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Support Jackson District Library While You Shop

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner your Jackson District Library is offering a new and easy way for you to lend support, without doing anything you wouldn’t already be doing!

While the library provides access to books, music, and more sometimes these items may not be available immediately at the library, or perhaps they are items you would rather own. Our library catalog now offers the option to “Buy It Now” — each time you purchase an item from Amazon, a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the library.

It is an amazingly simple way to support your local library! The best part about this new feature is that you can purchase ANY item on Amazon and if you use the special Buy It Now link to Amazon, a percentage of your purchase will go back to the library! Just click this button and shop as you normally would.

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You can also bookmark the link in your browser and use it to shop on Amazon anytime, automatically donating a portion of your proceeds to Jackson District Library.


Tessa’s Syfy Series Recommendation: The Expanse by James S. A. Corey

An exciting new tv show will debut December 14th on the Syfy channel. This series, The Expanse, is based on one of the best new science fiction series in recent years. Starting with Leviathan Wakes, the coauthors (using a pen name) have created a future world in which interplanetary conflict puts mankind on the verge of war. What few people know, yet, is an alien threat so horrific it paralyzes people with panic. Normal people, anyway.

The Expanse books cross genres with political intrigue, horror, science fiction, mystery, some romance and humor. Currently at six books, the book series will ultimately encompass eleven novels and five novellas plus short stories. The TV show has two seasons completed covering the first two novels.

The trailers look awesome, and the actors chosen look like a good fit to their characters. Even though the Expanse solar system is a totally different place, I think they can make the show believable and engaging. Prepare for the conflict between Mars and Earth. Between Mars and the Outer Planets. Between everybody and something else. Who has allowed it in? Is it too late for us all? Don’t miss it—not the books, not the show. ~ Tessa November 2015 5 out of 5 stars


November/December 2015 Newsletter

“Year after year, Michigan’s libraries consistently expand services and find new ways
to serve their communities,” said Randy Riley, State Librarian in a press release
announcing the awards. He added that “the 2015 nominations demonstrate how
creative, impactful and diverse libraries are across the state. Michigan libraries of all
types are successfully focusing on what is unique about their communities and are
successfully tailoring services to meet those evolving needs.”

In this edition of Chapters we’ll learn how the tradition of expanding service from the city to the county level dates back to the late 1920s, with part six of Lynne Loftis and Diana Agy’s library history. We’ll also find out about all that is new and happening through the rest of this year, continuing a long tradition of meeting Jackson County’s needs.





Tessa’s Book Review: One Year After by William R. Forstchen

One Year After, the latest book by Forstchen, is a good follow up to his first book as well as exploring further the possibilities of an American governmental collapse. While focusing on potential catastrophes from an EMP, the book could also be a great discussion starter on any topics, from economic collapse to ground invasion.


The first book in this series is One Second After, which came out in 2009. These two dystopian novels deal with the aftereffects of an EMP bomb, or electromagnetic pulse bomb, on the continental USA. The author situates the book in some beautiful country—the mountains of North Carolina. I read the first book when it was published, but even so, I reread it before reading the new release and second book, One Year After.

Recently on the New York Times’ bestsellers list, One Year After picks up the threads of the story, with a little more about the global situation, rumors of help, and continued bullying from Asheville. John is now the mayor, and Makala, now his wife, is head of public health & safety. They make a good team. There isn’t much of real interest in the first part of the book. I almost gave up, but then the raiders on the other side of the ridge above Black Mountain kidnap John. And the administrator in Asheville offers John the position of Major General, stationed at the nation’s center in Virginia. If John takes the position, the new draft for Black Mountain will be slashed in half. As Hans Solo would say, John has a bad feeling about this. But will he even escape from the raiders? And if he does, will he head up to Virginia, leaving Black Mountain? Some philosophical references to Machiavelli and others give the books more depth and provocative discussion, and tactical advantages and strategy play a big part in both books. Naturally, there is violence and battlefield medical care. If this kind of book is appealing, you will probably like them both. Recommended to lovers of dystopian or military action. ~ Tessa October 2015 3.5 out of 5 stars


MelCat Loans Temporarily Suspended

The MeL servers are moving to a new home!Michigan-eLibrary-Logo

Due to a major system upgrade in the MeLCat Service, patrons will not be able to request items from other libraries from November 18 thru December 11, 2015. You will still be able to search MeLCat during this period, but will not be able to place requests for any items.

Please make sure to place all of your requests by Tuesday, Nov. 17. You may continue to return materials to Jackson District Libraries during this time.

You may also be able to renew some items already checked out until December 2, 2015. Contact JDL’s Interloan department at 517-788-4673, ext. 1486 or for assistance.

Visit Michigan eLibrary for more details..


Jackson District Library Receives State Award

The Jackson District Library (JDL) has earned the 2015 Citation of Excellence Award from the State Librarian for its devotion to customer service. The library will receive a trophy and $500 at the Michigan Library Association’s annual conference in Novi on Friday, October 30.

“Year after year, Michigan’s libraries consistently expand services and find new ways to serve their communities,” said Randy Riley, State Librarian in a press release announcing the awards. He added that “the 2015 nominations demonstrate how creative, impactful and diverse libraries are across the state.
Michigan libraries of all types are successfully focusing on what is unique about their communities and are successfully tailoring services to meet those evolving needs.”
JDL is being recognized for being actively involved in moving the community forward through initiatives aimed at education, career development, health improvement, economic and workforce development, and human services. Staff promotes Jackson and champions financial stability across the community.

“This award is a wonderful tribute to the dedication and passion of the more than 150 men and women who work together as part of a well-oiled team to serve the residents of Jackson County,” said JDL Director Ishwar Laxminarayan. Last year Jackson County residents checked out an all-time record high of 1,210,716 items from the library’s collection. Additionally, more residents used the library’s free computers or wireless hotspots and attended programs and other enrichment activities than at any time in the past decade.

“From patiently teaching a small child how to love books gently, to researching economic statistics for a new business start-up, or coaching a senior citizen in how to use a new smart phone or tablet, the Library staff is making a difference in residents’ lives every single day,” added Laxminarayan. “JDL is committed to building on its glorious history and will continually endeavor to inspire our community to discover, learn, and succeed!

Young Poets

Enter The 2016 Young Poets Contest

Young Poets Contest

The Jackson District Library is pleased to announce the twelfth annual, “Poets Among Us: Young Poets Contest 2016.” With almost 10,000 student entries during the first eleven years, this event has proven to be very successful with students, teachers and parents. Over the years, entries have been received from entire classrooms, as well as students participating on their own who have a love of poetry. Poems have covered subjects as diverse as animals, divorce, hard times, family fun, friendships, sunsets, and war, to name just a few. I would like to thank you for your past support and encourage your participation in this year’s program.

The contest is open to all students in grades Kindergarten through 12 and all home-schooled students in Jackson County. Included in the contest packet is a list of websites for teachers and descriptions of various types of poetry. This packet also contains the necessary materials and forms to allow you to incorporate the contest into your schedule including the Student Rules and Registration Form to be completed by each student. (One form must accompany each poem submitted.) Please note that entries must be submitted online or postmarked by January 22, 2016.

A panel of poetry judges will review all the entries submitted. We will publish the award-winning poems in a small booklet and on our website. In addition, the top poets in each grade level will be given the opportunity to read their poems at the Young Poets Awards program to be held in April 2016. These readings will be recorded and made into podcasts available on our website.


Tessa’s Children’s Book Recommendation: The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

If you haven’t kept up with children’s books over the last couple decades, you may have missed a terrific author. Nancy Farmer’s books have covered topics such as cloning, long-term effects of pollutants, social progress and culture change. In The ear, the eye and the arm, she takes us to Zimbambwe in the year 2194, when General Matsika, chief of security, suddenly finds that his three children went on an Explorer Scout adventure alone into the city center and were kidnapped. The kidnappers distracted them with an illegal blue mutant monkey–then chloroformed them.
The three detectives hired to find the children are called Ear, Arm and Eye, because of their unique skills. Arm has extremely long arms and legs and he can sense emotions as well as having premonitions; Ear has extremely sensitive hearing; and Eye, of course, can see the fleas on an eagle. Their mothers lived in a village near a nuclear reactor which leaked plutonium into their water.

