As I Say Goodbye

As the year comes to a close along with my journey with the UNG Press, I can’t help but reminisce and get nostalgic about when I first started. Yeah, it may have just been fall of last year that I began this journey, but I can still feel nostalgic and sappy. I just have a lot of feelings. Let’s reminisce together, shall we?

I remember walking up the stairs on my first day, wiping sweaty palms on my jeans for the umpteenth time. To say I was nervous is an understatement. I held my breath as I knocked open the door as entered the room where I would be working for the next few months. All my nerves, however, disappeared within the first few minutes of entering the room, thank to Ms. Jillian Murphy. She immediately made me feel welcomed and established a welcoming aura. She encouraged me to always ask questions about anything I didn’t understand and would help me with any issues I encountered. She definitely made the working environment a stress-free space. It motivated me to do my best on each assignment and not be afraid to ask questions or for help whenever needed.

The assignments I was assigned throughout my journey were challenging, but they were also very rewarding. Every assignment taught me a different process of getting a post approved and published so the public could see it. The experience I have gained from my time at the UNG Press has increased my (at-the-time very little) knowledge on the different processes that have to applied to every post. It has made me appreciate the Press’ hard work even more.

As my final days approach (with the Press, that is), I can only say this to all my co-workers and bosses: Thank you. You’ve made my work experience memorable and have helped me grow and mature. I am sad because this is a time of goodbyes, but I am also happy to see the UNG Press grow and flourish with new workers. I know great things are to come with this Press, and I can’t wait to watch and read them.

Year of the Books

Snuggle up with a blanket and a good drink because the time has come. On Monday, May 7, the UNG Press is launching its very own reading challenge! This reading challenge consists of 52 book prompts; one book for every week of the year. Instead of assigning specific titles, the prompts are open-ended, so you get to choose what book you want to read.

We have prompts celebrating summer, the back-to-school season, and holidays, like the Fourth of July and Halloween. This challenge allows you to read whatever you’d like at your own pace. It’s all fair game.

Think you’re up for the challenge? Come back on May 7 for the full list of prompts. Tweet us at @TheUNGPress using the hashtag #YearoftheBooks to share your progress. We can’t wait to see what books you’re reading!

Good luck, and happy reading!

The Center for the Book

There are many crucial programs and administrations that are vital to our nation and its literacy growth that we may not even know existed. A prime example of this is the Center for the Book. I had never heard of this administration until I dove into research for Library Lovers’ Month and discovered the significance of the Center for the Book. If you are like me, you probably have no idea what the Center for the Book is or what it does, but no worries! Let’s the face the unknown and uncover what the Center for the Book truly is.

The Center for the Book is an administration that is under the Library of Congress. It promotes reading, literacy, literature, and literacy growth. It was established by public law in 1977 by Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin, the Librarian of Congress, and there are affiliate centers established in all fifty states. The Center for the Book’s goal is to be carried out internationally, so in order to complete this goal, more than eighty programs have been deemed as partners to promote the Center for the Book in the United States and globally.

There are also various ways the Center for the Book promotes reading and literacy. The Center for the Book has created various programs, such as events, contests, lectures, and festivals as motivation for others to read and write and be more involved in literature. The Georgia Literary Festival is held in various cities across the state of Georgia, such as Blue Ridge and Augusta. These festivals celebrate the local authors and hold various activities for guests to participate in.

The contests that the Center for the Book administer usually have cash prizes, which is pure genius on their part. Nothing gathers people quite like money! It’s also genius because cash prizes draw in students, especially college students. When college students hear the word “cash,” they’ll likely listen to whatever is being promoted, and the students are more willing to participate in order to win the cash prize (especially if it’s a contest that is free to partake in) because, let’s face it, almost all college students are broke. That’s why it’s genius to hold contests with prizes because people are more likely to participate in them, which promotes reading and writing at the same time, so it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.

It’s surprising that a lot of people, including myself, don’t know what the Center for the Book is or that it even existed! If it weren’t for the Center for the Book, our libraries wouldn’t be like they are today. I shudder at the thought of what they would be if it weren’t for the Center for the Book and the programs they have established and partnered with to help promote literacy growth throughout the nation and overseas. This month for Library Lovers’ Month, let’s show some love for the administrations that helped shape our beloved libraries!

Interview with Librarians

This month is Library Lovers’ Month, so let’s shift the focus to the masterminds of the library: the librarians! Librarians are a major part of the library, and without them, we wouldn’t know where anything was or where to begin to look! The Press visited the Lumpkin County Library and interviewed the librarians, giving them the moment in the spotlight they deserve.

