This Week — Poetry, The Idaho Public TV Premiere of The Address, Online Safety and the Guitar Circle, all @The Community Library

Poetry of Witness cover art

Tonight, Tuesday April 16th, Idaho poet Jeanne Rodgers will help us celebrate National Poetry Month with readings from her work, including the recently released book Through the Cattails. A search for poetry in our catalog turns up over a thousand hits, including audio CDs, DVDs and poetry for kids! Whatever your poetic tastes, from Auden to Rumi or Robert Service to Ogden Nash, there is a poem, haiku, verse, epic or sonnet in the Library for you.

Making of the Gettysburg Address cover art

Later Tuesday night, in the comfort of your own home, consider the Ken Burns movie The Address, which will premiere on Idaho Public Television at 9:00 pm Mountain time. The film follows a group of classmates from the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, as they are challenged to memorize and recite the Gettysburg Address. Are you interested in participating in the Address project? Email us if you would like assistance recording your own personal video! Just email our new events programmer Scott Burton at with “Address” in the subject header.

Looking for more information on the crafting of the Gettysburg Address and it’s lasting influence? Check out our history collection at the Library, including the West Point Atlas of the Civil War in our oversized bookshelves, numerous personal papers and memoirs from Lincoln, Lee, Sherman, Stonewall Jackson and many others from both sides of the conflict. Just ask a librarian!

ONLINE SAFETY! That is the theme of Paul Zimmerman’s tech class this coming Wednesday night, 6:00 pm. Paul will address the implications of the recently revealed Heartbleed bug, and what you can do to make your passwords and online activities safer.

On Thursday, the Guitar Circle meets again! We will start just a little bit earlier–the door to the Lecture Room will open by 5:30 pm to set up, tune up, and share music. The meeting is open to all, learners as well as experienced players. Past meetings have featured violin, harp and box percussion. Listeners can drop in as well.

Share in the making of living poetry, oration and music @Your Community Library, where library cards are free!

Weeding the Stacks

book cover for the Singular Mark Twain

One of the most (intellectually) difficult jobs for many collection development, acquisitions and circulation librarians can be culling books from the shelves. Many books need to be weeded, some because they are unloved and no one checks them out anymore, and some ahead of their time because of damage, obsolescence, or outright dirt poor information. Fiction writers lie for a living, and do it with style and panache (they get a bye on fibbing, the Mark Twain Free Pass.) Some nonfiction writers prevaricate as well. Some quite gleefully. When detected, those books are far easier to boot off of the catalog and out the door (or in library parlance, “deaccess.”)

Fiction is relatively straightforward to deaccess–check the circulation, and if the book has gone unloved and unchecked out for a few years, pull it and make room for a newer, shinier, and presumably more lovable tome. Some classics get a pass (Mark Twain is possibly slightly overrepresented in the collection, but hey, Mark Twain.) Regional authors get a little extra attention. Still, taking out some books can be a hard call. Librarian favorites can mysteriously find new life and more prominent locations (when will they reprint that Edward Abbey classic? Has it become too subversive for modern publication? Better keep it…) Weeding is as much an arcane art as book ordering.

book cover for Trust and Honesty

Right this very minute, I am scanning some nonfiction candidates for deaccession from our society and law section (Dewey 346-347.) Some books are fairly easy culls, such as O.J., The Last Word, c1997–regional author, but last century subject, and no recent circs. But what about Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroad/ Tamar Frankel–isn’t the subject more relevant than ever? Or perhaps the scholarly approach is too dense for a general collection. And what about Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History–c2001, and still being argued. Moreover, Library Journal still recommends the book for public libraries ten years after publication. Then there’s How to be Rich, by J. Paul Getty, published by Playboy Press in the sixties, a first edition. It’s a fascinating book. Not my normal fare, but now that I’ve paged through it, I might read it to study the snapshot of the time and mindset. Serendipity in the stacks works like that.

On to the next book. The Constitution of the United States, Its Sources, and Its Applications by Thomas James Norton, c1940. “…this explanation of the Constitution has been prepared under the conviction that the American never has had within reach the means of acquiring that knowledge which, as a citizen, he should first of all possess.” The quote is from the preface, written just after the 19th Amendment passed allowing women the right to vote. Inclusive language was still a work in progress, and one of our more deeply passionate readers has underlined a key phrase or two (thankfully only in pencil) but the bones of the history in the book are good.

What would you do? Keep or cull?

