Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Closures

The Library Commission and its Reference Library will be closed the following days:

  • Monday, December 26, 2011
  • Monday, January 2, 2012
Thank you for your understanding and happy holidays to all!

Best books of 2011

As the year comes to a close, let us share our favorites!  What was your best book read of the year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's pick is The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Here's a chilling Winter mystery, just in case your holidays need a little murder and mayhem. -Megan

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbo's anti-hero police investigator, Harry Hole is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother's pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he's received and the disappearance of Jonas' mother--and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of the first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised--and constantly revised--by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

(Cover copy)

This title, and others like it, can be found in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.

Friday, December 16, 2011

WVLC Closure

The West Virginia Library Commission and the J.D. Waggoner Reading Room will be closed today, December 16, 2011, from 12:00pm - 1:30pm. The Agency will resume normal operations at 1:30pm.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays

The West Virginia Library Commission would like to wish everyone a Very Booky, I mean Merry, Holiday this year, and in every chapter of your life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Help us better serve your research needs!

The agency is planning on adding several new research guides to the site over 2012,  and would like to know what are your research needs?  What would be the most beneficial to you?  Please post your ideas in the comment section. Thank you

Monday, December 12, 2011

Points of View Reference Center Debate Blog

Points of View Reference Center, one of the statewide databases offered by the Library Commission, now has a Debate Blog.  Created for students, this forum allows for the expression and exchange of their unique views on topics in the news. Students can read up on topics in Points of View Reference Center, and then use the blog to debate the issues with their peers.

For more information about Points of View Reference Center or for access information, contact your local public library.

Interlibrary loan for state employees is working.

The state employee interlibrary loan system is operational once again.  Please forgive the inconvenience   

Staff Pick of the Week

Patron Pick

This week's selection, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman, was recommended to the Circulation Desk by one of our regular patrons.

If the conscious mind--the part you consider to be you--is just the tip of the iceberg, what is the rest doing?

In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries. Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn't think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common? Why did Thomas Edison electrocute an elephant in 1916? Why are people whose names begin with J more likely to marry other people whose names begin with J? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret? And how is it possible to get angry at yourself--who, exactly, is mad at whom?

Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusion, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and its contradictions.

(Cover copy)

This title, and others like it, can be found in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WVLC Launches LibCal Event Calendars

In an effort to better serve public library staff and our patrons, the WVLC has launched the WV Library Commission Library Event Calendars web page. Powered by SpringShare's LibCal, the page easily allows library staff and WVLC Reference Library patrons to browse and register for events, schedule appointments with WVLC staff and book meeting rooms, all online.

Currently the page hosts a Continuing Education calendar with event registration, Appointment Schedulers for 12 WVLC staff members, and a room reservation tool for our two meeting rooms. The Library Commission plans to develop additional features, so check back often at

For more information, contact Heather Campbell-Shock at

Contact Information
Jennifer Johnson
(304) 558-2041

Interlibrary loan system for state employees is down.

The interlibrary loan system that state employees can use to request materials from other libraries is currently down.  While the issues are being resolved, please send your requests via email to with the subject line "interlibrary loan request."  
When the system is operational, a message will be posted on the blog, Facebook and Twitter. 

Thank you for you patience.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Holiday Treats

This week's recipe comes from The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009

(I loved flipping through this book and seeing all of the old recipes, especially the ones from the post-WWII years. It's illuminating to see the shift in ingredients and techniques as new cooking technologies are introduced.- Megan)

Walnut Acorn Cookies (2000)

Cookies had become such an important part of Gourmet's holiday repertoire that the editors started asking readers to contribute their favorite recipes--and they poured into the magazine's kitchens in such profusion that it was difficult to choose among them. But to our mind, this beautiful, buttery little cookie is the best of a very fine lot. With little effort, you end up with a cookie that looks as if it came from a professional bakery--while possessing the rich, nutty flavor of home-baked pastry.

(Makes about 4 Dozen Cookies
Active Time: 1 1/2 hours
Start to Finish: 2 1/2 hours)

For Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (4 ounces)

For Decoration
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (2 ounces)

Make Cookies

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture at low speed, then stir in walnuts.
-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Form 2 teaspoons dough into an egglike shape the size of an acorn. Make more "acorns," arranging them 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in batches in middle of oven until undersides are light brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

Decorate Cookies

Dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate and then in chopped nuts. Place as coated on a baking sheet lined with wax paper to set, about 15 minutes.

Recipe Note

The cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper, for up to 1 week.

Find this and other great cookbooks in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's pick is The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor (The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart)

1941. Loyal Ledford works the swing shift tending the furnace at the Mann Glass factory in Huntington, West Virginia. He courts Rachel, the boss's daughter, a company nurse with spike-straight posture and coal-black hair. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, Ledford, like so many young men of his time, sets his life on a new course.

Upon his return from service in the war, Ledford starts a family with Rachel, but he chafes under the authority at Mann Glass. He is a lost man, disconnected from the present and haunted by his violent past, until he meets his cousins, the Bonecutter brothers. Their land, mysterious, elemental Marrowbone Cut, calls to Ledford, and it is there, with the help from an unlikely bunch, that the Marrowbone Marble Company is slowly forged. Over the next two decades, the factory grounds become a vanguard of the civil rights movement and the war on poverty, a home for those intent on change. Such a home inevitably invites trouble, and Ledford must fight for his family.

