Category Archives: Hot Topics

The Expulsion of Percy Shelley

By Lon Maxwell, Reference DepartmentPercy_Bysshe_Shelley_by_Alfred_Clint_crop

Percy Bysshe Shelley, perhaps one of the greatest poets of the English language, universally admired by students of literature, a revolutionary mind in literature and philosophy and college drop out. Okay, that is not entirely correct. He was actually expelled. Yes, expelled. That guy that you were required to study by your senior year English teacher and whom your Literature 201 professor went on about for days was actually expelled from Oxford. Now the Romantic poets were not exactly known for being good little boys and girls, and most of Byron’s poor behavior came in the form of romantic conquests and there was also the all too common descent into penury and debt that plagued them all at one time or another. But no, not Shelley.  He had done something entirely unacceptable, something so scandalous it would cause his father to stop speaking to him (although in honesty, it was one of several occasions where his father refused to speak to him so take that as you will).

What was this heinous crime? What terrible transgression did he commit? He wrote a paper. Yes, just a paper. Well, technically it was a pamphlet. It was 13 pages on a topic that would be none too popular today either. The pamphlet was titled “The Necessity of Atheism” and its author was listed only as “Thro’ deficiency of proof, an atheist.” Shelley never did actually cop to writing it, but it is believed that he and a friend named Thomas Jefferson Hogg wrote and published it in small numbers in the late winter of 1811. They both had talked it up amongst their fellows at Oxford and made sure copies were disseminated far and wide, going as far as to mail them to the bishops, professors and heads of the college. This was probably a bit too much cheek for the Oxford Dons.

The_Necessity_of_Atheism_(Shelley)_title_pageThe pamphlet itself was actually very blasé. It can be summed up quickly as saying due to a lack of empirical evidence of G_d’s existence; it is safer to be an atheist. It is not the very strong argument of a died in the wool zealot, nor was it actually written very well. It was, however, enough to bring him before a disciplinary committee. Some believe that it was helped by another of Shelley’s publications from that year, a poem called “A Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things” that Shelley had published alone as a Gentleman of the University of Oxford, that made a great outcry against the Napoleonic Wars that were nearing an end at that time. Whatever the reason turned out to be, when Shelley refused to confirm or deny his authorship of either works he was expelled. Hogg met the same fate.

Shelley wrote to his father 3 days after the expulsion had taken place. He was convinced that his father would at least sympathize with him. He Wrote:

“I know too well that your feeling mind will sympathise too deeply in my misfortunes. I hope it will alleviate your sorrow to know that for myself I am perfectly indifferent to the late tyrannical violent proceedings of Oxford.”

Sir Timothy Shelley felt no sorrow for his son. His own copy of “The Necessity of Atheism” has the word “impious” scrawled across it. In fact, the Baronet went to see his son and in the presence of the aforementioned Hogg raved, cursed and cried at his son, finally insisting that Percy return home to be educate by teachers Sir Timothy would choose. This began a rift that would eventually keep the two from speaking to each other for years and damaged their relationship in ways that were never to be mended.

To many modern Americans, “The Necessity of Atheism” and “A Poetical Essay” are just a bit of youthful rebellion, common to people in their late teens. They would have been articles in your school’s underground newspaper twenty or forty years ago. Today they would be blog posts from online aliases or facebooks status updates. Your parents might not approve, but nothing that would warrant expulsion and being disowned. Shelley held to his beliefs and rarely compromised them. He never abandoned them wholly, but only modified them as his life brought him greater scope of experience.

In an ironic twist, these two pamphlets as well as Shelley’s letter to his father are all part of the collection of the Bodleian Library and are part of a travelling collection called Shelley’s Ghost. In fact a copy of “A Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things”, once thought lost to the world was added at some expense to the library’s collection as the 12 millionth items in 2006. The Bodleian is the much celebrated research library of Oxford University and the second largest repository in Britain. If you go to see it you can also take in the rather grand memorial to Shelley placed on Oxford’s campus, a place too noble to accept him in life and only too willing to lionize him, deservedly so, in death.WHITE-BOX

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An Unlikely Ballerina: Misty Copeland

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

There you are, minding your own business, just trying to be an average teenager—daughter, sister, middle school student, hall monitor, drill team member—when your drill team coach suggests that you go check out a ballet class taught by her friend at your local Boys and Girls Club, the place where you hang out after school in order to avoid the grim, grimy two hotel rooms that you and your mother and your five siblings call home. So you go, and are an audience of one in the bleachers for a few weeks, until you summon the courage to stand at a ballet barre for the very first time. You spend an hour feeling like a “broken marionette,” awkward and clueless and a little overwhelmed, and then you put it all in the rearview mirror and scurry past that section of the gym for the next few days. But Cynthia, the dance instructor isn’t letting you off the hook that easily. You eventually drop your defenses to her relentless persuasion and begin taking classes in earnest, but you are still haunted by insecurity and doubt.

Then, something in you changes. Your confidence rises. You begin to believe what everyone else is telling you: that someday, you will dance in front of kings and queens, and that you will have a life that most people cannot even imagine.

