Friday, September 25, 2015

Teen Poetry Happens and YAYAs Gear Up at Alexander County Library

The 2015/16 school year is off to a great start with teen programs at Alexander County Library.  The first YAYA meeting on September 8 yielded a new meeting day - the  3rd Wednesday of the month, 3:45 pm, at Alexander County Library.  If you are a voracious reader and a high school student, this book club is for you.  Call me at the library or find me on Facebook if you would like to join us. The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 21 at 3:45 pm at the library.

Our creative teen club, Teen Poetry Happens, had its first meeting on September 22 at Reformation Lutheran Church.  This group is for any interested high school students who love art, poetry, photography and short story writing.

This year, TPH will be involved with the 34th Annual Hiddenite Celebration of the Arts Festival, Saturday, September 26, 9 am - 4 pm.  We are manning another Poetry Wall in the Art in Action area of the festival.  Last year's awesome collection of visual and written images can be viewed with the spoken crafted poem at

As with each new beginning, Teen Poetry Happens collects images to create our latest group poem.  The poem is published in The Alexander Muse each spring.  I love this new poem with its fall theme...and apple bites, too!

The next Teen Poetry Happens meeting will be October 13, 3:30 pm, at Reformation Lutheran's fellowship hall.  The teens will have a creative costume contest that day.  Cannot wait to see what they come up with! 

Happy Fall!  Hope to see you at Hiddenite's Celebration of the Arts Festival or in the library soon!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Every Hero Has A Story - What's Yours?

Summer reading is on the way at Alexander County Library and Bethlehem Branch.  The theme for 2015 is “Every Hero Has A Story!” and there are many fun activities planned for all ages, birth to adult.   

The program is free and begins on June 14.  Participants report time spent reading until August 1, 2015.  Students sign up and keep track of how much time is read online.  There is also an option to write titles of books.

Every participant will receive a goody bag with this year’s stadium cup.  Students will receive the bag when time is reported or a program is attended.

Research demonstrates students’ reading skills are diminished during summer break if reading is not practiced.  The library encourages youth to read at least 15 minutes a day to keep reading skills sharp. 

Reading therapy dogs, Abby and Kowboy, will be available for readers on Wednesdays during the summer at both libraries.

Many optional program events are included in the reading program.  The kickoff event for all ages will have Illusionist Caleb Sigmon at Davis Hall of First Baptist Church in Taylorsville on Friday, June 19 at 10 am.  Sigmon will also provide a free magic workshop for children rising 2nd grade and up.  The program is free and open to the public, but workshop attendees must register with Miss Mel at Alexander County Library by Thursday, June 18.

                                   Caleb Sigmon, Illusionist

Other programs include: a hike at Rocky Face Mountain Park to conquer the mountain; Alexander County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit; and author Marty Hartman with his Adventures of Wally the Wheelchair. Students under the 3rd grade will be required to have an adult accompany them on the Rocky Face hike. 

Local Sheriff’s Deputy and children’s author, Michael Harrison, will also have an evening literacy program at Bethlehem Branch on Thursday evening, July 16 from 6 – 7 pm.  Bethlehem Friends of the Library will provide drinks and homemade cookies.  Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas to the Christmas in July event.

The final program event on Saturday, July 25 at 9 am will be a Superhero Training Camp for all ages.  Teens and adults can test texting and driving skills with the Sheriff’s Department driving simulator.  Experience drunk goggles and how impaired one is if under the influence of intoxicating substances.  There will be an obstacle course and other challenges for all ages. Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be provided for everyone that morning.  

There are also special programs for teens and preschool children.  Teens will participate in the fifth annual National Teen Lock-in on July 31.  There will be a national cosplay contest and teens are encouraged to create their own masquerade costume - be it a ball gown or a superhero.

Also, preschoolers will be asked to allow one of their stuffed animals to stay at "Library Camp" for three nights so teens can create a "Stuffed Animals Library Camp Adventure" movie.  Teen movie making night will be June 25.
Preschoolers can dress their favorite hero part for the storytime kickoff on Tuesday, June 16 at 10 am.  There will also be a "Frozen" party for the preschoolers as the final program for that age group. 

