Tuesday, July 18, 2017



Friends of Brown Library and NC Humanity Council Presents:

Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 2:00 PM
First United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall
3rd and Van Norden

Washington, NC 27889


Kevin Duffus:
How Shipwrecks Shaped the
Destiny of the Outer Banks
Kevin Duffus, author of the 2007 book Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks — an Illustrated Guide, presents a wide-ranging discussion of shipwrecks and their legacy — lifesaving, salvage, rumors of wreckers, and the hundreds of forgotten shipwreck victims buried among the dunes. Duffus explains the various causes of shipwrecks, and why there is a Graveyard of the Atlantic in the first place, what it was like for passengers and crew when ships crashed into the breakers along the banks, and the true stories of some of the most incredible rescues. Duffus shares the memories of the last living lighthouse keeper on the Outer Banks, the descendants of lifesavers, residents who played on shipwrecks as children, and one well-known historian who used to dance on the deck of a wrecked vessel. Audience members will also learn precise locations of famous and deadly wrecks, as well as places to see remains of shipwrecks today.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fannie Ashburn Award Winner


On October 22, 2016 Diane Giffen was awarded the  Frannie Ashburn Volunteer of the Year Award in Greensboro, NC.

Diane has been a member of the Friends board for over 10 years and has worked tirelessly in various board positions over the years. But the crowning achievement of her tenure was the development of and implementation of the Saturday Book Sales at the Washington Saturday Market. This market is held from April through October at the Washington waterfront. These Saturday sales were to augment to income the Friends group made in its annual January book sale.

In conjunction with the ladies who sort all the donated books, Diane selected an assortment of books, both paper and hard cover, as well as tapes and cd’s to be offered for sale each week. Diane not only had to make sure there were items to sell but that there were people to sell them! Two volunteers were required each week to get the books from the library, set up the table, greet the customers and sell the items. Often Diane and her husband had to step in to man the booth because volunteers aren’t always easy to get!

The monetary receipts were only a small part of this endeavor. Each week the public became aware of the library, the Friends and the many ways the Friends help the library each year.

During her tenure with the Friends of the Brown Library board, Diane was instrumental in obtaining this award for others on the board. We strongly feel it’s now her turn to be the recipient!


Sadly for us, Diane and her husband moved from this area in June to prepare to move into a continuing care community – River Landing. Although she will not be at our meetings, I know that our activities and continued success will always be in her heart and mind.  

 The annual competition is open to local Friends of the Library members across North Carolina. Members of all Friends of the Library groups, both local and at the state level, are volunteers who work together to help support the North Carolina Public Library System. More information on this nonprofit can be found at www.foncpl.org.

Prepping for January Book Sale.


You can now buy used books at the library. The prices are the same low prices as at the big sale and the shelves are marked as well. The bookshelf is located to the right of the circulation desk.
The Annual Book sale will be held at the Washington Civic Center again in 2018. The dates are Jan. 19-21 for the public. The hours for Friday and Saturday are 9 to 5, and Sunday Noon to 3. Sunday is $5 a bag day. Fill our bag for $5. Friends members night is Thursday Jan. 18, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. You can pay your dues at the door Thursday night for entry.
For all our faithful volunteers, set-up day is Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 at 9:00 am, with fine tuning on Wednesday. Stop in for an hour or two, or stay all day. We appreciate your help.
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Need something to hold all those treasures?  Back by popular demand are our Bag It at Brown Bags!  You can bet your blogger will be in line to buy one more. For $20 you can have a bag to use for shopping, bringing books and films to and from the library, carrying a days' worth of errand necessities, or packed in your suitcase for travel.  They make welcome gifts, too. Made of sturdy canvas, they're nicely embroidered and have two pockets, one inside and one out.
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Friends Membership renewal letters will be mailed soon. If you didn't receive yours stop by the library to pick up a card at the front desk. The dues year is the calendar year. Only $15 per family (we accept generous donations of more, of course!). We're counting on you!_______________________________

















Friday, October 25, 2013

Thanks for all the goodies!