Returning to the West Virginia territory of the critically acclaimed The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, Glenn Taylor recounts the transformative journey of a man and his community. Told in clean and powerful prose in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and John Irving, The Marrowbone Marble Company takes a harrowing look at the issues of race and class throughout the tumultuous 1950s and '60s. It is a story of struggle and loss, righteousness and redemption, and it can only be found in the hills of Marrowbone.

(Cover copy)

This title, as well as Taylor's other work, can be found in the West Virginia Collection at the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking for e-books or e-audio books? Try WV-Reads

The Library Commission has joined a new consortium of libraries in West Virginia, WV-READS (Regional Electronic Audiovisual Download Service).  This group's purpose is to provide West Virginians with free and reliable access to electronic library materials. 

For more information, click one of the links:

Help for grant writers available

The Library Commission has just added the 2012 edition of Annual Register of Grant Support: a Directory of Funding Sources, a guide  to more than 3,200 grant-giving organizations offering non-repayable support, to the Reference Collection.   Organized by 11 major subject areas, this resource directs searchers to traditional corporate, private, and public funding programs and to nontraditional grant sources such as educational associations and unions. For each grant program, information on eligibility requirements and restrictions, application procedures and deadlines, grant size or range, and contact information are included. 

Downloadable audiobooks are now available!

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Audiobooks now just OneClick away!

The West Virginia Library Commission is pleased to announce that downloadable audiobooks are now available through OneClickdigital, a new product of Recorded Books.

Check out the newest downloadables or an old Recorded Books favorite.

After a quick one-time account set-up process, library users will be able to checkout and download audiobooks. Visit or contact the WVLC Reference Library for more

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's pick is The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, And The Battle Of The Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick (Author of Mayflower and In The Heart Of The Sea)

Whether it is cast as a tale of bravery in the face of impossible odds or of arrogance finally receiving its rightful comeuppance, the Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of the most potent and embattled episodes in American history. Nathaniel Philbrick now directs his immense talents to this story, bringing new evidence to bear as he moves through layers of fact and myth to find the truth about one of the iconic moments in our history: that there were two Last Stands enacted on that bloody battlefield, and it is impossible to know one without the other.

A pair of legendary figures loom over the story: George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull. Custer was a Civil War veteran with a reputation for incredible if often reckless courage. Sitting Bull, ten years Custer's senior, had also been a brave warrior but had more recently emerged as the leader of an alliance of Sioux and Cheyenne. The tribes of the northern plains were increasingly outraged at white incursions, while the officer corps of the Seventh Cavalry was beset by jealousy and backbiting. By June 1876, when the 650 soldiers of Custer's regiment approached the Little Bighorn River in central Montana, Sitting Bull's village had grown to more than 8,000. The tribes' leaders were not fixed on war, but if the government should be foolish enough to pursue them, they would stand and fight.

Other key characters include the famed Oglala Sioux warrior Crazy Horse and Wooden Leg, a young northern Cheyenne whose memoir provides a stirring account of the attack of the Seventh Cavalry. Custer's officers included Major Marcus Reno, who led the battalion that began the assault, and Captain Frederick Benteen, whose bravery under fire saved Reno. Philbrick brings to light a fascinating new source: the unpublished writings of Private Peter Thompson, begun just months after the battle. But most of all it is Philbrick's account of the final blood-soaked encounter on Last Stand Hill that brings a new dimension to this age-old story, an unforgettable portrait of bravery, cowardice, chaos, and brutality.

The fight over the meaning of the battle began immediately. The story of the Little Bighorn was instantly told and retold, cast and recast, as survivors, witnesses, and other interested parties all came forward, each with a stake in bending the telling in a different direction. For the new nation on the midst of celebrating the centennial of its birth, the timing of Custer's death on June 25, 2876, could not have been worse. But it was the Sioux and Cheyenne who came to know what it means when an entire people--as opposed to a few hundred soldiers--encounters its own Last Stand.

With an instinct for finding both the dark and the honorable threads in American history, Philbrick probes the ultimately tragic story of how two talented leaders and their followers embarked on converging voyages across the plains of North America, leading us to the disturbing realization that nothing ended at Little Bighorn.

(Publisher's synopsis)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesday (Thanksgiving Edition)

This week's recipe comes from New Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown

(Find this and other great cookbooks in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.)

Chestnut, Spinach, and Mushroom Phyllo Torte, with tomato and ginger coulis

A star replacement for turkey at a vegetarian holiday dinner or special meal. The buttery phyllo is light and crisp, but use olive oil if you are cooking for vegans

Serves 6-8

4 cups spinach leaves, well washed, with tough stalks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. cooked, peeled chestnuts, chopped
2 heaped tablespoons thick-cut marmalade
5 sheets phyllo pastry, about 11x20 inches
4 tablespoons butter, melted
kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tomato and Ginger Coulis
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 lb. canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2/3 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
kosher salt or sea salt and cayenne pepper

9-inch springform cake pan, brushed with melted butter

To make the coulis, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and Madeira or sherry and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. For an extra-smooth consistency, push the puree through a strainer. Set aside.

Put the trimmed spinach in a large saucepan, cover, and heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Drain and let cool. Wring out in a clean cloth, then chop.

Heat the olive oil in the pan, add the onions, mushrooms, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook until softened and the juices have evaporated. Add the garlic, saute briefly, then add the chestnuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the spinach and marmalade and heat through. Season to taste.

