Lee Criscuolo

07/02/2018 - 7:49pm
Teetotalers and Moonshiners Exhibit at Howell

“Now the temp’rance army’s marching,
Wives and sisters in the throng,
Shouting ‘Total Prohibition’
As we bravely march along!” - from the Temperance Army song

Did you know it was never illegal to drink during Prohibition? The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, also known as the Volstead Act, made the production, sale, and transport of intoxicating beverages illegal but said nothing about actually drinking the stuff. It contained some exceptions, too. For example, a doctor could prescribe medicinal whiskey to his patients. The production and distribution of liquor, once handled by legitimate businesses, became the province of criminal gangs. Can you say Al Capone? Respectable folk patronized illegal speakeasies. New York City alone had an estimated 30,000 speakeasies! As organized crime grew, and drinking gained more social acceptance, support for Prohibition waned, and in 1933 the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th.  

Virginia was ahead of its time, banning alcoholic drinks more than three years before national prohibition was enacted in 1920. Learn more about this fascinating period in Virginia’s history, including the long-lasting effects still felt today. With support from the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Virginia Distillers Association, Howell Branch will host the Library of Virginia's exhibit, "Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled," June 11 - July 21, during regular library operating hours.

01/08/2018 - 8:54am
Cozy Concerts to Warm Your Winter

This winter, you can take the chill off in Howell Branch's cozy living room setting, complete with fireplace, at the Fireside Concert Series, held on second Saturdays from 2:00-3:00.

02/25/2017 - 1:08pm
Starting Seeds Indoors

Get Your Garden Off to a Great Start!

If you're like me, you're looking forward to warm weather, flowers, and delicious homegrown produce. You can give your garden a head start by sprouting and growing seedlings indoors. Horticulturist Holly Schemmer will take the mystery out of starting vegetables, herbs, and flowers from seed. Seed selection, sowing techniques, materials, and timing will be discussed and demonstrated to give you the skills to grow your own spring garden plants. We guarantee you'll go home with a green thumb.

01/26/2017 - 3:06pm
Foreign Films in February

Need a break from Hollywood special effects blockbusters? Want to travel the world without leaving town? Join us at England Run Branch for a series of international films Saturdays in February, 2:00–4:00. These will be shown in their original language with English subtitles.

February 4, we'll head to Denmark for a very special meal with Babette's Feast. In a remote village in 19th-century Denmark, a French refugee, Babette, is taken in at the local pastor's house as a servant. When the stern pastor dies, his daughters decide to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth with a dinner. With Babette in charge of the meal, the little community will get the meal of their lives! Rated G 

10/31/2016 - 9:29am
We Have a Butterfly Garden!

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” ― George Carlin

In May 2016, Master Gardeners Pat Brown and Annette Leach, along with England Run Branch staff members, prepared soil and planted a butterfly garden. We included both nectar and host plants to attract butterflies and support their life cycles. The nectar plants feed adult butterflies, and, just as important, the host plants support the caterpillars that will turn into butterflies. Stop by, and take a look! The garden is located near England Run Branch's drive-up window. The picture below was taken in the England Run Branch garden. Our garden includes:

08/19/2016 - 10:20am
If you like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life. (catalog summary)

 

If you enjoy The Fault in Our Stars, you may enjoy these other Adult and Teen titles too: 

 

100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi
What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? So begins the last hundred days of Lucio's life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn't felt in years. From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he's always meant to be. In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio's remaining days on earth, it is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. (catalog summary)

 


Alice & Oliver
by Charles Bock
Alice Culvert is a force: passionate, independent, smart, and gorgeous, she--to her delight--attracts attention wherever she goes, even amid the buzz of mid-90s New York. In knee-high boots, with her newborn daughter, Doe, strapped to her chest, Alice is one of those people who just seem so vividly alive, which makes her cancer diagnosis feel almost incongruous. How could such a being not go on? But all at once, Alice's existence, and that of her husband Oliver, is reduced to a single purpose: survival. As they combat the disease, the couple must also face off against the serpentine healthcare system, the good intentions of loved ones, and the deep, dangerous stressors that threaten to push the two of them apart. (catalog summary)

 

07/10/2014 - 3:00pm

What do nannies, billies, and kids have in common? They're all goats! Nannies are the moms, billies are the dads, and of course, kids are the kids!

07/02/2014 - 12:37pm

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

--Isaac Watts, Against Idleness and Mischief

 

 Do you like honey on your toast? Thank a bee! Actually thank about 100,000 bees. That's how many can live in one hive! "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…" (It would take you about 27 hours of non-stop thanking to thank each bee in one hive.) Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and carrying it back to their hive. They put it in a little wax cell. Then bees fan their wings over the nectar to help the water evaporate from it. When most of the water has evaporated, what's left is honey. They cover the cell with wax to save the honey for later. When a beekeeper's hive has more honey than the bees need to eat, the beekeeper harvests it.

09/26/2012 - 11:17am
Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab

If you’ve never managed to make it all the way through this “great American classic,” NOW is the time to give it one more go! Wait, don’t click away! Hear me out! I’ve tried at least three times in the past to read Moby Dick & always get bogged down after a few chapters. All that whaling! All that boiling down of blubber! And, what is Ahab’s problem anyway?! So I’ve never “gotten” Moby Dick & never finished the book. I always abandon the Pequod, Ishmael, Ahab, & the gang and leave them floating in the middle of the ocean somewhere.

But NOT this time! You may have heard recently that writer, Philip Hoare, is leading a "big read" of Moby Dick, or, in this case, more like a “big listen.” He’s offering a chapter per day in free downloadable audio. There’s a different reader and a different artist’s illustration for each chapter.  I know about this because I have been reading, not a chapter per day, but a PAGE per day, of Moby Dick since August 9th , 2012, and writing a blog about it.  So, several people who’ve been following my blog have told me about the big read project. “This guy stole your idea!” they say indignantly.

09/11/2009 - 12:29pm

The Swarm

One day in late May I looked out the window and saw an enormous thick cloud of bees in front of our barn. What should I do?! Shut the windows and cower? Call the exterminator? Call the nearest beekeeper? I called the nearest beekeeper. (He was just in the next room.) If you haven't got the beekeeping bug, you might not be pleased to have a swarm of bees in your yard, but to my family, it means honey!

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