Books and Classes for Black History Month

The illustration reads Black History Month, with two silhouetted figures to either side and a diamond patter in green, red, and black above and below. The lower pattern

by Brandon B.

February calls us, as a society, to reflect and honor the contributions of Black Americans who made our country. The late, great Carter G. Woodson is considered the father of Black History Month. Woodson is the second African American to earn a Ph.D., after Edward Alexander Bouchet earned one in physics from Yale in 1876. The fight for equality, justice, and humanity for African Americans has always been a topic of discussion.

In the past century, Blacks have had to overcome Jim Crow laws. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Supreme Court cases to desegregate schools helped to change American culture. Thurgood Marshall and a team of NAACP attorneys fought against the “separate but equal” doctrine in Brown vs Board of Education. Signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, the Voting Rights Act strengthened the right to vote that had been granted to Black men with the 15th Amendment. All women had to wait for the 19th Amendment to grant suffrage.

To celebrate Black History, consider a visit to the Equity Resource Center at HCLS Central Branch, which has a great selection of books, movies, and audio materials that showcase many groups. Some classic titles that celebrate Black culture and contributions include James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Consider watching films, such as Selma, that tell the story of Civil Rights leaders and a collective group of individuals, who fought for the right to vote.

Black History Month is a time of reflection, healing, and celebration. In February, take the opportunity to learn about Black culture and history through classes, books, and films.

Art Wars! Black History Month Edition 
Tue   Feb 7         6:30 – 8 pm  
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 11-18. Registration required, drop-in if space permits.
Create artwork in 40 mins! Learn a little about prominent African American artists, then use that inspiration. Enter the Art War contest for a chance to win a prize, or just create and enjoy! Materials provided.  

Wiki Edit-a-Thon: A Celebration of Black Authors and Artists 
Thu   Feb 9    5:30 – 8:30 pm
Online
For adults. Register.
Edit Wikipedia pages of Black authors and artists whose works are found in our library collection. The evening is dedicated to collaborating on research, writing, and editing relevant Wikipedia pages. Participants check pages and cite sources as they work.

Black History of Howard County 
Sat Feb 11 1 – 2:30 pm
HCLS Savage Branch
Ages 14-18 and adults. Register.
Learn about the history of African Americans in Howard County and the town of Savage, as collected in History of Blacks in Howard County, Maryland: Oral History, Schooling, and Contemporary Issues. Hear about particular players in local history and learn why Howard County is the way it is today, with historical and personal perspective from Deborah Costley, local historian and genealogist. Share any experiences brought up as part of our Brave Voices, Brave Choices project.

African Experience Tour 
Wed Feb 15 4:30 – 5:30 pm & 7 – 8 pm 
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 8-11. 60 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at the children’s desk 15 minutes before class. 
Learn about the diversity of African culture through hands-on exploration of artwork, videos, and discussion, facilitated by Doris Ligon, director and co-founder of the African Art Museum of Maryland.

Brandon is a Customer Service Specialist at HCLS Central Branch who loves reading, football, and taking nice long walks around his neighborhood.

Cover image by Freepik.

Wow, you have a start-up! 

A square corned brief case appears behind the words "Career Success Month."

by Rohini G.

Do you hope to hear exclamations about your new business from everyone you meet? Would you like to give a concrete structure to your passion project? We have all the tools and resources to answer your questions and concerns through a series of programs presented by experts during Career Success Month, which runs through the middle of February. 

To learn about the steps necessary to put your business vision into action, enroll in our virtual workshop Documentation 101: How to Form Your Business. We cover the primary steps to forming your business within Maryland, including the details you need to consider to ensure regulatory and legal compliance. Vanessa Bright speaks from her two decades of experience re-engineering non-profit organizations, setting up systems, and creating opportunities for success.  

Along with business documentation, you need to have vital legal protection for your brand, invention, design, and artistic or literary work, as well as avoid infringement or violations. Supervisory Patent Attorney Leigh Callander discusses trademark law and how this differs from patents and copyrights in Trademark Law: The Basics.  

