Monthly Archives: June 2012

Staff Spotlight – Pat Shelton

In June, we welcomed Pat Shelton to the library team as our newest Circulation Assistant. She’s been busy learning all about our library but has plenty of experience doing library work.

Pat served as a librarian at Broadway High School for 28 years before retiring in 2005, and continued part time until 2010 administering SOL tests. She holds a BS from James Madison University with a Library Science major and a History minor. In her spare time Pat enjoys doing local history research and antiquing. She has also served on the board of the Shenandoah County Historical Society.

Pat is always ready with a smile and a friendly attitude. When you ask her what she likes about working here, she says

I am delighted when I can help a patron find exactly what he or she was hoping to find.  Also, seeing a child’s face light up over a book is gratifying.

We’re glad to have Pat on board and hope you’ve had a chance to come in and meet her. If you haven’t, stop by and say hi – we love getting to know the people we see using the library every day!

Find daily stories, songs and fun at!

Since January, The Library of Virginia has offered the Virginia Family Literacy Calendar at where State Librarian Sandra Treadway explains that “you and your child can embark on an adventure together through books and reading and the many fun-filled activities that spring from them.”  The project is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and, according to Treadway, is designed to “help you identify events and activities that support early learning and ensure that your child is ready for school and ready to read independently.  The goal is to help provide parents with the tools that make spending time with their children easy and fun, while also helping young ones learn new things about our state and our world.”

The calendar allows you to navigate backward and forward through the 365 days of the year.  There are links to “Arts & Crafts“, “Be Healthy“, “Places in VA“, and “Read With Me“.  The “Read With Me” site provides an additional link, beyond Shenandoah County Library System’s Online Resources page, to the wonderful collection of TumbleBooksTM, a library of electronic talking picture books with music, sound, and narration suited for elementary school children.

Treadway explains that DayByDayVA is where “you find ideas for stimulating your child’s mind and imagination using materials found in your home, as well as lists of books, music, and other educational resources that you can obtain through your local public library.  The Library of Virginia works closely with Virginia’s public libraries and other state and federal partners to assist and support you as your family navigates through the early learning years.  The hope is that the calendar will serve as a springboard to provide you and the youngest members of your family with a love of learning that will last throughout their lives.”

Try it out!  It’s a lot of interactive family fun!

Books That Shaped America

In connection with an exhibition of rare editions that opened June 25, the Library of Congress has compiled a list of the “Books That Shaped America.”  As Librarian of Congress James H. Billington notes, these are not necessarily the best books but rather titles that speak to the American experience in all of its diversity.

You’ll find many familiar works on the list—Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” for instance, and Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”—and works that are far less known but equally influential.  Amelia Simmons’ “American Cookery” comes to mind here, the first truly American cookbook published in the United States, as does Christopher Colles’ “A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America,” considered to be the first guidebook to the United States.

“Books That Shaped America” is a fascinating conversation-starter and a wonderful invitation to catch-up on your reading this Fourth of July.  The full list can be read here, and nominations for additions to it can be submitted here.

Why Should Your Child Read During the Summer?

Unfortunately, studies indicate that children generally lose ground when not in school during the summer. This loss is most significant for high-needs youngsters.

There are many no-cost solutions to addressing this concern. Here are a few ideas:

First, allow your child to have his or her own library card. With a responsible party cardholder, any age child can present a new card at the Circulation Desk with pride and a big smile. As staff, we see their faces as they check out materials, so we can vouch that this is true.

Second, register your child for the Summer Reading Club. Infants through 5th graders receive a colorful “Dream Big…Read!” button to wear during library visits, proving that they “belong” to the Club. Children add a sticker to reading logs for each book read or listened to between June 18 and August 11 in order to earn a free book. Tweens/teens and adults also have SR Clubs and prizes.

Third, visit the library weekly to enter the title of a child’s favorite book in the prize box (limit one per week) to be eligible for toys, books, or the grand prize of a bike of choice from Wal-Mart Supercenter/Woodstock (up to $90 value). Stop in on the way to the picnic or the pool, weaving library visits into your summer lineup as a routine activity, anticipated and enjoyed.

Fourth, allow children to select a variety of books. Reluctant readers especially enjoy juvenile non-fiction as they explore the world of dinosaurs, dogs, drawing or a myriad of other subjects. No longer “assigned” certain books, children enjoy the seasonal freedom to browse more freely.

Next, participate in the performances, weekly storytimes, or summer-only activities. Kids will sing, dance, and shimmy under the limbo stick (as shown above during our kickoff “One Man Band” show). They will be enchanted by the magician, delighted by the puppeteers, and bonded with the “real” puppies during weekly Paws to Read programs. Building an ice cream sundae while meeting new friends will truly be a treat. Check for programming at each library branch.

