September 10th, 2013

September is Disaster Preparedness Month

SCH087As we remember the tragedy of September 11, learn from Katrina and approach the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and Newtown, CT — we ask: Are you ready?

The Department of Homeland Security’s “READY” campaign encourages Americans to Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. Preparations can be made to better respond to natural disasters and emergencies by doing three basic things: create an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and stay informed. For links and tips, check out

Did you know that the library is a vital part of your emergency plan? Libraries are always primary sources for information and resources—but libraries can also be invaluable during times of crisis.

Unless underwater or without power, we will do our best to be open after a storm or emergency. Use your library to connect with resources, to plug in devices and escape the elements—hot or cold. Access computers and WiFi to conduct business, find a tree removal service or follow up with relatives and your insurance company.

Libraries also are a safe place for children and teens to play and explore after a storm or other disaster. And in our technological world, a good book is one of the few things that still works without batteries.

Check off these items every fall:

– Change smoke detector batteries

– Update your emergency contact information with Cecil County Public Schools—have you dropped your land lines but not provided a cell phone contact?

– Sign up for free school closing notifications or like Cecil County Public School on Facebook

– Sign up for emergency calls and texts from the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services

– Create a packet with your insurance policies and other essential information that you can access quickly should you need to leave your home

Share with us – what are your best preparedness tips?

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August 28th, 2013

What Would You Do as King?

kingpeggybookLibraries don’t just answer questions, they ask them. The Maryland Humanities Council’s One Maryland One Book reading and discussion program is a perfect example of how the library helps its community discuss important questions. This year’s selection, “King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village,” invites us to explore questions of culture and gender difference, as well as personal questions of how we might respond when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

Like the wise and often funny Mma Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith’s “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency,” King Peggy has a talent for solving complicated problems. When I read “King Peggy,” I was struck by how similar her story could be to so many of our own—going about her daily life, working to make ends meet and then faced with a huge turning point that grants the opportunity to change lives. But we don’t have to be born into royalty to bring hope and transformation to town.

While we don’t struggle with issues like access to clean water and basic medical care such as in King Peggy, we do, like other areas in the state, have many people without jobs, a high school dropout rate we’re working to improve, and too many who go to bed hungry at the end of the day. I’m excited to share King Peggy’s story because I believe it will provoke powerful questions on the local impacts we might achieve by applying similar courage, creativity, and sacrifice. Even more, I’m excited to see what answers we’ll discover.

In addition to participating in discussions of the book at CCPL branches throughout the county, you’ll have the opportunity to meet King Peggy when she visits the Elkton Central Library on Monday, September 9th at 7:30pm. Join us for these other special King Peggy events:

What Is Wrong with a Woman Being Chief? — Thursday, September 12th at 7pm
African Storyteller: Jamal Koram (family event) — Thursday, September 19th at 6:30pm
Sankofa African Dance Company (family event) — Saturday, September 28th at 2:30pm

We hope you’ll join us and get inspired to consider the issues that affect communities near and far. If you were king, what problems would you tackle first?

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