Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Library Commission Online Catalog Down for Maintenance New Year's Weekend

The Library Commission online catalog will be down for maintenance starting Thursday, December 30 at 5:00 pm until Monday, January 3. 

Primer on West Virginia Archaeology on January 4, 2011

Dr. Robert Maslowski will present "A Primer on West Virginia Archaeology" at the monthly Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library on January 4, 2011. He will cover the highlights of prehistoric and historic West Virginia archaeology from the Paleo-Indian period (10,500 BC) to AD 1900 and will discuss classic artifacts, excavations, and current interpretations. Prehistoric archaeology topics covered will include the St. Albans site, late Archaic shell middens, the development of pottery, the mound builders, the Grave Creek Stone, corn agriculture, and who the Native Americans were and where they went. Maslowski will discuss several historic archaeology topics as well, including Revolutionary War forts, Civil War sites, historic cemeteries, industrial archaeology, and slavery. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Staff Pick of the Week

Robin's Pick

The Camel Club by David Baldacci

David Baldacci's The Camel Club introduces four quirky Washington, D.C. residents, who discover the truth and hold the government accountable. The group is led by a man known as Oliver Stone, who works as a groundskeeper as Mt. Zion Cemetery but spends a great deal of time in a small tent across from the White House. His obsession with government wrongdoing is apparently rooted in his shadowy past. Others in the group include Milton Farb, who is good with computers; Reuben Rhodes, who provides muscle; and Caleb Shaw, who works for the Library of Congress. Together they uncover plots within the government in an attempt to bring the truth to light. Baldacci populates the book with a number of unusual and interesting characters, which helps to make this enjoyable and engaging reading.

Other books in the series include: The Collectors, Stone Cold, Divine Justice, and Hell's Corner.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Candy Cane Toffee

(Makes 2 1/4 Lbs)

Prep and Chill: 2 1/4 hours

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 coarsely chopped candy canes

1. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, letting foil extend about 2 inches above opposite ends of pan. Lightly coat foil with cooking spray.

2. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, butter, water, and corn syrup to a boil. Boil without stirring until a candy thermometer registers 300 to 310 degrees F. (Or, drop a small amount into ice water. When mixture forms a brittle mass that snaps easily when pressed between fingers, it's ready.) Off heat, stir in vanilla (be careful, it splatters.)

3. Pour into prepared pan. Wait 2 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. When chips become shiny, spread of toffee. Sprinkle with chopped candy cane.

4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until cold. Lift foil by ends onto a cutting board; break toffee in bite-size pieces.

Storage Tip: This brittle can be stored in a refrigerator (or airtight at room temperature for one month.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 US Census Bureau Results

The numbers are in! According to the Census Bureau there are now 1,852,994 West Virginians. West Virginia is now in its second decade of growth expanding 2.5% from 2000 to 2010.

More detailed data and figures for West Virginia's counties and towns will be published in the upcoming months. View the publication schedule from the Census Bureau's website.

Closed for the Holidays

The Library Commission will be closed December 24 and December 31.

Requests for Proposals: Bookmobile Donation

The Kanawha County Public Library System recently purchased a new mobile library (bookmobile). KCPL will consider making a donation of its former, surplus bookmobile which is described below to a West Virginia public library submitting the most compelling proposal based on the criteria listed below. The Kanawha County Public Library Board of Directors shall within its discretion make the decision on the donation of the bookmobile, which shall be final. The Board reserves the right to alter, amend, terminate, or rescind this request for proposals at any time or to reject any and all proposals submitted for any reason.

The Bookmobile, a 1990 Saf-T-Liner built by the Thomas Built Bus Company, is offered as-is, where-is without any express or implied warranties by the Kanawha County Public Library Board. The Bookmobile may be inspected by appointment on location at the Riverside Branch Library at 1 Warrior Way, Belle WV.

All proposals must include the information contained at this link.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Peppermint Sticks

(Makes 48)

Prep and chill: 3 hours
Bake: 11 to 13 minutes per batch
Decorate: about 20 minutes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp each vanilla extract and salt
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp mint extract
12 drops each green and red food color
1 cup white chocolate chips
12 each green and red peppermint candies, crushed

1. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. On low speed, gradually add flour; beat just until blended. Divide dough in half. Shape half into a 6-inch disk; wrap and refrigerate. Stir mint extract into other half; divide that half in half. Stir green food color into 1 half, red into the other (colors will be pale.) Shape each into a 5-inch disk; wrap separately and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Have baking sheet(s) ready.

