Library Happenings

Horse-drawn freighters line the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue South. The Bank of Fergus County was on the corner (now the Megahertz Building). The Judith Theater was built in place of the Sweitzer’s building next to the Bank of Fergus County. For more historic photos, visit the website Montana Memory Project at http://montanamemory.org/contributors/LewistownPublicLibrary. 

Photo courtesy of Nancy Watts, historian

Tea and scandal

By LaVonne Limpus-Jurack, Circulation manager/Non-Fiction librarian

A few Thursdays ago, KellyAnne and I threw quite a tea party for our Summer Reading participants. We named this program “Tea and Scandal,” based on an episode of Miss Marple. Marple’s neighbors and friends, including the vicar, came to her home for tea, a light repast and some good scandalous gossip. We attempted to recreate a high British tea with, I feel, a great deal of success.

There is something about the ritual of having tea from a teapot, in a delicate cup sitting on a saucer; it makes one feel a bit more refined. It is easy to see why one would drink from the delicate, tiny cups with one’s pinky out. The handle is just too small for all of your fingers to fit on all at once. We felt a part of the century old ritual’s attempt at bringing our internal savage to civility. Almost immediately upon sipping the brew I felt my spine stiffen, my posture improved and I fought a desire to say “crumpet” in my best British accent.

Using loose-leaf tea we began the steeping process. The little sieve seemed the barrier between chaos and perfection, as the water turned to a lovely golden liquid. It turned out that our KellyAnne (“Boss Lady”) is quit a tea aficionado. She explained where the different teas came from and how they were harvested. We are never surprised at her excellent memory for details, and it made for a fun, impromptu lesson on the geography of the varied tastes.

For a little scandal we decided to read the leftover leaves or the “dredges,” an old practice traced to medieval European fortune-tellers. We used Harry Potter’s divination courses tealeaf reading chart, and we got quite a kick out of the fortunes that were told. Many were gloomy, but some were about riches and treasure. We were probably a bit liberal in our determination of shapes, as the tealeaf dredges we “read” in the bottom of the cup didn’t look like much. However with this group, imagination will out.

While our program didn’t focus on gossip per se, it did focus on scandalous literary characters. We created a PowerPoint of 11 men and women, some fictitious, some real, whose deeds will be known in scandalous infamy among readers for many generations.

The Friends of the Library just upgraded our technology by adding a large screen TV and Chromecast, which meant we were able to send the PowerPoint wirelessly to the screen. Beforehand, we created a cozy “parlor” upstairs in our beautiful meeting room, with the richly dark-chocolate-colored armchairs and our couch with frilled pillows. A Persian-style rug pulled the room together as our guests enjoyed the opportunity to play checkers. The result was a cozy tea party, delicious food, lots of fancy hats, a few strings of pearls, a lot of laughs, and, of course, scandal.

We had so much fun we decided to offer a “High Tea” in late August to celebrate a culture night. Stay tuned for details, as we have honed our tea party skills and expect it to be a gallant affair.

 

New in your nonfiction department

“The Vanishing Valazquez” by Laura Cumming; “Pumpkin Flowers” by Matti Friedman; “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger; “Rise of the Rocket Girls” by Nathalia Holt; “Mistresses of Cliveden” by Natalie Livingstone; “Second Chances” by Pat Smith; “The Art of Expressive Collage” by Crystal Neubauer.

 

Summer reading program

The summer reading program continues into week 7 this week, with tons of fun.

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