Voices of Ireland

Voices of Ireland book cover by Malachy McCourt

Spring is approaching, and St. Patrick summons the young shoots of summer with feasting and observances (at least, his pagan forebears did, during the equinoxial feast of Ostara, with which the saint’s day closely coincides.) If you are planning a party, or enjoy the sound of roots Irish ballads, we have a number of Irish music CDs and Irish-themed DVDs, and many, many books, celebrating Irish history and culture from the sea-roving Celts to the Irish Brigade. If you’d like to go further back into the mists of the lore of Ireland, we have a number of druidic tomes in our Lister Collection of arcane books.

The chieftains music CD Voice of Ages

Celtic themes abound in our music CDs, from Van Morrison to the Chieftains, and Michael Flatley to Hayley Westenra. The DVD The Secret of Kells was shown at the Sun Valley Spiritual Festival. Or you can tap your inner Bard by delving into 1,000 years of Irish Poetry.

The real Saint Patrick was an active cleric, but didn’t really drive the snakes from Ireland–there hadn’t been snakes in Ireland since before the last ice age, according to National Geographic on the subject.) Some say the claim is a metaphor for Catholic evangelism, though there is strong evidence that polytheism survived in Ireland long after Patrick’s time. We have resources exploring many sides of Irish culture, from A Brief History of the Druids to On the Irish Waterfront, and with Irish oratory ranging from James Joyce to Edmund Burke.

Threads of green run through the Wood River Valley, the green of the forests, the green of Wood River school colors, and the American version of the holiday has brought out many a screaming green costume over the years on March 17th. Celebrate the coming of spring and the wearing ‘o the green your way, @The Community Library.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Living in the Mountains–Avalanches

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center (twitter feed @sawtoothavy) has raised the local avalanche warning to “HIGH” today (up from “considerable.”) They warn backcountry skiers, snowmobilers and hikers to stay away from both slopes and outruns below avalanche paths. Slides are going to occur on all aspects of central Idaho mountains, north, south, east and west, due to wind loading, unstable slab built over old “ball-bearing” layers of snow, and recent new snowfall. (Avalanche controlled slopes within ski area boundaries are not included in the warning, but off-piste skiing is a Very Bad Idea right now.) The short term warning continues through Monday, but all backcountry explorers should exercise caution in the mountains throughout the winter.

Sawtooth Avalanche Center photo of recent slide in Boulders.

Sawtooth Avalanche Center photo of recent slide in Boulders.

Tragically, recent and historic slides have caused damage, injury and claimed lives, on seemingly safe slopes, flats below avalanche chutes, and even roadways and houses below slide zones. Local high avalanche zones include Warm Springs Road and Galena Summit, but may also include side roads near recent burned areas and access roads in side canyons. The Community Library has considerable resources related to avalanche dangers and maintaining safety in mountainous terrain. Check out the books Backcountry Skiing, Avalanche Essentials, and the DVD A Life Ascending. Our Regional History Library has numerous photos of historic slides, including the North Star Mine disaster in 1917.

North Star Mine bunkhouse near Triumph was destroyed 3:30 am, February 25th, 1917.  Seventeen miners were killed in the slide.

North Star Mine bunkhouse near Triumph was destroyed 3:30 am, February 25th, 1917. Seventeen miners were killed in the slide.

How do you minimize your risks and maximize your fun in avalanche country? Be aware of conditions, and make mountain and snow conditions a lifelong learning project. Also–as with scuba diving, seek professional and local guide advice, and never ski/snowboard/snowmobile/snowshoe the backcountry risk areas alone. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center has an interactive tutorial on avalanche basics, and links to safety courses with Sawtooth Mountain Guides and Sun Valley Trekking.

Book cover Avalanche Essentials

Book cover Avalanche Essentials

Know your snow, look it up @The Community Library.

Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm  Comments (1)  

The Winter Olympic Tradition Runs Deep in Sun Valley

Gretchen Fraser at the Finish Line

Gretchen Fraser at the Finish Line

Congratulations to Idaho snowboarder Sage Kotsenberg for winning the slopestyle, opening the Winter Olympics with risk, flair and a 1620 Japan (4.5 rotations and a grab.) Hockey player Hilary Knight from Sun Valley scored a goal and an assist as the women’s team stopped Finland 3-1 in their opener. Hailey skier Jasmine Campbell carried the flag for her native-born U.S. Virgin Islands team during the opening ceremonies.