You are a ballerina.f0b3fd5259f1f29e8a53954f622a23ca

In case you haven’t twigged to it yet, the “you” in the vignette above is ballet dancer Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the prestigious American Ballet Theatre’s history.

Misty Danielle Copeland was born on September 10, 1982 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Doug and Sylvia Copeland. She is the youngest of four siblings from her mother’s second marriage and has two younger siblings, one each from her mother’s third and fourth marriages. Misty has no childhood memories of her father; she didn’t see Doug Copeland from age 2, when Sylvia, a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader, left Doug and loaded Misty and her siblings onto a Greyhound bus bound for Bellflower, California until she was 22, when she was traveling the world with American Ballet Theatre. “From the time I turned two, my life was in constant motion,” Misty states in her memoir Life In Motion. And that statement is not an exaggeration. Misty’s childhood was unstable and turbulent, and she has said that in retrospect, she used to measure time through the sequence of her mother’s dependency upon an ever-changing string of men. “We Copelands were like a nomadic tribe: hardy, fiercely protective of our band, and adaptable. We clung tightly to one another.” Those familial bonds would be severely strained in Misty’s teen years, when she had to make an excruciating choice: legally declare her emancipation from Sylvia in order to continue her dancing, or give up her dreams and remain with her family.f0b3fd5259f1f29e8a53954f622a23ca

A lengthy series of legal machinations ensued when Misty began emancipation proceedings from Sylvia, at the urging of her longtime instructor and mentor Cynthia Bradley, with whose family Misty had been living during the week for the past three years, and returning to her mother’s home, two hotel rooms at the Sunset Inn in Gardena, California, on the weekends. Sylvia retained the services of lawyer Gloria Allred and they claimed that Misty had been “brainwashed” by the Bradleys and that they turned Misty against Sylvia by belittling her intelligence. After several court hearings in autumn of 1998, the emancipation proceedings were dropped, as well as the restraining order and charges of stalking and harassment by Sylvia against the Bradleys. Misty would return to her mother’s custody, and she wouldn’t see Cynthia or Patrick Bradley again for more than a decade.f0b3fd5259f1f29e8a53954f622a23ca

Misty completed high school in California, and in September of 2000 joined the ABT Studio Company, which is the American Ballet Theatre’s second company. In 2001 she was promoted to ABT’s Corps de ballet. She was sidelined for a year due to a lumbar stress fracture, but recovered and embarked upon a series of beautiful, memorable roles in La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Cinderella, to name only a few. In August of 2007, she was promoted to soloist, one of the youngest dancers ever to achieve that distinction. She was a standout among her dancing peers and appeared in The Firebird, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Sleeping Beauty, to name just a few of the numerous productions she danced in over the ensuing years. On June 30, 2015, she was promoted to principal ballerina, the first African-American woman to achieve such an honor in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre.

Misty currently resides in New York City with her fiancé Olu Evans, a Manhattan attorney. You can read more about Misty’s amazing life in the 2014 memoir she co-authored with Charisse Jones titled Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina (Simon and Schuster; 92 COPELAND.) She also co-wrote a children’s picture book, Firebird (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, J E COPELAND), and in November 2015 she announced plans to publish a health and beauty guide tentatively titled Ballerina Body.

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*** author’s note: this is the first in a series I’m going to call “Amazing Women Athletes.” The theme for this year’s Summer Reading Program is sports-related, so, you know. I take my inspiration wherever I can find it.

Guest Post: Spring is in the Air, Pollen is Everywhere

By Patsy Watkins MPS, CFCS

Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, UT/TSU Extension, Williamson County

Spring means beautiful flowers, blooming trees, and fresh cut grass.  But if you are 1 out of the 50+ million people in the U.S. that suffer from nasal allergies, it can be miserable!

  • Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people.
  • Allergens or triggers are substances that cause the allergic reaction.
  • Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, nasal congestion, but no fever are all symptoms of allergic rhinitis also commonly known as “hay fever.”
  • Seasonal allergies are caused by tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen and airborne mold spores.
  • Perennial allergies, which occur year round, are caused by animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, and indoor mold spores.

Tips to Reduce Your Exposure:allergies

  • Use air-conditioning in your home and car.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Avoid pets in the home.
  • Bathe dogs twice a week.
  • Vacuum carpets weekly using a HEPA filter.
  • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water 130°F.
  • Don’t dry laundry outside.
  • Stay indoors on dry windy days.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed during pollen season.
  • Avoid mowing grass or raking leaves.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning.

You can also attend out upcoming Using Essential Oils to Prepare our Sinuses for Spring event. Preparing for spring sinuses and maintaining our sinuses is key to having a great season. Learn how to use Essential Oils to keep our sinuses happy.

 

Rental and Mortgage Assistance Programs

By Jessica Dunkel, Reference Department

At the library, we do more than just help people find the best books (although we love doing that, too). We also care about helping people find the best information to improve their lives. As one of the biggest bills of the month, rent can be a major financial stress. In this article on free resources we’ve compiled some helpful links from http://www.needhelppayingbills.com to organizations that may help you, a family member, or a friend get the assistance you need.

Click on the links below for access to various government, local, national, non-profit and charity programs that provide direct rental or financial assistance, while others offer referrals or help people sign up for public funding and private resources.