3. Cut uncolored dough in 12 equal wedges and each disk tinted dough in 6 equal wedges.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 uncolored wedge and 1 tinted wedge into 15-inch long ropes (keep rest of dough refrigerated.) Place ropes side by side; cut crosswise in quarters. Holding ends of both ropes, twist together from 1 end to the other (handle gently; dough is soft.) Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet(s). Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bake 11 to 13 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool.

6. To decorate: Melt chocolate chips as package directs. Dip about 1/2 inch of both ends of each cookie in chocolate, letting excess drip off, then dip in crushed candies. Place on wax paper until chocolate sets.

Storage tip: store airtight at cool room temperature up to 1 week.

Staff Pick of the Week

Susan's Pick

Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher

The West Virginia mine wars of 1920-1921 are the subject of many non-fiction and fiction books. In this slim volume of poetry the lives of those in a coal camp come brilliantly alive. The 50 poems in Kettle Bottom are the voices of various members of the community after an explosion and as the events head toward the mine wars. Coal miners- white, black, foreigners- have their voices speaking of fears and anger, frustrations. A mother's sorrow when her thirteen year old son dies, a young woman who only has her husband's dirty coal handprints on the wedding quilt to remember him by, a school teacher, young children; each life captured by Ms. Fisher's rhymes and lines. You think you know the history of the coal camps and mine wars? Kettle Bottom's inhabitants will reach into your heart and history will tear at your soul with these simple poems. History comes alive in Kettle Bottom.

(This title is available through the West Virginia Library Commission Book Discussion Group program. Contact Susan Hayden for more information.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Angel Wings

(Makes 48 cookies)

Prep & Chill: 4 3/4 Hours
Bake: 8 to 10 minutes per batch

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch

Decoration: white of 1 large egg, slightly beaten, sliced almonds, and sugar

1. Beat butter, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl with mixer on low speed to blend. Increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and almond extract. On low speed, beat in flour and cornstarch until just blended.

2. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap individually and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm enough to roll out.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a 2 1/2 inch heart shaped cookie cutter.

4. On lightly floured wax paper with lightly floured rolling pin, roll 1 disk (keep other refrigerated) to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out hearts with cookie cutter. Slide paper onto a baking sheet; freeze 5 to 10 minutes or until firm and easy to handle.

5. Peel hearts off paper. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Cut a 1 1/2 -inch-long slit at bottom of hearts. Spread apart slightly to form wings. Brush hearts with egg white. Attach almonds as shown (3 slivers down each side of cookie,) pressing down gently. Sprinkle with a little sugar. (Reroll scraps only once or cookies will be tough.)

6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until just golden brown at edges. Remove to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Nutty Caramel Acorns

(Makes 46 pieces)

Prep & Dip: 1 hour
Bake: 14 minutes per batch

1 stick (1/2 cup) light or regular unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 cup chopped nuts (black walnuts, cashews, peanuts, or your favorite)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles (jimmies)
1 pkg (14 oz) classic caramels, unwrapped
1 1/2 tbsp water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. You'll need a large baking sheet(s)
2. Beat butter, sugar, and yolks in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup of the nuts, the vanilla, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour until a soft dough forms.
3. Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Shape as acorns with a pointed top. Place point up, 1 inch apart, on ungreased baking sheet(s). Bake 14 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Cool on rack.
4. Place remaining 1/2 cup nuts and the sprinkles in food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Mound mixture on a sheet of wax paper. Melt caramels and water in a bowl in microwave as package directs.
5. Dunk acorn cookies into caramel 1 at a time, turning with a fork to coat. Lift and scrape excess caramel from bottom against top edge of bowl. Use a second fork to scrape acorn from first fork onto nut mixture to coat bottoms. Transfer to a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate to set caramel. Reheat caramel in microwave to keep it fluid while dipping remaining acorns.

Storage Tip: Store airtight at cool room temperature with wax paper between layers up to 1 week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Staff Pick of the Week

Mary's Pick

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

An entertaining, well-researched account of one of the gems of movie romantic comedy, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Truman Capote's 1958 novel about Holly Golightly, a New York call girl from Tulip, Texas, was too sexually progressive to be adapted to the movie screen. Wasson handily lays the groundwork by introducing us to all the main characters- writer Truman Capote, actress Audrey Hepburn, screenwriter George Axelrod, director Blake Edwards, composer Henry Mancini, the Motion Picture Production Code, and the Little Black Dress - and then weaves all the stories together to capture this era of Hollywood movie making. It's filled with gossip, anecdotes, and anaylsis of the mores of 1950's Hollywood.

