October 19th, 2011

Let Us Find Your Next Favorite Book

Pile of BooksThe hallmark of today’s nerd tends to be obsession. These obsessions are wide ranging, from Star Wars to Jane Austen, manga to Mythbusters, Legos to zombies, Harry Potter to Angry Bir….well, you get it. I like to consider myself a well-rounded nerd, but my biggest obsession is definitely books. I get ridiculously happy when the new books come in at the library because a new book holds such promise, such potential. It might be the book that you tell all your friends about. The one that you reread every year. The one that makes you snort loudly with laughter while waiting for an oil change. (Yes, I’ve done that.)

But even better than a new book is an old book that somehow slipped past your radar – an author you’ve never read before, a book you never got around too, or a title that was wildly popular a few years ago.

For a book nerd like me, one of the best jobs at the library is doing a Book Mate. Book Mate is a matchmaking service for readers (between readers and books, not readers and other readers—we leave that up to you!).  Answer a few questions about what you like to read and what you don’t and we’ll give you a list of books we think you might enjoy. We’ll wander the stacks looking for that book that just might be your new favorite, the one you tell all your friends about. Need CD books or eBooks?  Not a problem.  Large Print or Teen books? We can do that too. Heck, we’ll even throw in a DVD if you want. No matter what you read or why you read it, we’ll find something for you.  During the month of October, a few lucky readers who fill out a Book Mate will win free copies of local author Ed Okonowicz’s spookiest books. Fill out a Book Mate form, online here or pick up a paper copy at your local library. We’re book nerds here at the library, so let us put our obsession to work for you.

What’s your nerd obsession?


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October 12th, 2011

Civil War Legends & Lore

Most of us know the “greater story” of the Civil War—the battles, the politics, the leaders. We’ve heard of Grant and Lee, Gettysburg and Antietam, Abe Lincoln and Jeff Davis. But it’s the “little stories”—the quirky ones about

people and events—that make this time period so fascinating even today. Some of these tales of Civil War legend and lore are funny, some sad, but they all bring a very human side to the war 150 years later.

These stories will be the focus of “Civil War Legends and Lore” at  7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Perryville Branch Library. We’ll classify these stories as “legends and lore” because local tradition and folklore have filled in the blanks between the known facts.

Our region has no shortage of Civil War legends and lore, much of it spiced up by the fact that Cecil County residents had divided loyalties. Maryland itself was a border state, even though it is located south of the Mason-Dixon Line. In Cecil County and the rest of Maryland some were fiercely pro-Union; others were pro-Confederate to the point that they fled South to take up arms against the United States. Once war was declared, Cecil Countians for the most part supported the Union and its new president, even if they hadn’t necessarily voted for him.

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- How “mule skinners” took over the mansion and grounds at Perry Point, where the owners were pro-southern. The owners complained that Yankee officers banged up the elegant staircase with their swords.
- The C&D Canal played a huge role in the early days of the war, enabling Lincoln to bring loyal troops from “up north” to occupy Maryland after Federal troops traveling by train were attacked in Baltimore. The nervous canal superintendent in Chesapeake City constantly feared attacks by Confederate raiders.
- George Alfred Townsend spent his summers as a boy in Cecil County. The war made him famous as an Anderson Cooper-type newsman of his day who went on to be friends with Mark Twain. We’ll take a look at a story he wrote with a touch of dark humor about the topic of undertakers making their fortune after the battle of Antietam.
- A newspaper editor whose pro-Southern editorial got him marched out of town at bayonet point by Union troops and locked up in Fort McHenry.
- A Civil War romance that started when a Chesapeake City girl met a captured Confederate officer on his way to the prisoner of war camp at Fort Delaware.

As divided and cantankerous as the two sides could be here in Cecil County, one of the impressions that stands out is how people seemed to have put aside their differences after the war. It’s a lesson that shouldn’t be lost on us today as we struggle through difficult, sometimes divisive times of our own.

Interested in more Civil War programs? Make sure to check out the complete list of upcoming programs.

Have you heard Civil War legends about Cecil County? Share them with us by commenting below and we hope to see you at the program.


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