reducing the governmental oversight and regulation of business to allow more competition to create more jobs. They also believe in closing tax loopholes and eventually moving to consumption-based tax rather than an income-based one in order to make taxation help the economy by putting more money in the hands of consumers.

Terrorism: The Libertarian party states that they condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.

Foreign Policy: The official statement from Mr. Johnson’s website states that he believes our foreign policy is, “To protect us from harm and to allow us to exercise our freedoms.” He also states an intention to remove us from foreign conflicts.

Health Care: The Libertarian stance on health care is that it should be based on a free market allowing Americans to choose all aspects of the personal health plans.

Gun Policy: The Libertarian policy has opposed all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.

Immigration: Johnson states that we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.

Social Security: It is a belief of the Libertarian party that the Social Security system should be phased out and replaced by a voluntary, private system for retirement savings.

Education: The Johnson/Weld campaign stands for a return of control of educational standards to the state and local governments, and eliminating Common Core and the Department of Education.

Supreme Court Appointments: Johnson has stated that he’d appoint originalists to the Court (in the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that views the Constitution’s meaning as fixed as of the time of enactment).

Treatment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Libertarians stand against discrimination of any kind but do not believe in the imposition of regulation to enforce antidiscrimination. The Johnson campaign also believes that a change in drug laws will help reform a justice system that unfairly deals with minorities.

Sources & Notes:

[i],, &

[ii],, &


[iv] All website information was retrieved between 10 September and 1 October 2016.

(Informed) Decision 2016: Part 1

By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department

It’s an election year again and whether you’re thrilled with your presidential options or depressed by the slate of candidates, someone needs to be elected and it’s our civic duty to elect them. Everyone needs to get out and vote, not just this election but every election. If you need to register to vote you can get an application from the Williamson County Election Commission, from your LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY or just click here and print one. The deadline to register to vote in the November elections is Oct. 11.

If you’re new to voting or an old pro there’s no need to go into that voting booth uninformed. This is my Joe Friday, “Just the facts, Ma’am” review of the candidates for president in this year’s election. The information is coming from the web sites[i] and first person writings of the candidates themselves and their parties[ii]. The issues chosen to be presented here are the top ten issues relevant to electors as determined by the Pew Research Center in July of 2016.[iii] There is no attempt to influence anyone in a particular direction and no bias is intentional. While there are many other parties running I am only including those candidates who are on the ballot in enough states to gain the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to win the election (presented in alphabetical order to avoid hints of bias)[iv].

The Democrats


hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropHillary Clinton was born in Chicago in 1947. She was educated in the Park Ridge School District where she was a student and athlete and was active in the Brownies and Girl Scouts. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wellesley where she had been the president of the Young Republicans club. She also received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale. In her youth she worked on many national election campaigns for both political parties, first Republican then Democrat. Her legal career began with a focus on children’s rights before she began working for the House Committee on the Judiciary on the impeachment inquiry staff during the Watergate affair. She moved to Arkansas where she became an employee, then a partner in the Rose Law Firm. For twelve years she was the First Lady of Arkansas followed by eight years as the First lady of the United States. She was the first First Lady to hold an advanced degree.  Throughout this time she maintained a devotion to child advocacy. Clinton successfully campaigned to be the U.S. Senator from New York, a post she held for one-and-a-third terms before being selected for the office of Secretary of State after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for president in 2008.

606px-tim_kaine_official_113th_congress_photo_portraitTim Kaine was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1958 and primarily raised in the Kansas City area. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He went to Harvard Law School and received a Juris Doctor in 1983 after taking a year off to work with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras.  After working as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Macon, Georgia, he went to Richmond to practice law, specializing in fair housing law and discrimination. He taught law at the University of Richmond for several years. He began his political career locally, serving four terms on the city council and two as mayor of Richmond. From 2002-2005, he served as Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and became Governor from 2006 to 2010. Kaine was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 until 2011, when he ran for and won a seat in the U.S. Senate for Virginia in 2012.