In The Valley, the politics of the Olympics have always taken a deep back seat to the celebration of sport and athlete. Dozens of Olympic competitors make the Wood River Valley their home, both home-grown and adopted, and the Valley unites in cheering on the newest competitors. We all wish great good luck to all our athletes and coaches at the Games this year.

christin cooper ski racing

Our Regional History Library and main stacks have many stories of the Winter Olympics and Olympians–Gretchen Fraser and Dick Durrance, Betty (Bell) Weir and Chuck Ferries, the Patterson clan, the Crist clan, the Corrock clan, Christin Cooper, and multiple medal winner Picabo Street. Search our Photo archives for many iconic images of Olympians past and present (or contribute some photos of your own!)

Picabo Street in the Olympic downhill

Picabo Street

One of our most popular and enduring books this last year is The Boys in the Boat: nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics / Daniel James Brown. Holds are still accumulating on this title. Politics and issues wax and change, but stories that celebrate the innate spirit of teamwork in sport, the quest of the athlete and the powerful draw of the Games do stand the test of time.

Boys in the Boat

Join the Guitar Circle with Taul Paul–Followup Meeting February 20th–three new guitars are now circulating in our stacks!

Edit February 7th: Due to the enthusiasm of our first meeting on January 23rd, we are holding another Guitar Circle event Thursday, February 20th, at 6:00 pm. Bring your stringed instrument, (or just yourself, and listen in!) The lecture room door will open early for those who want to tune up or compare notes. If you’d like a copy of Taul Paul’s music sheets before the event, email me here at the Community Library– cbutterfield


Two new Fender FA100 six-string guitars have arrived for our patrons, generously donated by Tana Stahn at Chesbro Music in Idaho Falls. The guitars join our Little Martin guitar in a budding music station offering–the guitars may be checked out just like a book, for 2 weeks. Patrons can place a hold on the guitars if they are already circulating (our Martin has proved very popular since it’s introduction in November, and now has two holds from interested players.) The new Fenders are geared to patrons who want to learn the guitar, as well as skilled players who may need an instrument for a short time to practice skills or entertain friends.

fender pic.php

Interested in learning more? This Thursday, Taul Paul, local musician, poet and riverman, will conduct an event at 6:00 pm January 23rdat The Community Library covering the history of guitars and the use of stringed instruments–please join us, whether you are interested in guitars, learning to play, or musical Americana. Following the talk, interested patrons and musicians can join Taul Paul in an informal Guitar Circle discussion with instruments (we will have at least one Fender on hand for patrons to borrow and play.) Let me know by commenting below if you might be interested in a regular meeting of a freeform and free Guitar Circle at the Library! Or give us a call and ask for Cathy in Collection Development–I will add you to the list. taulpaul w guitar

Also, we have a number of new books in our music section for new learners and experienced players alike on chords, techniques, and styles. Also, we’ve added some guitar and keyboard songbooks as well, including a compendium of the music and lyrics of Johnny Cash. Explore the art of songwriting, playing or just indulge your curiosity–visit the library!

Founder’s Day, today, January 17th! Come help us celebrate!

Baldy in winter over library

We are celebrating the founding of The Community Library 59 years ago today! Join us Friday, January 17, for our annual Founders’ Day Open House. We are grateful and proud of the legacy of Library founders, board members and volunteers who have led the organization from its beginnings in 1955 to what it is today. Were you a Library volunteer in 2013? If so, have a special gift for you!

If you are interested in helping us continue a tradition of excellent service to the Wood River Valley for all our residents and visitors, can you give us a hand by filling out a very short poll? We are constantly upgrading all of our collections, and right now we are looking for input on providing an online language learning platform. There would be nearly 50 languages available to study, including ESL, Spanish, German, French, Latin, Mandarin, Russian (looking at you, Sochi travellers!) Please read over our little questionnaire and let us know your ideas and opinions.

Thank you everyone for 59 years of library love!

Thank you for your contribution! If you know of anyone who is interested in our language learning offerings, send them our way–library cards are always free with a picture ID at The Community Library.

Happy Founders Day!

Published in: on January 17, 2014 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  

LibraryDenizens 2013 in review–January 2014 books are here!

The stats helpers prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Click on the graphic to see our blog year in review!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

We are already looking forward–the January 2014 book order just arrived, and I am unpacking new fiction titles by Sue Monk Kidd, E. L. Doctorow, Jack Higgins, Martha Grimes, Stuart Woods, Guillermo Rosales and Ismael Beah. New nonfiction includes biographies of Edmund Burke, John Wooden, legendary coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team, and an autobiography by Congressman Keith Ellison, My Country ‘Tis of Thee.