And don’t think we forgot about you home owners! Keep scrolling down for more information on foreclosures, refinancing, and mortgage-related scams to avoid.


Rental Assistance


State Assistance Programs and Organizationsbuilding

Many states and local governments operate agencies and public assistance type programs that can help you with paying your rent, security deposits, and other housing expenses. Contact the assistance agencies and programs to get information on rent help from these types of resources, or call your local community action agency to learn about what other government services and programs may be available.

Rent Assistance from Federal Stimulus Program

The federal government is providing billions of dollars for housing and rental assistance as a result of the stimulus program. The name of the program being funded is The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (more on this program), and most of the rental help is being distributed at the local government level. So your local social service agency, county government, charities and other organizations will process applications.

Rental Assistance from Federal Government Organizations

The largest program is HUD (Housing and Urban Development). Almost 1.5 million families use this program and it helps those in need pay their rent and security deposits. Other housing costs such as energy bills may be paid for as well. It is targeted to low income individuals, including senior citizens and the disabled. In addition to offering grants that help pay rent, the government Rental Voucher Program also helps to increase the availability of affordable housing choices by allowing families to select privately owned rental housing. More.

USDA Rural Development provides affordable housing, vouchers, and rental assistance for struggling rural families. Beneficiaries tend to be low-income residents, disabled, and the elderly who live in multiunit housing buildings. Continue.

Veterans and their families can get help with paying rent from a federal government resource known as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program. This service is providing rental assistance vouchers and security deposit assistance to both veterans and their family members. More.

Receive legal advice to prevent evictions. Over one million people per year receive some form of free legal assistance and counsel to help them deal with eviction notices from the federal government funded Legal Services Corp. Attorneys can try to mediate a solution with your landlord and advise you on your rights. Or they can help you apply for government benefits such section 8, help with housing discrimination, and provide other aid. Click here to read more.

Or if you are being evicted because your landlord is facing foreclosure, read about your tenant – landlord foreclosure rights.

Apply for government or private grants. Many non-profit private organizations as well as the government have information on or offer grants that can be used to help pay rent.

Eviction Prevention Programs

Find emergency rental assistance from programs that prevent homelessness and evictions. The federal government as well as many local and state governments and nonprofit organizations have emergency eviction prevention programs in place for low and moderate income individuals and families. Many of the programs will try to prevent evictions and associated lawsuits, with a goal of stopping homelessness. Some even try to stop foreclosures. They provide resources such as mediation, landlord and tenant assessments, conflict resolution, direct rent payments and grants to tenants, and other forms of rental assistance. Or an agency may be able to help you locate more affordable housing. Learn more.

Rent assistance from charities and other local resources

For short term rent help look to your local community, including non-profits and charities. If you are experiencing a difficult time in paying your rent for a month or if you think you may soon fall behind, you should contact community based and local agencies that may be able to help you and your family with paying housing costs, rent and security deposits. There are many community groups, churches, and charitable organizations that will sometimes have funds that can help people who are having financial difficulties. Some of the organizations, such as the Salvation Army and United Way, can assist with making rent payments if they have funding. Priority is often given to people who are faced with a short term financial hardship or crisis. They will also often provide case management, referrals, and other social services. See the following link of organizations that can help.

There are also other charities and not for profit organizations that can help with housing costs, such as utility and heating bills. Resources provided are often one-time-only or they are given on a first-come-first-served basis, so you should not depend on these sources over the long term for rent or housing assistance. Calling these organizations, even if you are affiliated with their group or already a member, can sometimes get you the help you need. Or if an organization does not have funding, many can refer people to another agency that can help with paying rent and bills if your need is great.

Some examples of agencies that can help with these types of expenses include Catholic Charities, government social service offices, United Way, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Legal Aid Society. There are many others. Find more emergency rent assistance agencies.

Many local churches are increasing their assistance programs, including offering more rent help, electric bill aid, and more. However many churches rely heavily on donations from the community and therefore tend to have very limited funding available.

Short term and transitional housing programs are operated by numerous non-profit agencies. For families that are behind on their rent and facing imminent eviction or individuals that are currently homeless, these programs can help them find a place to live, such as a shelter, and gain self-sufficiency. Once that occurs, get assistance in locating a new, low income home to live in. While more limited, some of these transitional services can direct qualified clients to resources that can help them pay for expenses such as moving costs, a security deposit, or maybe even their first month’s rent. Read more.

Communication is always key. Contact your creditors, as well as your landlord, and communicate with them and tell them exactly what is going on. You need to be very honest about every part of your financial picture. You can ask for a lower temporary monthly rental payment, or even ask for a skipped payment schedule or some type of installment plan. The landlord and creditors will appreciate you being proactive, and in many cases they would rather keep you as a tenant than have to evict you, as it can cost them thousands of dollars to go through the eviction process, market the site, find a new tenant, run background checks on the new tenant, etc. It is many times in their best interest to work with you to find a solution.


Mortgage Assistance


In danger of foreclosure on your home?save money

Are you anticipating a change to your adjustable mortgage that will be too expensive for you? Do not ignore the situation. Act now. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency has provided training to many organizations across Tennessee that will provide free and confidential counseling about your options.