Pam Morris

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County 

Library?

I’ve worked here for one year and seven months!

What’s your favorite book or author?

Oh, that’s a hard one. I don’t have a specific favorite book, but my favorite genre is nonfiction.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

Everyone I’ve worked with is amazing. This is the best place I’ve ever worked!

Where is your favorite place to read?

Outside! I love being outside because there aren’t as many distractions, and I enjoy the fresh air.

 

Zoey Fleck

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County Library?

About four years now!

What’s your favorite book or author?

Haruki Murakami. His books transport you in another world!

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

When I can find a book that can inspire others, and help find what they are looking for.

Where is your favorite place to read?

I’m a homebody, so in my house in my pink chair with a cup of tea.

 

Andrea Tucker

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County Library?

Four, around five years. Time is hard to keep up with.

What’s your favorite book or author?

It completely depends on my mood. I flip in between fiction and nonfiction. As a fun read, I like urban fantasy,

and I also like Kevin Hearne. He is really clever and funny in his writing.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

My favorite part is feeling like I’m making a difference in the future generations of Lumpkin County residents.

Where is your favorite place to read?

I love being outside, so I like to sit and read on the little park bench at the front of my house. If it’s not too hot, of course!

 

Agnes Gore

How long have you worked at Lumpkin County Library?

I’ve worked here since 2014!

What’s your favorite book?

The Martian by Andy Weir. It really grabbed my attention. It’s very science heavy, and the characters drew me in from the start and didn’t let go.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

My favorite part is how many people I get to interact with and help them on a daily basis. There are so many people who need help, and I’m just glad to help them.

Where is your favorite place to read?

In bed because it’s just cozy, especially with a cup of tea!

Library Lovers Unite!

It’s finally February, the month of love, overly-priced chocolate, and flowers! When you think of February, odds are you think of Valentine’s Day. This, however, isn’t the only day dedicated to love. In fact, the whole month of February is Library Lovers’ Month! So, my dear readers, sit back, relax, and maybe eat some of that expensive chocolate as we explore the various services libraries provide. Warning: You may find yourself falling in love with the library, but no worries! It’ll be best relationships in your life.

  1. Photo by Janko Ferlic via Unsplash

    Help/Assistance. You can easily lose yourself in the maze of books, but don’t fret! There are many librarians who can help and assist you. Witchcraft must be involved because, somehow, they know exactly where hidden books are, and know how to help you.

  2. Entertainment. You can find entertainment for all ages at the library because there are books for people of all ages. Additionally, some librarians even have coloring stations for toddlers. Your child-at-heart will never be bored!
  3. Silence. You often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the hectic world around you. The library offers a moment of silence, where you can recollect your thoughts, and enjoy the moment.
  4. Book Clubs. Libraries are the perfect place to have books clubs. After you finish reading a book, you often want to voice your opinions, and book clubs are the perfect resource for it! Many libraries hold session for book clubs and there are often specialized focus groups for whatever you’re interested in.
  5. Study Groups. Many libraries have separate rooms designated for study groups. You need silence to focus on your work, and your group also has access to the other resources in the library, such as the librarians and books (shocking, I know). It one of the best places to study with a group. Just remember to whisper.
  6. Borrow Books/Movies. It obvious that you can borrow books from a library, but some libraries also allow you to check out movies! So, after you finish reading a book, you can watch it translated into film (and then decide if the book was better).
  7. Saves You Money. This one goes out to my fellow college students. College textbooks are ridiculously expensive (even more so than Valentine’s Day chocolate), so anywhere you can save money is like a life raft. You can borrow books without paying; just remember to renew them!
  8. Naps. The library is one of the coziest places in the world. It’s quiet, and the muffled turning of   pages and whispers lull you to sleep. There is also cushioned chairs and benches that are perfect   to curl up and take a break from studying or reading.

Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa has just begun! This holiday is often overshadowed by the swarm of Christmas carols and New Year’s festivities, so here are a few book recommendations to help put this historical African holiday in the spotlight it deserves. These books can be enjoyed at any age, and it can enlighten any reader about what Kwanzaa is about, its history, and what it stands for. Happy reading!

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Maulana Karenga

Written by the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture provides a thorough understanding of the views and values of Kwanzaa, its historic origins and cultural background, and its cultural meaning to millions of Africans who celebrate it through the worldwide African community.