Working with 1 sheet of phyllo at a time (keep the rest covered with a damp cloth to stop them from drying out,) line the prepared cake pan. Press a sheet gently into the sides of the pan and let the edges overhang. Brush with melted butter and slightly overlap with another sheet. Continue to layer and butter the sheets as before, until the pan is completely covered. Spoon in the chestnut mixture and smooth flat. Fold the overhanging phyllo in towards the center and ruffle the top so the phyllo stands in peaks. Brush with butter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Unmold carefully and slide onto a baking sheet. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until golden and crisp all over. Let stand for a few minutes. Reheat the coulis. Using a serrated knife, cut the torte into wedges and serve with the coulis poured over.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Megan's Pick

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

If you're looking for a heroine that literally kicks butt, then Katsa is your gal. -Megan

In a world where people born with an extreme skill--called a Grace--are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

(Publisher's synopsis)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Funnies

A patron sent me this video a few weeks ago and I loved it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday (Thanksgiving edition)

This week's recipe comes from The Bon Appetit Cookbook edited by Barbara Fairchild

(Find this and other great cookbooks in the West Virginia Library Commission Reference Library.)

Roast Turkey with herb rub and shiitake mushroom gravy

Brushing the turkey all over with vegetable oil not only helps the seasoning mixture adhere to the skin, but it also promotes browning--as does drizzling melted butter over the bird just before it goes into the oven. Because the turkey rests, tented with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes before carving, the bubbling juices settle back into the meat, resulting in more neatly sliced, juicier servings.

14 Servings

3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 20-to 21-pound turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
Fresh herb sprigs (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry Sherry
3 tablespoons butter
12 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
4 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

For Turkey: Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl; set herb mixture aside. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels and place on rack set in large roasting pan. If not stuffing turkey, place herb sprigs in main cavity. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs loosely together to hold shape. Brush turkey with oil. Rub herb mixture all over turkey. Place turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead if turkey is not stuffed. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.)

Position oven rack in bottom third of oven and pre-heat to 425 degrees F. Drizzle melted butter all over turkey. Pour 2 cups broth into pan. Roast turkey 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and cover breast with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Return turkey to oven; roast unstuffed turkey 1 hour or stuffed turkey 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove foil; pour remaining 2 cups broth into pan. Continue roasting turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 40 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will increase by 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve pan juices for gravy.

Meanwhile, Prepare Gravy: Mix flour and Sherry in small bowl until smooth paste forms. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and rosemary; saute until mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover flour paste tightly. Let paste and mushrooms stand at room temperature.)

Discard turkey neck and giblets from pan juices in roasting pan. Transfer pan juices to 8-cup glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat and discard. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 5 cups; add to saucepan with mushrooms. Add flour paste and whisk to combine. Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Boil until thickened to light gravy, about 10 minutes. Mix in cream, thyme, and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with gravy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

This week's Staff Pick is When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.

Hannah Payne's life has been devoted to church and family. But after she's convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes--criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime--is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red for the crime of murder. The victim, says the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.

A powerful re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated, and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.


Check out this buzzworthy title from the West Virginia Library Commission or borrow the e-book from WV-READS.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lyrasis eGathering 2011

Lyrasis, the nation’s largest regional non-profit membership organization serving libraries, recently hosted an eGathering to further discussions of critical topics effecting the future of libraries.

One such discussion question:

What responsibilities (with respect to the resources we provide) do libraries have to their users? And, how does this vary with the type of the library (examples: academic, public, museum, archive, etc.)?

Let's continue the conversation. Leave your thoughts in the comment box.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Capitol Reads

October's Capitol Read is The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake

Breece D'J Pancake cut short a remarkably promising career when he took his own life in 1979 at the age of twenty-six. In 1983 the posthumous publication of this book--a collection of stories that depict, with astonishing power and grace, the world of Pancake's native rural West Virginia--electrified the literary world with a force that still resounds across two decades.

A Room Forever
Fox Hunters
Time and Again
The Mark
The Scrapper
The Honored Dead
The Way It Has to Be
The Salvation of Me
In the Dry
First Day of Winter

Monday, October 17, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Robin's Pick

The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh

In 1936, Dorothy L. Sayers abandoned the last Lord Peter Wimsey detective story. Sixty years later, a brown paper parcel containing a copy of the manuscript was discovered in her agent's sale in London, and award-winning novelist Jill Paton Walsh was commissioned to complete it. The result was the international bestseller Thrones, Dominations. Now, following A Presumption of Death, comes a new Sayers-inspired mystery featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, revisiting his first case...

It was 1921 when Lord Peter Wimsey first encountered the Attenbury emeralds. The recovery of the magnificent king-stone in Lord Attenbury's dazzling heirloom collection made headlines-- and launched a shell-shocked young aristocrat on his career as a detective.

Thirty years later, a happily married Lord Peter has just shared the secrets of that mystery with his wife, the detective novelist Harriet Vane, when the new young Lord Attenbury--grandson of Lord Peter's first client-- suddenly seeks his help to prove who owns the gigantic emerald.

As Harriet and Peter contemplate the changes that the war has wrought on English society and their own lives, Jill Paton Walsh brings us a masterful new chapter in the annals of one of the greatest detectives of all time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Susan's Pick

Rock Bottom by Erin Brockovich, with CJ Lyons

Ten years ago, a pregnant seventeen-year-old, Angela Joy Palladino fled her hometown, Scotia, West Virginia, as a pariah. Over time, AJ succeeded in establishing herself as an environmental activist, dubbed "The People's Champion," only to be forced to retreat from the spotlight in the wake of a crushing media disaster.