Learn about Great Save, a new refinance program from THDA

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency has a new mortgage program called Great Save to refinance adjustable rate mortgage loans closed after December 31, 2001 and before January 1, 2008. To qualify, the THDA must determine that a financial hardship to the borrower is likely if they do not refinance.

Involved in a possible lending or mortgage-related scam?

The Department of Financial Institution’s Consumer Resources Division will identify if there is a problem and help you through the formal complaint process.


 

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Armed with the proper financial knowledge, this metaphor can become a reality. Finding the right assistance can open many doors – we hope you or someone you know can benefit from these free, helpful resources!

It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird: Harper Lee 1926-2016

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department

harper-lee_0Harper Lee passed away at the age of 89 last month. She was a literary giant and wrote one of the most famous and beloved novels of the twentieth century: To Kill a Mockingbird. It was only last year that her second book, a predecessor of To Kill a Mockingbird, was published. This book, Go Set a Watchman, was as divisive as her first book was beloved. Many thought that Go Set a Watchman was published without her say-so, and that Ms. Lee was taken advantage of. And the views on race relations and the language used shocked many readers.

The book is so beloved that, according to Variety, Aaron Sorkin will be writing the script for a new Broadway play, adapting To Kill a Mockingbird for the 2017-2018 season. There is precedent: In 1990, a stage adaptation by Christopher Sergel debuted in Monroeville, where it’s performed each May by local actors. The performances take an almost reverential approach, with audiences taking part in order to ritually enact scenes of segregation and justice denied.

Truman Capote

Truman Capote

So why do we love To Kill A Mockingbird so much? Firstly, it’s one of the few books that kids in high school actually like to read. Consider the reading lists, it is a relatively shorter and easier to read book. And even though it’s themes are overt and plentiful, it doesn’t feel like Harper Lee was beating you over the head with themes (I’m looking at you Mr Dickens and your paid by the word description of how the wine and the street represented the Revolution).  Also, it is one of the few books that made the transition to film well. We all picture Gregory Peck when we think of Atticus Finch, and he was the epitome of the thoughtful, kind father we all wished we had. And we all related to Scout, who was an adventuresome tomboy learning about the world at his knee. And finally, as we all now know, the neighbor Dill was based off of a young Truman Capote.

During the years immediately following the novel’s publication, Harper Lee enjoyed the attention its popularity garnered her, granting interviews, visiting schools, and attending events honoring the book. In 1961, her book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.   The popularity snowballed and she began to turn down interviews sometime in 1964; she said the questions were monotonous. She also thought the attention was bordering on invasive and would take away the impact of the book. She was also quite shy all her life. Several times Lee said, once in a phone interview with Oprah, that the character in the book she most identified with is Boo Radley.

Only one year after its publication To Kill a Mockingbird had been translated into ten languages. Through the years, it has been translated into more than 40 languages. The novel has never been out of print in hardcover or paperback. A 1991 survey by the Book of the Month Club and the Library of Congress Center for the Book found that To Kill a Mockingbird was rated behind only the Bible in books that are “most often cited as making a difference”. It is considered by some to be the Great American Novel.48bbe6e4f83767fb9933a723e8f1196d

People celebrated across the United States in 2010 when To Kill a Mockingbird turned 50. A book was even published in honor of the 50th anniversary–Scout, Atticus, & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was full of famous readers writing to Harper Lee telling her how much they loved her book. The 2010 documentary film in the PBS American Masters series Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the background of the book and the film as well as their impact on readers and viewers.

And to have the second book Go Set a Watchman published in 2015 was a final gift to all of her fans. It was also a surprise, since so many readers had idolized Atticus, to see racist words pop up and find out that Calpurnia had retired. Many book groups are still discussing Lee’s new book. It is a nice legacy for her to leave us. Thank you Harper Lee for your magnificent To Kill a Mockingbird and your surprising postscript novel Go Set a Watchman. The world was better for your presence and your writing gifts.

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Read the rest of this entry

The Situation with the Flint River

By Lon Maxwell, Reference Department

As most people are aware, the City of Flint, Michigan, is in the middle of an environmental and health crisis. The origins of this crisis come from what was once a cost cutting move that moved Flint from the Detroit water supply to pulling their water from the Flint River. After seeing a rise in cases of lead poisoning in the people of the city, especially the children, it was determined that the water they were getting from the river was corroding the lead pipes and releasing the lead from the pipes into the water supply.maxresdefault

Much of Michigan is in financial trouble and many of the state’s local governments are doing everything in their power to remain solvent. In 1962 Flint had attempted to build a pipeline for water to come from Lake Huron. This was ended due to a real estate profiteering scam and Flint began buying their water from the City of Detroit, culminating in the cessation of Flint’s own water treatment. A 2011 study by a local firm concluded that using the Flint River water would mean for expensive treatment, but that it could be done if improvements to the city’s water treatment plant were made. Water from Lake Huron was a more cost effective solution and Flint decided to move to a different water cooperative, to the dismay of Detroit who deemed the water agreement they had with Flint to be terminated in April of 2014. Unfortunately, the connection to the other water cooperative was not to be completed until 2016. This meant that Flint had to use a backup water source, the Flint River. While the water source had been the backup water supply for 50 years it had not been a major contributor in all that time. The Flint water treatment authority had been forced to issue boil advisories in August and September of 2014 due to coli-form bacteria and there were spikes in a chlorine related carcinogen, most likely caused by over chlorination to combat the bacteria. There is also a suspected link to a legionnaire’s disease outbreak. The major problem came from the low ph and higher salinity of the Flint River water corroding the protective layer of the lead pipes and leaching lead into the water.

