Category Archives: Programs
Late summer and autumn are not always the most beautiful and fruitful times for many of our plants. Our vegetable patches have stopped yielding and our flowers are faded and brown. But this is the perfect time to gather seeds you can use to start your gardens next year. Here are just a few benefits of collecting and saving seeds.
- It’s fun!
- It’s easy!
- It’s economical! The price of a packet of seeds seems to increase every year. The seeds you collect from your garden are free.
- You can share or exchange seeds with friends – a great inexpensive way to try new plants.
- Your favorite plant may not be readily available at local nurseries, but if you save seeds you can continue to enjoy it in your garden year after year.
- Many varieties of heirloom plants are lost over time. They actually become extinct! You can help preserve different heirloom plants by collecting, saving and replanting heirloom seeds.
- By raising many generations of plants, you’ll be able to see how certain traits are passed on, and how you can select the qualities you want to bring out. Over time, you can even “customize” your plants to suit your backyard conditions and your tastes.
- You can benefit your community. If you collect more vegetable seeds than you can use, which is likely, you can donate your surplus seeds to a community garden that gives free fruits and vegetables to needy families.
Collecting and saving seeds is an ancient tradition. For thousands of years, farmers collected and saved seeds to insure the next year’s harvest. They also studied the results of their plantings and then saved and sowed seeds from the best plants, fine-tuning the plants to meet their needs and match local growing environments. This selection led to a genetic diversity of crops adapted to many growing conditions and climates, and created a large base for our food supply.
While farmers and hobby gardeners collect and save seeds to plant and share, seed vaults or banks do just the opposite. From the beginnings of agriculture (possibly as early as 8000 B.C. in what is now Iraq), farmers understood their seeds needed protection from the weather and animals. Scientists have discovered evidence of seed banks in Iraq from as far back as 6750 B.C. Today, there are more than 1,500 seed banks around the world that hold a wide variety of seeds to preserve crop diversity and act as insurance against disease and natural and man-made disasters that might wipe out the world’s seed reserves. The best known is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, often called the “Doomsday Vault,” located in a remote frozen mountain in Norway. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a huge international project with the capacity to store 4.5 million varieties of crops for a maximum of 2.5 billion seeds. Currently, the Vault holds more than 860,000 samples, originating from almost every country in the world.
Amid all the interest in preserving and sharing seeds, libraries around the country have started seed exchanges, and the Williamson County Public Library joined that movement in March of 2015. The first year of our seed exchange, we “checked out” (gave away) more than a thousand packets of flower, vegetable, fruit, and herb seeds. It was suggested – but not required – that those who participate in the program collect seeds from their gardens this fall and return a few of them to the Library in the spring so we can keep our seed exchange going. Go to WCPL Seed Exchange to find out how our seed exchange works and see a list of helpful resources on seed collecting.
If you want to learn more about harvesting your seeds, the Library is hosting a program on Collecting and Saving Seeds with UT/TSU Horticulture Extension Agent Amy Dismukes on Monday, August 31 at 1pm. Registration is required, but the program is FREE and open to anyone who is interested in attending. Just call 615-595-1243 or click here to register.
If the planets are your favorite objects to view through a telescope or even just by eye, then May has a show in store. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye and thus have been known since antiquity. Except for Mars, all of these planets will put on an evening performance for skywatchers in May.
By far the hardest to spot of the four planets will be Mercury. Mercury’s small orbital radius (about one-third the Earth-Sun distance) never allows the planet to stray far from the Sun, so most of the time it is easily lost in the glow of sunrise or sunset; however, Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation on May 7, which simply means that it will appear about as far from the Sun in the evening sky as it can get. During this time Mercury can be found as a moderately bright “star” just above the west-northwestern horizon after sunset, and the planet will take on a very small, crescent-moon shape when viewed through backyard telescopes. Mercury and Venus both go through a complete cycle of phases for the same reason that our Moon exhibits phases. At all times, half of the surfaces of Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and any other round body orbiting the Sun are always illuminated just as half of the Earth is experiencing daytime as you read this. Using his small telescope Galileo Galilei was the first to observe this in the early 1600s, and these observations provided direct observational proof that some objects, namely Venus, go around the Sun and not the Earth. In addition, as these planets move closer to and farther away from us as we all orbit the Sun, they appear to enlarge and shrink in telescopic views due to the changing distances between us and them. If you get a chance to observe Venus and Mercury through a backyard telescope, you will see both of these phenomena quite well.