When AJ is offered a job with a lawyer who is crusading against mountaintop removal mining, she is torn. As a single mother of a special needs nine-year-old boy, AJ can use any work she can get. But doing so will mean returning to the West Virginia hometown she left in disgrace so long ago.

Upon arriving in Scotia, AJ learns of the sudden death of the lawyer who hired her. Soon after joining forces with his daughter, Elizabeth, threats begin to surface, bodies begin to pile up, and AJ discovers that her own secrets aren't the only ones her mountain hometown has kept buried. Hitting rock bottom, AJ must face the betrayal of those once closest to her and confront the harrowing past she thought she had left behind.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The McCreight Lecture in the Humanities

The Revolutionary Origins of the Civil War
Gordon S. Wood

7:30 PM, Thursday, October 27
The Culture Center, Charleston

Free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.
A book signing and reception will follow the program.

Gordon S. Wood, emeritus professor at Brown University, is one of the most influential historians in America. A preeminent authority on the founding of the United States, Professor Wood will examine the impact of the ideas and ideals of the Revolutionary generation on the American Civil War.

Wood won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, and the Bancroft Prize for The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. His latest book, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States, was published in May of 2011. In 2010, he received a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

Call the West Virginia Humanities Council, 304-346-8500 for more information. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Capitol Reads

September's Capitol Read is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imaginations, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar, but loyal, family.

(Cover Copy)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Megan's Pick

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bone-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman..dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she's wearing... Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

Blue's career as a portrait painter is the perfect job for someone who refuses to stay in one place for very long. She needs a ride, and America's most famous football player has an imposing set of wheels. Now, all she has to do is keep him entertained, off guard, and fully clothed before he figures out exactly how desperate she is.

But Dean isn't the brainless jock she imagines, and Blue--despite her petite stature--is just about the toughest woman Dean has ever met. They're soon heading for his summer home where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star, a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

As the summer progresses, the wandering portrait artist and the charming football star play a high-stakes game, fighting themselves and each other for a chance to have it all.

Natural Born Charmer is for everyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust and never looking back. Susan Elizabeth Phillips takes us home again...and shows us where love truly lies.

(Cover Copy)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Join us tomorrow on Facebook or Twitter for the first APPy Friday

Want to learn which apps are the most useful, easy to use, or just fun? Want to share your app experiences? Join the Library Commission on Facebook or Twitter  for our first APPy Friday, this Friday, September 2!  #appyfriday

Free Webinar on hosting Banned Books Week events

Are you interested in helping your library celebrate Banned Books Week this year? If so, we invite you to participate in the FREE webinar, “Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read @ Your School, Public, and Academic Library,” which will be held on Tuesday, September 13, at 1:00 PM Central. BONUS: All participants will receive a special discount code to purchase Banned Books Week materials through the ALA Store.

To register, please email your name, institution, and contact information to Angela Maycock at For more information, please visit OIF’s Online Learning page.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Evening Lecture at the Archives and History Library

On September 6, 2011, Robert Beanblossom, district administrator in southern and eastern West Virginia for the state's Division of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Section, will present "History of the West Virginia State Park System" at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Mary's Pick

The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America's Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town by Mark Kurlansky

The bestselling author of Cod, Salt, and The Big Oyster has enthralled readers with his incisive blend of culinary, cultural, and social history. Now, in his most colorful, personal and important book to date, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a disappearing way of life: fishing--how it has thrived in and defined one particular town for centuries, and what its imperiled future means for the rest of the world.

The culture of fishing is vanishing, and consequently, coastal societies are changing in unprecedented ways. The once thriving communities of Rockport, Nantucket, Newport, Mystic, and many other coastal towns from Newfoundland to Florida and along the West Coast have been forced to abandon their roots and become tourist destinations instead. Gloucester, Massachusetts, however, is a rare survivor. The livelihood of America's oldest fishing port has always been rooted in the life and culture of commercial fishing.

The Gloucester story began in 1004 with the arrival of the Vikings. Six hundred years later, Captain John Smith championed the bountiful waters off the coast of Gloucester, convincing new settlers to come to the area and start a new way of life. Gloucester became the most productive fishery in New England, its people prospering from the seemingly endless supply of cod and halibut. With the introduction of a faster fishing boat--the schooner--the industry flourished. In the twentieth century, the arrival of Portuguese, Jews, and Sicilians turned the bustling center into a melting pot. Artists and writers including Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, and T.S. Eliot came to the fishing town and found inspiration.

But the vital life of Gloucester was being threatened. Ominous signs were seen with the development of engine-powered net-dragging vessels in the first decade of the twentieth century. As early as 1911, Gloucester fishermen warned of the dire consequences of this new technology. Since then, these vessels have become even larger and more efficient, and today the resulting overfishing, along with climate change and pollution, portends the extinction of the very species that fishermen depend on to survive, and a way of life special not only to Gloucester but to coastal cities all over the world. And yet, according to Kurlansky, it doesn't have to be this way. Scientists, government regulators, and fishermen are trying to work out complex formulas to keep fishing alive.

Engagingly written and filled with rich history, delicious anecdotes, colorful characters, and local recipes,The Last Fish Tale is Kurlansky's most urgent story, a heartfelt tribute to what he calls "socio-diversity" and a lament that "each culture, each way of life that vanishes, diminishes the richness of civilization."