A bag lunch will be available every Tuesday at the main library in Taylorsville for youth ages 0 -18 and at the June Friday programs at Davis Hall and Rocky Face Park. See calendar for details.  
For more information, call the library at 828-632-4058 or check out the library’s website at

Hope to see you at Alexander County Library and Bethlehem Branch this summer!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Alexander Muse Debuts April 21 - Join Us As We Unveil the 6th Edition!

Hi Everyone,

Absolutely one of my favorite things about April as Poetry Month is the unveiling of the next Alexander Muse teen art and literary magazine!  The collection is by Alexander County, NC high school students - poetry, photography, art, and short story prose.

The reception is Tuesday, April 21 at Reformation Lutheran's fellowship hall located at 443 West Main Avenue in Taylorsville. The celebration will begin at 3:30 pm with food, musical entertainment, and readings from the magazine. The reception is sponsored by the Alexander Friends of the Library and is free and open to the public. 

This year’s panel of judges included: Art -  Miranda Burgin, Bud Caywood, and Pam Mull;  Poetry – Adrian Rice, Scott Owens, and North Carolina poet laureate, Shelby Stephenson; Prose – Melissa Jolly, Betty O’Hearn, and Brenda Smith;  Photography – Glenn Mays, David Moser, and John Womack. 
The Alexander Muse Committee wishes to thank the judges for sharing their time and expertise to determine this year’s published works.  The Muse committee would also like to thank Alexander Friends of the Library who provided dinner for the judges. 
The contest was open to all high school students from Alexander County. Eligible teens could attend public, private, alternative, or home school.
The Alexander Muse 2015 edition will be in full color thanks to a community grant from Statesville company, Carris Reels.  
Prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category of art, poetry, prose, and photography.  There will also be honorable mentions per category.  Prizes provided by Wal-Mart, Giovanni’s, Cotton Seed Boutique, Koto's, Mizo’s, Mexico Viejo, and Alexander Friends of the Library.
There will also be a drawing for door prizes for teen attendees. 
Teen Poetry Happens and The Alexander Muse teen magazine are programs through a collaborative effort of Alexander County Schools and Alexander County Library.  

Another note, this evening marks the next in the series of poetry readings at the Bethlehem Branch of Alexander County Library.  I am honored to be one of the "Women Of Spirit" who will read original works.  The event begins at 7 pm.  If you're in the area, stop by!

Here's hoping you have a month filled with beautiful words!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Hunger Games Series Finds New Endings at Alexander County Library Teen Lock-In

Alexander County Library's Hunger Games Movie Night Teen Lock-In Crew, March 20, 2015. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I knew the night was going to be lively with the beginning ice breaker - Are You Team Gale or Team Peeta?  Holy cow at the vehement responses!

"Peeta because he bakes good food and pretty cakes, while Gale hunts and guts bunnies."

"Peeta because he looks cuddly, while Gale looks cuddly as a rock." WHAT?

"I love Haymitch!"

"Peeta - his paintings always tell the truth just like his love for Katniss."

"Gale - Peeta's bread making is the only thing going for him."

"Peeta, but Jennifer Lawrence is hot!"

"I picked Gale because Peeta's a wimp."  WHAT??????

"Peeta is sexy."

"Peeta's just the boss, blending in with the rocks...liked by everyone."

And here is a collection of drawings from the evening

To say it was across the board is an understatement!

Many of the attendees wore "Capitol Pajamas" and our winner of the evening was Alison Sink.  She received a copy of The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook with recipes from lamb stew to "Groosling" (Ewwww...). Thanks to the Addington Family for donating two copies of the book.  

The other cookbook was put into the library collection and has a book plate commemorating our winning Alternate Ending video team, "Die, Gale, Die".  I guess you can tell which team they're on. 

Congratulations to Writer/Director/Singer Cheyenne Chumley (in back), Summer Chumley as Peeta (left), Aubrie Holland as Katniss (right), and Heather Fox as the ill fated Gale (floor).  

For a snapshot of the evening's creativity watch the video at AlexCoLibraryYouth's Youtube Channel.