Book donations...The other day, I walked into the book shed where we sort and pack books, DVD/CDs, tapes and records for the January and Summer Book Sales, thinking I had a few spare minutes to help out.  I did a double-take:  plastic bins, cardboard boxes, and paper bags were piled high, and three hours later, just as I was down to the last book, in came yet another bag full!
Our Brown Library Friends certainly know how to answer a call!  Last month we mentioned here and in our newsletter that we needed more book donations to make our biggest fundraiser of the year the great success it always has been, and since then, you've responded generously.  Keep them coming!  As much work as it means for Ginny Warren, Katie Lake, Bettyanne Dicken and the other volunteer sorters and packers, we heartily thank you

Volunteering...If you'd like to volunteer to help with the January sale, be sure to find Nancy Nash (946-7963), our volunteer coordinator, between now and early January.  She will be glad to add your name to the long list of old- and new-timers who have come out to make the Washington Civic Center a veritable book treasure hunt.  All you have to know is the alphabet!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Leaves

Your Library Friend is blogging from the techy Bay Area in California this month, visiting family and enjoying perfect fall days, not unlike one of Eastern Carolina's autumn pleasures.  Walking is the preferred mode of transportation hereabouts, and also includes a trip to the small neighborhood library, a pretty Spanish-style building only a few blocks away.  As in every season here, even fall, the streets and gardens are alive with exotic flowers of brilliant shades, herbs blossoming, succulents sending out new shoots from beneath the old ones.  Down from the trees, the leaves fall over the roofs and steps, and small children arrive for story hour, while older ones from the school across the street check out homework resources. 
It reminds me of being finally old enough to make my own trips to the library six or seven blocks from where I grew up.  I read everything I could get my hands on, sometimes stopping on the way home to begin a chapter or two.
It wasn't long, however, before the librarian (who in those days kept a close eye on who read what...) was looking askance at some of my choices.  "You're not old enough for the Adult Fiction shelves," she would admonish me.  When I protested that I'd read all the others in the children's section, she offered a solution.  "All right, then.  I'll let you choose from the Non-fiction section."
I didn't actually know what Non-fiction was, but it meant I could finally read new books, I'd try it.  Turns out it opened me up to all kinds of new worlds--biography, history, geography (still one of my favorites), and science (at least the ones that weren't locked away for fear of small eyes discovering the very adult mysteries of biology). I'd come back every few days for a new adventure.  Sixty years later, I'm still at the library looking for new worlds, these days found in film as well as on paper.
And that brings me to the new world I found at the library here on Santa Clara street:  Adult Reading Hour! 
How long has it been since you have had the pleasure of listening to a book being read to you?  Believe me, it's quite a treat.  Joining the group are people, as you might expect, whose eyes are beyond words in print but still appreciate a good read, and also those who simply love the sound of a story from a good storytelling voice.  The talented volunteer reader chooses short stories of all kinds (and takes suggestions from the audience, too), leaving time afterwards to welcome reactions and responses from her listeners.
Would you be interested in a Reader's Group at Brown Library, too?  If so, just answer this post, and yours truly will get the message.  Maybe with the help of some volunteers in Washington, we can get one started. 
California doesn't have to have all the fun.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's a library for?