Ley de propietario – inquilino: conoce tus derechos y responsabilidades (Landlord-Tenant Law: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities). Paula Lino, voluntaria de la Oficina de Protección al Consumidor del condado de Howard, brindará un taller informativo sobre los derechos y responsabilidades del inquilino.

Hosted by libraries throughout Maryland, Career Success Month provides library customers with guidance from experts on a wide range of business and job advancement topics, as well as help in navigating everyday life while pursuing career goals. Classes include Lawyer in the Library, Trademark Law, Goal Setting for Success, and more. A complete list of events can be found on the Maryland Libraries Together webpage through the Maryland State Library Agency website

Rohini is the Adult Curriculum Specialist with HCLS. She loves literature and rainy days.

Puzzle and Board Game Swap

The photograph shows a wooden table with an assortment of 500- and 1000-piece puzzles in boxes on top. A puzzle with a rainy street view of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, is put together on the table surface. A wooden giraffe also stands on the table.
Photo by Simon Hurry on Unsplash.

by Emily B.

Over the last few years, there’s been a growing interest in board games and puzzles. This likely started due to the stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic. In the years following, their popularity has continued. Board games provide an engaging experience with friends and family, shared through competition or collaboration, while puzzles also offer solo and group fun. Working on a puzzle can be meditative, and it provides a great way to de-stress while engaging the mind. Ever since completing my first 1,000-piece puzzle a few years ago, puzzles have been my favorite way to unwind after work.

If you’re a puzzle or board game fanatic, you won’t want to miss the Community Puzzle & Board Game Swap happening at HCLS Central Branch on Sunday, January 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 pm. The swap is the perfect time to trade any games or puzzles that you no longer need for something new to you. Puzzles and games need to include all their pieces.

To participate, bring any gently used board games or puzzles that you would like to swap. When you arrive, you can trade your items with other attendees or with any donated items. Feel free to share your best gaming and puzzling tips with other attendees and learn about upcoming puzzle- and game-related events at HCLS. In addition to swapping, you can learn about all of the free eResources available through HCLS that you can use while puzzling and gaming.

Donations of gently used board games and puzzles will be accepted if you are not interested in swapping anything. You may bring donations to HCLS Central Branch. These donations will be available for swappers on January 29.  

Click here for the full details on the event. 

We hope to see you there!  

Emily is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch. She enjoys puzzling, reading, listening to music, and re-watching old seasons of Survivor. 

World Language Karaoke

The photograph depicts a woman in traditional Indian clothing of red, black, white, holding a microphone with arm outstretched as if belting out a song. She stands in two spotlights shining on her from above, and in front of a representation of the globe with the words "World Language Karaoke" surrounding the globe in yellow. All of this is against a backdrop of twinkling stars against in the darkness of outer space.

by Piyali C.

“Reading is not really my thing. I don’t come to the library.” My customer told me this as he waited for me to find a book that he needed for his school project. He was honest with me about his preferences. He was only at the library because his teacher made him come.

“Do you like music?” I asked him.

“Oh yes. I love music.” He replied enthusiastically.

“Did you know that we are having a class called World Language Karaoke ” I asked him.

“WHAT? You can do karaoke in a library?” He was incredulous.

The idea of library being a quiet place filled with books is a thing of the past. To quote Paula Poundstone, libraries have truly become, “raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy, and community.” And we love to celebrate our diverse community every chance we get. Our community speaks so many different languages. It makes us smile as we walk around our library and hear the plethora of languages being spoken around us. We thought, why not celebrate all these different languages and bring everyone together for an evening of music? After all, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did say that “music is the universal language of humanity.”

Join us on Thursday, January 26 at 7 pm for World Language Karaoke at Miller Branch to sing songs in the language that you prefer, INCLUDING ENGLISH.

When you register, please tell us the song or songs that you are going to sing in the ‘Special Notes’ field, so we can create a playlist before the class and keep it ready for you to belt it out!

Register for the class here.

Piyali is an instructor and research specialist at HCLS Miller Branch, where she co-facilitates Global Reads and facilitates Light But Not Fluffy (starting in March 2023!) and keeps the hope alive that someday she will reach the bottom of her to-read list.