Flint is now returning to the Detroit water supply and Flint will be adding orthophosphate to the Detroit water to help build up the protective scale in the lead pipes. How long this will take is unknown.

 

The Situation in Our Area

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Harpeth River

The Harpeth River, where our water comes from in most of Williamson County, has had its own share of contamination issues. The Harpeth Valley Utility District (HVUD), where most of the county gets their water shows lead at 1.3 parts per billion (ppb). HVUD Uses copper pipes for tap water delivery so the possibility of a situation like that in Flint is impossible. The Hillsboro, Burwood & Thompson’s Station Utility district shows1.5 ppb of lead in their water quality tests and they use PVC and Ductile Iron pipes for their water delivery. Franklin Water Management shows 1.4 ppb. The Mallory Valley Utility District has the lowest lead locally, with .6 ppb. When you compare these to the EPA regulatory standard of 15 ppb, or even the 5 ppb level the researchers from Virginia Tech call a cause for concern, you can see that our water here is relatively safe. Flint averages 27 ppb with the highest found spiking at 13,000. Two communities get their water from outside the county. Fairview buys their water from Dickson County (2.2 ppb) and Brentwood water comes from metro Nashville water (1.5 ppb).

Two contributors to water quality problems in our area were ELMCO and Metalico. The Egyptian Lacquer Manufacturing Company was the source of a leak into Liberty Creek. An underground line leaked into the soil, washed into Liberty Creek and flowed into Harpeth. Acetone and Toluene were the main components of that leak and it was down river from the Franklin water intake. Since the pipes have been disconnected and the chemical tanks removed before the fall of 2008, no free product has been observed in Liberty Creek or the Harpeth. What lead we do see in the Harpeth and surrounding watersheds comes from natural sources but may be contributed to by lead smelting and battery reclamation. From the 1950s to the 1990s in College Grove, General Smelting and Refining Inc. (owned by Metalico) operated a plant that did just that on a site adjacent to the river near its head waters. While there is no current concern for lead contamination, continued monitoring for lead and antimony from the plant still goes on.

While there are concerns over the treatment of sewage and the amount of water used by some entities, the water in this area has received a clean bill of health by the last set of standards and test and new, stricter standards are coming before the next time the state renews local water certificates. For information on some of the challenges facing the Harpeth River and water quality reports look at the web sites for the utility districts discussed above and also take a look at the web page for the Harpeth River Watershed Association.

More Audiobooks!: OneClick digital

By Stephen McClain, Reference Department

oneclickdigital

In this modern, technologically advanced era, there are many ways to access data and entertainment away from traditional sources like the library, theatre or the home stereo. We can walk around during our daily lives with the history of recorded music accessible in our back pockets, watch videos from around the world, and more and more, books are available as well, in either eBook form or in an audio format. Most Williamson County Public Library users who enjoy digital resources like eBooks and eAudio are familiar with Overdrive and Tennessee R.E.A.D.S but there is another resource that may be of interest that is less well known. OneClickdigital is another way for library patrons to access eBooks and eAudio.

71859999_20e265b781_oAs the name implies, OneClickdigital is a simple, user friendly interface with many titles to choose from. To get started, go to the main page of the Williamson County Public Library and click on “eLibrary” in the middle of the page. From there, scroll down until you see “OneClickdigital eAudiobooks” and click on Access the OneClickdigital collection now. This link takes users to the main page of OneClickdigital. Click on “Register” in the upper right corner. Here, you will enter your library card number and fill in other personal information (email address and zip code) to create an account. It’s that simple. You now have access to OneClickdigital’s collection of eBooks and eAudio.

Oneclickdigital may be more appealing to users who find the OverDrive application confusing or intimidating. There is a simple menu at the top left of the main that allows users to browse through selections in eAudio and eBooks. There is also an Advanced Search option where users can search for authors, titles, format, and many other search criteria. The home page regularly displays Featured eAudio and eBooks if you need some suggestions as to what to read next. There are also a number of links at the bottom of the page to help users learn more and navigate the site. Here you will find links for free Kindle Fire, Android and iPhone apps. If you need more information or would like to learn more about OneClickdigital, there is also a link here for a free webinar.

rb_ocd_500pxOneClickdigital is supported by Recorded Books who is a major supplier of digital content to libraries and schools and is the largest independent publisher of audiobooks. The company distributes eBooks and eAudio titles from major publishing houses, along with eAudio titles recorded exclusively for Recorded Books and narrated by professional, award-winning voice actors. Based in Prince Frederick, MD, Recorded Books was founded in 1979. Visit www.recoredbooks.com for more info.