(synopsis from the publisher)

Friday, August 26, 2011

West Virginia Library Commission Announces the Selection of New Secretary

After a nationwide search, the West Virginia Library Commission has selected Karen Goff, Library Development Director of the WVLC to serve as the new Secretary for the Commission. Goff has been acting as Interim Secretary since the retirement of previous Secretary, J.D. Waggoner, in March of 2011.

Goff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology in 1969 from the University of Pittsburgh and in 1971, she earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, also from the University of Pittsburgh. Goff has been employed by WVLC since 1972, where she began as head of reference services and later operated in several key positions throughout the agency.

After her selection as Secretary, Goff stated, “My entire professional career has been spent at the West Virginia Library Commission. I feel that the knowledge, experience, skills, and relationships gained during this career uniquely equip me to lead the Commission.”

Prior to the announcement, many candidates displayed a valuable knowledge and skill set, however, Goff’s 39-years of experience and positive relationships with state libraries proved a solid foundation for the position while her visions for the future offered the forward thinking needed to continue building collaborations and encouraging libraries to become vital centers in their communities.

Goff is a member of the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, current Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee of the West Virginia Library Association, and past President and past Secretary of WVLA, Former Editor of West Virginia Libraries, and the Recipient of 1999 Dora Ruth Parks Award for Outstanding Service to Libraries and Librarianship in West Virginia.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth by Hilary Spurling

West Virginia native Pearl S. Buck is the subject of Spurling's (Matisse the Master) new biography.

One of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary Americans, Pearl Buck was the first person to make China accessible to the West.

She recreated the lives of ordinary Chinese people in The Good Earth, an overnight worldwide bestseller in 1932, later a blockbuster movie. Buck went on to become the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Long before anyone else, she foresaw China’s future as a superpower, and she recognized the crucial importance for both countries of China’s building a relationship with the United States. As a teenager she had witnessed the first stirrings of Chinese revolution, and as a young woman she narrowly escaped being killed in the deadly struggle between Chinese Nationalists and the newly formed Communist Party.

Pearl grew up in an imperial China unchanged for thousands of years. She was the child of American missionaries, but she spoke Chinese before she learned English, and her friends were the children of Chinese farmers. She took it for granted that she was Chinese herself until she was eight years old, when the terrorist uprising known as the Boxer Rebellion forced her family to flee for their lives. It was the first of many desperate flights. Flood, famine, drought, bandits, and war formed the background of Pearl’s life in China. "Asia was the real, the actual world," she said, "and my own country became the dreamworld."

Pearl wrote about the realities of the only world she knew in The Good Earth. It was one of the last things she did before being finally forced out of China to settle for the first time in the United States. She was unknown and penniless with a failed marriage behind her, a disabled child to support, no prospects, and no way of telling that The Good Earth would sell tens of millions of copies. It transfixed a whole generation of readers just as Jung Chang’s Wild Swans would do more than half a century later. No Westerner had ever written anything like this before, and no Chinese had either.

Buck was the forerunner of a wave of Chinese Americans from Maxine Hong Kingston to Amy Tan. Until their books began coming out in the last few decades, her novels were unique in that they spoke for ordinary Asian people— "translating my parents to me," said Hong Kingston, "and giving me our ancestry and our habitation." As a phenomenally successful writer and civil-rights campaigner, Buck did more than anyone else in her lifetime to change Western perceptions of China. In a world with its eyes trained on China today, she has much to tell us about what lies behind its astonishing reawakening.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Capitol Reads

August's Capitol Read is Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts all struggle to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. Equal parts Nathanael West, Damon Runyon and Eudora Welty, Lord of Misrule follows five characters--scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain--through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia.

Horseman Tommy Hansel has a scheme to rescue his failing stable: He'll ship four unknown but ready horses to Indian Mound Downs, run them in cheap claiming races at long odds, and then get out fast before anyone notices. The problem is, at this rundown riverfront half-mile racetrack in the Northern Panhandle, everybody notices--veteran groom Medicine Ed, Kidstuff the blacksmith, old lady "gyp" Deucey Gifford, stall superintendent Suitcase Smithers, eventually even the ruled-off "racetrack financier" Two-Tie and the ominous leading trainer, Joe Dale Bigg. But no one bothers to factor in Tommy Hansel's go-fer girlfriend, Maggie Koderer. Like the beautiful, used-up, tragic horses she comes to love, Maggie has just enough heart to wire everyone's flagging hopes back to the source of all luck.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

This week: a recipe and a recommendation.

The recipe is from Bones: Recipes, History & Lore by Jennifer McLagan

Marrow Pudding

(Serves 6)

This recipe is adapted from one in Florence White's Good Things in England. Good quality fresh bread crumbs, preferably from an egg bread or brioche, are essential for this recipe. Slice the bread and trim off the crusts, place in a food processor, and process to coarse crumbs. Be sure to soak the marrow in advance to remove any traces of blood.

8 ounces fresh white bread crumbs (about 3 cups)
2 cups whole milk
3 ounces bone marrow, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup raisins
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 packed cup brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Place the bread crumbs in a bowl. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then pour over the crumbs. Leave the crumbs to soak for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the marrow and raisins into the bread crumbs. Whisk the eggs with the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Add to the bread crumbs and mix well. Pour this mixture into the baking dish.

3. Place the baking dish in a larger pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until just firm in the center.

4. Preheat the broiler to high. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with the brown sugar and broil until the sugar melts. Let cool slightly, and serve.

