Thursday, November 24, 2011
Assistant librarian talks on genealogy
By SUE WATSON
Assistant librarian Robert Patterson was guest speaker at “Friends of the Library” this month. He reviewed some of his recent activities and his interests, including genealogy.
Taking a suggestion from Martha Fant, Patterson got a copy of a large county map that has the locations of cemeteries in Marshall County. He had it laminated and it will be on display for the genealogy room. The original map is located in the county courthouse. He said the librarian wants to rearrange the genealogy room so the map can be walked up to and studied.
Patterson discussed his first visit to the Marshall County Historical Museum. Curator Lois Swaney Shipp began by asking if the library has a copy of a popular book, “Heaven is for Real,” a true story about a little boy’s visit to heaven during a life-threatening illness.
“She wanted a copy for the museum,” Patterson said. “I didn’t know all the good things were in the museum. I said, ‘Oh, my gosh.’”
Patterson took a day off work to spend some time at the museum and ended up scanning some old photographs for a touch-up. He found that some photographs of people in the museum were also available on the “Find a Grave” website – originally set up for movie stars and celebrities, but by popular demand now has over 70 million grave records on the website. The site has space for a photo, picture of the grave marker and a short biography, he said.
“Hill Crest has all those Civil War heroes with nothing listed for them on this site,” he said.
Shipp provided an old photograph of Lt. George Harris Anderson, a pilot who flew with Admiral Richard Byrd, the pioneer polar explorer and aviator and U.S. Naval officer. He scanned the picture in and loaded it on Find a Grave website with the picture and a short biography.
Anderson was from Oxford but came to live in Holly Springs with his aunt and uncle. He died in a plane crash. Behind Alexander’s picture in the frame were other pictures of the man including one with Admiral Byrd. The museum accepted the photograph as framed and did not know the other pictures were there.
Anderson was recently married at 27, the father of a new son, and died in a plane crash.
The grave marker for Kate Freeman Clark, a successful artist, is found on the website.
Patterson is interested in locating four purported mass grave sites – mounds – at Hill Crest where the remains of many dying in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 were buried. He said he would like there to be a memorial placed in the cemetery for those who were buried quickly in mass graves during the epidemic.
The library has new policies for the use of library cards and computers. Some customers who must present a library card to use the computer are being asked to pay their delinquent fines or for unreturned books, Patterson said. The library had about $33,000 in overdue fines and lost books and has recovered about $1,500 of that, he said.
Some library users do not want to pay their back-fines, he said, but the law considers non-returned books as stolen, according to retired librarian Diane Schule.
Patterson said he believes a person should not be able to use the library resources until they pay their fines or return books.
“If you do not pay your garbage fee, you can’t get your car tags,” he said as an illustration. “Now we have a new policy where you have to pay some on your fine before you can use the computer. We started enforcing it October 2.”
The library has added a young adult’s reading section.
Some board members have wanted to ditch the collection of books on tape and DVDs but Patterson said he is in favor of having some good academy-award winning movies on hand for the holidays.
Schule said the library tried to get e-books that could be downloaded from the library’s website as audio books, but the technology never worked.
Patterson said he is refreshing the display windows at the library and has put up a harvest and Christmas display.
Friends of the Library meet the first Tuesday each month at noon at the library. The public is invited to join and participate or to attend a meeting as a guest.
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