Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween books for all ages

By Ruth Hemphill

Each fall, as the days get shorter and nighttime comes earlier, it’s the perfect time for Halloween! For those who like to scare themselves reading books, the Tennessee Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (TLBPH) has many Halloween books for all ages. Here are a few:

Ray Bradbury is famous for writing science fiction, horror and mystery novels, so, of course he has a Halloween novel. Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities, is a satirical account of a science fiction screenwriter and a 20-year-old mystery, set in the 1950s movie industry at the height of its glittering power. It is available in audio format.

Bradbury also wrote a Halloween story for children. The Halloween Tree, for grades 4-7 is available in both print and braille. It’s the story of eight boys in Halloween costumes who visit a haunted house on Halloween night. When one of them gets swept away by a dark and cadaverous being, the other seven boys travel through space and time to find him.

What happens when two mice choose the same pumpkin in the garden but have opposite goals for it? The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, by Stephen Kroll, explores how to resolve the problem when one mouse wants to enter the pumpkin in their town’s pumpkin contest and the other wants to carve it into a giant jack-o’-lantern. For grades 2-4, this title is available in braille.

And, of course, for large print readers, TLBPH has The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, set in Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States. In The Wicked Witch Murder, by Leslie Meier, is the new resident of Tinker’s Cove a psychic or a witch?

To find out more about who is eligible to borrow books from TLBPH, or what is available, go to:

Take a look at some other ‘Haunted Tennessee’ themed books, newly available at the Library and Archives:

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Friday, October 27, 2017

Land Platting Workshop video now available online...

On Sept. 23, Presenter J. Mark Lowe, a certified genealogist and a renowned author and lecturer who specializes in original records and manuscripts throughout the South, delivered a presentation on how platting a property tract map may help identify many important features of a community, including ferries, mills, cemeteries, trails, historic homes and many other landmarks. With the aid of a few inexpensive tools, researchers can construct their own plats of land tracts as described in deeds, wills, court records or land grants.

Registration for this lecture drew a full house, so due to high demand we are making a video of Lowe's lecture available to the public. If you missed it the first time, or if you attended and wanted to revisit the lessons learned in this informative session, we encourage you to view the video at:

On Saturdays, the Tennessee State Library and Archives periodically hosts free "Workshop Series" lectures, featuring experts from our staff and researchers from outside our institution. The goal of the "Workshop Series" is to share information about materials and services offered by the Library and Archives and to provide opportunities for scholars, genealogists and historical researchers to share their work. Each lecture draws upon the resources of the Library and Archives and informs our audience about the historic value of our vast collection, and how they may use it in their own research.

See the entire "Workshop Series" video catalog here:

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Effort to Digitize World War I Artifacts Heads to Chattanooga

Every Tennessean has a story and preserving that history is an important part of sharing it.

Join us Nov. 1-2 in Chattanooga as we work to digitize WWI records and artifacts as a part of our “Over Here, Over There” digitization program.

Read more:

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Meet the Staff - Erin Lankford

Meet Erin Lankford. She is a Reader Advisor with The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

How long have you worked here?

I made the move to Nashville in January 2016, and have been right here ever since.

What are some of the things you do as a Reader Advisor?

I take the calls of the patrons, meaning I am on the phone all day long! I take patrons requests and make sure they get some great reads shipped right to their door. If they don’t know what to read next we suggest great titles based on their interests. I also handle most of the programming for our library including our call in Storytime for children with a Visual Handicap. This unique program has a great following and happens once a month. Check out our awesome Youtube video about how our story time is changing little readers’ lives!

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love making this library known to the public and meeting people who need our services who didn’t know we were out there. Could you imagine not just losing your vision, but also having to give up your reading? That is simply a world I could not live in. Luckily I get to tell people every day that books are still completely within their reach. The joy that our books bring to people’s lives makes the craziest days worth it in the end.

Do you have a favorite collection?