The recommendation is Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Above all she sought family, particularly the thrill and magnificence of the one from her childhood. Hamilton's ease and comfort in a kitchen were instilled in her at an early age when her parents hosted grand parties. The smells of spit-roasted lamb, apple wood smoke, and rosemary garlic marinade became as necessary to her as her own skin.

Blood, Bones & Butter
follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a prickly marriage that nonetheless yields lasting dividends. By turns epic and intimate, Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Susan's Pick

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel of Suspense by Nancy Pickard

Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father’s pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl, her skin as white as the snow around her. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. The mysterious dead girl–the “Virgin of Small Plains”–inspires local reverence. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses. Slowly, word of the legend spreads.

But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did young Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the Virgin’s body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town’s three most powerful men–Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge, Tom Newquist–all seem to be hiding the details of that night?

Seventeen years later, when Mitch suddenly returns to Small Plains, simmering tensions come to a head, ghosts that had long slumbered whisper anew, and the secrets that some wish would stay buried rise again from the grave of the Virgin. Abby–never having resolved her feelings for Mitch–is now determined to uncover exactly what happened so many years ago to tear their lives apart.

Three families and three friends, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences in award-winning author Nancy Pickard’s remarkable novel of suspense. Wonderfully written and utterly absorbing, The Virgin of Small Plains is about the loss of faith, trust, and innocence . . . and the possibility of redemption.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Genealogy Club

Archives and History staff historian Greg Carroll will present "Slaves and Free People of Color in Western Virginia from 1800 to 1860" at the meeting of the Thursday evening Genealogy Club on August 11, 2011. The club will meet 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.

Carroll will look at the political and legal lives of both slaves and free people of color. Slavery did not exist in western Virginia in anywhere near the numbers that it did in the east. In a few areas, such as the Eastern Panhandle and the Kanawha Valley, slaves were more numerous. The panhandle was primarily an agricultural area having more in common with its eastern neighbors than counties to the west. In the Kanawha Valley, slaves were mainly used in the salt industry and were the first to commercially mine coal in this area. Free people of color were often freed slaves or mixed race people who were slowly being driven from the eastern Virginia counties by oppressive racial laws. This was especially true after Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831. These issues will be discussed and questions are invited.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

In Fort Hood housing, like all army housing, you get used to hearing through the walls. you learn your neighbors' routines: when and if they gargle and brush their teeth; how often they go to the bathroom or shower; whether they snore or cry themselves to sleep. You learn too much. And you learn to move quietly through your own small domain.

You also know when the men are gone. No more boots stomping above, no more football games turned up too high, and, best of all, no more front doors slamming before dawn as they trudge out for their early formation, sneakers on metal stairs, cars starting, shouts to the windows above to throw them down their gloves on cold desert mornings. Babies still cry, telephones ring, Saturday morning cartoons screech, but without the men, there is a sense of muted silence, a sense of muted life.

There is an army of women waiting for their men to return to Fort Hood, Texas.

With dazzling skill and astonishing emotional force, Siobhan Fallon explores the insular and emotionally fraught world of an American army base in a time of war. She introduces us to a wife who discovers unsettling secrets when she hacks into her husband's email, and a teenager who disappears with her five-year old brother as their mother fights cancer. There is the soldier who enters into a perilous friendship with an Iraqi female translator, the foreign-born army wife who has tongues wagging over her glamorous clothes and late hours, and the military intelligence officer who plans a secret surveillance mission against his own home.

In gripping, no-nonsense stories that will leave readers shaken, Siobhan Fallon allows us into a world tightly guarded by gates and wire. It is a place where men and women cling to the families they have created as the stress of war threatens to pull them apart.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today's recipe comes from Mixt Salads: A Chef's Bold Creations by Andrew Swallow, with Ann Volkwein

"In Mixt Salads, the co-founder and executive chef of San Francisco's beloved boutique salad joints shares his inventive, flavor-forward creations."

The Noodle
Soba Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms

Borrowing from traditional Asian flavor combinations, this salad combines toasted sesame seeds, refreshing cucumber, and cool noodles. Miso is a fermented bean paste that I use in the dressing to add richness to this light, healthy salad without adding fat.

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white miso
1 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces soba noodles
1 cucumber
2 (3 1/2-ounce packs enoki mushrooms
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 cups pea sprouts
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.

To make the dressing, combine the rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, sugar, and white miso in a blender. Slowly add the oil in a stream and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Boil the soba noodles for 4 minutes, until al dente, then rinse under cold water and set aside.

Peel the cucumber, then slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds by running a spoon down the middle of the cucumber. Slice it into half-moons.

Gently peel the mushrooms apart from each other and set aside. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 6 minutes.

To plate each serving, toss together 1 cup soba noodles, 1/2 cup pea sprouts, 1/2 cup bell peppers, 1/2 pack mushrooms, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Suzy's Pick

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

From Susan Casey, the bestselling author of The Devil's Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun stories of gargantuan rogue waves, one hundred feet high or more, appearing seemingly from nowhere. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories as typical sailor tales--because waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics.

But on the past few decades, a startling number of ships vanished in the depths of the ocean--massive freighters sunk so quickly there was often no time for an SOS call--and credible eyewitness accounts emerged, such as one from the captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, who swore the liner was hit by a wave taller than the ninety-five-foot bridge. Faced with mounting evidence, marine scientists realized something truly scary was brewing in the planet's waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when the British research vessel RRS Discovery was trapped in the North Atlantic in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves, including several that approached one hundred feet.