Speaking of Venus, even casual observers will have noted the bright planet in the western sky after sunset. Over the past few months, Venus has been creeping higher up in the evening sky as it rounds the Sun to catch up to the Earth. For the next few months, Venus will only be outshone by the Moon in the evening sky as it continues parading as the “Evening Star.” Venus’s high brightness is due to its clouds, which are highly reflective and completely enshroud the Venusian surface. Just like Mercury, Venus’ orbit will never let it stray far from the Sun in our skies, but its larger orbital radius lets it get significantly higher in the sky as compared to Mercury. On June 6, Venus will reach greatest eastern elongation and show a distinctive half-moon phase when viewed telescopically. From this point onward, it will grow larger in telescopes as it takes on a thinner and thinner crescent phase. When it finally catches up to and passes us in August, Venus will begin creeping up in the eastern sky before sunrise as it changes to its “Morning Star” persona.
Jupiter continues to ride high in the sky just after sunset. The most massive of the solar system’s planets puts on a new display each night as its four largest moons, also discovered by Galileo, continually change positions. Folks with medium- to large-aperture telescopes will note that each of these moons appears as a small disk under high magnification as opposed to pinpoints of light. Though these moons are roughly a half-billion miles from us, they are large enough (about the size of our moon, to first order) that even backyard telescopes can resolve them. Occasionally we are treated to additional performances by the moons as their ink-black shadows are cast on the planet and sweep across its atmosphere in a matter of hours.
Finally, the real gem of the solar system makes its debut in the evening skies by early May. During the first part of May, Saturn will appear as a bright “star” near the east-southeastern horizon just above the star Antares, the brightest star of the constellation Scorpius. As the month progresses, Saturn will gradually slide west among the stars and move from Scorpius to Libra. Normally, as Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun, one would expect the planets to move eastward among the stars. However, as Saturn approaches opposition on May 23 (another fancy term that simply means Saturn rises as the Sun sets), it will appear to move backward in its orbit as Earth catches up to and passes it. This retrograde motion will continue until the start of August at which point skywatchers will note that Saturn will halt its backwards movement and resume its normal, easterly trek among the stars. Opposition is a great time to view Saturn as it means that the planet will also be visible for the majority of the night, giving those with telescopes plenty of time to admire the giant rings of the planet and even spot a few of its moons.
During the start of May, around 10pm CDT, folks with clear eastern and western horizons can spot all four of these planets simultaneously. Starting low on the west-northwestern horizon one can first spot dim Mercury, then brilliant Venus high up in the western sky, then Jupiter almost overhead, and finally Saturn near the east-southeastern horizon. If the ground were transparent and no atmosphere was present, one could continue this line, known as the ecliptic, around to form a complete circle and also intercept the planets Uranus, Neptune, and Mars. The Moon would also lie fairly close to this line, and the Sun would lie directly on top of it. This alignment is not coincidence – the ecliptic is the orbital plane of the Earth, or as viewed from Earth, it marks the apparent path of the Sun through our sky. The planets and Moon do not stray far from the ecliptic because the orbital planes of Earth and the planets are in close alignment, and this alignment is a result of the formation of the solar system. Approximately five billion years ago, a large, rotating cloud of gas and dust began collapsing in on itself due to its own self-gravity. As the rotating cloud collapsed to a smaller, more compact size its rotation speed increased just as a rotating ice skater spins faster as she pulls her arms closer to her body. But, as anyone who has spun around has experienced, centrifugal force causes a spinning ice skater’s arms to want to fly outwards – this is also experienced by the collapsing cloud. As the cloud collapses down, it not only spins faster but centrifugal force tries to halt the collapse in the direction perpendicular to the cloud’s rotation axis but not the collapse along the rotation axis. The end result is the cloud flattens down to become a rotating disk – the Sun forms at the center of the disk and planets form in the outer portion. The planets slowly build up in the rotating disk of material and, once the cloud of material is depleted/dissipated, the newborn planets continue their orbits around the Sun in approximately the same orbital plane.
By Erin Holt, Teen Department
It’s officially Teen Tech Week ! Libraries around the country are celebrating in many different ways, combining crafts, technology, and more! Here at WCPLtn, we celebrated by hosting our final Lego Mindstorms Club meeting, playing the Wii U, and even putting technology to the side one afternoon by playing various board games!