Wasson probably falls short of selling the argument that this film was the "Dawn of the Modern Woman" but its arrival in the early '60's gave women a compelling image to replace the "good girl" of the 1950's. It's nonfiction that reads like a novel. I think Truman Capote would be pleased.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Chocolate & Vanilla by Gale Gand with Lisa Weiss.

Vanilla Butter Caramels

(Makes 64 pieces)

Do-Ahead: These caramels keep well for 2 weeks stored at room temperature

You'll need: 8-inch square pan, preferably one with straight sides and square corners

Aluminum foil

Cellophane or wax paper

Ingredients: 5 cups sugar
1 cup water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Line an 8 by 8-inch pan, preferably one with straight sides ans square corners, with aluminum foil and grease the foil well.

Put the sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly add the water by pouring it around the inside wall of the pan to avoid splashing any sugar crystals onto the sides of the saucepan. Let the water soak into the sugar completely.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil over high heat and continue cooking until the liquid is golden. Turn off the heat and, with a wooden spoon, carefully stir in the butter and then the vanilla and cream. Pour into the prepared pan and let cool until firmly set, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.

Cut into 1-inch squares and wrap each one in decorative cellophane or wax paper.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Chocolate & Vanilla by Gale Gand with Lisa Weiss.

White and Dark Chocolate S'Mores

(Makes 4 S'mores)

The best place, in my opinion, to put a gooey hot marshmallow is with two squares of chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers. My preference is for white and dark chocolate in my s'mores but if you prefer, substitute milk chocolate. If you have a campfire or fireplace available, roast your marshmallows (patiently) the old-fashioned way. I've devised the following recipe for the oven, and for bakers with less time.

You'll need: Cookie Sheet


4 whole graham crackers, broken into 8 halves

1/2 (1.55 ounce) dark chocolate bar, broken into 4 squares

1/2 (1.55 ounce) white chocolate bar, broken into 4 squares

8 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Lay half of the graham cracker halves on a cookie sheet. Top each with a dark chocolate square and then a white chocolate square. Place 2 marshmallows side by side on top of the chocolate.

Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top each with a remaining graham cracker half, pressing down lightly to make a sandwich. Serve immediately, while still warm.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Karen H's Pick

I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

The story begins as main character Maggie Forenberry makes plans for a perfect crime-- her own suicide. A former Miss Alabama, Maggie's life has taken some unexpected turns. Two failed romances, along with the downtown in the the real estate market, have led Maggie to believe this is the best way out of her problems. Maggie's suicide attempts keep having "bad" endings as one thing after another conspires to prevent it, but, finally, the stars align.

As with other Fannie Flagg books, the real delight of the story is with the characters. These include Hazel, the now deceased midget owner of Red Mountain Realty, who never met a stranger and Brenda, Maggie's overweight real estate partner.

There is also a little bit of mystery in this book. While Maggie and Brenda are exploring a mansion newly added to the real estate market, they discover a skeleton wearing only a kilt and somehow manage to figure out who it is. While learning the history of the mansion and the family, you also learn that the former owner had a sexual secret. Trust me, you will figure out what it is well before Maggie does!

Despite Maggie's several suicide attempts, all ends well. After all, it is a Fannie Flagg book!

Archives and History Library Thursday Evening Genealogy Club

Debbie Campbell, president of the KYOWVA Genealogical and Historical Society, will discuss her organization at the meeting of the Thursday evening Genealogy Club on December 9, 2010. The club meeting will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the West Virginia Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. Meetings of the Genealogy Club are free and the public is invited to attend.

December Featured Resource: Job Accelerator

Job Accelerator is  comprehensive and easy-to-use job search application that integrates everything needed to conduct a successful job search.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reading Makes a 'Joyful Night'

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Joyful Night Celebration

West Virginia's Holiday Season was illuminated December 2nd with the Joyful Night celebrations at the State Capitol Complex. The trees were lit and topped, the marching bands played and the children's choirs sang. One of the highlights of the evening was a "fireside" reading of Clement Clarke Moore's classic Twas the Night Before Christmas by the Governor and First Lady.

Two New Learning Express Library Practice Tests Available

Access through and log in with your personal account:

LearningExpress’ Pro Assessment Practice Exams ETS's Parapro Assessment, part of the Praxis Series™*, is used to measure practicing and prospective paraprofessionals' competencies in reading, writing, and basic math.
Achieving a passing score on Parapro Assessment is often a requirement for certification as a teacher's aide or assistant in many states. West Virginia does require all Title 1 Instructional Paraprofessionals to be certified. LearningExpress now offers practice exam 1 and 2 online that duplicate the format, content, timing, and scoring of the official ParaPro Assessment, part of the Praxis Series™.