Everyone is getting excited about The Alexander Muse debut on April 21!  If you're anywhere near Taylorsville, please join us at the reception sponsored by Alexander Friends of the Library.  It will be at Reformation Lutheran's Fellowship Hall from 3:30 - 5 pm.  Music, delicious refreshments, and free. Hope to see you there.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ekphrastic Poetry at The Hiddenite Center for Teen Poetry Happens

A failed attempt to hike Rocky Face Mountain due to iffy weather turned to another great outing for the TPH teens. We visited the Lucas Mansion of The Hiddenite Center to check out the youth works on display from the Local Artist Competition.  The awards reception was on Sunday, March 8, and our talented teens took inspiration from works to create art and poetry of their own. 

Will Teeters was inspired by two pieces melded into one.


 "Kollwitz Replica" by Alexis Anthony                                       "Drawing Rose" by Tessla Patterson

“Grandmother” by Will Teeters

Days go longer,
flower grows weak,
petals fall.
Fear of dying,
but not to die. Each year
she comes back stronger
beautiful as ever,
yet weakens at last.
In the end, she is
never seen again. 
Gone, but ever beautiful
as a flower to me.

"Inspiring Eyes" by Janah Bucknum

“Nothing” by Jeremiah Webb

I can't come up with anything
no matter what I see. 
The pics, art, beauty of everything –
I cannot seem to find a piece,
to give my mind peace.  O’ Muse,
how you torture me,
not letting me see 
what you possess in your hands.  
For now, I will sit patiently 
while you hold your inspiration 
over my head.

      Julia Webb displays her upside down portrait inspired by TPHer, Cheyenne!

Hayley Bucknum was inspired by this piece, "Mouth" by Alyssa Maynard.

“Beautiful Stranger” by Hayley Bucknum

She’s the most beautiful
creature I’ve seen…

Eyes that sparkle, a heart
that glows, but nothing compares
to that tongue of hers.

Flowing like the ocean, her sighs
like crashing waves.

But her voice, oh that perfect
voice, shines as brightly
as the moon. Sends a silent hush
across the world.

How precious, how soft, those lips
capture it all...

Sarah Johnson is ever inspired to create as she works on a self portrait.  I thought this was a neat shot because that is her window painting in the background over her shoulder.  She matches it! 

TPHer Cheyenne Chumley's "Hand Off" was inspired by the piece, "Friendship" by April Shuford, below...
...which won an honorable mention.

Sarah received an honorable mention for her whimsical frog! Congratulations! (Will he turn into a prince?)

Many thanks to The Hiddenite Center for hosting us!

One final note - The Alexander Muse will debut on April 21 with readings beginning at 4 pm.  The reception will be at Reformation Lutheran Church's Fellowship Hall at 443 West Main Avenue in Taylorsville.  Alexander Friends of the Library are sponsoring the reception which will go from 3:30 - 5 pm.  Admission is free, so come by and support the talented teens of Alexander County!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hunger Games All Night Movie Night Lock-In - Friday, March 20!

What better way to spring into spring than to have an all night teen lock-in at the library in honor of The Hunger Games?  The fun will begin at 5:30 pm just before Alexander County Library closes on Friday night, March 20.  

There will be great food, fun games, cosplay, watching all 3 movies released thus far, and the best part?  Filming your own endings! Everyone can get their production teams together including screen writers, directors, actors, and set designers.  

We will wrap up the party by 8 am, Saturday morning, March 21.

Be sure to reserve your spot! Call me at 

828-632-4058, Facebook, or email me at by March 16.

Also, Ms. Duncan, Ms. Is, and I have extended the submission date for The Alexander Muse another week due to our cra-cra weather.  There hasn't been a full week of school around here in weeks.  

Alexander County high school teens now have until March 9th to get their prose, poetry, photography and 2 dimensional art works entered.  There will be prizes in all categories! For submission guidelines go to .  While you're there, check out the online edition of the 2014 Alexander Muse.

Teen Poetry Happens will have their last meeting of the year at Rocky Face Mountain Park on Tuesday, March 10 - weather willing.  That might be difficult as we have seen!  Yikes!

Transportation will be provided.  Simply contact me at the above info if you want to go.  

March obviously has a lot going on - including an Easter egg hunt for the littles at Matheson Park on the very last day of it - March 31 at 10 am - so be sure to check the March calendar at the library's website -

Take care and hope to see you at the library!