Check out OneClickdigital for both classics like jack London’s White Fang or new, best-selling releases like Star Wars/The Force Awakens. Whether you are reading an eBook on your iPad or listening to an eAudio title, OneClickdigital offers a simple, user-friendly way to access digital content. And be sure to visit OneClickdigital on Facebook for more information, post a comment and connect with other users.

It’s Tax Time!

By Jessica Dunkel, Reference Departmenttaxes

It’s tax season already. To make your life a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of tax resources below, including FREE tax assistance from VITA for those who qualify. Also, keep reading to find out which tax forms will be available at Williamson County Public Library this year.

Free Tax Assistance

If your annual household income is less than $62,000, you qualify for free tax assistance through VITA. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) are IRS-certified volunteers who provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing. VITA will be at the Williamson County Public Library on the dates listed below. Make sure to call VITA for an appointment at 615-830-7940, unless you are using their self-help Kiosk which is available on Monday’s at the main branch.

VITA @ Williamson County Public Library

Vita_logo_finalWHEN

VITA will be at the Main Branch of the Williamson County Library from January 30 – April 15, 2016.

  • Saturday mornings, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm (Call for an appointment)
  • Wednesday evenings, 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm (Call for an appointment)
  • Self-help Kiosk and Walk-Ins on Monday mornings, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

You must call VITA at 615-830-7940 to make an appointment for Saturdays and Wednesdays at the Main Library.

EXCEPTIONS: VITA will NOT be at the Main Library on the following days:

  • Monday, February 15 – Library closed: Presidents Day
  • Saturday, February 20 – Library event
  • Wednesday, March 2 – Book Sale set up
  • Saturday, March 5 – Book Sale
  • Monday, March 7 – Book Sale
  • Saturday, March 19 – Library event

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Photo ID for both spouses (if filing jointly)
  • Original copies of Social Security cards of ITINs (for everyone going on the return. VITA sites require this every year; no photocopies!)
  • Proof of income (a W2 for each employer during the tax year, 1099s, Social Security Income, Unemployment, Interest, etc.)
  • Healthcare Form 1095
  • Proof of expenses if claiming any (childcare expenses, education expenses, medical expenses, property tax, itemized deductions, etc.)
  • Proof of mileage if claiming any (must be a written record. Please total any business expenses before arriving.)
  • Both spouses must be present if filing a joint return
  • Last year’s tax return (helpful in explaining difference in refund amounts, consistent filing, etc.)
  • Direct Deposit information (proof of account needed such as a checkbook. Most banks do not give account numbers out over the phone!)

Other VITA locations in Williamson County

VITA will be at other locations throughout Williamson County. All locations have their own specific dates and times. Visit the Library’s tax assistance page and click on “Williamson County Assistance Sites” for additional locations, dates, and times. (Or, click here).

Additional Low Income Tax Prep/VITA Information

Click here for more information on low income tax assistance as well as additional VITA locations throughout the US.

Other Tax Resources

taxes2

If you have other tax questions or are looking for additional forms, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

You can also e-File your Federal Tax Return on the IRS website through software called Free File. Click here for more information.

Another resource for help with income, property, and other taxes can be found here on needhelppayingbills.com.

For information about the State of Tennessee individual tax form (Hall Income Tax), visit http://www.tennessee.gov/revenue/topic/hall-income-tax

Tax Forms @ the Library

According to the IRS, 95 percent of taxpayers filed their tax returns electronically last tax season. As a result, the agency is significantly decreasing the variety of paper forms it offers to agencies like the Library. This year, we’ll receive a limited number of the following federal tax forms from the IRS:

  • Form 1040 and Instructions
  • Form 1040 A and Instructions
  • Form 1040 EZ and Instructions

Once the forms arrive, they will be kept at the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor and will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Schedules and forms that will not be available in paper form at the Library can be downloaded and printed from the IRS website (www.irs.gov). Reference staff can help you download and print forms at the Library for 10 cents a page.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give the Main Library’s Reference Desk a call at 615-595-1243.

 


P.S. — We were recently sent this lovely email from US Citizenship and Immigration Services, just some really good info…

We want you to be aware of tax scams! Today’s lesson: phone scams.

Do not fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten you with police arrest or deportation if you don’t pay them.

Even if you do owe taxes…

  • The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER try to threaten or intimidate you, demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.

If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visiting www.tigta.gov. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

The Almost End of Amy Tan’s Writing

By Lindsay Roseberry, Reference Department

Amy_TanAmy Tan was born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. Happy 64th, Amy! We’re all very glad that you are recovering from your harrowing bout of illness from Lyme Disease. Yes, Amy Tan, the famous author, contracted Lyme Disease. Unfortunately, it was misdiagnosed for years and she had thought her writing career was over. And what a career she has had!

She is most famous for her novels about Chinese families, especially The Joy Luck Club.

