Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Book Group Pick: Suite Francaise

For our October meeting, the library's Tuesday Night Book Group (which meets at our Berea location) requested a good historical fiction with some "action" ... and Suite Française delivers.

Often deemed “the last great fiction of the war,” Suite Française is a collection of two novellas detailing northern France’s fall to the Nazi advances of 1940. The first section, Storm in June, chronicles the connecting lives of a group of Parisians, who are all fleeing the probable air raids in the city for the safety of the countryside; the group moves just hours ahead of the advancing German army. The second section, Dolce, details life in a French farming village under Nazi occupation in 1941.

Némirovsky, a French writer of Ukranian Jewish origin, completed what was to be the first two sections of a planned five part Suite Française just before being arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. She was detained and months later killed at Auschwitz concentration camp. Suite Française was discovered by Némirovsky’s daughter, who finally published the text in France in 2004. Since then it has been translated into 38 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide.

While the action in Suite Française may not be as overt as a Tom Clancy novel, it is certainly a story of war. It also offers a unique perspective not only of the Germans' occupation of France, but also of the anxiety of fleeing one's home, city, and identity.

The Tuesday Night Book Group meets on October 26 at 6:30PM at the library's Berea location. Sign-out a copy of the book at the library's circulation desk, then come to the meeting and share your thoughts - we will certainly have much to discuss!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Want to hear more of the Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars?

Did you see Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars’ Richmond concert? If you missed this great group, or if you heard them and want more, check them out at the library location in Richmond. We have their albums "Rise and Shine" and "Living Like a Refugee." We will be getting a DVD documentary about Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars soon. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Library supporters encouraged to nominate librarians for national I Love My Librarian Award | American Libraries Magazine

NEW YORK – Nominations are now open for the 2010 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community. Nominations run through Sept. 20 and are being accepted online at

Up to 10 librarians will be selected. Each will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a $500 travel stipend to attend an awards ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times in December.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the ALA in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school librarianship from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university or at an accredited K-12 school.

In 2008, Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded the American Library Association (ALA) $489,000 to support the award, which will continue annually through 2012. The award continues in the tradition of one The New York Times presented from 2001 to 2006.

Last year, more than 3,200 library users nationwide nominated a librarian. For more information on last year’s winners, visit

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nancy Horan's Loving Frank vs. T.C. Boyle's The Women

Over the past two months, both of our book discussion groups have read the historical fiction novel Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Loving Frank is the fictional account of the relationship between famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and his mistress, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. I knew little about Wright's work, let alone his personal life; after reading Loving Frank, I wanted to learn more about this man whose life was truly stranger than fiction. The stories of his loves, losses, mistresses, and wives provides the backdrop for another novel, T.C. Boyle's The Women.

While The Women details all of Wright's wives and his mistress, Loving Frank focuses solely on Mamah Cheney. In 1909, both Wright and Cheney left their spouses and children for a two-year European excursion. The trip was an "elopement" of sorts that spawned media and public scrutiny, effectively ruining Wright's career for at least a decade and breaking up both the Cheney and Wright households. The relationship was also the foundation for Wright's prairie mansion, Taliesin, that provided the couple with a respite from the harsh critics in their native Chicago, but also set the scene for a horrific murder rampage and fire that claimed the lives of seven people.

The gruesome Taliesin murders provide a chilling climax and finale for both novels, however, The Women travels through Wright's life in reverse chronological order. The novel starts with Olgivanna, Wright's third wife, then Miriam, Wright's second wife, and finally Kitty (first wife) and Mamah. Miriam certainly causes the most spectacular drama here, arranging press conferences to discuss her husband's philandering, filing lawsuit after lawsuit against Frank in multiple states, and trespassing in to hotel and hospital rooms in hopes of catching her husband. She proves to be the most interesting of the 4 women, but definitely not in a positive way.

Overall, I would suggest Boyle's The Women over Loving Frank. Nancy Horan's account relied too much upon the romantic aspect, and could have offered more details about the consequences. Also, Horan delves deeply into the relationship between Cheney and Ellen Key, a Swedish feminist philosopher who greatly influenced Mamah's life choices. While Key provides an interesting backdrop, if not an explanation, there is simply not enough to drive the large portion of the novel that Horan devotes to this particular storyline. However, even though I favored The Women, I still enjoyed Loving Frank.

If you want to learn about the "other" side of Frank Lloyd Wright, check out these books -- you will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free Concerts @ Your Library

Join us at the Madison County Public Library during the month of July as we wrap up our Librarypalooza Summer Concert Series with six performances by local musicians! Here is our lineup:

The Incredible Sounds of L & J
Tuesday, July 6, 6:30PM, Richmond location;
Monday, July 19, 6:30PM, Berea location

Tuesday, July 13, 6:30PM, Richmond location

Robert Tincher
Friday, July 23, 6:00PM, Berea location

The Westbrook Trio
Monday, July 26, 6:30PM, Berea location
Saturday, July 31, 2:00PM, Richmond location

For band details, sound clips, and other information, visit our website:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

MCPL's Couch to 5k Team

MCPL's new Couch to 5k Team hit the track last week -- and we lived to tell the tale!

