Tuesday, December 31, 2021

Reading Resolutions

Natalie had gotten away from reading during school and following the birth of her 3 children in 3 years. She wanted to get back to something she'd once enjoyed - and more importantly to be a reading role model for her kids. 

“In the past I’d had a generalized plan to read more often,” she said. “This was the first year that I set a timeline to reach my goal, along with accountability practices, and intention to ensure that I truly would spend 2019 reading.” She even made a spreadsheet with titles and synopses of each book she finished. At week 50, she'd passed her book a week goal! 

Beside the accomplishment of completing the books, she found an unexpected bonus. “I took great joy in mailing completed books of meaning to people I cared for. Passing the books on to friends offered full circle moments of sharing education, ideas, creativity, imagination and joy throughout the year.”

Will you resolve to read more, join a book club, or read outside of your comfort zone in 2020?

Monday, December 30, 2021

You're Invited!

There are lots of things to discover at the newly renovated Roswell Library! 
Grand Re-Opening Celebration and ribbon cutting
January 3rd from 10 am to 11 am!

Holiday Hours

All libraries will be closed Tuesday 31 December and Wednesday 1 January

Monday, December 23, 2021

Lights in the Darkness

    Image result for winter solstice    Image result for hanukkah

Image result for kwanzaaImage result for star of bethlehem

Saturday, December 21, 2021

New for the New Year

Marie Claire brings a preview of novels by women authors. Click here for titles, plot lines, and release dates.

Finalist for New Director

The Fulton County Library Board of Trustees has named Gayle Holloman as the sole finalist for the Executive Director of the Fulton County Library System.

Ms. Holloman currently serves as Division Manager of the Fulton County Library System.
Previously Holloman served as Interim Director and the Central Library administrator.

Holloman has been with the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System since 1994, beginning as a volunteer. Subsequently, she was hired as a paraprofessional. While working in that capacity, she earned her Masters in Library & Information Services from Clark Atlanta University. 

Long-time Ocee patrons may remember her as Ocee's principle librarian and Branch Manager.

Friday, December 20, 2021

Top 5 Best Sellers of the Decade

The top 3 spots go to E L James' "50 Shades of Grey" series. The trilogy sold nearly 35 million copies. Fourth place goes to Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games". "The Help" by Kathryn Sockett rounds out the list.

Other trends for the decade: Paper books outsold e-books; 6.5 billion to 1.8 billion copies. Audio books continue to rise in popularity due to mobile devices.

In 2010, fiction took 80% share of top sellers. Today, fiction makes up 32% of best selling titles. Shorter books, including self-help and poetry have become more popular.

How to Gift a Book

woman wrapping book as christmas giftcropped shot of woman wrapping book in paper as christmas giftA book can be a fantastic gift, but there can be some pitfalls. The Guardian article has some suggestions on proper book giving ettiquitte:

Save the receipt (why not a gift card from a local bookshop?)
Don't write an inscription inside the cover
Chose for the recipient - don't try to impose your views/tastes

The Power of Poetry

"April McNary, a teacher at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona, has always believed in the transformative power of reading and writing. The honest conversations that are sparked by this creative work, she says, are some of the most valuable to her...
One area of creative expression McNary felt like she needed to boost in her classroom was poetry. Knowing that reading one's own poetry is terrifying for some (and something I still won't assign), I figured something less daunting was to read a poem someone else had written/published," she explains.

But she implemented a twist — students had to choose a poem with which they had some sort of personal connection. Little did she know what incredible moments were about to transpire as a result. One girl came out in front of the class. A boy, who was known as a jock, wept while telling everyone his mother was dying of cancer...

The common thread through all of these incredibly emotional admissions was empathy; the class rallied around each person going through it, applauding, hugging, and weeping right along with them. The act of expressing oneself through another's words seemed to be the permission they needed to open the floodgates and truly support one another.

One reading in particular, however, hit McNary at her core. A student in her class named Chris* brought in a poem from the novel, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," that clearly denotes suicidal ideation. But it wasn't just the context of the poem that concerned her, "it was the way he read it..."

Read the story in it entirety and learn what happened to both Chris and McNary here.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is a toll-free hotline available 24/7/365. 

Big Apple Books

Top Checkouts 2019
  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
  5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  6. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  7. Circe by Madeline Miller
  8. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  9. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  10. Milkman by Anna Burns

Wednesday, December 18, 2021

Stitch This

Author Tracy Chevalier recommends three books about quilters and the darker side of stitchery...

Alias Grace by Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Infamous murderess Grace Marks has been imprisoned for many years in 19th-century Canada. Now she sits over her sewing — mainly quilts — and tells her story to a doctor who tries to discover once and for all if she is innocent or guilty. So does the reader, for Grace is as slippery a narrator as they come.