  • In The Joy Luck Club, four Chinese-American daughters learn the history and back story of their mothers in this novel. The mothers, who meet up regularly to play Mah Jong, called themselves the Joy Luck Club. It was a major best seller and book club favorite.
  • In The Kitchen God’s Wife, two best friends have kept each other’s secrets. Now that one of them is deathly ill, the other believes it is her duty to tell her secrets to her friend’s daughter. But the friend gets better – now what?
  • In The Hundred Secret Senses, Olivia meets her much older half-sister for the first time. It is like meeting someone from another world. And really it was another world. Kwan grew up in China, Olivia in America.
  • In The Bonesetter’s Daughter, Ruth Young’s mother LuLing is slowing succumbing to Alzheimer’s. Before she loses herself completely, she gives Ruth some of her writings, which reveal a very different side of her mother.
  • In Saving Fish from Drowning, Bibi Chen has planned a picaresque journey of the senses on the Burma Road. After she dies unexpectedly, she watches her tour group veer off the path into the unknown.
  • In The Opposite of Fate, which is a series of essays Tan writes about her works. Some have likened it to a long conversation with Ms. Tan.
  • The Valley of Amazement, Tan’s last novel, is the story of three women, connected at times with love and then by hate and by the painting The Valley of Amazement.
  • sagwathechinesesiamesecat1She also wrote the children’s book Sagwa, the Chinese Cat (illustrated by Gretchen Schields), which was published in 1994. A mother cat tells her kittens the story of their ancestry. The family descended from Sagwa, who was famous for changing the way Siamese cats look forever. After she fell into the ink pot, and changed the wording of a harsh rule with her footprints, it was decreed by the wise magistrate (foolish until Sagwa’s assistance) that henceforth all Chinese cats should have dark faces, ears and paws.  Sagwa was also made into an animated children’s television series in 2001. It was very popular on PBS Kids and often reruns. It aired for one season only, and cancelled in 2003.

And to think, her writing career was almost halted in its tracks because of her undiagnosed Lyme Disease.  Her story is like so many of those suffering with this mysterious, debilitating and hard to diagnose disease. In 1999 she first began showing the symptoms. Symptoms which nearly debilitated her: anxiety, numbness, vision problems, brain lesions, hallucinations. She found she was having trouble reading, couldn’t remember what was on the page after she read it. She was having trouble writing and speaking – both of which are incredibly important for authors.  She went from doctor to doctor, took test after test. She took steroids, then Prozac (which gave her nightmares), until, finally, one doctor ordered an ELISA test (which was used to screen for Lyme Disease). She read up on this disease and every symptom fit, however, some physicians still expressed doubt she had it, since she lives in San Francisco. What they didn’t consider is that she does have a house in New York state, and she does take walks in the woods there. She found a Lyme Disease specialist in San Francisco who finally diagnosed her. Once she began taking anti-biotics, her symptoms began to ease, but she will have to take these pills for life. Tan co-founded LymeAid 4 Kids, which helps uninsured children pay for treatment.

Here are some extra fun facts about Amy Tan you may not know:001ec979096310675fba14

  • She found out later on that her mother had been married before in China, and had left behind three daughters, and the memory of her mother’s suicide. Amy got to meet her step-sisters finally.
  • Her older brother and her father both died of brain tumors within six months of each other.
  • In college, she had a double major of English and Linguistics. She continued in schooling and got her Master’s in Linguistics then started on her doctorate.
  • She worked in the field of helping children with developmental disabilities.
  • She was one of the founding members of the band the Rock Bottom Remainders, along with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Matt Groenig, Barbara Kingslover and Roy Blount, Jr. The Remainders’ first performance was in 1992 at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California. They also played at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1995.   They gave their last concert on June 23, 2012, at the annual conference of the American Library Association also in Anaheim, where they played their first concert. Even though the band is no longer playing gigs, they are fondly remembered by authors, teachers and librarians everywhere. Plus there’s always Youtube…
  • She wrote the libretto for the opera composed by Stewart Wallace based on her book The Bonesetter’s Daughter.
  • She was a free-lance business writer for several years before she started writing fiction at the age of 33.

 


Sources:

Are You There, Judy Blume? It’s Me, Parish.

By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department

Dear Judy,blume 1
Happy 78th birthday! I really wish you lived closer to me so that I could take you out to lunch and buy you a present, although nothing I could give you would remotely compare to the marvelous gifts that you have bestowed upon readers of all ages over your prolific and inspiring career. I mean, seriously—find me a woman in North America whose life as a young adult wasn’t made just a little bit better as a result of reading Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. (Although, I guess there are some unfortunate people out there who were deprived of the opportunity to read Margaret and Deenie and Forever, which in turn possibly inspired you to become an active proponent of the National Coalition Against Censorship.) I hope your day is as fantastic as your books. Blessings on you—

Stacy Parish, Williamson County Public Library, Franklin TN

(Author’s note: So, yeah. I have serious doubts that Judy Blume will ever read my birthday wishes to her, but I’m still going to put it out there. Doesn’t cost me anything.)