Couch to 5k (or C25k) is an exercise program that takes participants from inactivity to 5k running in just 9 weeks. It is completely doable; for the first several weeks, each training day alternates intervals of walking and running. As a result, new runners are far less likely to get overwhelmed.

The library's C25k team combines this easy-to-do, beginner's exercise program with a group mentality. We are a group of unique people with a common goal, and we hold each other accountable in our training -- we also manage to have fun while we do it!

From the first training session to the second, our C25k team doubled in size. This is such a wonderful opportunity not only to get active, but to get to know others in your community! To join the library's C25k team, send an email to Christina:

For more information about the C25k running program, visit

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spotlight: "Herstory Writers Club"

In March, MCPL celebrated Women's History Month with a women's writers workshop. The Herstory workshop included exercises, writing prompts and other activities to inspire women to begin writing down and sharing the stories of their lives. We had so much fun that the workshop has turned into a club; today is our second meeting.

Soon, each of these "herstories" will be bound together and added to our Berea Room's local history collection. These women are truly talented and dedicated writers, and above that, they are fabulously interesting people.

Speaking of talent, here is an excerpt from the work of one of our Herstory members. Jean Harding, inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm From," penned her own version:

"I'm from the old house, by the side of the road/ Picking wild daisies by the wood fence; I'm from stringy hair and/ Shoes that wore out too soon; I'm from gritted corn bread, and water gravy too; (...) I'm from hard times and depression times to/ Looking out the window for Grandpa to hurry from the out house/ So we could eat our skimpy breakfast, yes and enjoy Mommy's/ Tiny biscuits smothered with black berry jam. (...) I'm from yesterday of long ago and memories that still linger on and/ take shape in my family today."

If you enjoy writing, particularly memoir writing, join our Herstory Writers Club. Our next meeting is Saturday, July 10, at 2PM. For questions and more info, contact Christina at either library location.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Made to Played: Traditional Art of Kentucky Luthiers" Exhibit at MCPL from May 5-June 2!

The Madison County Public Library, 507 West Main Street, Richmond, is pleased to announce that it will host the exhibit, Made to be Played: Traditional Art of Kentucky Luthiers from May 6, 2010, to June 2, 2010. Sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Historical Society, this free public exhibit presents the handmade instruments and tools of 16 Kentucky luthiers (makers of stringed instruments) who are recognized as masters in creating and repairing guitars, fiddles, dulcimers, mandolins, banjos and other original instruments.

Funded through the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces grant, Made to be Played is the result of years of fieldwork by the Kentucky Folklife Program, an interagency program of the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Historical Society. The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of Homer Ledford, a gifted luthier, craftsman, instrument inventor and musician who passed away on December 11, 2006. He was known for the quality, beauty, and uniqueness of his works, some of which are included in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The exhibit includes examples of his handcrafted instruments, carvings, and tools.

Other Kentucky luthiers featured in the exhibit include Roy Bowen, Winchester; Gary Cornett, Louisville; Cathy Currier, Richmond; Bryan England, Caneyville; Arthur Hatfield, Glasgow; Neil Kendrick, Frenchburg; Donna Lamb, Lancaster; Lewis Lamb, Lancaster; Scott Leedy, Winchester; Warren A. May, Berea; Art Mize, Lexington; Douglas Naselroad, Winchester; Frank Neat, Russell Springs; Frank Pittman, Bowling Green; Jimmy Robertson, Edmonton and Larry Shepherd, Caneyville.

Funding for Made to be Played: Traditional Art of Kentucky Luthiers is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as a part of the American Masterpieces program, which seeks to introduce Americans to the best of their cultural and artistic legacy.

The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Made to be Played: Traditional Art of Kentucky Luthiers is available to visitors during normal library hours; there is no charge to view the exhibit. For more information, please contact Christina Cornelison, Madison County Public Library Adult Programmer, at (859)986-7112.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking for your next favorite book?

I just stumbled upon this website ... but I don't remember how - radio... internet...

Either way, LibraryThing's Suggest feature is an amazing tool to help you find your next favorite book. It works a little like a subject directory. Type in the name of a book that you enjoyed (LibraryThing has an "Unsuggest" feature as well, for those books you didn't quite like), and LibraryThing brings you to a results page populated with titles that match the title you typed. Click on the link that matches the title, and view the books that are similar to it.

