This and That at North Branch Library

Had a baby?  Need help with breastfeeding?  The Breastfeeding Support Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m. The group is led by Catharine DeMore, a Certified Lactation Educator Counselor and Susan MacKenzie, IBCLC, RN, CPN, RLC, who will guide you through the breastfeeding process and will answer any questions you may have.  Different topics are discussed at each meeting. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed during the hour.  Siblings are always welcome.

Breastfeeding Symbol

Are you into Crafts?  Finish It Friday is a group of crafters that meeting at North Branch Library on Friday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.  This is a come and go program. Crafters bring the project they are working on, whether it is a fiber craft, needlework, jewelry making, beadwork, etc. and visit with each other, share tips and experiences, and show their finished project.  Adults of all ages are welcome.  The group meets under the Forge neon sign.  Hope to see you there!

NB_Finish It Fridays_4_21_17 photo 1

Did you know that the North Branch Library had a Tissue-Dyeing Silk Scarves program?  Yes, you can use a special tissue to dye silk scarves.  The library provides the materials.  Mary Cresson led the class and those attending created beautiful scarves.  Many attending had the intention of giving the scarves away as gifts, but after seeing the results decided to keep them for themselves.  Here are some of the scarves creations:

12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 1   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 2   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 3   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 5   12-9-2016 NB Tissue Dyeing 8

Carmen Grant
North Branch

In The Weeds, 5.9.17: Victoria Ebbels

In the early 1920’s, a young New York-trained artist moved to Denton to teach at the College of Industrial Arts, now known as TWU, and apparently became an assistant professor in Fine Arts. There is a bit of a mystery here, something in which we like to delve here at “In The Weeds”. Nowhere is she mentioned in the Daedalian yearbooks from 1921-1923. She is however listed as a faculty member from those school years in the College Bulletin, Historical Sketch of TSCW, The First Thirty Three Years 1903-1936 by E.V. White, Dean of the College. Why wasn’t she listed as an Assistant Professor in two editions of the yearbook?

Searching the 1923 Denton City Directory, she is found living at 1213 Carrier Street, which real Denton History geeks will recognize as the former name of the current Austin Street. Here is a photo of the house that occupies that address but we are not sure of its date of construction:

Ebbels 095

Interestingly, in the 1921 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Denton, the lot for that address appears to be empty: dentonjune1921sheet15. Was the house pictured above brand new when she lived there?

Here is the page from the City Directory with another mystery:


Who is “Grace Ebbels” also living at this address? According to the 1920 census, she was Victoria’s mother.

Ms. Ebbels went on to have a fairly high profile career in art under the professional name of “Victoria Hutson Huntley” with her work in the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, etc.  The Smithsonian American Art Museum website has some examples of her work. She went on to have a long career and passed in 1971.

Written by Chuck Voellinger. Questions and comments can be directed to




Fitter Happier

In 1997, the alternative rock band Radiohead released their third studio album OK Computer produced by Nigel Godrich which was an instant classic to most music critics. Ok Computer, a large departure sonically and in subject matter from Radiohead’s previous two albums, at times feels like Noam Chomsky who wrote the lyrics rather than lyricist Thom Yorke. OK Computer takes place in a dystopian society in what could be considered the third millennium where consumerism and technology are at its height and human psyche at a low. Radiohead creates the atmosphere of OK Computer with synthesizers and overdriven guitars and influences artists like DJ Shadow and Miles Davis. Another interesting aspect of OK Computer is that Radiohead put out ads in newspapers and television stations with an image stating lyrics from the song Fitter Happier. I have to admit I was about fifteen years late in discovering OK Computer, but once I heard it, it was an album that influenced me greatly and has become one of my favorite records. Twenty years after its initial release, it sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

OK Computer   Welcome to the Machine   Fitter Happier

Abdon Gonzalez
Emily Fowler

Reading Without Walls

What are you reading? I usually prefer my fiction books to be about the familiar–usually finding books where the protagonist is a thirty-something white female.  It’s not that I don’t like reading fiction stories featuring other protagonists, it’s that these books are easy to find.