The story gives us a tour of the huge city of Harare, from the busy market to the toxic waste dump where the poorest, slaves, mine for plastic and then on to a small traditionally African country contained within Harare, completely cut off from technology, medicine and the laws. The children are nearly rescued by the detectives time and time again, but there is a conspiracy, some African black magic, and a fine dinner at the top of the highest building in Harare before the great ruckus brings it all to a satisfying end.
Be sure to take special note of the excellent Shona word shooper. We don’t have an English equivalent: it means to say the one thing calculated to keep an argument going (or get it started). Some of you, I’m sure, know someone who is an inveterate shooperer, like Tendai’s sister Rita, or you immediately think of that blatant shooperism, such as “Just what do you mean by that?” Nancy Farmer is brilliant, and this book is timeless and funny. ~ Tessa March 2011 5 out of 5 stars


The Challenges

In order to meet the growing demand for books, a branch of the Public Library was established on the east side in 1915. The Eastern Branch started in a remodeled bank building, moved to a small building on Orange Street, and later settled on East Michigan Avenue.

pg_17a CHALLENGES 1 Eastern branch

The Eastern Branch was just a very small wooden building but I thought it was fabulous because you didn’t own too many books – you got them for Christmas and birthdays and things like that – and I just remember friendly librarians and Grandma taking books home too for my mother and for the rest of the family. We were all readers.
— Interview with Connie Hobde: 2014

The decade of the 50s was one of growth in library services. The Jackson County Library Program quickly outgrew its space and moved to a new building on West Avenue in 1954. The “neighborhood branch,” or what’s more commonly known as the Bookmobile, provided easy access to books. The County also had a similar service.

Every other week, a large brown bus pulled into our small parking lot with the promise of a new adventure in books. Entering the bookmobile was like entering a sanctuary. Oh the decisions to be made! I had an overwhelming feeling of panic! I wanted to choose the “right” book within the short time allotted to us! I thought that the librarian had the best job in the world! I assumed she drove the bus home and sat in her driveway, reading books all night long!
— Letter from Mrs. Betsy Orrison: 2014

pg_17b CHALLENGES 11 - bookmobile

Bookmobile, Eastern Branch, Orange Street circa 1955

Lots of times while I was driving, the girl who was working
with me – she sat at a little table, kind of like desktop, right
behind the driver – she’d be getting the records of where we
were going and what books had been loaned out and how
many and getting them filed . . . Women didn’t have to dress
up so they’d dash down the street to the bookmobile to
check out a novel or two.
Interview with Mrs. Bessie England: 2014

Duplication of services and financial stresses led to talks about merging the County and Public Library systems. In 1970, voters rejected the idea. Some feared the city would lose control to the county, but others chafed at the fact that they were taxed by both the city and county to support the libraries. But from the librarians’ perspective the budget situation was dire, Lorraine Butchart, Acquisitions Director, recalls:

If you think back to the tone of the 60s, 70s, any time the municipalities had financial difficulties, the first place they would cut would be the libraries . . . so we were always on the chopping block. Both library systems had very strong directors prior to that time, Clare Sergeant and Eudocia Stratton, and those two people were very adamant about supporting the agencies of the government that they represented but both
faced the same peril of no money. It became apparent that the only way public library service was going to survive in Jackson County was for a merger.
— Interview with Lorraine Butchart: 2014

No Funds

No Funds

Joseph Warren, the City Manager, called me into his office and he said, Jack, ‘you’re gonna have to put a committee together and the only way we’re gonna survive this is if we merge the libraries’. . . . Finally, the vote came, and we were successful. Interview with Jack Daball: 2014

It was no small task, in 1977, to find ways to unite two separate administrative systems, space, finances, collections, and two separate staffs with separate contracts. The process, led by a newly appointed Jackson District Library Board, took almost a year. After an intense search, David Leamon was hired to head
the new Jackson District Library.

And I would say that if you look at the directors who were
involved in the district library after the consolidation –
David Leamon had to create a new image, and he did that
very well in his ten years. Virginia Lowell brought us into the
technology world, Richard Douglass, Bessie Burnett,
Luren Dickinson – they had to go out and they had to
integrate themselves into the community.
Interview with Lorraine Butchart: 2014

In 1993, the library joined the computer age and a partnership with Jackson Community College. Automation replaced the card catalog, collaboration replaced duplication of services, and technology brought the entire system up to date.

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New Books & Brews Book Club


Books & Brews book club meets at Bifferhaus Brewing Company on 1st Wednesdays.

Cure your Wednesday night slump with a book paired with a pint.


Adults 21+ are welcome to discuss good books and sample good brews at JDL’s Carnegie Library’s Books & Brews book club. The group meets at Bifferhaus Brewing Company (900 Lansing Ave, Jackson) for a non-traditional book discussion in a brewery atmosphere.


Books & Brews meetings are the first Wednesday of the month, beginning October 7. Stop in and mingle at 5:30 PM; the discussion starts at 6:00 PM.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Our October read is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Books are available at the Carnegie Library’s Reference Desk.


Participants are responsible for their own drinks. Bifferhaus does not serve food, but outside food is welcome.