December 18, 2014

International Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day!

I promise,  I did NOT make this up.  There truly is an INTERNATIONAL acknowledgement of this most "interesting" day. For me, this brings a sense a wondering.  Who thought this up?  And why? And is there a sanitary component or requirement with regard to said plunger?  Let alone, what is one to "do" while sporting a plunger on one's noggin?  So many questions!  So much fun!

Perhaps the sole purpose of this plunger day is to remind us all of the need to smile more often, laugh more deeply and live life a bit more lightly. So if you are ready for some giggles, then check out these outrageously fun books:

Milton Berle's Private Joke File: Over 10,0000 of His Best Gags, Anecdotes, and One-Liners by Berle, Just Joking: 300 Hilarious Jokes About Everything, Including Tongue Twisters, Riddles and More by Musgrave, Plato and Platypus Walk Into a Bar - Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Cathcart, Dirty Jokes and Beer Stories of the Unrefined by Carey, Garrison Keillor's Comedy Theater by Keillor and Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road by Cole.

Laugh it up … with or without plunger atop!

December 17, 2014

CLOSED: December 24 - December 28

Neill Public Library will be closed for the winter holiday from Wednesday, December 24th through, Sunday, December 28th.

You can visit the library via our website at where you can view the catalog, check out electronic resources, use the library databases, request an item and view your account. No materials will be due at this time, but if you wish to return materials you may do so using the book drop at the North entrance of the library. 

We will re-open at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 29th.

December 16, 2014

Explore the Palouse Heritage Collection......

The Palouse Heritage Collection at Neill Public Library has a wide variety of materials about the Palouse.  We will be sharing some of the photos from the collection with you over the next few days and weeks, but don't just view the materials here.  Come down to the library and explore the Palouse Heritage Collection!
To the Rescue - Flooded downtown Pullman circa 1910

Main Street Pullman looking toward WSU Campus during 1910 Flood

Houses floating down the flooded Palouse River in Pullman March 1910.

December 14, 2014

Presents and Presence

It’s that time of the year again, isn’t it?  The time when one is likely to give or receive well wishes and holiday greetings. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Celebrate the Solstice, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year.  There’s no shortage of reason or season to celebrate.

For most celebrations, gift-giving is often a core component.  It seems we’re continually bombarded with messages to spend our money, pull out the plastic cards and get those never-ending wish lists taken care of.  Is it any wonder our celebratory moods are often buried deep beneath an oppressive cloak of overwhelmed-ness?  I think not.

So, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I suggest we literally stop, breathe and truly think about what we’re doing and why.  There is no question that the giving of gifts can be a very meaningful and joyous experience – for both givers and receivers.  But I believe it might better serve us and those whom we love to consider how much is enough and whether buying is the best way to give.

I don’t know about you, but my sweet husband and I have no need for any purchased gift.  Not a single one. This doesn’t mean we’re wealthy or up to our ears in debt.  It means we realize we’re two of the most fortunate folks on this planet.  We have each other and a love that has bound us for a quarter of a century.  We have our health. We also have family and good friends to love and with whom to share this beautiful life. Plus, we have a warm, sweet little cottage to call home with a kitchen pantry full of nutritious and delicious food. And there’s more - we can turn on the tap to get hot and cold water, and at the flip of a switch, we have light and warmth, day or night.  And we both have jobs that provide us with a sense of purpose and joy.  What buyable present could we need?

So, in terms of gifts, I offer two questions as food for meaningful thought.  What really matters?  Is it our presents or our presence?  When it comes to children, we intuitively know (and research confirms) they aren’t made happier by the number of toys, gadgets and trinkets we buy them.  Instead, what is meaningful to them (and to all of us) is the true presence of others.  Actually being present - talking, laughing, playing games, reading, singing, making something, creating memories.   No TV, laptops or cell phones nearby.

With our ever-mobile society, I do recognize how challenging it is to physically be with those whom we love as much as we would like.  But that does not negate our ability to have our presence there or their presence with us.  Some of my most cherished gifts are the handwritten letters from loved ones, the paper and highly glittered decorations that came from sweet little hands and homemade treats that fill both body and soul.

So if these thoughts speak to your heart’s desire to look at making your celebrations more meaningful and truly richer, then I encourage you to trust your instincts and give them a try.  What do you have to lose?  Maybe the accumulation of more “stuff” and a bank balance that’s not so balanced after all? Both acceptable losses in my book!

Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian

December 10, 2014

Emily Dickinson, Poet

Happy Birthday, Miss Emily Dickinson! Born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1886, she is revered as one of America's most beloved and prolific poets.

A fascinating figure, she lived a most reclusive life in almost isolation from the outside world, while ensconced within the life of her nuclear family.  She read quite widely and also actively maintained many correspondences with a number of individuals.

Fewer than fair dozen of her nearly 1800 poems were published in her lifetime.  Many of her poems dealt with themes of death and immortality.  Yet as we celebrate her 128th birthday, we can rest in the words contained in the first verse of her most famous poem entitled:
 "Hope is the Thing With Feathers," 

  Hope is the thing with feathers  
  That perches in the soul  
  And sings the tune without the words  
  And never stops at all.  

So, if this has inspired you to read more of her poems and learn more about her rather eccentric life, check out these library resources:

The Poems of Emily Dickinson, The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, My Wars are Laid Away in Books by Habegger , Miss Emily by Muten,  Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room by Agodon and My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Dickinson.

Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian