Terri’s Farewell

It just so happened that my turn at a blog post came the same week I am leaving my post as Director of Libraries at the Denton Public Library. So here is my shout out to a great community and a stellar group of people – those who work inside the libraries and those who visit the libraries.

One of the best things I have learned, is it’s never about me. The work we put in at the library happens for one reason only, to serve our community. While I am proud of the things we have done in the past ten years, we wouldn’t have produced, created, hosted, and made available any of those neat things if the community didn’t want or need them. We truly exist to serve.

It seems that we usually get things right because feedback from our customers consistently tells us we do. That’s not to say we are out of ideas or are tired of listening! We can accomplish some really great things with the support and direction of our community. Listen, act, listen some more. It’s a great formula.

Soon, there will be a new Library Director in the pretty office at Emily Fowler Central Library. And out at Jazzfest. And visiting a school, a nursing home. Please welcome this new person! Let them know what makes Denton, and Denton Public Library, special. Listen to this new Library Director as they share some new, great ideas. And mostly, support your library. Let others new to your neighborhoods know what delights are available to them! Send a note to your Council member and let them know what the library  means to you.

It has been my pleasure to serve this community. I am honored to have worked with some of the finest, most talented people anywhere. I know their good work will continue.

Terri Gibbs, Ex-Libris


Moving Season is Here

It’s the end of May and that means it’s moving season for many Denton residents. According to the Atlas Van Lines Move Data, May through August are peak moving months with over 425,142,335 pounds of home items moved just over summer 2015 alone.  Moving can be a dreadful, exhausting process, especially when you’re moving long distance and have little ones at home.  If you’re dreading your move (and I know I am), come check out what we have to make the process a little easier on you.  

Jacket    Jacket (1)

Moving with Kids       Renters' Rights

Something to read with the kiddos:

Moving Day      Moving Day by Meg Cabot      Henry and Mudge


-Sarah, South Branch Library

Source: https://www.atlasvanlines.com/Infographics/seasonality-of-moving 

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 chuck.voellinger@cityofdenton.com.




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 (http://read.macmillan.com/mcpg/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 (http://weneeddiversebooks.org), 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?



[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katherine-rose/why-more-diversity-in-chi_b_5544182.html

[ii] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/1000blackgirlbooks-social-media-book-drive-movement-black-characters/

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 (http://www.screenfree.org/) 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