Friday, February 13, 2015

YAYAs, Teen Poetry Happens, and The Alexander Muse - Lots of Great Things In Store

Hi Everyone,

I've been hopping since the beginning of the new year and our teen programs have been hopping right along with me.

The YAYAs met in January to discuss a new favorite book for me - Every Day by David Levithan.  In the young adult novel, "A" is a being that wakes up each day in a new teenager's body; sometimes a girl, sometimes a boy, sometimes heterosexual, sometimes not.  

Levithan's amazing storytelling takes "A" into situations with piercing insight. The reader cannot help but feel how each body operates, from being obese and unable to go up stairs easily to drop dead gorgeous with all eyes on them. Some known for smarts, some known for brawn.  All a challenge for "A" to navigate through properly for a day.

The rub comes when "A" is inside a football player named Justin whose girlfriend, Rhiannon, rocks his world.  Suddenly, this being that tries so hard to not interfere in the lives taken over, wants to stay to be near Rhiannon.  "A's" efforts are Herculean, taking otherwise normal teens and making them skip school, drive great distances, and go to parties, just to be near Rhiannon.

The YAYAs definitely gave it a thumbs up - with caution.  One said  "If you like your heart stomped on, it's great!" But aren't some of the best books and movies tearjerkers?  And the question of what is "A"? Like Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, is it a parasite?  The YAYAs had a lot of interesting theories.  You get a glimpse he/she's not alone in the "take over a life for a day" existence.  All the more to make a sequel to be excited about. Another Day hits the shelves in August 2015.

Teen Poetry Happens got in the loving spirit for their February meeting with Ode poetry.  Check out some of their neat creations.

“Ode to My Milk” by Jeremiah Webb

O Milk,
my drink of choice
that goes down my throat
so soft and moist. 
You go well with cookies
and that is just fine.
But to drink with my Ramen
is truly divine! 
Always remember , this much to be true
if McDonald’s had a milk dispenser,
know I would pick you.

“Ode to My Blanket” by Berenice Reyes

Warmth and comfort,
oh, you make me so happy.
Wittle, wittle blanket
you are mine.

“Ode to Books” by Hayley Bucknum

Hard backs, paperbacks
with crispy paper in between.
Old and new, bound in blue,
the only entertainment I need.
Different worlds with different lives,
so many to choose from  - fantasy
to fiction, mystery and romance.
Lives to be lived in limited page time.
If you’re ever looking for me
you’ll find me under the trees
with my nose between pages
or between worlds.
You can never tell…

“Ode to Music” by Julia Webb

Some people like music,
some people don’t.
I don’t like music,
I love music.
Music helps me think,
it helps me cry. 
It helps me smile,
it helps me live on.
I believe music
is the medicine
everyone needs!

“Ode to Jealousy” by Sarah Johnson

‘Tis an ode to jealousy,
for without jealousy,
our world would cease to exist.

Without the will to covet
we would not reach for the stars,
would not try as hard.
For without jealousy
our love would fail
because our love life scale
would appear to have lower degrees.

‘Tis an ode to jealousy,
for without jealousy,
our world would cease to exist.

We are excited about our final TPH meeting which will be at Rocky Face Mountain on March 10 - weather willing.  Transportation will be provided from the high school and the library.  Just contact me at the library at 828-632-4058 for details.  

We are counting down the days for accepting submissions for the 2015 Alexander Muse teen art and literary magazine.  North Carolina poet laureate, Shelby Stephenson, has agreed to adjudicate the poetry division and we are grateful he has added us to his busy calendar.

All poetry, short story prose, and photography should be submitted in a digital format.  Art (which must be two dimensional) may be dropped by Alexander County Library or to Robbin Isenhour Stewart at Alexander Central High School.  

The contest is open to all Alexander County high school students - regardless of educational institution.  This means the alternative school, private, boarding, or home schools.

Short stories should contain 500 words or less.  Poems should not have more than 40 lines. Students may submit as many items in as many categories as they wish, but may only place in one category.  Content should be suitable for all ages.

The last day to submit items for consideration is March 2, 2015.  There are prizes and a chance to be published in high school, so get creative, Alexander County teens!

And have a Happy Valentine's Day full of love!