Economy: Clinton is for gender pay equality and a higher minimum wage, but against reducing public spending to reduce the debt. She is in favor of higher corporate taxes as well as those for real estate sales, stocks and bonds, but against the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Terrorism: She is in favor of working harder to rid Syria and Iraq of ISIS strongholds as well as creating greater cooperation at home and abroad to stop the spread of terror incidents.

Foreign Policy: Clinton and the Democratic Party intend to stand with the international organizations we have already committed ourselves to (i.e., The United Nations, NATO, etc.) and meet countries that pose threats with necessary actions. The main focus is to keep acting on the world stage to maintain our interests abroad.

Health Care: The Democratic Party stands for universal health care, lower prescription drug prices, supporting local health centers, funding medical experimentation, securing reproductive rights, and working on care for autism, addiction and Alzheimer’s.

Gun Policy: Clinton advocates stricter background checks and keeping guns from the severely mentally ill, domestic abusers, violent criminals and people on the no-fly list.

Immigration: While the Democratic campaign supports enforcing the immigration laws humanely, they also stand for comprehensive immigration reform, naturalization and an end to several of the policies affecting families.

Social Security: Clinton is against any privatization or cuts of the social security system.

Education: The most obvious planks in the Clinton platform for education are universal preschool for 4-year-olds, making higher education debt free, and reforming the existing student debt.

Supreme Court Appointments: “I’m looking for people who understand the way the real world works,” Clinton said. “Who don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to support business, to support the idea that you know, money is speech, that gutted the Voting Rights Act.”

Treatment of Racial and Ethnic Minorities: The Clinton campaign has stated they have a commitment to reform the criminal justice system to remove racial prejudice, protect the voting rights of minorities and make sure that minorities no longer face an education/achievement gap.

Sources & Notes:

[i],, &

[ii],, &


[iv] All website information was retrieved between 10 September and 1 October 2016.

The Scary Truth of Banned Books Week

By Rebecca Tischler, Reference Department


Banned Books Display at WCPLtn

It’s that time of year again, the time to celebrate… the freedom to READ!!  Banned Books Week is Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, an annual week that highlights the importance of free and open access to information.  Yeah, I know we’re also gearing up for Halloween, with fantasies of 5 candy corns, 4 chocolate kisses, 3 tiny monsters, 2 couple costumes and a big ole’ jack-o-latern… well, close enough.  Is it not terrifying to think about the possibility that not only could you be told what you have to read (thank you summer and required reading), but that you could also be told what you can’t read?

That may not be quite as terrifying as having dead pets come back from the grave as violent and disturbed zombies, or having a scarred psychopath with claws for fingers chase you in your dreams, but still, it’s scary.  Farenheit 451 and Brave New World scary (Have you read them? They’re pretty good, and they’ve also been challenged or banned in an ironic twist). That’s why we have Banned Books Week, the annual event “brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read, and to express ideas, even those [that] some consider unorthodox or unpopular,” according to the American Library Association (ALA).

This week encourages people to look at some of the efforts that have been taken across the country, including the reasoning behind those efforts, to remove or restrict access to books. This draws national attention to the harms of censorship, and the infringement on intellectual freedom.  The ALA really says it best, so take a look at an excerpt from their website:bbw2016_poster-jpg

What Is Intellectual Freedom?

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored… Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.

What Is Censorship?

Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone… In most instances, a censor is a sincerely concerned individual who believes that censorship can improve society, protect children, and restore what the censor sees as lost moral values. But under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, each of us has the right to read, view, listen to, and disseminate constitutionally protected ideas, even if a censor finds those ideas offensive.

What Is The Relationship Between Censorship And Intellectual Freedom?

In expressing their opinions and concerns, would-be censors are exercising the same rights librarians seek to protect when they confront censorship. In making their criticisms known, people who object to certain ideas are exercising the same rights as those who created and disseminated the material to which they object. Their rights to voice opinions and try to persuade others to adopt those opinions is protected only if the rights of persons to express ideas they despise are also protected. The rights of both sides must be protected, or neither will survive… Censors might sincerely believe that certain materials are so offensive, or present ideas that are so hateful and destructive to society, that they simply must not see the light of day. Others are worried that younger or weaker people will be badly influenced by bad ideas, and will do bad things as a result. Still others believe that there is a very clear distinction between ideas that are right and morally uplifting, and ideas that are wrong and morally corrupting, and wish to ensure that society has the benefit of their perception. They believe that certain individuals, certain institutions, even society itself, will be endangered if particular ideas are disseminated without restriction. What censors often don’t consider is that, if they succeed in suppressing the ideas they don’t like today, others may use that precedent to suppress the ideas they do like tomorrow.

And just for fun, take a look at the top ten most challenged books of 2015:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

    Banned Books Display at WCPLtn

    Banned Books Display at WCPLtn



Little Women’s Growing Up: Happy Birthday!

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

Dear Reader,


Louisa May Alcott

I have a confession to make.  (Don’t get excited, it’s severely tame as far as confessions go.)  I’ve never read Louisa May Alcott’s classic girl-coming-of-age story, Little Women.  I haven’t seen any of the film adaptations, either.  As you might expect, this makes writing a blog about it somewhat challenging . . .

Louisa May Alcott (herein referred to as LMA) was born on November 29, 1832, on her father’s 33rd birthday, in Germantown (which later became part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania.  She was the second of four daughters born to educator and transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott and social worker Abby May Alcott, and joined 20-month-old sister Anna Bronson Alcott.  The births of Elizabeth Sewall Alcott in June 1835 and Abigail May Alcott in July1840 completed the Alcott clan.  Readers will notice the many parallels between LMA’s family and that of the March Family in her most widely known publication, Little Women, which was published on September 30, 1868.

lw1The Alcott Family moved to Boston in 1834, where LMA’s father established an experimental school and joined the ranks of the Transcendental Movement with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  The majority of LMA’s education came from her strict, high-minded father Bronson Alcott, but she also received instruction from Thoreau, Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, all of whom were family friends.  In 1840, after several disappointing setbacks with the school, the Alcotts moved to a cottage on the river in Concord, Massachusetts.  LMA has described this period of her life as idyllic, and it was in Concord that she first began writing poems and stories and keeping a journal.  In 1843, the Alcotts and six other people moved to a communal farm called Fruitlands.  A rigid lifestyle was maintained at this Utopian commune; members of the community did not eat meat, chicken, or fish, and they wore clothing made of rough linen spun from flax fibers, as they believed it was wrong to take the life of an animal for its hide or even to shear its coat (i.e., wool) or to use a product of slavery (cotton.)  This grand experiment collapsed spectacularly, leaving Bronson bitterly disappointed and physically ill.  LMA’s mother nursed him back to health, and with an inheritance from Abby’s family and financial help from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Alcotts were able to purchase a homestead in Concord in April of 1845.  Hillside, later called The Wayside, is the backdrop for Little Women, and the novel is a semi-autobiographical account of LMA’s childhood experiences with her three sisters: Anna, Elizabeth, and May.

littlewomen4The Alcott clan endured periods of extreme poverty, due in large measure to the idealistic and impractical nature of LMA’s father.  Family was everything to LMA, so when she realized just how poor her family was, and how terribly her beloved mother suffered as a result, she decided to devote her life to supporting her family.  LMA went to work at a very early age as a teacher, seamstress, governess, maid, and writer.  As a coping mechanism to survive these pressures, writing became an emotional and creative outlet for LMA.  Her first book, Flower Fables, was published when she was just seventeen years old.   The stories that she wrote during her teenage years earned her very little money.  Hospital Sketches, a collection of letters that LMA had written home during her stint as a nurse in the American Civil War, finally won her some critical acclaim, and the publication of Little Women in 1868 brought her fame that exceeded everything she had dreamed of, and freed her family from poverty forever.