My favorite collection here is the print braille collection that is run by us! I believe in reading. And seeing these books made with both print for sighted children and braille for visually impaired children reminds me that everyone is entitled to literacy. Audio books are wonderful inventions; we ship about 10,000 titles on audio a week! But to be able to read the book for yourself means so much more. And seeing these tools for early literacy for braille readers in a society that calls braille a dying art, gives me hope that braille will never die.

Erin hosts "Virtual Story Time," a new way to experience books. Click HERE to read more.

What makes libraries and archives relevant to modern society?

I have been working in a library since 2005 and I believe that librarians are super heroes. Librarians are there for your whole life too! We help you become a reader, educate you and entertain you. Google can give you an answer, but a librarian can give you the right answer and tell you how to use it.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Monday, October 16, 2017

Effort to Digitize World War I Artifacts Heads to Chattanooga

Over a five-year period, World War I ravaged Europe, the Middle East and parts of North Africa, overturning governments and costing millions of lives. The United States joined the battle in 1917, eventually mobilizing more than 4 million soldiers and countless civilians who provided support for the war effort on the homefront.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives launched Over Here, Over There: Tennesseans in the First World War, a major effort to collect digital records of how World War I affected Tennesseans. Archivists travel throughout the state to digitally scan and photograph documents, maps, photographs, uniforms and other artifacts related to World War I that are owned by private citizens.

“We were overwhelmed by the response to our request for Civil War items, so we hope this project will help us create a rich record of World War I history as well,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Creating digital records of historical artifacts makes them easily available to anyone with internet access. It’s important that we do this now before more of these century-old items are lost or damaged beyond repair.”

The next event will be held at the Chattanooga Public Library, located at 1001 Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga. Items will be digitally recorded from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Nov. 1 and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Nov. 2. The archivists will not actually take possession of the items from the owners but will provide tips on how to care for these rare treasures.

People living in East Tennessee are encouraged to bring in letters, photographs, diaries, military records, maps, sketches, weapons, uniforms and other items related to the war. All items must be original (no photocopies or reproductions) and owned by the person bringing them to the event.

To reserve time with an archivist on one of those dates, email or call (615) 741-1883.

This is the fifth of several digitization events being held around the state, and the second in East Tennessee. Find more information about the project and upcoming events at

This event is part of the fall 2017 Great War Symposium.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Launches New Online Ordering System

The Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (TLBPH), a division of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, has a new online ordering system offering unprecedented access to patrons. The system is available 24/7 and can be easily accessed on a computer or mobile device.

Audio, braille and large books are available for free shipment directly to patrons' homes. Patrons can search by title, narrator, author and more. They can also browse new releases, staff recommendations and view their personal reading history.

“This new user-friendly system will create greater access to books for people with blindness or visual impairments, which is a principal goal of the Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I am proud we can create equal access to books and educational resources for all Tennesseans,” said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

The service works with the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service allowing users to download books with one click.

“This fills a fundamental need in our community,” said Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Director Maria Sochor. “We hope that the new system will encourage people with visual disabilities to take advantage of this invaluable resource.”

To access the system, visit or contact library staff regarding online ordering at 800-342-3308.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Folklife artists share their craft...

Please join us at the Library and Archives on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon to learn more about the soon-to-be-released digital collection and learn more about folklife in Tennessee.

We are excited that peach pit carver Roger Smith will be present as a featured artist at the upcoming event. Roger R. Smith of Culleoka, Tennessee, is a cattle farmer and retired meter reader for the Duck River Electric Company.

While he doesn’t consider himself an artist, he carves amazing figures out of peach seeds using only his pocket knife. Mr. Smith creates animals, reptiles, people and even an entire baseball stadium complete with peach pit players, spectators and automobiles. He estimates that each figurine takes about four to eight hours to complete. Mr. Smith’s work has been on display at the Tennessee State Museum as well as the White House where his Santa carving was displayed on the tree as part of Christmas at the White House before becoming a permanent part of the White House ornament collection.

In addition, former Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program, Robert Cogswell, will speak about the collection and old-time buckdancer Thomas Maupin will be performing. Although the workshop is free and open to the public, registration is required due to seating limitations in the auditorium. To reserve seats, please visit

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett