Archive for April, 2012

In Memory of Linda Lindsey

Linda Lindsey was a constant, loyal and beloved Friend of Smyth Bland Regional Library and a very generous supporter of Library programming through Outreach Services.  She served as an officer and board member of the Friends and was always involved in their projects.  A very generous contribution has been made to Smyth-Bland Regional Library Outreach Services in memory of Linda Lindsey and the funding has been utilized to purchase equipment for long term loan to Smyth County nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior citizens center.

The mission of Outreach Services atSBRL is to provide a wide selection of materials and equipment to Senior Citizens in Smyth County who are residents in nursing and assisted living facilities and also those who come to Senior Citizens Centers.  Monthly deliveries and pickups of library titles are customized to meet the individual needs of residents and attendees and last year over 6400 materials were utilized.  Based on partner survey responses, Portable DVD players with 9” LCD screens and earphones and Nintendo Wii with sports games (tennis, bowling, golf, baseball) are being distributed the first of April to Smyth County Outreach Services partners Francis Marion Manor, W.W. Scott Senior Citizens Center, Saltville Senior Citizens Center and Valley Health Care.  Along with celebrating Linda Lindsey’s contributions to the Friends of the Library, Outreach Services is also distributing this equipment in conjunction with National Library Week celebrations.  This equipment and  library titles will be used and enjoyed by older county residents who are without access to traditional library outlets.

It is an honor and privilege to keep Linda Lindsey’s memory vibrantly alive in on-going service to area senior citizens and Smyth-Bland Regional Library is grateful for her many contributions to our library and to Smyth County.



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National Library Month

Shelf Life National Library Month

By Tod Owens

 April is the American Library Association’s National Library Month.  One of the themes of this year’s celebration of the importance of libraries is “create your own story.”  The slogan refers to the concept that all library users may shape their own educational, occupational or recreational futures through regular use of the many free materials and services offered by public libraries.  Library users may discover careers, develop relationships, acquire useful knowledge, and become inspired to achieve numerous life altering accomplishments. In doing so, they are creating their own stories. However, we have to wonder exactly what stories are being created in the current ominous economic environment?

 It could be that many library users are living through a modern darkening fairy tale in which they may only recall a time in which books, magazines, audio materials, and videos were freely available for use by anyone in the kingdom who had a magical item called a library card! This precious talisman could be owned by everyone whether they were a noble or a serf. Merely by presenting the card they could be transported into a realm of the imagination in which the most powerful form of magic- knowledge-could be acquired simply by browsing through wonderful books on almost any subject a reader could desire!

The library was a remarkable place where small children could be enchanted by colorful and clever stories as read by talented bards who knew exactly how to entertain and inform their young charges!

The oldest natives of the kingdom could uncover books about various hobbies that magically filled their retirement with pleasure, new avenues of learning, and connections to others who shared their passion for things like gardening, crafting, and travel!  Music CDs were as plentiful as fruit on a vine and their   “flavors” ranged from Bach to Michael Jackson!  Movies lined the walls and cinematic treasures could be enjoyed by young and old!  The library’s magic was great enough that all the marvelous things could even be taken home for temporary use with one wave of a library card! However, hard times threatened to rob the library of its once bountifully funded magic and slowly the formerly abundant library materials and services were endangered. Some whispered that the golden doors to the library might even be closed!

 Of course, some readers prefer science fiction to fairy tales. The vulnerable libraries of today’s era of budget cuts and library closings might inspire those users to create an entirely different story. I can see a stark society in which books no longer exist, human interaction is limited to the exchange of text messages, and only an elitist few access knowledge through small hand held devices that have rendered libraries obsolete in the eyes of those who can’t recall how personal interaction between trained staffers and their patrons formed the basis of what made public libraries so meaningful to society as a whole and to individual users as well.  In such a bleak future, space travelers might marvel at how a planetary culture could break down into isolated subcultures in which the only means of acquiring or sharing knowledge is through typing on small mobile devices while books decay and become as obsolete as an 8 track tape!   The libraries that once meant so much to Americans became empty relics after governments cut funding and citizens did nothing to protest the loss of precious resources.

 Libraries are threatened by the budget cutting that so dominates our current economic outlook.

I started two stories about what might become of the American library; however, the way those stories end will truly be determined by readers everywhere and how their actions either preserve libraries or passively allow them to close! Don’t wait until National Library Month to create your own versions of the story of your local library! Libraries need your help now in order to turn the once upon a time into a happily ever after!

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Interested in discovering your family tree?

Smyth-Bland Regional Library is the newest FamilySearch affiliate library. The new designation means library patrons will have greater and more convenient access to the wealth of genealogical resources available through FamilySearch.

FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical records and manages the famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has amassed billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records of genealogical significance from over 130 countries.

FamilySearch is extending access to its collections by circulating microfilms of the historic records through select public libraries. Smyth-Bland Regional Library is now one of those libraries. It is a priceless resource for local residents interested indiscovering their family tree.

“Less than 5% of the world’s genealogical records are available online, and most family history researchers cannot afford to travel to an archive nationally or worldwide to find the historic records they are seeking,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “If FamilySearch has filmed the records they need, then as far as they will need to travel to view them is the Smyth-Bland Regional Library.”

FamilySearch has over 200 camera teams filming historic records in 45 countries on any given day. These records are then circulated to public patrons through FamilySearch centers worldwide, like the Smyth-Bland Regional Library. For example, FamilySearch has filmed over 60% of the Civil Registration (birth, marriage and death records) of Italy. If you have Italian ancestry, chances are you will be able to extend your Italian research by conveniently using the FamilySearch films through the Smyth-Bland Regional Library.

There is a nominal fee of $7.50 to order a microfilm. Once the film arrives, patrons use the microfilm readers at the Smyth-Bland Regional Library to peruse it. The library staff can help patrons see what films are available, place film orders, and answer research questions. Patrons can also search the Family History Library Catalog online at FamilySearch.org to see what records FamilySearch has available to order through the library.

Smyth-Bland Regional Library will be hosting an Open House to showcase the new services available. There will be a tour of the facility, along with a brief program explaining how you can use these microfilm records to grow your own family tree. Members of the Smyth County Genealogical Society will be stationed at computers throughout the library for “5-Minute Genealogy” searches, to help local citizens see the records of their own ancestors. There will also be a copy of the newly-released 1940 Smyth County Census available, which contains the names of the 29,000 people living in Smyth County at that time. Join us Sunday, April 15 from 3-5 pm to learn more about this exciting new local resource.

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