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition by Keith A. Mayes

Since 1966, Kwanzaa has been celebrated as a black holiday tradition—an annual recognition of cultural pride in the African-American community. But how did this holiday originate, and what is its broader cultural significance? Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition explores the political beginning and later expansion of Kwanzaa, from its start as a Black Power holiday to its current place as one of the most mainstream of the black holiday traditions.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest by Carolyn B. Otto

Celebrate Kwanzaa continues the spectacular Holidays Around the World series by focusing on this African-American holiday, which falls during the festive, gift-giving season and is celebrated by families, communities, and schools throughout America. With succinct, lively text and beautiful photographs, the book celebrates African-American culture and helps us to understand and appreciate this special holiday. Over the course of seven days, families and friends come together to light the candles that symbolize their past and future—and their unity.

A Kwanzaa Fable by Eric V. Copage

In this surprising and heartwarming story, the owner of a street-corner snack shop teaches Jordan, a 13-year-old who recently lost his father how to apply the seven principles of Kwanzaa to the challenges of daily life. Readers of all ages will come to cherish this book, and will revisit its message that the strength and love that resides in the African-American holiday is ever present.

Kwanzaa Folktales by Gordon Lewis

This collection of original folktales illuminates the seven principles of Kwanzaa: faith, creativity, collective work and responsibility, purpose, unity, self-determination, and cooperative economics. In Kwanzaa Folktales, the various tales express the ageless value of Kwanzaa’s principles in captivating, meaningful stories for children and adults alike to enjoy and reminisce.

‘Tis the Season!

December has arrived, which means there’s a constant chill in the air, people are visiting their friends and family, and everyone’s electricity bills increase. Along with this, the promise of Hanukkah is just around the corner! What better way to prepare for this Jewish holiday than to snuggle up by the fireplace and crack open a book? Here a few book recommendations for people of all ages to read and enjoy this Hanukkah season and get into the spirit!

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

In 1940s Brooklyn, an accident throws Reuven Malther & Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son & rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together, they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, loss and love, as the journey to adulthood creates a crisis of faith when Holocaust stories begin to emerge. The intellectual & spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son & his own father, & between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty &, ultimately, the power of love.

The Magic Menorah: A Modern Chanukah Tale by Jane Breskin Zalben

Twelve-year-old Stanley has had enough with Chanukah and just wants it over in order to get his home free from all the relatives, but a surprise encounter with Fishel the genie makes him understand the importance of the holiday and the joy of being with family.

Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy

One lousy miracle. Is that too much to ask? Evidently so for Joel, as he tries to survive Hannukah, 1971 in the suburbs of the suburbs of Los Angeles (or, as he calls it, “The Land of Shriveled Dreams”). That’s no small task when you’re a “seriously funny-looking” twelve-year-old magician who dreams of being his own superhero: Normalman. And Joel’s a long way from that as the only Jew at Bixby School, where his attempts to make himself disappear fail spectacularly. Home is no better, with a family that’s not just mortifyingly embarrassing but flat-out broke. That’s why Joel’s betting everything on these eight nights, to see whether it’s worth believing in God or miracles or anything at all. Armed with his favorite jokes, some choice Yiddish words, and a suitcase full of magic tricks, he’s scrambling to come to terms with the world he lives in—from hospitals to Houdini to the Holocaust—before the last of the candles burns out.

How to Spell Chanukah: And Other Holiday Dilemmas, Ed. Emily Franklin

These stories, by Adam Langer, Tova Mirvis, Steve Almond, Eric Orner, and others, range from the comedic to the snarky. It includes topics such as the jealousy experienced in December when the rest of America is celebrating Christmas, the problem parents have dampening their children’s desire for more presents, and the weight gain associated with eating 432 latkes in eight nights. Whether your Chanukahs were spent singing “I have a Little Dreidel” or playing the “Maoz Tzur” on the piano, whether your family tradition included a Christmas tree or a Chanukah bush, whether the fights among your siblings over who would light the menorah candles rivaled the battles of the Maccabees, or even if you haven’t a clue who the Maccabees were, this book proves there are as many ways to celebrate Chanukah as there are ways to spell it.

Hanukkah in America: A History by Dianne Ashton

For the past two hundred years, American Jews have been transforming the ancient holiday of Hanukkah from a simple occasion into something grand. Each year, as they retell its story and enact its customs, they bring their ever-changing perspectives and desires to its celebration. Providing an attractive alternative to the Christian dominated December, rabbis and lay people alike have fashioned an authentically Jewish festival that blossomed in the United States. By bringing together American Jews of all kinds, Hanukkah in America reveals how an almost forgotten festival became the most visible and celebrated of American Jewish holidays.