As scientists scramble to understand the phenomenon of immense waves, another breed of people view them as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers, who scan global weather updates on dedicated Web sites and fly around the world looking for the ocean's monsters. That this is possible at all is due to the pioneering technique of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to ride terrifyingly high waves of seventy to eighty feet. When a surf company offered a huge bounty to be given to the first person to ride a hundred-foot wave, less-accomplished surfers entered the sport and the stakes became life or death.

Susan Casey does a magnificent job painting the extraordinary sub-culture of the unique tribe of people--their codes, their addiction to risks that others would view as borderline insane, their amazing physical feats, and their feeling for the infinite strength of the ocean. In Casey's mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow extreme surfers are juxtaposed against the scientists' urgent efforts to understand the annihilating power of waves, from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 (and the tsunami that could arise in the Atlantic and sweep the East Coast of the Untied States), to the threat to the global shipping system, to the 1,740-foot wave that leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

With inexorable, adrenaline-fueled verve, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Capitol Reads

July's Capitol Read is Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter

He is a motherless child,
a coal miner,
a circus star,
a con artist,
a seer,
a hero,
and a survivor.

This is the tale of Billy Creekmore, a young boy with mystifying powers and the gift of storytelling. But his life in the Guardian Angels Orphanage is cruel and bleak, and when a stranger comes to claim Billy, he sets off on an extraordinary journey. From the coal mines of West Virginia to the world of a traveling circus, he searches for the secrets of his past, his future, and his own true self.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Library Grand Opening: Kanawha County Public Library Elk Valley Branch

Kanawha County Public Library is excited to announce the grand opening of the brand new Elk Valley Branch Library at 313 The Crossings shopping center in Elkview. The building is located in the new section of the shopping center, behind and to the left of Kmart.
Please join us to celebrate the completion of the first project in our Open a Modern Classic campaign.

10 a.m. - 8 p.m. games, crafts, prizes
3:45 p.m. ribbon cutting and refreshments

The new, fully accessible building has expanded hours, a drive-up book drop, 16 public computers, three study rooms, more books and audiovisual items, two community meeting rooms and free wireless internet access.

The current facility in Big Chimney will close to the public beginning July 24.

If you need to return items or have any questions about your account between July 24 and August 8, please contact one of our other branches, call the Main Library at 304-343-4646 or visit, where you will find a list of frequently asked questions and a schedule of programs at the new facility.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today's recipe comes from The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel

"In The Comfort Table, Katie dips into her archive of family recipes and updates all the classics from her childhood growing up in West Virginia."

Layered Pea Salad

For every family reunion or church dinner, my grandmother made her layered pea salad. She would put it in her big yellow Tupperware bowl, and I'd get so excited when I saw it in the refrigerator. When I make it, I like to put it in a clear glass bowl so that everyone can see the beautiful layers.

1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1 1/2 pieces
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 medium bell pepper)
One 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
8 scallions, white parts only, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon bacon, fried until crispy, drained, and crumbled
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Place the lettuce in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of celery, then the red bell pepper, the scallions, and the peas.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, and parsley. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over peas. Sprinkle with the cheese and bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Yield: 6 to 8 servings)
Prep time: 15 minutes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Follow Through: Smart Tactics for Job Seekers

On July 20th at 2 to 3 PM EDT LearningExpressLibrary's Job & Career Accelerator will hold a webinar on "Follow Through: Smart Tactics for Job Seekers" with career management expert, Lisa Chenofsky Singer. Ms. Singer has been featured on NPR Marketplace and NBC Nightly News, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, and more.  Successfully navigating the post interview follow-up process is often a gray area for many job seekers. Follow through tactics can often make or break the final hiring decision.

This webinar is valuable for anyone who is seeking a job or is helping job seekers.

The link to register for this webinar is:

For West Virginia librarians needing continuing education credit, please contact Sharon White,, 304-558-3978, ext. 2027.

Staff Pick of the Week

New Fiction

The Great Night: A Novel by Chris Adrian

Acclaimed as a “gifted, courageous writer”(The New York Times), Chris Adrian brings all his extraordinary talents to bear in The Great Night—a brilliant and mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

On Midsummer Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up in the wake of the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues will threaten the lives of immortals and mortals alike.

Selected by The New Yorker as one the best young writers in America, Adrian has created a singularly playful, heartbreaking, and humorous novel—a story that charts the borders between reality and dreams, love and magic, and mortality and immortality. (Synopsis from the publisher)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Survey Request from the West Virginia Library Commission

The West Virginia Library Commission is looking to improve its online presence and make its website a valuable tool to assist state employees in their work. The West Virginia Library Commission’s website may be accessed at

To assist them in this endeavor, please complete the short, six-question survey about your use of the Library Commission’s website. The survey is located at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

66 WV Libraries Committed in 1st Wave of E-rate Funding for FY2011

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) released a record wave of funding commitment decision letters (FCDLs) to Funding Year 2011 school and library applicants on June 23, 2011. Sixty-six West Virginia libraries were committed in this first wave and will receive an average 75% discount (totaling $96,580.34) on there basic telephone and long distance service.

The USAC's Funding Commitment Waves are generally released each Tuesday. Applicants can use the Automated Search of Commitments (ASC) Tool on USAC's website to review the funding commitments each week.