Happenstance: Two Novels In One About A Marriage In Transition 
by Carol Shields
Happenstance has the unusual distinction of being two short novels published at different times and later sandwiched together. It tells the story of a husband and wife during a five-day period when she goes to a quilting convention, leaving him at home with their teenage children. Part 1 is from his point of view; part 2, hers.

Beloved by Toni Morrison
The story of a 19th-century African American woman and her daughters coping with slavery and its aftermath, and the terrible things that have to be done to secure freedom, Beloved is at times almost too painful to read. But a patchwork quilt made of black, blue, brown and gray wool brings comfort of a sort to the characters and the reader.
Alias Grace
Alias Grace
Alias Grace

Holiday Closings

December 24-25
Fulton County libraries, government offices, and courts 
will be closed for 
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Roswell Branch Re-opens!

The Roswell Public Library 
115 Norcross Street, Roswell, GA 30075 
will re-open on 
Friday 3 January 2022 at 10 am

Friday, December 13, 2021

"What You Need to be Warm"

"...Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place,
to hold out a badly knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say
we have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season..."

Gaiman meets Ayman and his family at Za’atari refugee camp.
Author and ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Neil Gaiman asked his twitter followers what reminded them of warmth. From over 1000 replies, he composed his latest work. The free-form poem launched the UNHC Winter Emergency Appeal. For more about Gaiman, the project, and to read the poem in its entirety, click HERE.

Best of the Decade

LitHub reveals their 'Best of the Decade" lists. Their pick lists range from essays, poetry, memoirs to best TV and movie adaptations - as well as fiction and non-fiction. There are 11 categories in all. Take a look for titles to add to your TBR list, gift giving, or holiday viewing.

Read-Aloud Tradition

They're only little for a little while...

BookPage offers a varied selection of picture books to start a read-aloud tradition this holiday/winter season.
Browse the library, but buy at least one favorite to keep - and pass along to new generations.

Top Audio Books

BookPage has chosen their top 5  audio books for the year. You'll find other audio book reviews at BookPages, too. 

Audio books are really convenient to travel with. Listening to books has benefits for kids, adults, and seniors alike. Narrators can bring books to life - great for reluctant readers.  They also help ESL readers with pronunciation. Audio allows those with low vision and learning disabilities join in the book experience.

Check-out / download audio books from the library them or visit your local book store.

Thursday, December 12, 2021

8' 2"

Caroll Spinney portrayed both 'Big Bird' and 'Oscar the Grouch' on Sesame Street. The author, artist, and puppeteer passed away week at age 85. Spinney retired in 2018 after starting on Sesame Street in 1969. 

Spinney was honored with four Daytime Emmy Awards and two Grammy Awards for his work in Sesame Street. Spinney received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and the Library of Congress' Living Legend award in 2000. 



During this season of light, it's fitting that one of the brightest, Fred Rogers, should be recognised in A Beautiful Day in the Neighorhood"

The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

We get so wrapped up in numbers in our society. The most important thing is that we are able to be one-to-one, you and I with each other at the moment. If we can be present to the moment with the person that we happen to be with, that’s what’s important.

Family Secrets

Author Linda Green's 92 year old granny mentioned that she'd kept a secret most of her life. Green was intrigued and wondered about the many other woman who held family secrets. The author talks about the book inspired by her granny, The Last Thing She Told Me, and entices readers with several other novels in the same genre.

Green says, "Readers show no sign of losing their appetite for stories of family secrets which leave characters desperate for the truth, and often in danger. And with such a wealth of family dynamics and trauma to explore, novels about family secrets will no doubt continue to feature in the crime and psychological thriller bestseller lists for many years to come." 

Books to Broadway

Many theatrical productions are based on written works, ranging from popular novels, to short stories, graphic novels, poetry collections, and more. Do you know which books these 21 shows are based on?

Click HERE for the slideshow to test your knowledge!

Guilty Pleasures

23% of all fiction are romance novels - pulling in billions of dollars in sales. No longer just 'bodice rippers', today's romances are becoming more progressive and inclusive. In fact, this summer's Red, White, and Royal Blue, a queer romance, was a huge success. 

“Whatever is going on in the world, and whatever is happening to women or marginalized people, is happening in the pages of romance novels,” says novelist and Washington Post columnist Sarah MacLean. “But with the promise that everything will be okay. That no matter how bad it gets, happily ever after will come.”

Music After Dark - 13 December!

Music After Dark: Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights
Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Rd 30009
Friday, December 13. 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Acclaimed musicians, Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights, play surf-rock inspired 
holiday classics for the whole family. Part of the Ocee Performance Series. 