World Language Collection & Lunar New Year

The picture shows wooden tables and chairs, as if in a cafe, with a clock on the red brick interior wall surrounded by a variety of wooden rectangular clocks painted with the flag emblems of various countries.
Photo by Farzad Mohsenvanda at Unsplash.

by Mai-Leng O.

Welcome to Howard County Library System’s World Languages Collection! 

Howard County is a diverse and multi-ethnic community where the population comes from a myriad of countries across the globe. The vibrant, multiracial population makes our county an exciting place to be. With the growth of these demographics, HCLS began to enlarge its World Languages collection, consisting of print literature and DVDs, to support the reading and viewing needs of all residents. 

Presently, the print collection consists of many languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and several Indian languages such as Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Urdu. The World Languages DVD collection consists of languages ranging from Albanian to Zulu. Many of the DVDs have English subtitles, so non-speakers of the language can appreciate and enjoy movies and documentaries from countries around the world. 

In addition to the physical World Languages DVD collection, we offer streaming video options through the Kanopy and Hoopla platforms. You just need a library card!

We invite you to visit our branches to borrow and enjoy our World Languages print and DVD collections, or visit us at hclibrary.org to access the streaming platforms. Happy reading and watching!

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with these upcoming events:

Lunar New Year: What Animal Are You?  
Mon, Jan 23
all day
HCLS Glenwood Branch
Family; all ages. Drop In. 
Celebrate Lunar New Year at the Glenwood Branch! Are you a lion? An ox? A rabbit? Find out what animal matches your birth year, then decorate a paper animal to join others in this self-directed community art project.
Visit our classes and events page here for more information.

Dim Sum of Crafts 
Mon, Jan 23
11 am – 12:30 pm & 2 – 3:30 pm 
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 4 & up. Drop In. Allow 30 minutes.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with a variety of crafts. For more information, visit our classes and events page here for the first sessions and here for the second session.

Mon, Jan 23
2 – 3 pm 
HCLS Savage Branch
Ages 3 & up. Ticketed. Allow 30 minutes.

Visit our classes and events page here for more information.

Mai-Leng Ong is the Senior Materials Specialist at Howard County Library System. She holds a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Cooking for the New Year

The cover photograph shows a turquoise pot with a wooden spoon, filled with pasta, basil, and tomatoes in a creamy sauce. The pot sits on a wooden cutting board next to basil leaves and a white dish of red pepper flakes.

by Sahana C.

Try new recipes, new techniques, and new cookbooks in the New Year! 

The New Year brings new resolutions, fresh starts, and the perfect time to try new things. This year, while you are still getting into a brand new routine, here are a few cookbooks to use as inspiration. 

The book cover is a stylized line drawing of a wok in gold, with five red flames underneath and three white lines representing steam rising above it, all against a black background.

Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals, for example, is great for folks who are trying to keep things simple but aren’t willing to sacrifice on flavor. Melissa Clark makes sure most, if not all, are ready within the hour. For those who are into the chemistry of cooking, J. Kenji López-Alt has come out with one of the most comprehensive texts on using woks in your kitchen. The lessons in The Wok: Recipes and Techniques extend beyond just the wok, with tips and tricks for knife skills and how to brighten up any dinner.  

The cover photograph shows an assortment of fresh brown loaves of baked artisan bread atop a counter.

For those who have decided to take up home-made bread-making and baking as their resolution this year, The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Favorite Recipes from Bread In 5 keeps things both exciting and reasonable in the midst of everyone’s busy lives. This book has been touted as the “only one a baker needs,” and it’s still the best place to start for novices looking to get their foot in the door.

The book cover is a photograph of a charcuterie board, with assorted vegetables including tomatoes, pepper strips, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, and halved radishes. There are also three small white bowls of assorted dips.

While last year was big for board-style meals and decoration (with charcuterie, butter boards, and hummus boards trending on social media), America’s Test Kitchen provided a perfect introduction and inspiration for making boards at home. Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings is incredible inspiration for grazing tables and an easy way to feed guests when hosting, while keeping the actual work of preparing food to a minimum.  