6ce3221ebf5ad145ab24b16470467022In Little Women, LMA based her protagonist Jo March on herself, and nearly every character in the novel is paralleled to some extent on her family members and friends.  Beth March’s death mirrors that of Lizzie Alcott from scarlet fever, and LMA’s love and admiration of her mother shines through the characterization of Marmee, the beloved matriarch of the March Family.   Little Women (or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) was very well received, as readers and critics found it suitable for many age groups.  It was said to be a “fresh, natural representation of daily life” in New England, and a reviewer at Eclectic magazine called it one of the very best books to reach the hearts of anyone from six to sixty.  A second part to Little Women, titled Good Wives, was published in 1869, and afterward was published in a single volume.  The next novel in the Little Women trilogy, Little MenLife at Plumfield With Jo’s Boys, was published in 1871; the completion of the series was published in 1886 under the title Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out.

mtmxody3nzi0mdi3ntc4mzc4LMA endured many health problems in her later years, and died of a stroke at age 55 in March 1888, just two days after the death of her father.  Early biographers have attributed her poor health to mercury poisoning from the treatment she received for typhoid fever during her service as a nurse during the American Civil War.  More recent analysis suggests that LMA may have suffered from an autoimmune disease such as lupus, and not acute mercury exposure.  She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, near her instructors, friends, and mentors Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau, on a hillside now known as “Author’s Ridge.”   Her most famous creation, Little Women, has endured the test of time and is still widely read and enjoyed today.


*Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are in no way reflective of WCPL employees or their siblings. Additionally, the author takes full responsibility for her intellectual sloth in not actually reading the book that she so arrogantly blogs about, and hereby honestly swears to do better next time.

Sources and suggested reading:

  • Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs (J 92 ALC)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (J F  ALCOTT)
  • Louisa May Alcott:  Her Girlhood Diary by Cary Ryan (J 818.403  ALC)
  • Louisa:  The Life of Louisa May Alcott by Yona Zeldis McDonough (J 92 ALCOTT)


The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

By Stephen McClain, Reference Department

No one likes the word diet. I can honestly say that I have never been on one, but I have always been conscious of what I eat and want to know where my food comes from.  One month before beginning the Whole30 Program, I had never even heard of it, nor was I considering a change in my lifestyle.  I worked out regularly and felt pretty good; at least I thought I did.  I had sent a friend an email about some new Jack Daniel’s product that I thought we should try and he replied that his wife had him on “this Whole30 thing” and he couldn’t have any booze.  I wrote back, “What the heck is that?” Little did I know, this bit of serendipity would change my life.

61ityv1ltml-_sx258_bo1204203200_After very little consideration, my wife and I decided to challenge ourselves and try the Whole30 program.  It is important to remember that this is not a diet or a “cleanse”.  It is a program that is designed to reset your metabolism and create habits of healthy choices.  The program is intended to eliminate processed foods and added sugars from your diet.  As the name implies, you eat whole foods (those with few or no ingredients) for 30 days.  And there is no “cheating” or “slip ups.”  If you deviate from the plan, you must start over from day 1.  The great thing about the Whole30 program is that you can have as much as you want of the approved foods.  There is no excuse to be hungry.  I was apprehensive to begin because I enjoy my evening cocktail (or 3) and the Whole30 program does not allow alcohol.  Nor does it permit dairy, legumes, bread, grains, peanuts or peanut butter, honey or anything with added sugar (visit for a complete and exact list of restrictions and approved foods).