Thank You

For those of you who opened your wallets, donated goods, and volunteered your time for area non-profits during GaGives/Giving Tuesday...

Friday, November 29, 2021

Overlooked History


4 non-fiction books highlighting the overlooked history of indigenous peoples of America.

Tuesday, November 26, 2021



"A library is many things. It's a place to go if you want to sit and think. It is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books. Books hold most of the secrets of the world, most of the thoughts that men and women have had. And when you are reading a book, you and the author are alone together—just the two of you. A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book." ~E.B. White, letter to child patrons of the Troy Public Library (Michigan), 1971 April 14th, reply to request from children's librarian Marguerite Hart

Georgia Gives / #Giving Tuesday

Join the movement & give back to your library 3 December 2021

You can support your local library this holiday season by making a donation during this nationwide day of giving. Simply visit GA Gives Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Foundation or Friends of Ocee Library page to make a donation! This online donation platforms allows you to give at any time - 24/7/365. 

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, December 1. Abstract image of planet with vibrant colors.
World AIDS Day, observed each year on December 1, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
  • Metro Atlanta is second in the nation for overall new cases of HIV.
  • Metro Atlanta leads the nation in the rate of African American men diagnosed with HIV.
  • 1 in 7 African Americans with HIV don’t know they have it.
OUT and the Guardian discuss literary works that explore HIV/AIDS.

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

All library branches will close at 6pm Wednesday 27 November. 

You may download books, movies, music, and 
manage your library account online anytime

Murder in a Minute

Not much time to read? Too many distractions to delve into a 'door stop' book? CrimeReads has 25 crime novels that are 200 pages or less.

"There are some trends that emerged from assembling this list. First, forget resolution—there’s no time for that in 200 pages or less. Instead, the authors below create as much doubt as possible, letting the reader’s imagination fill in the blank spaces necessitated by the form. Second, the twists in short crime novels are based more in human nature than in plot points... And, because these are crime books, the surprising part is just how bad human behavior can be. The biggest surprise for the reader, however, might be just how delightful all that bad behavior can be."


Top Picks for Kids and Teens

Here's Shelf Awareness' top picks for 2019! Look for them at the library or your local book shops-

Picture Books

Camp Tiger by Susan Choi, illus. by John Rocco
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, 
illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
Moth by Isabel Thomas, illus. by Daniel Egnéus
The Moose of Ewenki by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane, trans. by Helen Mixter, illus. by Jiu Er
The Fisherman & the Whale by Jessica Lanan

Middle Grade BooksStargazing by Jen Wang
Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace 
by Ashley Bryan
The Line Tender by Kate Allen
New Kid by Jerry Craft
Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

Young Adult BooksThirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
Lovely War by Julie Berry
Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes
Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce by Angie Manfredi, editor
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali 

Monday, November 25, 2021

Teen Programs

Teen Advisory Board
Lavena Café, 11585 Jones Bridge Rd Ste 230, Alpharetta, GA 30022
Saturday, December 7. 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
TEENS: Join Ocee Library’s Teen Advisory Board and give your input on what the Ocee Library can do for kids and teens. Create program ideas, story times, movie nights, game nights, book clubs, decorate displays and do other special projects in the library. Contact: aaron.brown@fultoncountyga.gov.

The following programs are from Northeast Spruill Oaks branch, but may be of interest-

Johns Creek Poetry Group

Saturday, December 7. 10:15 a.m.

Hear published poets lead the discussion and workshops for adults, teens and ‘tweens.

Speech Factory: Public Speaking for Teens

Sunday, December 15. 3:00 p.m.

10800 BELL ROAD, DULUTH, GA 30097.
Register your teen to learn the art of public speaking. Registration required: Janet.Wingard@fultoncountyga.gov.


Bring a yoga mat or towel and wear loose comfortable clothes. Adults. 

Energy Yoga
Johns Creek Books and Gifts, 6000 Medlock Bridge Pkwy Suite B500, 30022
Music in Me, 11705 Jones Bridge Rd A203, Alpharetta 30005
Sundays: December 1, 8, 15. 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Physical exercises to open and clear energy. Utilizes Qi Gong and meditation techniques. 

Ocee Yoga & Meditation

Newtown Community Center, 3115 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022
Mondays: December 2, 9, 16. 10:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.
Introduces basic yoga and meditation techniques for beginners. 

Language Classes

English as a Second Language (ESL)
Alpharetta Library, 10 Park Plaza, Alpharetta 30009
Mondays: December 2, 9. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Group classes in conversational English as a Second Language. First come, first served. 

No textbooks needed. No advanced registration is necessary. Adults.  