LearningExpress’ Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Practice Exams According to the American Medical Technologists (AMT)*, having the RMA credential "translates to an advantage in the work place." Medical Assistants who earn their certification by graduating from an accredited program and passing the AMT's Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification Exam enjoy increased job opportunities and security, and are recognized as being at the top of their fields and for their knowledge and competence.
The LearningExpress Registered Medical Assistant Practice Exams 1 and 2 offer Medical Assistant certification candidates the essential, authentic practice they need to perform their best on this crucial professional exam.

Quick Fact-- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly.

  • Medical assistants held about 483,000 jobs in 2008.
  • The average annual income in 2008 was $28,300.
  • The number of jobs in medical assisting is expected to grow 34% by 2018.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Damon Lee Fowler's New Southern Baking: Classic Flavors for Today's Cooks

Spicy Cheese Straws

This venerable Southern classic is a standard for any hostess worth her iced tea, and, happily, the food processor makes short work of it. The best cheese for straws is a very old, super-sharp cheddar-- the kind that is so sharp that it'll practically take the roof off your mouth. If you cannot get such wonders, mixing in a bit of grated real Parmesan gives it just the right kick. Orange cheddar lends the most traditional color to these spicy little tidbits, and it the only kind that a traditional Southern cook would use, but white cheddar will, of course, work just as well, if you have this snob thing against the coloring.

Makes about 10 dozen straws

3/4 pound (12 ounces) well-aged extra-sharp cheddar
1/4 pound (4 ounces) Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 generous teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces (about 2 cups) Southern soft-wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Grate the cheese with a rotary cheese grater, through the fine holes of a box grater, or with the fine shredding disk in the food processor. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade or with a mixer, cream the cheddar, Parmesan, and butter until fluffy and smooth.

2. Add the cayenne, salt, and flour and process or work it into the dough until smooth. Gather it into a ball, wrap well in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill it for at least half an hour or up to an hour, but don't let it chill hard. If you make the dough ahead to bake later, let it soften at room temperature so that it is still cool but pliable.

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Put the dough in a cookie press fitted with the star die (or a pastry bag fitted with a star tip) and press it out onto an ungreased baking sheet into narrow 2 1/2 inch straws, leaving about 1/2 inch clear between. You may also roll the dough out: lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out 1/4 inch thick. Cut it with a sharp knife or a zigzag pastry wheel into strips 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inches, laying them on a buttered baking sheet as you go. Or for a more decorative straw with the cookie press, roll them out a little thicker than 1/8 inch, cut them as directed above, and gently twist each straw into a spiral. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, being careful not to let them brown on top. The bottoms should be golden but the tops and sides should not color. Cool on the pan before transferring them to an airtight storage container.

Looking for Unique Holiday Craft & Gift Ideas? Try Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center

Search Hobbies & Crafts

Contains full-text articles and other content for popular hobbies, crafts and recreation activities. Including full text articles for magazines and books, as well as access to videos and hobby profiles, this database offers detailed "how-to" instructions and creative ideas to meet the interests of virtually every hobby enthusiast.
Users accessing this resource will need to log-in using their Reference Library library card.

Traveling Exhibits Available

The ALA Public Programs Office is pleased to announce three new traveling exhibits focusing on Jewish artists who have contributed to the culture of America and the world through their lives and work. Public, academic and special libraries, including museum libraries and Jewish community centers are invited to apply by January 24, by visiting    

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Continuting Education Update

Nancy Pearl Presents: Books That Make Great Gifts
Webinar, December 13, 2010
Noon – 1PM
"Join PLA and Nancy Pearl for an hour-long webinar filled with recommendations for every book lover on your list. You'll leave with ideas for yourself as well as a printable list to share at your library." There is a charge for this webinar; $28 for PLA Members $35 for non-members.

DuPage Teleconference. If you missed Redesigning Today’s Public Services: Focus on Reference teleconference you can watch the archived streaming video here.

LE@D Course of the Month. Reaching Reluctant Readers. The term reluctant reader refers to young people who can read with some independence, but choose not to. Reluctant readers do not select books from the library easily. They may start many books, but rarely, if ever, finish one. They are not engaged with reading, they do not choose it as a leisure time activity, and they try to avoid it when it is expected of them in school or at home. There are a variety of reasons these students have a negative attitude towards reading, and with some form of motivation it is possible to get the student to re-engage with the process of reading. This course is prepaid and pre-approved for WVLC continuing education credit. Click here for instructions on how to register.