My brother, visiting me from New Hampshire last year, was surprised to see all the cars in the Brown Library parking lot as we drove in.  "I would think most people didn't need to use a library much any more," he commented. "We all have computers at home and ipads and smart phones in our pockets.  We can look up anything we want from there."
"Come on in," I told him.  "I'll give you a tour.  You'll really be surprised, then."
There are a lot of people who think the way Tom does.  They forget that the role of a library isn't only books.  A town library is a center for a whole community, making sure it has the resources each of its citizens needs to live, work, and learn.  Those needs are as many and varied as the people who make up a community.  But really, they can be boiled down to one:  the need to know.
A town is only as in-the-know as its people are.  All its people:  rich or poor, higher or basically educated; whatever their family, culture and background, its citizens make a town progressive.  Neighborhoods grow, jobs appear, good schools are built, the arts and recreation flourish, the job applicant pool becomes smarter--all of us become smarter and healthier at living.
I have a favorite saying, attributed to one of our smarter statesmen:  If you think keeping libraries is expensive, try the cost of living in an ignorant country.
But that's just words.  My brother is a businessman. Business for him is seven days a week for long hours.  He feeds people breakfast and lunch--good food, good customers, good service in an easy, friendly atmosphere.  In his world, all that is connected by a single keystroke:  the energy of himself and his family who works equally hard with him.  But the needs of his customers aren't all the same--some arrive at the door at 6 am for a few cups of coffee and a roll before work.  A little later, their friends walk in to make contact and order their first meal of the day--it's a local morning ritual--choosing from a menu of fifteen or twenty items from oatmeal to eggs to pancakes.  Later on, some travelers will roll in from off the road on their way to hike or ski.  They want fancier stuff; they're on vacation, after all.  It isn't long to lunch, either, and that's a whole new crowd with different appetites.  After nearly thirty years, his restaurant has learned how to serve them all, keeping the tried-and-true, local comfort foods, but also adding new fare, healthier or trendier. 
So as we walked into the library, I began to point out to him what people were actually doing there, corner to corner.  The children's section to the right had a story hour going on for preschoolers whose parents brought them in to listen to Terry animate with puppets an adventurous tale.  Sure, their parents could read to them at home, but there was more fun doing it among friends. And they could take new books home.  A few children were working on the special children's computers, learning letters and numbers, making play of reading and researching. In front of us at the circulation desk were a line of people bringing back books and CDs or DVDs, and checking out new ones--edging in were two or three choosing from the new-book shelf.  Yes, they still read books with covers and pages; they can choose books that are favorites, books with large print, books on tape or CD, old books with beautiful illustrations.  They might own an e-reader or they might not--the library does e-books, too, free. (Did you know you could take classes in how to use an e-reader here, too?)
The fact that every carrel of computers were in use was another clue--this was where people came to check mail, apply for jobs, go to online classes, learn a language, look up what they need to know to fix plumbing or build a table or knit a sweater or grow a garden, use a digital camera, catch up with people far and near.  Home wasn't where they were hooked up; perhaps they couldn't afford it, perhaps they just needed help connecting, perhaps they were visiting from elsewhere and needed the wireless.  For so many of us, the library is the place to go to know and to keep up with the world wherever we are.
Beyond them were people reading the newspapers and magazines, researching genealogy in the History Room, choosing films and music to borrow, nesting in the young-adult section, and around the corner, looking for mysteries and fiction.  Someone in the tutoring room was tutoring a student.  Upstairs in the community room, some group was meeting.
And down in the offices, the library director and her staff were keeping it all happening, the same way my brother does in his kitchen.  It's not a large staff, but they work hard and manage to keep everyone in the community, whatever their resources, income, or connectedness, equally able to access the table and the necessary nourishment of the mind.
"Wow," my brother said. Yes, indeed. 
In case you, too, are forgetting about the real value of a library, take your own tour of Brown Library any day of the week and catch up on the learning and information center of Washington and Beaufort County.
Then become a Friend of the Brown Library--it costs very little for each of us, but it means an enormous amount to everyone we live among.  Being a Friend is a very community thing to do.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Favorite Reads

Read anything good lately?   One of my favorites from this summer's stock was Nicole Mones' The Last Chinese Chef, found on the New Books shelf.  A San Francisco food critic, still mourning for her husband and finding herself even more unsettled by a letter from China which implicates him in a strange lawsuit, and an American chef, going back to his roots in China to open a new restaurant against all sorts of political and social obstructions, become entangled in the intrigue of the suit and in each other's losses and aspirations.  It's a small book, but so charming and so patient with its characters' growths. The Chinese cuisine in its historical perspective gave the whole book an ingenious (and appetizing) framework.  How about you?  We'd like to hear about the pages you're turning, too.