For example, let's say that you really enjoyed Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants. You are now on a mission to read books that have a similar appeal - maybe you liked the strong characters, the alternate settings and points-of-view. Instead of relying on Google for read-alikes, go to Here, you will see two search boxes: one for books you like, one for books you do not like. Since you liked Water for Elephants, type the title in the "Suggest" box. On the next page, click the first link for Water for Elephants. The page that follows is a list compiled by LibraryThing, using its user's profiles and picks, that contains books with similar appeal elements. So if you liked the strong characters in Water for Elephants, you will love the story of the Henry family in The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

So if you are at a loss when it's time to find a new book, try LibraryThing Suggest:

Friday, April 9, 2010

If you enjoy our April book group selections ...

Each month, our book discussion groups in Berea and Richmond choose the book they will read and discuss for the next meeting. In my opinion, both groups made intriguing choices for April.

I am almost finished with Berea's selection, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and even though I've seen the movie, I'm really enjoying the narrative. I got an email today from a book group member who said she found herself wanting books from a similar prospective -- namely, a story behind a work of art.

I went online and looked for books that are similar to Girl with a Pearl Earring – click the following links to find these titles: (scroll down to the very bottom)

After I finish Berea's selection, I will start on Richmond's: Burr (as in Aaron Burr) by Gore Vidal. This novel is the first of Vidal's Narratives of Empire series, a series of historical fiction novels about the "rise and fall" of the "American Empire." For more information on the Narratives of Empire series, click here:

For titles similar to Burr, keep reading the Narratives of Empire series (if you like Vidal's style, which admittedly, many folks do not). Check out the following links for more fiction based on US History: -- this is one of my personal favorite books, Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. It falls in the subcategory of Alternate History -- a genre of fiction consisting of stories in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world.

Please join us at our book group meetings! Berea's Tuesday Night Book Group meets on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at 6:30PM at MCPL's Berea location; Richmond's Thursday Night Book Group meets on Thursday, April 21, 2010, at 6:30PM at MCPL's Richmond location.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

MCPL One of Five Libraries to Win 100 BBC Audiobooks!

Thanks to a generous donation, MCPL is now home to 100 new BBC audiobooks!

Recently, five libraries were awarded brand-new audiobook collections thanks to the friendly efforts of some audiophiles. Hundreds entered BBC Audiobooks America's Facebook Holiday Giveaway by becoming a new fan during the month of December for the chance to give the gift of listening.

The randomly selected sweepstakes winners each chose their favorite US library to receive a diverse prize package of 100 audiobooks (with a retail value of more than $8500), including titles by bestselling and classic authors such as Mark Twain, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, Pat Barker, Thomas Friedman, and more.

Sweepstakes winner Robert Cornelison, a resident of Richmond, chose to donate this prize package to the Madison County Public Library!

To help you find these books, the Richmond location offers a list of new audiobooks each month, and the Berea location has a new audiobook section where they are shelved.

The Madison County Public Library is thrilled to have been selected to receive these high-quality audiobooks. We hope that you enjoy them and that you will becomes fans of BBC Audiobooks America and our local donor, as we have.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baby, Our Library Dog, Turns 4 on April 3!

Baby, our lovable Library Dog, will be 4 years old on Saturday, April 3rd. She hopes everyone will celebrate her birthday by taking a romp through the woods, followed by a good long nap and then by eating something really yummy. (Pup-Peroni, anyone?!?)

Stop by MCPL's Berea location and wish Baby a happy birthday!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Talk: Lucy’s Story: Right Choices but Wrongs Still Left

This book talk is by MCPL Director, Sue Hays.

The Madison County Public Library is pleased to offer a book which has Black History, Women’s History, and Local History appeal in one moving story. Author Larry Hamilton lives in Ohio, but still has relatives and other close ties to Madison County. He has generously donated a copy of his book to the library so all Madison Countians may enjoy it.

Lucy’s Story: Right Choices but Wrongs Still Left
By Larry Hamilton

Larry Hamilton, the author, was challenged by a meeting with Alex Haley that inspired him to do an oral history with his grandmother. This book is a novel, but is based on that oral history.

Lucy, a young slave, was raised on a plantation in Madison County, Kentucky. She lived there with her mother and her sister, knowing little of the outside world. Lucy’s story picks up from 1850 through the end of the Civil War. As the story progresses, Lucy, her mother and her sister are given to the owner’s daughter when she marries, and they move down the road to their plantation. After an incident on the new plantation, Lucy’s mother, in an attempt to protect her daughters, takes them and flees to Camp Nelson in Jessamine County. Camp Nelson is being built as a supply station for the Union Army and has become a refuge. There Lucy finds a whole new world, learns to read and write through the efforts of John Fee and his family, falls in love and begins to understand life outside the confines of slavery. Kentuckians will appreciate learning about Camp Nelson and Madison County history in this novel based on fact.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Welcome to the Madison County Public Library's new blog! Here you will find information about all things library: books/materials, services, online databases, as well as programs and special events for all ages.

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