So we jumped in.  It is important to note that you don’t just “do” the Whole30.  You have to plan and prep your house.  We separated and labeled foods in our kitchen that were not Whole30 approved.  We moved the booze out of sight and planned the week’s meals in advance.  (I take the liberty of using the word “we.”  My wife did most of the planning and cooking.)  In just the first 2 or 3 days, I noticed that I was sleeping better.  I had more energy and my head was clearer.  Then came day 4.  I felt like I had a mild hangover all day.  A hangover that I didn’t deserve.  I think it was sugar detox.  But that was the worst for me.  I started out counting the days until we were finished and by week 3, I didn’t even care.  Day by day, we were creating new habits in place of the old ones.  Sometime during week 3, I got the tiger blood.  I can’t explain it; you just have to experience it yourself.  I think it can be compared to a runner’s high.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to socialize with friends during the program because most socialization revolves around food and drink, but a true friend will understand.  And we went to the grocery store about every other day to maintain stock of the necessary fresh foods.  Ssalmon-518032_1920ome people fear the financial aspect of buying fresh, whole foods, but the cost is off-set by not spending money at restaurants or on other unhealthy foods.  But we still ate a lot of delicious foods: salads with lean protein, fish, chicken breast, burgers (without the bun), baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, bacon and eggs and fresh fruits.  One of the best meals I remember was seared pork tenderloin with mushrooms and broiled rosemary potatoes.  We made French fries in the oven.  We made our own mayonnaise and salad dressing.  We made almond butter to eat on bananas.

Then something happened to me completely by accident.  I have had an allergy to watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi… (stuff like that) for as long as I can remember.  It makes my throat and soft palate itch and if I have too much, it becomes difficult to swallow.  So I stay away from it.  Every once in a while, I would have a couple bites of watermelon and deal with the consequences, but no more than that.  We were at the grocery store one evening and I saw a display of fruit bowls with watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries.  It looked good.  I just wanted the grapes and strawberries.  When we got home with it, I decided to have a piece of watermelon.  It was really good so I had another.  I usually feel the mild allergic affects quickly but nothing happened.  I had another and another.  Nothing.  This had plagued me for most of my life and now it’s gone?  It could be a coincidence but that’s a big coincidence.  (Author’s note: As per the Seinfeld episode called “The Statue,” There are no small coincidences and big coincidences. There are only coincidences.)

Day 30 came and went.  One of the rules of the Whole30 program is that you are not allowed to weigh or measure yourself during the 30 days.  I got on the scale at the end of 30 days and I had lost close to 10 pounds.  On day 35, which was the weekend, we decided to celebrate by opening one of our saved bottles of Canadian Cab Franc.  It was…ok.  I LOVE Cab Franc, especially from southern Ontario.  That which I thought I would miss so much was just…ok.

To say that the Whole30 program changed my life is cliché, but I don’t know how else to put it.  The website gives a plan on reintroduction of foods that were eliminated during the 30 days.  It is not recommended to just go back to the way you were eating before because you will want to know how your body will react to individual food groups.  I have not really missed any food enough to reintroduce it and we have basically been eating Whole30 for about 4 months.  Of course, completely avoiding added sugar is nearly impossible, but following the Whole30 lifestyle, with an occasional indulgence has become a new way of living well.  Overall, I sleep watermelonsbetter and wake rested, have much more energy during the day, have a much clearer head and have lost a total of 12 pounds (my wife lost 26).  Check out The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom or begin with It Starts with Food by Melissa Hartwig.  Both titles are available at the Williamson County Public Library.  It will change your life.

…and I’ve eaten about a dozen watermelons by now.


This program seems to spread mostly by word-of-mouth.

As always, the personal experiences that are revealed here are the sole province of the author and may not be reflective of the opinions of any other WCPL employees, their children, or their vegetable gardens.

If you want to learn more about the Whole 30 or find cookbooks to help you eat better:

  • It Starts with Food (613.2 HAR)
  • The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (613.2 HAR)
  • The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat (613.2 COR)
  • Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life (615.854 GED)
  • Clean & Hungry: Easy All-Natural Recipes for Healthy Eating in the Real World (641.302 LIL)
  • Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life (613.2833 KRE)
  • Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle (641.56383 SAN)
  • Clean Eats : Over 200 Delicious Recipes to Reset Your Body’s Natural Balance and Discover What It Means to Be Truly Healthy (641.563 JUN)
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