In the spirit of including new recipes in your repertoire, we invite you to join us on February 22 at the Savage Branch for the first of our Recipe Exchanges! We discuss our favorites, learn and borrow from others in the community, and then look specifically at the evolution of African American cuisine and soul food.  

Cookbook Corner
Wed, Jan 18; 7 – 8 pm
HCLS East Columbia Branch 
For adults. Register here.
Explore various culinary cuisines/chefs of the world. A new cuisine/chef every month.

Recipe Exchange: Black Chefs and African American Cuisine
Wed, Feb 22; 7 – 8 pm
HCLS Savage Branch
For adults.
Do you want to learn more about Black chefs and the history of African American cuisine to find out where your favorite soul food dish originated? Indulge your culinary curiosity at the first of our recipe exchanges. See our events calendar for more information.

Author Works with Kathryn Finney

Thursday, Jan 19
6:30 – 7:30 pm
online  
Registration and more information at bit.ly/hclsfinney

Turn your passion into profit! If you have ever dreamed about starting a business, you need to know about Kathryn Finney. She encourages you to not wait for the system to let you in. Her new book, Build the D*mn Thing, is the essential guide to knowing, breaking, remaking, and building your own rules of entrepreneurship.

She explains how to build a business from the ground up, from developing a business plan to finding investors, growing a team, and refining a product.  

Finney, an investor and startup champion, is the founder and managing general partner of Genius Guild, a Chicago-based venture fund that invests in scalable businesses led by Black founders using innovation to build and promote healthy communities. Build The D*mn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business if You’re Not a Rich White Guy made the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list in its first week of release.

In partnership with Columbia Inspired magazine and The 3rd, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, co-created, community of Women of Color entrepreneurs.

January is International Creativity Month

The photograph depicts a tray of colorful watercolors next to two paintbrushes and a pile of painted papers, against a background of golden twinkle lights.

by Jean B.

Are you ready to stir up your creative juices, push your comfort zone, and generate some innovation in your life?   

Experts agree: creativity is in all of us. It’s something you can boost and develop at any age. The ways we encourage creativity in children — with open-ended exploration, unstructured time, stories and story-telling, and playful experiences — are strategies available to all of us.   

But where to begin? It may feel risky to commit to an unfamiliar activity and expensive to invest in all the necessary equipment and supplies. Don’t worry – just look to your library! Not only are our buildings filled with books about everything under the sun (including how to be creative), but HCLS also offers instructors, speakers, experiences, tools, facilities, and spaces that alleviate the cost of trying something new.  

You might start by changing your environment. Make your imagination soar by putting a Picasso on your wall or streaming music you’ve never heard before. At our Central and Glenwood branches, you can borrow new, inspiring art every six weeks, then attend art classes at the Elkridge DIY center to create a personal masterpiece. Borrow a ukulele, then join a jam session of the Savage Ukes or use a recording booth at Glenwood to stretch those creative muscles even further. Once you are inspired by the masters, you may find it easier to produce something yourself. 

If your imagination produces more than your home equipment can support, come to HCLS for maker tools and machinery. At Elkridge Branch’s DIY Center you might borrow a sewing and embroidery machine and create beautiful textiles. At Glenwood Branch’s Makerspace, access a 3D printer and laser cutter engraver, or just play around with building toys like LEGOS, K’nex, and planks. If you get inspiration from sharing with others, you can join fellow makers at a Pins and Needle Arts class at Central Branch or Miller Branch, where conversation fuels creativity and learning. 

Young creators can get inspired at the library, too! Borrow some puppets from the HCLS toy collection to retell familiar stories and produce original tales. Visit the Glenwood Branch Builders Barn, where children enter a material-rich space to explore, discover, and create. Check out the children’s and teen’s class schedules to find art, engineering, music, and technology offerings to feed every kind of passion.

Happy Creative New Year! 

Papermaking Lab! 
Monday, January 9, 6 – 7:30 pm          
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 11-18.
DECLUTTER then CREATE! Shred, blend, and mix to transform those old notebooks and paper into beautiful new papers! (We’ll have recycled paper, too). Experiment by adding seeds for plantable paper or denim scrap. Come back during the Wednesday Wellness class (drop-in, no registration required) on Wednesday, January 11 from 4 – 5 pm to turn your paper into a gratitude journal.

Registration suggested, drop-ins allowed if space permits. Register here.

Get to “Snow” the Laser Cutter Engraver 
Wednesday, January 11, 6 – 8 pm
HCLS Glenwood Branch
Step up your craftiness with the Makerspace! Using the laser cutter engraver, create custom snowflakes. Learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator, then send your project to be cut. Absolute beginners welcome; all materials supplied.

Ages 11 and up welcome; any participant under 18 years of age must have a parent/guardian present. Register here.

Artapalooza! 
Wednesday, January 18, 2 – 4 pm  
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 11-18.
Spend your early dismissal day creating! Let your creativity soar in an open studio art space. We provide the supplies, you bring the imagination.

Registration preferred, drop-ins allowed if space permits. Register here (registration opens Monday, January 11 at 2 pm).

Goal Setting With Vision Boards 
Wednesday, January 18, 1 – 3 pm  
HCLS Savage Branch
Ages 11-18.
Start 2023 off right with some personal goal setting. We discuss and share different areas we’d like to improve in as well as areas that we are doing well in, then create vision boards. 

Drop-in.

Ingenious Inventions! 
Wednesday, January 25, 7 – 7:45 pm 
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 6-10.
Don’t let history be a mystery – learn about some inventions. Includes stories, activities, and a craft. 

Ticket required. Tickets available at the children’s desk 15 minutes before class.

Slime Cafe
Monday, January 23, 3:30 – 4:15 pm
HCLS Central Branch
Ages 6-10.
Read a yucky story and learn how to combine different ingredients with a basic slime recipe to create your own unique slimes. Materials provided (unscented shampoo, corn starch, and food coloring). Dress for mess. 

Registration required.  Register here (registration opens Monday, January 16 at 3:30 pm).

Wrapping Up 2022

Kristen B. and Julie F., Chapter Chats editors

Thank you! We appreciate our readers and subscribers who have followed Chapter Chats through another year. We share a wide variety of posts with you, from Winter Reading selections to upcoming author events to a tremendous selection of reviews – fiction and nonfiction, for adults, teens, and children.

A fairly plain cover with a red edge and the title in script and the author's name hand lettered. A small wolf stands between author and title lines.

Here are some of the most-viewed posts of the year:

These posts garnered fewer views, but are definitely worth a look if you missed them:

A black cover with gold text and a mysterious illustration of the phases of the moon, a mystical eyes, and spiral all centered above a book.

And, by far, the most viewed post since Chapter Chats began in 2020: How to Bypass the News Paywall with Your Library Card.

For more great book recommendations: HiJinx, the HCLS podcast, wrapped up its year with folks talking about their favorite reads of 2022: listen here.

We hope you’ll stick with us as we head into 2023! Happy New Year!

Stress Free Steam

A black and white photo of a paper snowflake in a window, overlooking benches, trees, and garden beds in the Enchanted Garden of the Miller Branch at HCLS.


Feeling stressed?  Relieve some of that tension and join us for Stress Free STEAM. In this low-key, hands-on monthly series, commune with other adults while exploring various topics in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

Each class session focuses on a different subject and features an engaging and creative hands-on project. Among other inventive projects, previous creative customer favorites have included miniature cabinets of curiosity, Japanese Gyotaku fish prints, and Fibonacci spiral paper sunflowers.

On Thursday, January 5 we will examine the science of snowflakes. Learn why no two snowflakes are alike, among other fascinating facts, before making a unique paper snowflake.

All abilities welcome. Beginners and the non-crafty are encouraged to come. Materials provided.

Stress Free Steam for Adults meets at the Miller Branch on the first Thursday of the month. Register here.

Holly is an Instructor and Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She enjoys knitting, preferably with a strong cup of tea and Downton Abbey in the queue.