According to the 2015 study by Cooperative Children’s Book Center, there is not enough diversity in children’s picture books.  In 2015, almost 75% of the books published featured a white character, while 12.5% featured characters that were animals or trucks.  More books with animal characters were published than ones featuring African Americans.  More books with animal characters were published than ones featuring Asian Pacific Americans.  More books with animal characters were published than ones featuring Latinos.  More books with animal characters were published than ones featuring American Indians.

Why is diversity in books so important? People want to read about the familiar.  It’s easy for a white child to find a book featuring a main character that looks like them, but not as easy for other children.  Children who see themselves reflected back in literature will make more connections with reading and will generally foster a more positive experience with reading.[i]  Diverse books are more than just books featuring a character of a different race than the reader.  Diversity in books also includes featuring characters of a different religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, cultural background, or socio-economic status.

While researching the lack of diversity in children’s books, I came across the Reading Without Walls Challenge (  This challenge helps promote diversity in what we read.

1:  Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you
2:  Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
3:  Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun (it could be a chapter book, picture book, graphic novel, a book in verse, an e-book)

If you are interested in ways to promote inclusion of diverse characters in books, check out We Need Diverse Books (, whose mission is to advocate for changes in the publishing industry to produce books that reflect ALL people.

Recently, 11-year old Marley Dias, made it her mission to promote diversity in books. Marley was frustrated that she could only find books about white boys and dogs.   Her goal was to collect 1000 books about black girls.  Marley launched #1000BlackGirlBooks—a large book drive to collect those books.  She met and exceed her goal, and was able to donate these books to a local school.[ii]

What new and exciting things will you read?





Screen Free Week May 1-7

Screen-Free Week May 1-7, 2017

As a parent, I am constantly working to make sure my child has the tools he needs to be successful.  Those tools include electronic gadgets from a home computer to an iPad to a smart phone.  These are all things my son uses for school work and other projects.  However, I was amazed at how quickly these tools became game devices and how all-consuming those games became.  All of the sudden, I was seeing the back of his head as he hunched over each device, sometimes playing games on two devices at once.  Maybe it’s time to turn off the electronics and take a break.  But how do I get my child to take a break and what can we do instead? Then I remembered Screen Free Week, May 1-7.

Screen Free Week ( is all about unplugging from digital entertainment and getting back out into the world.  Take time for free play, board games, daydreaming, exploring the outdoors, and reading a print book.

The library is great resource for unplugging.  We have comfortable seating and early literacy play areas.  We have programs for all ages where you can hear stories, be creative and learn new things. And of course, the library has some great books to read if you need something exciting to get your kids off those screens.  Some of my favorites include:

Picture Books

I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité

Dodsworth in Rome by Tim Egan

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke

Astronaut Handbook by Meghan McCarthy

Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail

Chapter Books

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Teen Books

Winterkill by Kate Boorman

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

We Will Not be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman

So, join the movement and unplug from electronics for Screen Free Week, May 1-7. Find life beyond the screen where you can interact in the real world and batteries are not needed. I know I am going to give it a try.

Stacey Irish-Keffer
Youth Services Librarian, North Branch

Denton: First You Have a Little and Then You Have a Lotta

I don’t feel serious at all, so in the spirit of April fun, here are some pages, some press clippings that appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle from years past; they were pasted into a scrapbook and lived in the City Manager’s Office for decades. This was one of the ways City Hall used to keep track of City history: a designated person would read the paper every day, cut everything out, and affix the articles into the scrapbook using rubber cement. The Library inherited many of these scrapbooks some years ago and here they sit in the Special Collections Department which you are free to look at – if you ever have time to take a gander. I like their chronological format and the ease of the turning page which doesn’t require me to look very hard for what comes next.

And yes, the theme of this post does reflect a criminal nature. The one below is not quite of the Darwin Award caliber, but it seems to me that if you’re going to rob a bank, you shouldn’t wear a fake mustache (they always fall off).  Call it a portent, if you will. They also used a pillowcase, a favorite method of many a cartoon character, but a little bulky. I wonder it had flowers on it, the article does not mention that.

Has anyone taken statistics on the favorite wardrobe and accessories of robbers, I wonder?

Awesome headline #1: Shotgun Power Stops Drug Theft

I like this particular article not only because the person was stealing a television (which is no laughing matter as they used to weigh a ton) and carrying a pillowcase (!) filled with drugs, but because this phrase was used, “The potential power of a sawed-off shotgun prevailed this morning on a drug burglar.”

An Exciting Car Chase Through Denton:

Favorite phrase: “flushing two of the three from around a Coca-Cola machine.”

Cool Technology! With the increase in crime came the need for more modern technology – which Denton delivered:

I had no idea this kind of technology was available in 1970.


I’m ashamed to say that I have at times enjoyed the police blotter when the stories were funny. There is always the sobering human factor involved that makes it not-so-funny, although a good reporter can artfully soften the blow and make it more laughable.

Looking at 1970 made me wonder how much Denton has changed in terms of crime.  In 1968, Denton had a population of 39,846 and 970 criminal offenses. According to the Department of Public Safety’s website, Denton had 3,412 criminal offenses for the year 2015 and a population of 131,194.


~Leslie Couture, Special Collections Department

Texas Library Association Lariat Reading List 2017

Lariat Logo

Exciting news for adult readers who are looking for titles that are a pleasure to read.  The Texas Library Association has a committee dedicated to putting together a list of outstanding fiction.  Each year the committee puts together a list of titles that merit special attention for adult readers.  These are book that have been published within the past 2 years.  The current list features titles from 2015-2016.  Readers are able to view previous lists dating back to 2009.

The Lariat Adult Fiction Reading List was started in 2008 when Corinne Hill approached TLA to start a list for adults that would be a “pleasure to read.”  Former TLA President, Melody Kelly, bestowed the name, “Lariat.”  The Lariat Task Force was started on April 3, 2009.  Since then, the selection of 25 outstanding fiction titles of the year have been carried out in various ways.

Current Titles Include

A Gentleman in Moscow~Towles, Amor
Charming Russian aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to lifetime house arrest in the Metropol Hotel near the Kremlin in the 1920s.

All the Missing Girls~Miranda, Megan
Written in reverse chronological order, All the Missing Girls follows narrator Nicolette Farrell, who returns to her hometown of Cooley Ridge, North Carolina, and unwittingly opens a box of secrets that were carefully hidden ten years ago when her best friend went missing at a local fair.

Another Brooklyn~Woodson, Jacqueline
In this coming-of-age story, August and her group of friends navigate growing up in Brooklyn during a turbulent decade.

Aurora~Robinson, Kim Stanley
Generations after a colony ship has left earth to settle the new home of Aurora, the passengers find themselves forced to reconsider their mission.

Be Frank with Me~Johnson, Julia Claiborne
Alice is sent by M. M. Banning’s publisher to handle the reclusive author’s personal affairs and brilliant but eccentric son Frank so that the author can concentrate on finishing her long-awaited second novel.

Binti~Okorafor, Nnedi
For Binti to claim her scholarship at the intergalactic Oomza University far from her Himba family on Earth, she steals away at night, only to find that her dreams will come with a high cost.

Challenger Deep~Shusterman, Neal
High school student Caden Bosch struggles with the alternate pain and allure of mental illness that is illustrated by his forays into the Marianas Trench.

Dark Matter~Crouch, Blake
Scientist Jason Dessen’s world is stolen from him, and he must travel through the multiverse to find a way back to his wife, son, and life.

The Forgotten Room~White, Karen, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig
A forgotten room and the secrets it holds connect three generations of working class women in 20th century New York City.

Good Morning, Midnight~Brooks-Dalton, Lily
When catastrophe strikes, aging astronomer Augustine and the mysterious Iris live in isolation at a research post in the Arctic.  At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan and her crew attempt to return home after a journey to Jupiter.

