How-To Festival 2019

JMRL is hosting its 3rd Annual How-To Festival on Saturday, May 4 from 10am-2pm at the Central Library. Learn a variety of skills in just 30 minutes!

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The schedule is still being finalized. The details below will reflect changes to the schedule as they are made.






  • Documentary Filmmaking with Lifeview Marketing (McIntire Room)
  • Gentle Chair Yoga with SimplyYoga (McIntire Room)
  • How to Build Robots with BACON (McIntire Room)
  • How to Apply Cosplay Makeup with Marien Villaman-Chodl (Jefferson Room)




From 10am-2pm we will also feature:

  • Free Comic Books (Main Level)
  • Meet Your Library (Main Level)
  • See the 3D printer in action (Elevator Lobby, 3rd Floor)
  • How to join and support the Friends of the Library AND a mini book sale (Outside)
  • Tour the Bookmobile (Outside)





“Beauty resides entirely in the crumbling city walls”

istanbul-orhan-pamukThe Brown Baggers met on January 18 to discuss Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk is a highly successful and influential Turkish author, who has won many awards over his illustrious career including the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, given for his body of work. This book is a work of nonfiction about his home city, primarily focusing on the decades when he was growing up — the 1960s and 70s.

Many readers found Pamuk’s writing beautiful but still struggled to make it through the book saying it was tedious and grueling. They were discouraged by the melancholy and destruction themes Pamuk talks about. Although some readers felt these were descriptions of the people, especially the upper class as they lost their wealth, and not the place. Those readers that had visited the city felt a strong disconnect from the vibrant locale they remember seeing and the crumbling, dour place Pamuk describes. Some felt this may be just a difference in time period — with Pamuk describing his childhood in the 60s, and travelers visiting after the year 2000 when revitalization and development have completely reconstructed the city. They also speculated that the inclusion of only black and white photos in the book added to the gray feelings. Even so they enjoyed the photos, often described them as beautiful, and loved the glimpse into another life and country which they provided.

Readers who are personally acquainted with Turkish individuals commented on how they do seem reserved, which could be perceived as sadness or melancholy.

Many readers found it interesting that Pamuk lived in his family’s building his whole life. Some also questioned his ability to remember so much detail from his young life, but noted that he had a lot of help hearing stories, so it made sense even if what he was sharing were not his own personal memories.  

Despite the pervasive heaviness of the text, readers unfamiliar with Turkey were glad to gain insight into a completely different culture, and learn more about its history and the ongoing struggle to bridge the Europe-Asia divide.

Readers struggled to categorize the text. The library has it in the travel section, as it is very focused on a specific location and wandering about that place. The book suggests it should be in the history of Turkey section. And some argued that the place for it was in Biography with other memoirs. Obviously it has elements of all three kinds of writing, but a single identifying one was not recognized or agreed upon.

In the end readers agreed Pamuk must hold dear his home city since he continues to reside there, despite having lived abroad previously and obviously having the means to relocate should he desire.   

Other information:

Titles mentioned:
Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
Palace Walk by Najīb Maḥfūẓ (about Egypt)

Reviews of Instanbul:
From the Telegraph
From the New York Times

PBS special on the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The popular song

Pamuk interview with the New York times:

His other works in JMRL’s collection.

Brown Baggers will meet again on February 15 at noon to discuss The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Discovering Your Roots

whodoyouthinkyouareDid you know that your JMRL library card gets you free access to the best online genealogical resources? While you’ll need to make a trip to your local branch in order to use, you can access HeritageQuest from the comfort of your home! Visit and click “genealogy” whenever you’re ready to get started.

In addition to the library’s online resources, check out one of these guides if you’re curious about how to uncover new branches of your family tree:

Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History by Megan Smolenyak – An official tie-in to the NBC genealogical series that features celebrity revelations on their ancestral histories, in a fan’s companion that also shares comprehensive guidelines to conducting one’s own genealogical research.

The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy by Kimberly Powell – Offers advice on researching family history on the web, including search strategies, data sharing, government records, genealogical software, and publishing the results on the web.

Google Your Family Tree: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Google by Daniel M. Lynch – This guide demonstrates the capabilities with using the Internet’s most popular search engine to find clues about your heritage by showing how to search and filter more effectively, drastically reducing your time spent searching.

Genealogy Online by Elizabeth Powell Crowe – Describes the most current genealogy-related websites and networks available and explains how to begin and maintain a family history research project. Continue reading