blume 2If you’ve read this far (bless your heart) and are wondering to yourself: Who is this Judy Blume that you speak of? Then please, Dear Reader, continue. Judy Blume, nee Judith Sussman, was born on February 12, 1938 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a suburban town just west of New York City to Esther and Rudolph Sussman, a homemaker and a dentist. Judy, as she preferred to be called, had a brother David, who was four years her senior and preferred to spend his free time working on mysterious and often volatile science experiments in the garage. Hence, she found herself being the one who entertained her parents and other family members with her games and performances, much like funny, charismatic Sally Freedman in Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself. In fact, Judy would again draw upon her own childhood experiences, seven years and seven books after publishing her award-winning Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret., as the basis for Sally, and her brother David as the model for Sally’s sardonic loner brother Douglas.

blume 3Judy Blume was a voracious reader as a child, and loved stories and books of all kinds. She says that she spent most of her childhood making up stories inside her own head, but no matter how much she read, she never found any characters in those books whose lives and experiences were relatable to her own. Books of that era were often “sanitized for your protection,” to borrow a phrase one of my coworkers uses frequently. That is, nobody had an agonizingly annoying little brother who went into their room and messed with their stuff and swallowed their turtle (a la Fudge, from Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing), nobody was bullied (Blubber), nobody started their period (Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret), and you can be absolutely certain that nobody ever wrote about their father being shot and killed in a convenience-store holdup (Tiger Eyes.)

blume 4After graduating from high school, Judy was accepted by and enrolled in Boston University, where she spent all of two weeks before contracting mononucleosis. She returned home to New Jersey and transferred later that year to New York University. Life for Judy, as it does for most of us, proceeded apace—during her junior year of college, she began dating John Blume and was soon engaged to be married; she lost her beloved father, whom she affectionately called “Doey-bird,” in July before her senior year; she married John later that summer; and by the time she graduated from college in 1961, she was pregnant with her first child. Her daughter Randy was born later that year, and two years after that, the family moved from their apartment in Plainfield, New Jersey, to a house a few miles away in Scotch Plains. While living there, Judy gave birth to their second child, a son they named Lawrence. (How fun is this–Judy has stated in interviews that Lawrence was the inspiration for the character named Fudge, and Lawrence directed the critically-acclaimed film adaptation of Tiger Eyes in 2012.)

blume 5As a young suburban homemaker, Judy didn’t enjoy the activities that the other wives and mothers did. Golf, tennis, and shopping held no charm for her, and as a result, Judy often found herself being bored. Determined to make her life more interesting and to flex her creative muscles that had atrophied since childhood, she tried for a time to write songs. When that didn’t work out, she started making crafts out of felt, but she found that quite unsatisfying and also developed an unfortunate rash from the craft glue. Then one fine day when she was twenty-seven, Judy received a brochure in the mail from her alma mater (NYU) that advertised a class on writing for children. She was already trying to write and illustrate children’s books, so this was a positive omen. Judy signed up for the class, and even took it again the following semester. Her patience and persistence paid off, and before her second semester ended, she had a few of her stories accepted for publication in a magazine and was paid the roaring sum of $20 per story. And the rest, as they say, is history. Her first full-length children’s book, The One In The Middle Is The Green Kangaroo, was published in 1969, and in the decades since, her novels for children and young adults have exceeded sales of 85 million copies and have been translated into 32 languages.

blume 6By the end of the 20th century, Judy’s original demographic of readers had grown up and had children of their own. Her books had extended from the first generation and were still popular with—and relevant to—the next one. Her original readers were also rewarded with several adult novels from Judy’s beautiful mind—Wifey (1978), Smart Women (1983), Summer Sisters (1999) and In The Unlikely Event (2015.) Just as with her children’s and young adult novels, these books all showcased Judy’s transcendent talent for chronicling family life and its convoluted, often messy, occasionally hysterical, events. She also published a nonfiction book, titled Letters To Judy: What Your Kids Wish They Could Tell You in 1986. Inspired by a 10-year-old girl named Amy, the purpose of the book was to illustrate what kids were thinking and feeling about different issues such as divorce, sex, drugs, suicide, et cetera, issues that kids might be hesitant to approach their parents about and parents in turn might be completely in the weeds for talking to their children about.

Lucky readers are we, as the delightful Judy Blume shows no signs of slowing down, even as she approaches her eighth decade on the planet, and that her books of such timeless quality have endured along with her. What a marvelous way to spend a winter afternoon, curled up with a cup of tea and some of the charming characters she brought us—Margaret, Deenie, Davey, Fudge, to name just a few. Happy birthday, Judy Blume! Mazel tov, and thank you.


Suggested reading and sources:

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, Bradbury Press, 1970. (J F BLU)
  • Everything I Needed To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume, edited by Jennifer O’Connell, Simon & Schuster, 2007. (813 EVE)
  • Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, Delacorte Press, 1988. (F BLU)
  • Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, Delacorte Press 1981. (J F BLU)
  • Who Wrote That? Judy Blume by Elisa Ludwig, Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. (J 92 BLUME)
  • Women Who Broke The Rules: Judy Blume by Kathleen Krull, Bloomsbury USA, 2015. (J 92 BLUME)
*The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and not intended in any way, shape, or form to influence anyone to trespass into their sibling’s room and swallow their pet. The author and her employer hereby absolve themselves of any such untoward behavior being emulated by WCPL patrons, their families, neighbors, classmates, yada yada yada.
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