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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"Lori Grumet, Leader of the Abilene Public Library the Past 5 Years, Retiring" | Abilene Reporter-News

Article from the Abilene Reporter-News on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Timothy Chipp

Change is coming to the Abilene Public Library, both in the short term and in the future.

While librarians and city officials continue working toward building and opening Abilene Heritage Square in the former Lincoln Middle School, they'll do it with a new head librarian.

Lori Grumet
Lori Grumet, who has been in charge of the library system for the past five years, is retiring next week.

She's leaving it in great shape, she said, with an investing fan base, growing circulation, and strong online presence.

"The library's been doing great," Grumet said before Tuesday's annual meeting for the Friends of the Abilene Public Library.  "It's as popular as ever."

Grumet leaves Chris Gibson (Assistant Director of Community Services for the City of Abilene) in charge on an interim basis, with Janis Test, the city's senior librarian, there to assist.

Grumet's final year in charge brought with it a growing library.  From this time last year, 5,924 new library cards were issued to patrons, a sign of recruiting new visitors.

In 2018, the library attracted 5,334, according to the annual report released last year.

Likewise, growth happened in circulation (almost 830,000 items in 2019 vs. 803,000 in 2018) and digital downloads (246,000 items vs. 210,000).

Event attendance dipped this year, though, with 61,000 attendees, down from 66,000 last year.  Reference questions dropped by about 1,000 (48,300 vs. 49,200) and visitors decreased from 531,000 in 2018 to 514,000 this past year.

While the numbers may be a mix of good and bad, Grumet is leaving having helped implement one of the biggest programs the library has been a part of in a while.

Now in its second year, the library has partnered with the Abilene Independent School District to provide a free library card to all students simply through their student identification.

And students who may not be able to visit the library for whatever reason, Grumet said, can request and receive their materials through their classroom.

"And they can return them the same way," Grumet said.  "Year One showed us students want physical books.  I think we will see even more books circulating because of this program.

While gathered for lunch Tuesday, the organization dedicated to helping the library system behind the scenes made a change of their own.

Led by Emerald Cassidy and Kristina Campos-Davis, the Friends of the Abilene Public Library unveiled a new logo, a circular rendition of an opened book. 

The group elected Garret Smith its president for 2020.  He takes over for Judith Phaneuf.

Monday, November 11, 2019

"Reading for the Health of Our Veterans at the Abilene Public Library" | @ the Library Article

Veterans Day is intended to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.  The original commemorated the day the armistice was signed ending World War I, also known as "the war to end all wars," on the eleventh day fo the eleventh month at eleven a.m.  This is why we usually have a moment of silence at that time on Veterans Day.  Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954, when Congress designated November 11th as t4he day to honor American veterans of all wars.

The Main and Mockingbird locations of the Abilene Public Library are closed today so our staff may honor the memories and the deeds of all who have served our country through the years.  The South Branch will be open during its regular hours.  But tomorrow, if you're interested, we have a wide range of materials about veterans that may interest you, especially if you are close to a returning soldier, airman, or sailor.

One that many find useful is Military Mental Health Care: A Guide for Service Members, Veterans, Families and Community by Cheryl Lawhorne and Don Philpott.  One review calls this book "Both thorough and tender."  Recommendations and resources pertaining to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, anger management, suicide prevention, and drug abuse fill the book.  An extensive presentation on posttraumatic stress disorder includes symptoms and various treatments of the problem.  The discussion of traumatic brain injury - considered the 'signature wound' of the current war on terror - is adeptly handled.  A stellar section on grieving reminds us that 'grief has its on timeline' and comes in many forms: normal, pathological, acute traumatic, and complicated.  Ways to aid bereaved military children are offered.  A chapter on homelessness highlights a very sad situation: every night an estimated 67,000 veterans in America are homeless.  The stigma surrounding mental health issues contributes to the silent suffering of returning veterans and this guide makes it clear that every veteran 'deserves to get better,' and highlights the various kinds of help available to military personnel.

Another useful book for vets is The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans by Philpott and Janelle Hill.  A starred review in Library Journal says it "offers straightforward answers to questions commonly asked by wounded U.S. military veterans and their family members as they struggle with the complexities of receiving their needed care.  Well organized, comprehensive, and relatively easy to follow."

As with the other print resources not mentioned here, the online options available to search for veterans concerns are myriad, and librarians at each location can help you determine the best information available for your needs.

So, as we take time today to honor those who have fought so we may enjoy American freedoms; remember that gratitude can be not only a symbolic thing, but a practical one as well.  Whether you've served or not, come into your Abilene Public Library and take a look at these and other resources which will open a window of better understanding into the lives of veterans from all wars.

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager

Monday, November 4, 2019

"Try Something New at Your Library" | @ the Library Article

Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to try new hobbies.  What better place to embark on that journey than your Abilene Public Library?  For those who prefer to dip your toe rather than jump in with a splash, we have two perfect options - Maker kits, and books on "mini" hobbies.  Maker kits allow you to try something new without having to buy all the equipment - your just have to buy consumables for each craft.  The books introduce the same techniques as popular pastimes but require less work space, time, and materials.  Both are great ways to try something different, but make sure it is the right fit.

Third generation farmer Brett L. Markham authored Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Self-Sufficiency from Asparagus to Zucchini.  Learn his tips and tricks for maximizing and harvesting the best vegetables you can produce.  For those who dream of having their own flower garden, Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard by Mike Lizotte demonstrates how to create an informal flower garden in your yard with as little as 50 square feet.  He guides the reader through choosing seeds and soil as well as how to draw pollinators (available as a Hoopla eBook).

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Also available through our free Hoopla service is Mini Patchwork Project: 6 Sewing Projects for the Contemporary Crafter written by Beth Studley.  She offers quick project that utilize small amounts of fabric that a home sewer might already have stashed away.  Similar in scope is Sheena Rogers' book, Mini Cushions in Cross Stitch: 30 Original Designs to Make.  Stitchers of every skill level can make the intricate designs using her comprehensive instructions, from samplers to pin cushions.

Safer than candles, mini-lights are no longer just for holidays or special occasions.  Highlight a collection or bring your garden to life with help from Decorating with Mini-Lights: 40 Sparkling Ideas & Projects for Home & Garden by Marcianne Miller.  She provides ideas that can be used throughout the year, indoors and out.

Our Maker Kits give you many options of things to try, from calligraphy to soap making, cake decorating to jewelry making.  Each kit has a book, resource binder, and comes with all resuable equipment.  Consumable supplies (such as yarn, paper, fabric, food, etc.) must be purcahsed by the patron and will be listed on the kit as needed.

Checkout 1 kit at a time for 3 weeks, then return it to the Main library.  Many patrons have already enjoyed getting to try their hand at new skills without having to invest much as a beginner. 

Between the "mini" books and Maker kits, you can get started discovering which new hobby might be right for you...If you love it, you might even be able to have something made as a present by Christmas!  Stop by any Abilene Public Library location for the books, browse our free Hoopla service, or drop by Main Library for a Maker Kit.  With our help, you can check out how to discover a fun, new leisure-time activity to try.

Article Contributed by Deborah Tarsiewicz, South Branch Librarian