English as a Second Language (ESL) Group Classes

Johns Creek Books and Gifts, 6000 Medlock Bridge Pkwy Suite B500, 30022
Thursdays: December 5, 12. 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Group classes in conversational English as a Second Language. First come, first served. 
No advanced registration. No textbooks needed. Ages 18 and up. 
Contact: ryland.johnson@fultoncountyga.gov.

French Club

Lavena Café, 11585 Jones Bridge Rd Ste 230, Alpharetta, GA 30022
Thursdays: December 5, 12, 19. 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Practice speaking French with others. Teens and adults. 

Preschooler Programming

Preschool Story Time
Music in Me, 11705 Jones Bridge Rd A203, Alpharetta 30005
Tuesdays: December 3, 10, 17. 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Holiday story times with crafts for preschoolers with caregiver.
Dec 3: Hannukah; Dec 10: Kwanzaa; Dec 17: Christmas. 

Contact: aaron.brown@fultoncountyga.gov.

Family Yoga

Music in Me, 11705 Jones Bridge Rd A203, Alpharetta 30005
Wednesdays: December 4, 11, 18. 4 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Yoga for families! Bring a yoga mat or towel and wear loose comfortable clothes. 

Open to parents, grandparents, and preschool patrons. 
Contact: karen.kennedy@fultoncountyga.gov.

Baby Story Time

Music in Me, 11705 Jones Bridge Rd A203, Alpharetta 30005
Fridays: December 6, 13, 20. 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Join us for a special themed story time for babies. Ages 0 to 2 with caregiver. 

Your Move

Kid Chess
Alpharetta Library, 10 Park Plaza, Alpharetta, GA 30009
Thursday Dec 5. 6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m.
Club members will learn strategies, game variations and perhaps have the opportunity to participate in a tournament. No registration required. Ages 5 and above. Sponsored by Kid Chess.

Math Tutoring

CAST Math TutoringJohns Creek Books & Gifts, 6000 Medlock Bridge Pkwy Suite B500, 30022
Sunday, December 8. 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Individual math tutoring. Skilled AP high school math students coaching younger students. Bring your homework questions. Elementary and middle school. Registration not required. Contact: karen.kennedy@fultoncountyga.gov.

Art Programs

Adult Art Night with Johns Creek Art Center
Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Rd, Milton, GA 30009
Wednesday, December 4. 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Join us for arts and crafts with Johns Creek Arts. Ages 18 and up. 

Registration required. Contact: ryland.johnson@fultoncountyga.gov.

Young Artists

Johns Creek Books & Gifts, 6000 Medlock Bridge Pkwy Suite B500, 30022
Saturday, December 7. 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Learn the basic techniques of drawing, painting, elements of art, principles of design and cartoon / Anime drawing. Ages 5 and above. Registration not required. Contact: karen.kennedy@fultoncountyga.gov.

Surf's Up!

Music After Dark: Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights
Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Rd 30009
Friday, December 13. 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Acclaimed musicians, Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights, play surf-rock inspired 

holiday classics for the whole family. Part of the Ocee Performance Series. 

Bronte's Reading Mitts

Bronte's Mitts on ravelry

Alpharetta Library Craft Club 
Second and Fourth Tuesday of each month. 11:00 a.m.
Participants each bring their own projects and supplies to work on.
Questions? Email momacharlie@hotmail.com. No registration is necessary.

East Roswell Library Needlecrafts Group
Thursdays, December 5-19. 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Join a community of talented needlecraft artists once a week to practice your skills, 

learn or teach new techniques. Adult.

Milton Library Community Crochet Circle

Thursday, December 12. 11:00 a.m.
Join us as we crochet, talk, laugh and share ideas. Bring your own supplies and 

all levels welcome! We routinely donate projects to local community groups. 
Meetings every other Thursday. Ages 18+.

100 Little Things

Sometimes it can be a challenge to find things to be grateful for. We tend to think of the big moments; a wedding or a new car. More often it's the little things that make all the difference. Here's a list of 100 to help you along. 19, 30, 83, and 86 are library/book related. We're also partial to 1, 21, 43, 44, 56, 97. 

Small Business Saturday

You may have seen the adverts for "Small Business Saturday" - the Saturday after Thanksgiving. While is easy to click and buy, please take time to shop our local businesses. Indie book shops provide an experience that the 'smiley A' just can't match. Here's a few: 

Johns Creek Books & Gifts - since 2018. 
Author events, book clubs. Community partner with Ocee library!

Read It Again - Now with twice the space! 
Used and new books, Holiday party, author visits, and more

Posman Books - Avalon and Ponce City Market

Phoenix and Dragon - 'books and gifts celebrating the human spirit' since 1995

And Thou Shalt Read - a focus on the Jewish community

Don't forget Friends of the Library groups at Alpharetta, Milton, Sandy Springs, and East Roswell branches for used book sales!