Also in the offing, two releases by CIA officers tell much, but not all–Robert Gate’s Duty and John Rizzo’s Company Man. It should be interesting to compare the two tales. Other nonfiction releases cover subjects ranging from adaptogens to French pastry, American craftsmen to the App Generation, D. F. Swaab perusing how We Are Our Brains and Alan Lightman exploring The Accidental Universe.

Looking back or looking ahead, come on in to The Community Library, which thrives through the generous donations of residents and visitors alike, and where library cards, internet access and wifi are free to all comers. Welcome!

Local Architects Share Their Art with the Community–Tis the Season!

design for an empathic

Thank you to the many artists, architects and builders from around the valley who have contributed books, ideas and funding to The Community Library over the years! Through their generosity, our already robust design and architecture section is considerably enhanced.

Every year, Wood River’s own Mountain Section of the Idaho Chapter of the American Institute of Architects selects exemplary books on design, art and architecture and donates them to The Community Library to share with our local and global patrons. The tradition dates back over twenty years, lending depth and breadth to our collection. This year’s donation just arrived, a gift for the Solstice.

tadeo ando

Tadeo Ando: Houses features brilliant layouts of 30 years of the architect’s work in concrete dwellings from Mexico to Sri Lanka. The book includes floorplans and photographs of the finished houses. Design for an Empathic World: Reconnecting to People, Nature and Self by Sim Van der Ryn explores the psychological aspects and human factors in city planning and engineered living. In harmony with its sustainable themes, the book itself is of modest size and printed on recycled, acid-free paper. The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients occupies the intersection between design and social justice.

sagrada familia

The best hands on book, coming in at only 16 pages, is Gaudi Pop-ups by Courtney Watson McCarthy, with both photos and pop-up three dimensional foldouts of the Park Güell, Serpentine Bench, Salamander Fountain, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and Sagrada Familia.

This year’s donation includes two books for our children’s collection to encourage bright young makers. My Name is Georgia a portrait by Jeanette Winter, is a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year for young readers, and follows the artistic path of Georgia O’Keeffe with bright, bold, color illustrations. Young Frank Architect by Frank Viva (a cover artist for the New Yorker) is published by the Museum of Modern Art.

Young Frank Arch

Thank you from all our patrons, young and old! Check out the art at The Community Library, where library cards are free, and a world of books are waiting.

Published in: on December 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm  Comments Off on Local Architects Share Their Art with the Community–Tis the Season!  
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Homing in on the Holidays

bing crosby

Let the caroling commence! Our fine media librarians, Kathy and Linda, have put up the holiday music display, including over a hundred Christmas music CDs. You’ll find carols from all genres–jazz, blues, classical, pop and soul. From Handel to Bing Crosby to Josh Groban, there’s a song for you. We also have caroling sheet music and lyrics for your holiday parties. Just ask a librarian, or cruise our Christmas display.

Josh Groban

Tis the season to feast, whether one celebrates Christmas, Channukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or any other Solstice observance. With the celebrations, near universally, comes food: traditional, filling and, all too often, metabolism-busting. We have some new cooking and refined diet books in The Community Library that may enhance your options for holiday fare and extend your traditional fare. For northerly palates, we have Christmas in Scandinavia, recipes and traditions from Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

celebraciones mexicanas

For a bit of south of the border spice, try Celebraciones Mexicanas (so new to the collection it won’t be cataloged until next week!) From pozole blanco to islas flotante al Rompopo, you’ll find many recipes to celebrate Noche Buena, Navidad, on through to the Dia de los Reyes Magos.

non-gmo cookbook

The Community Library has a very robust collection of cookbooks, including specialty lifestyle choices focusing on vegan, paleo, non-gluten, allergy-sensitive, immune-sensitive, and kosher diets. Our most recent addition is the Non-GMO Cookbook: Recipes and advice for a non-GMO lifestyle by Megan Westgate and Courtney Pineau for patrons interested in avoiding genetically modified foods. There are cookbooks for locavores, vegavores, omnivores and carnivores galore in our cookery section.

Feast on our books this season @The Community Library, where library cards are free to all locals and visitors to the Wood River Valley.

During the season of giving, please consider donating to The Community Library Annual Appeal. We do not receive tax funds, and we survive solely upon donations to the Library and the Gold Mine. And have a festive Solstice season! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…