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Oct 5 2012

Building Common Ground

by Patricia D

I’m really not accustomed to having culturally important landmarks in my backyard.  We did have the home of Louis Bromfield near where I grew up,  as well as the Ohio State Reformatory, site of the films Tango & Cash (ah yes, such a great film) and the Shawshank Redemption.  OSR is no longer a maximum security prison but it is a terrifying Haunted House.  Folks come from all over the Midwest and Middle Atlantic and pay to get into the place Kurt Russell and Tim Robbins worked so hard to escape.  Even though organizers could get by with just handing over a flashlight and sending you into the abandoned cell block (no joke, that place is seriously creepy, and not in a Scooby Doo  way) they go all out with decorating, actors  and animatronics.  That,  on top of actually being in an old prison (lots of bad energy in those walls), makes for a really good show, if you’re into that sort of thing.  So that’s my hometown’s  claim to cultural significance .  I had to move to Georgia just to up the ante.  Now I can claim all sorts of things,  including the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, part of which is in southeastern DeKalb County.  It is one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States.

There are two huge things that make Arabia Mountain so special, neither of which is that it was one of the locations for the movie Pet Sematary II.   One is the ecosystem on Arabia Mountain itself.  Animals such as lichen grasshoppers, marbled and spotted salamanders, coachwhip and hognose snakes, great- horned owls, deer and bobcats make their home on the monadnock.  It is home to the world’s largest population of  Isoetes melanospora (black spotted quillwort), a Federally protected plant.  It’s also home to the rare Small’s Stonecrop, a plant that makes a living out of almost nothing.  There are also the the less rare, but lovely,  Sunnybells, Sparkleberry, Yellow Daisy, Fringetree and Georgia Oak.

The second reason Arabia Mountain is so special is the people.  The area has been inhabited for thousands of years—Native Americans, Scots immigrants, Trappist Monks—but it is the Flat Rock community, established by freed slaves, that will be the focus of Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion, a series of programs at the DeKalb County Public Library that will celebrate the history, diversity and preservation of the community.

Flat Rock began as a small area south of what would become I-20.  It was an agricultural community  bordered by three small slave-holding farms and grew after the  Civil War into a bustling community of churches, schools, and civic organizations.  It thrived for decades, done in finally by the Great Migration and the Great Depression.  It is also the site of one of the few intact slave cemeteries left in Georgia. Today it provides a glimpse into the lives of freed slaves and their descendants.

Building Common Ground is funded by a grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute.  DCPL’s partners include the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance, the Flat Rock Archives and Museum and Arabia Mountain High School.  The four programs will be hosted by the amazing staff at the Stonecrest Library. You may also listen to interviews with community members on the Building Common Ground page conducted by StoryCorps.

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Fall is officially here and while the crisp weather hasn’t quite hit us yet, the days are getting shorter and the leaves are showing a hint of color, which is enough to convince me that summer really is over and all is right with the world. I don’t need much to put me in a fall kind of mood, but if you and your kids are looking to get in the spirit without hauling yourselves to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch, why not stop by the Library and pick up a book? Here are some of my favorite fall (and Halloween) picture books (click on the picture to take you to the catalog listing):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of fun, fall-festive programs for kids at your local Library. Listen to Ghost Stories with Sherry Norfolk at the Dunwoody Library, learn about Bats! Creatures of the Night at the Gresham Library, or attend Stone Mountain Library’s Preschool Fall Festival. For more information and a complete list of fall programs, click here.

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Nov 3 2008

Are You Wii Bowling?

by Amanda L

Did you know that DCPL has joined other libraries in offering gaming programs? You might have noticed over the summer that there were some gaming programs specifically geared towards teens. The Library recently purchased a couple of Wiis for programing through a Healthy Living grant  given by the Humana Foundation.

The older adults in DeKalb County were the first to be offered a program using these Wiis. The program was called “Are Wii Bowling yet?” It was an opportunity for older adults to check out the Wii and have an opportunity to bowl. Fifteen seniors took us up on that opportunity. The two hour program was filled with laughter, frustration and yells of success by everyone in the room. Many of the seniors are looking forward to the next session of Wii bowling. There was talk in the room about having tournaments between branches. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Continue to check out our Healthy Living Programs under our calendar of events for more Wii programs in the future. Unfortunately, the pictures I took at the event did not turn out very well. Here is a video fromYou Tube that shows a Senior Tournament of Wii Bowling.

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