Our Teens did a great job under the guidance of Middle Tennessee State Community College professor Alan Fisher. They started out learning the various parts of the Lego Mindstorm, moved to building their own robot, and finally learned the intricacies of programming the robot! By the end they had their robots sensing colors, objects, and even doing dances to various pop songs! Everyone had a blast and some even used the sessions to aid in earning their merit badge for boy scouts!
If you’re interested in attending an upcoming Lego Mindstorms program, follow us on Twitter @wcplteen14 and keep your eye on our website http://www.wcpltn.org where we’ll post slides to let you know when registration opens for the April session!
What did you do to celebrate Teen Tech Week?
Award-winning author Sara J. Henry will conduct a novel-writing workshop on Saturday, March 21 at 2:00 pm. In “How to Write a Book that Grabs the Reader and Doesn’t Let Go,” Henry will discuss strong openings and review some – participants are encouraged to bring in a copy of a favorite novel – and talk about why these openings work. She also will critique on paper opening pages of participants’ work – please bring up to ten pages, double-spaced (some will be discussed aloud, with participants’ permission, anonymously if desired). Henry will also cover the importance of pacing and how to keep things moving; choosing what tense and person to use; what genre your work falls into; how to find critique partners and how to utilize critiques; the importance of revision; tips on making your manuscript come alive. She will also touch on how to write a query letter (bring yours, if you have one) and select the right agent, and talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing.
Sara J. Henry is a native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has a Master’s degree in Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. She was an editor at Rodale Books and at Women’s Sports & Fitness magazine, and attended Squaw Valley Writers Conference. She has edited many nonfiction books, worked as a correspondence writing school instructor, written for numerous magazines, and written and co-written nonfiction books on health and fitness. (She’s also been a soil scientist, website designer, and bicycle mechanic, among other professions.)
Her first novel, Learning to Swim (2011), won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her second novel, A Cold and Lonely Place (2013), won the Silver Falchion Award and was nominated for the Anthony Award.
Henry’s workshop is sponsored by the Williamson County Library Foundation. There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited, and registration is required. Register online at http://lib.williamson-tn.org/ or call 615-595-1243.
The Special Collections department at the Williamson County Public Library is hosting its annual photographic exhibit on Williamson County African American history by local historian and author Thelma Battle. This year’s exhibit is “Coming & Going,” and examines the history of migration to and from Williamson County in the Black community. Topics will include the earliest slaves in the county, the reconstruction era exodus, the impacts of war, and modern immigration into Williamson County for industry, sports, and more. The exhibit is held in the 2nd floor Special Collections department at 1516 Columbia Ave. in Franklin, and will run from Feb. 2nd – 28th in honor of Black History Month.
Also in honor of Black History Month, the library will be hosting a free lecture, “The African Diaspora through the Americas,” on Friday, February 20 at 2pm-4pm in the downstairs meeting room. Jane Landers will lecture on her more than twenty years of research on the African Diaspora (a diaspora is a scattered population with a common origin in a smaller geographic area) in various parts of the Americas. Her graduate research on the first free black town in in the Americas (formed by runaways from South Carolina who fled to Spanish Florida) supported archaeological investigations, a National Landmark registry and a museum. Since then she has also worked on diasporic sites in Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and Brazil. Landers now directs an international effort to digitally preserve the oldest records for Africans in the Americas.
This presentation will present an overview of the rise of the African slave trade and the subsequent diaspora of Africans through the Americas. Main themes will include differences among European slave systems in the Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French colonies of the Americas and the resulting varieties of cultural expression and resistance of the enslaved. You will also be introduced to the wide variety of evidence now available for studying the African diaspora in the Americas.
For More information, contact the Special Collections Department on the 2nd floor – 615-595-1246
By Lance Hickerson, Reference Library Assistant
- Mood Music. Attend a concert of seasonal music by artists like Hannah and Esther DeLadurantey and the Eleganza Strings presenting a Family Christmas Concert on harp and violin.
- Come and see Santa with your family, and be sure to bring your cameras for that special photo.
- Enjoy a holiday musical like this year’s production of “Cindy’s Magic Snow Globe.”
- Take in a holiday movie on the Library’s Big Screen selected Friday Mornings and Thursday evenings.