Here Comes the Sun~Dennis-Benn, Nicole
Margot works at a resort in Jamaica to help send her sister Thandi to a good school.  As Margot tries to get ahead, she finds herself falling into illicit trades that she must keep from her family and the woman she loves.

Homegoing~Gyasi, Yaa
Beginning in 18th century Gold Coast, Homegoing follows several generations of two branches of a family tree.  One branch remains in Africa while the other is sold to the slave trade in America.  Both tackle issues of slavery, colonialism, and heritage.

I Let You Go~Mackintosh, Clare
Jenna Gray’s life changes in the blink of an eye following a horrible accident.  She moves to a remote cottage in hopes of starting a new life, but the nightmares won’t stop, and she is soon forced to face her past.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things~Reid, Iain
Jake takes his girlfriend to meet his parents, but nothing feels quite right.  Her apprehension quickly escalates to fear as Jake’s behavior becomes less and less predictable.

Last Days of Night~Moore, Graham
The struggle for control of, credit for, and innovation in the race for electrical dominance is told through the eyes of Paul Cravath, the lawyer hired by George Westinghouse for suits between him and Thomas Edison.

Lily and the Octopus~Rowley, Steven
Ted and his dachshund Lily are best friends.  They just “get” each other.  When the tumorous “Octopus” appears, Ted resolves to defeat it.

Midnight Sun~Nesbo, Jo
On the run after betraying Oslo’s most notorious criminal “The Fisherman,” Jon hides in a small, insular town north of the Arctic Circle where he is confronted by a taciturn widow, a chatty boy, and the mistakes of his past.

The Moon in the Palace~Randel, Weina Dai
With intelligence and resourcefulness, Mei navigates the challenges of love, loyalty, and rivalry in the Emperor’s court in ancient China.

My Name is Lucy Barton~Strout, Elizabeth
In 1980’s New York, Lucy’s emotionally detached mother visits her while she recovers from surgery and leads them both to think about their relationship and how to reconcile the past.

News of the World~Jiles, Paulette
Set in 1870, an aging itinerant news reader is tasked with returning a resistant, white child kidnapped by the Kiowa nation back to her family near San Antonio, Texas.

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin~Knipper, Stephanie
On a commercial flower farm in Kentucky, themes of family, loss, forgiveness, sacrifice, and miracles are explored through the actions of Antoinette, her family, and her unusual condition.

The Short Drop~FitzSimmons, Matthew
Gibson Vaughn’s childhood friend Suzanne disappeared without a trace when she was 14.  Now that her father is poised to be elected the next U.S. President, Gibson tries to find out what happened to her by using his unique skills as a hacker and former Marine.

Sleeping Giants~Neuvel, Sylvain
A girl falls down a hole and into a giant hand made of an alien material.  A covert investigation is triggered to explain and explore the hand’s purpose in this sci-fi thriller.

Time of Departure~Schofield, Douglas
Claire is the youngest female Florida State Prosecutor to be promoted to Felony Division Chief.  When a road construction crew uncovers the skeletal remains of two women, Claire reopens a 30-year-old case involving a string of unsolved abductions that are strangely tied to her past.

What She Knew~Macmillan, Gilly
Rachel’s son is missing.  The longer the investigation continues, the more she realizes the dangers posed by people she thought she could trust.

A Gentleman in Moscow      All the Missing Girls      Another Brooklyn        Aurora        Be Frank With Me

Binti        Challenger Deep      Dark Matter      The Forgotten Room     Good Morning, Midnight

Here Comes the Sun      Homegoing     I Let You Go       I'm Thinking of Ending Things      Last Days of Night

Lily and the Octopus       Midnight Sun      The Moon in the Palace       My Name Is Lucy Barton     News of the World

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin       The Short Drop     Sleeping Giants        Time of Departure        What She Knew

Reka Reynolds
Emily Fowler Central Library