West Virginia Center for the Book is now on Twitter

The West Virginia Center for the Book was established in 2001 as an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It is hosted by the West Virginia Library Commission in partnership with the West Virginia Humanities Council. The West Virginia Center for the Book brings the national Center’s message of the importance of books and reading to audiences statewide. The center actively works within West Virginia to highlight the unique literary heritage that abounds from the earliest story tellers to the recent novelists; the center celebrates all West Virginia writers and place related books. West Virginia Center for the Book sponsors book festivals, author readings and other events that celebrate books and libraries.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Visual Thesaurus is now available on the iPad and iPhone

The iPad/iPhone version of the Visual Thesaurus starts just like the old one. Just type a word in the search box at, and click "Look it up."

Here is a list of the platforms that will run the new version:
-iOS (the operating system for the iPad and iPhone)
-Supported browsers:
-Internet Explorer 9

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

West Virginia State Rankings

Interested in knowing where West Virginia ranks in comparison to other states in agriculture, the economy, employment and labor, health, population and many other areas?  Take a look at State Rankings 2011: a Statistical View of America now available in the Reference Library.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Looking for grants?

The Foundation Directory provides information on the finances, governance, and giving interests of the nation's 10,000 largest grantmaking foundations.  It is arranged by state and then by foundation name.  The 2011 print edition is now available in the Reference Library. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Archives and History News

The June 2011 issue of the monthly newsletter West Virginia Archives and History News is available at

This month's issue premieres the newsletter's new design. The June newsletter continues the lengthy list of Civil War titles recently given to the Archives and History Library, as well as other new book titles added to the collection. Also included is information on recent and upcoming activities in the library.

Questions or comments about West Virginia Archives and History News, issued monthly by the Archives and History Section, should be directed to Susan Scouras, editor, at (304) 558-0230, ext. 742, or at

Friday, June 10, 2011

West Virginia Library Commission TV Studio recordings available online

The West Virginia Library Commission’s Library Television Services Department is pleased to announce that its video server is now open to the World Wide Web. The video server has been in operation since 2005 but limited to the statewide public library network and viewable only at a public library. To access the server go to for a complete listing of shows. The listing includes governmental agencies as well as local and volunteer organizations covering a multitude of subjects from health and wellness to various services available from West Virginia State agencies.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dave Pelzer to speak at West Virginia Book Festival

The victim of child abuse, Dave Pelzer was rescued at the age of 12 and raised in a series of foster homes. Now he uses his life experiences to teach others how to let go of the past and use negative experiences to make them stronger when tackling the future. Pelzer will speak on this subject at the West Virginia Book Festival at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, in the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater. Pelzer's appearance is sponsored in part by the Segal & Davis Family Foundation.  To read more,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer reading and vacations

What are your reading plans for the summer? Before you head out for vacation, remember that the Library Commission Reference Library can help. With the Reference Library, you can:

• Learn about West Virginia summer vacation destinations and cool day trips
• Listen or read new books from a variety of genres
• Share your recent reads on the Library Commission Facebook Page

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie night at the Archives and History Library

On June 7, 2011, Archives and History audio-visual archivist Richard Fauss will present "Archives and History Movie Night: Footage from the Collection" at the monthly Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday evening genealogy club

Staff from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will present information about cemeteries and the National Register of Historic Places at the meeting of the Thursday evening Genealogy Club on June 9, 2011. The club will meet 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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

ArtWorks is looking for a cover artist for the Fall 2011 issue!

ArtWorks is looking for a talented youth artist to feature on the cover of our Fall 2011 issue!

Who can submit? Any young person in kindergarten through sixth grade.
How to enter: Download submission form at

Mail original artwork with completed form by June 1st to:

ArtWorks Cover Contest
c/o Cicely Bosley
West Virginia Division of Culture and History
Culture Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., E
Charleston, WV 25305
Questions? Email

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Library Employment Opportunities

The following employment opportunities are available in the state.  Please click on the link for more information regarding the position.

State Librarian of West Virginia

Library Director, South Charleston (WV) Public Library

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't have a lot of time to read short stories? Listen to them instead!

Finding time to read can be a real challenge but audiobooks can help!  To continue with this month's theme for Short Story Month, here are a brief list of short stories the Library Commission has in audiobook format.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

May is National Short Story Month

Two short story collections by the acclaimed author of Room

Touchy Subjects by Emma Donoghue

In this sparkling collection of nineteen stories, the bestselling author of Slammerkin returns to contemporary affairs, exposing the private dilemmas that result from some of our most public controversies. A man finds God and finally wants to father a child—only his wife is now forty-two years old. A coach’s son discovers his sexuality on the football field. A repressed young woman finds liberation in her roommate’s bizarre secret.

Many of these stories involve animals and what they mean to us, or babies and whether to have them; some re-imagine biblical plots in modern contexts. With characters old, young, straight, gay, and simply confused, Donoghue dazzles with her range and her ability to touch lightly but penetrate deeply into the human condition. (from the publisher)

Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue

Thirteen tales are unspun from the deeply familiar, and woven anew into a collection of fairy tales that wind back through time. Acclaimed Irish author Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances—-sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed.Cinderella forsakes the handsome prince and runs off with the fairy godmother; Beauty discovers the Beast behind the mask is not so very different from the face she sees in the mirror; Snow White is awakened from slumber by the bittersweet fruit of an unnamed desire. Acclaimed writer Emma Donoghue spins new tales out of old in a magical web of thirteen interconnected stories about power and transformation and choosing one's own path in the world. In these fairy tales, women young and old tell their own stories of love and hate, honor and revenge, passion and deception. Using the intricate patterns and oral rhythms of traditional fairy tales, Emma Donoghue wraps age-old characters in a dazzling new skin. (from the publisher)