- Save money by borrowing books from the library; and that includes electronic books.
- Need a holiday recipe? Take advantage of the library’s entire of wall of cookbooks as well as using our Zinio connection to read cooking magazines free online.
- What about some DIY Crafts for that personal touch in gifts? Attend a craft class in making bead bracelets or Christmas tree ornaments. You might also want to see the good DIY books, ready to borrow for your special project.
- Tech Tune-up! Take time out to learn more about computers and technology by attending classes like Microsoft Word, Excel, or our “Appy Hour:” where we learn about choosing the best apps for your tablet or Ipad.
- It’s family time. Learn about your family history in a class taught by library archivists called, “Introduction to Ancestry.com.”
- Enjoy the special activities for teens, like the Teen Cookie Decorating Party.
- Learn French (or German, or Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and more) for your next vacation or just for fun with the library’s free online language program called “Powerspeak.”
Bonus: Find a perfect holiday gift at a reasonable price from the Library’s Academy Park Press. Available at the main library circulation desk are the children’s book, Bucky and Bonnie’s Library Adventure, and the recently published: Bullets and Bayonets: A Battle of Franklin Primer.
By Julie Duke, Youth Services Manager
The Book Release Party was a drop in program for families. We had both soldiers and civilians, including ladies in beautiful hoop skirts, for the visitors to meet and greet. General Grant was also there, and President Abraham Lincoln (aka Dennis Boggs, who to me is the quintessential Lincoln, charming and personable) gave the Gettysburg Address. My husband, Lawrence, brought some of his collection of original Civil War artifacts, and the Tennessee State Museum loaned us a trunk of hands on CW clothing and equipment. It was delightful to see the kids dress up in the period clothing. On the Foundation’s Facebook page, you can see photos of the event, https://www.facebook.com/wmclf. I lost count, but there was about 100 patrons on Sunday.
By Julie Duke, Youth Services Manager
The Library’s Foundation’s ticketed event, An Evening with Storytellers, brought in over 60 library supporters, and the Foundation made over $1,000. Speakers were Eric Jacobsen, CEO of Carter house and Carnton Plantation, Thomas Flagel, History Instruction at Columbia State CC, and Bryan Lane, who recently published a book on General Adams, on of the Generals killed at Franklin.
One gentleman, who had purchased a book at this event evening, was also at the Book Release Party. He said he had read the book cover to cover, and it was “excellent”. A woman who was at the Storytellers evening was back on at the Book Release to buy another book! She said that she had company visiting from out of town. They were seeing the sites in Franklin, and used our book as a guide as they toured.
Two of the authors and one of the editors for Bullets and Bayonets had requests for book signings.
By the Library Reference Assistant
- WHO WERE YOU AS A HUMAN? WHEN DID YOU LIVE?
- OR DID YOU CLAW YOUR WAY OUT OF A GRAVE?
- ARE YOU FRESHLY TURNED, WEEKS UNDEAD
- WAS IT A CURSE?
- DID YOU CATCH A RAGE VIRUS?
- WERE YOU BITTEN?
- LIQUID LATEX
- TOILET PAPER
- WHITE CREAM FACE PAINT
- FLESH-COLORED CREAM FACE PAINT
- AN ARRAY OF CREAM FACE PAINT IN WOUND COLORS (BLUE, PURPLE, RED, BLACK, YELLOW, ETC.)
- PAINTBRUSHES, COTTON BALLS AND/OR COTTON SWABS
- FAKE BLOOD
- MILK CARTON (OPTIONAL)
- APPLY LIQUID LATEX AND RAGGED TOILET PAPER FOR DEEP GASHES. RIP OPEN ONCE DRY.
- FOR SHALLOW CUTS, APPLY THIN LAYERS OF LIQUID LATEX, ALLOW TO DRY AND TEAR OPEN.
- BLEND WHITE OVER WHOLE FACE.
- FILL WOUNDS WITH RED AND BLACK. BLEND OUTWARD WITH BLUE, PURPLE AND DASHES OF YELLOW FOR A ROTTING EFFECT.
- BE SURE TO APPLY DARK COLOR UNDER YOUR EYES FOR A SUNKEN LOOK.
- APPLY FAKE BLOOD TO WOUNDS AND MOUTH.
- FOR ADDED EFFECT, USE MILK CARTON CUTOUTS AND LATEX TO SIMULATE BONE.