And last, read to your child of any age. Just as adults sometimes read a book passage, magazine or newspaper article to another adult, children of any age benefit from hearing and discussing what is of interest to other family members. Modeling the love of reading is a gift easily provided to your child.

Have a fantastic summer as we continue to “Dream Big…Read”!

A Summer Reading Flow Chart

Reading during the summer months is one of the key components to succeeding in school. Recent research indicates that children who do not read over the summer may lose up to three months of reading progress.

That’s why we offer our Summer Reading Club each year, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone for another great season. The folks over at have also put together a flow chart to help students (and, of course, their parents) find just the right thing to pique their interest outside of the classroom.

The Summer Reading Flow Chart let’s you drill down based on your interests and find just the right book to suit your mood. If you’re looking for a quick pick this is a great place to start.

Don’t stop there though! We are always happy to give you recommendations when you come by the library. And we hope you’re using our fabulous, free, Novelist tool to look up series titles, author read-alikes, and age-appropriate reading lists. Whether it’s lighthearted reading or you want to get back to the classics, the library is the place to be. Join us all summer long and most importantly, keep reading!

Continue reading to see the full chart:

Continue reading A Summer Reading Flow Chart

Teen Book Finder Mobile App

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a division of the American Library Association dedicated to improving library services to teens.  As part of this mission, YALSA has released an app for iPhone and iPad that will be of use to anyone looking for teen-appropriate books:  “Teen Book Finder.” With this free app, you’ll be able to browse for teen books in a variety of ways, including genre and “best of” lists, and you can be assured that the included titles have been recognized by critics, librarians, and readers alike as being especially noteworthy.  As with all new software, some features of “Teen Book Finder” could be improved–the “Find It” option is not particularly precise–but overall, the app is effective in offering quick access to recommended teen reads.  The iPhone/iPad app is available via the iTunes App Store, and an Android version will be available via Google Play later this year.

Summer fun in the Valley!

Schools are out for the summer, vacationers are visiting our beautiful valley, and county residents are on the lookout for activities to enjoy during their free time.  There is a wealth of information on the internet, but the first place to search is our own county tourism site at  To extend your search to include Shenandoah Valley, check out  or,  a site that is currently featuring 13 scenic tours of the valley included in local author Andrea Sutcliffe’s  “Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads”,  a book available for checkout at any of our county library locations.  Better yet, purchase a copy to keep in your car for those serendipitous daily jaunts or a longer overnight tour!

With the Civil War Sesquicentennial upon us, visit  and also the New Market Battlefield site, now a state-designated Shenandoah Valley Tourist Information Center.

For outdoor enthusiasts, a recommended recreation site within the county that has hiking, fishing, picnicking, bicycling, and camping can be found at the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area at the northern end of Fort Valley just 11 miles outside of the town of Strasburg (  Here you can hike the Pig Iron and Charcoal trail and learn how pig iron was made from 1836-1888 using iron ore mined nearby and Passage Creek as water power.

Finally, for all things Virginia, the go-to tourism site is  Happy traveling!

Morrison Exhibit moves out of the library…on to the Internet

For the past nine months, the library has hosted an exhibition from the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley titled “As Good as Can Be: Shenandoah County through the lens of Hugh Morrison Jr.” This exhibition represents the work not only of a local photographer working in the early twentieth century, but also the work of a dedicated group of volunteers at the Shenandoah County Historical Society. The SCHS has worked diligently in restoring the glass plate negatives from the Morrision Studio and making these images publicly accessible as an invaluable local history resource.

We are proud of our recent partnership with these two organizations in making this high quality exhibition available to residents in Shenandoah County where Hugh Morrison lived and worked. All good things must come to pass, and our bare walls are proof that nothing lasts forever. The good news is that the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley has made the exhibition available online! If you missed it in the library, or just want to see it again, we hope you’ll take a look at some of these important historical images and the story behind some of them.

Of course, you can still come to the library and look through some of the nearly 25,000 images that the Historical Society has scanned and made available for viewing in the Shenandoah Room. You might even recognize the portrait of a family member. And if you do, please let us know! Any identification will help us add value to the collection as a true visual history of Shenandoah County. Want to know more? Stop by the library and we’ll be happy to show you all of the great stuff we have in the Shenandoah Room. Including the Historical Society’s A Pictorial History of Shenandoah County that details even more of Morrison’s work. We hope you’ll stop by to see us and connect with a slice of your community’s history!