The Friends of Hackney Library are fortunate to have the sponsorship of the following; many thanks for their support!
If you would like to become a sponsor of the Friends, please contact George Loveland at (252) 399-6501 for more information on various sponsorship packages and their benefits.
The Barton College Friends of Hackney Library organization was established to help support the Library in developing its collection and to provide a means for members of the community to borrow from the library's collection. (For information about computer availability for Friends, see our Computers page.)
Friends of Hackney Library members receive several benefits, including the opportunity to borrow books from the Library and to borrow ten per year through interlibrary loan, a $5.00 discount on tickets to the Friends of Hackney Library Dinner & Lecture Series programs, and use of the public access computers for two hours per day. Memberships must be renewed annually and members must be at least 18 years of age to join (family memberships are available).
Membership applications are available online, payable by credit card. (In the Cultural Arts section on the online form, please choose the level at which you want to join in the drop-down menu next to "Friends of Hackney Library," as illustrated in the following screen shot):
You may also join by filling out a form at the library. Payment is possible via cash or check in the library (sorry, no credit/debit cards at this time).
Annual Signature Level memberships (simultaneous membership in all three Barton Friends organizations: Friends of Hackney Library, Friends of Visual Arts, and the Barton-Wilson Symphony) are also available at the following levels:
For more information about signature level memberships or other membership opportunities, please contact Frances Belcher at (252) 399-6357.
The Friends of Hackney Library periodically sponsor book signings that feature locally-based as well as nationally-known authors. These events offer fans the opportunity to meet with their favorite authors and have the authors sign copies of their latest books (which are available for purchase at the events). All book signing events are free and open to the public.
Children's novelist John Claude Bemis will be the featured author at a Friends of Hackney Library book signing and reception on Monday, October 14, 2013, 5:30-7:00 pm, in Hackney Library. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.
In addition to being a children's author, Bemis is also an educator and musician, as well as the Piedmont Laureate for 2013. He is the fifth author to be chosen as Piedmont Laureate, and the first children's book author to be so honored. On his web site, Bemis says of his appointment, "It will be an exciting year promoting the literary arts, fostering creative writing around our community, and shining a light on Piedmont North Carolina's amazing children's book writers."
A native of the rural Pamlico County town of Oriental who now lives in Hillsborough with his wife and daughter, Bemis is the author of, among other things, The Clockwork Dark trilogy of children's fantasy, which begins with the novel The Nine Pound Hammer, continues in The Wolf Tree, and concludes in The White City.
Bemis's love of music and American folklore have played into his writing for children: "Through old-timey music, I became fascinated with the way America's myths have been passed down through songs. Drawing on the legend of John Henry's struggle against the steam drill, I thought about how Southern folklore could be turned into epic fantasy. This passion grew into my first novel, The Nine Pound Hammer, a story set in a mythical 19th-century America full of hoodoo conjurers and cowboys, battling trains and steamboat pirates." (The Clockwork Dark trilogy is considered an example of the "steampunk" sub-genre of science fiction, which often features steam-powered machinery in a nineteenth-century industrialized American setting.)
Critics have hailed his work. The Nine Pound Hammer was nominated for the North Carolina Children's Book Award and was selected as New York Public Library Best Children's book for Reading and Sharing. Kirkus Reviews says of The Wolf Tree, "Bemis continues to mine rich elements of folklore and tall tales in the second installment of the Clockwork Dark series. . . . Multiple threads of plot keep the action moving, and the large cast of characters, both realistic and mythic, sometimes challenges readers but is ultimately successful managed. Aspects of various cultures are woven together, giving the narrative a unique yet grounded flavor." Kirkus likewise praises the final series installment, The White City: "With the Clockwork Dark series drawing to a close, author Bemis has saved the best for last. . . . With a plot as intricate as the Machine at its center and a page-turning pace, this unique, ambitious American fantasy comes to a satisfying end that would please even John Henry."
His most recent book is The Prince Who Fell from the Sky (Random House Children's Books, 2012), a kind of dystopian animal fantasy that Bemis himself calls "a post-apocalyptic Watership Down." Booklist characterizes it this way: "The folklore staple of a human child raised by wild beasts gets a postapocalyptic twist in Bemis' novel. . . . This is a thoughtful fantasy, rich in characterization and drama, with a unique language that is simultaneously ancient and familiar." Kirkus Reviews says of it, "Appropriately, animal characters are fully developed and complex while the boy [the lone human survivor from a spaceship crash in a world ruled by animals] remains a pivotal unknown. Compelling animal fantasy grounded in ecological warnings." According to Bemis's web site, it is also been designated an Amazon Best Book of the Month.
An educator, Bemis was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. He has taught elementary school for 13 years in Chatham, Durham, and Orange counties, taking four years off to write the Clockwork Dark trilogy. He returned to the classroom for a year before taking up the mantle of Piedmont Laureate for the current year. "While I'm not returning [to the classroom] in the foreseeable future, I'm not out of the classroom completely," Bemis shares in a recent email. "I'm fortunate to get to visit schools all around our state presenting on my books, on my journey as a writer, and leading workshops on writing and creativity."
Bemis's career as a teacher has been the catalyst for his novels and has continued to inform his writing. As he explains on his web site, "I got a chance in the classroom to teach the books I loved so much as a kid and also discovered a lot of incredible new children's literature along the way. But something seemed to be missing from my class's bookshelf: fantasy based on America's folklore." Marti Maguire observes in her March 2012 News & Observer "Tar Heel of the Week" interview with Bemis that his writing is "a natural extension of his classroom teaching. Bemis says he grew up writing stories, but never pictured himself as a published author until he entered the classroom." In the interview, Bemis tells Maguire, "Teaching elementary school kids made me think about how powerful books are for people that age. When you read a book at that age, it can feel life-changing. That made me excited to write for them." Sharon Wheeler, owner of Purple Crow Books in Hillsborough, explains in Maguire's interview that Bemis has a knack for learning from children, which in turn enables him to write books that encourage children to read: "He has his finger on the pulse of his children and what they like. He's established a real following."
In addition to being an educator, Bemis is also an accomplished musician, playing classical violin, fiddle, guitar, and accordion. "I'm partial nowadays to vintage country or blues, Cajun or bluegrass . . . anything with a fiddle or possibly a musical saw," he relates on his web site. Some friends and I formed [the] band Hooverville and put out a pair of CDs of original songs."
Bemis will be speaking about his work at 6:00 pm during the Friends event and answering questions from attendees. He will be available to sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase at the event.
Please join us on Monday, October 14th for an entertaining session with this multi-talented author! For more information, contact Hackney Library at (252) 399-6500.
Each year, the Friends organization hosts two signature dinners in its Friends of Hackney Library Dinner & Lecture Series at which well-known authors speak about or read from their works.
Past speakers include Clyde Edgerton; Emyl Jenkins; Jerry Bledsoe; Ellyn Bache; David Hays; Dr. William Friday; Kaye Gibbons; Gail Godwin; Margaret Maron; historian Mark L. Bradley; Barton's own Dr. Jerry Maclean; Allan Gurganus; Dr. Lucy Daniels; Dr. Charles Kimball; Dr. John Hope Franklin, historian; Bill Thompson, writer and CEO of the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina; Barton's own Dr. Jeff Broadwater; religion scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman; literary couple Scott Huler and June Spence; a panel of regional and national sportswriters, broadcasters, and announcers discussing sports journalism; authors Don Brown, John Hart, and David Payne; a panel of children's book illustrators--Bonnie Christensen, Meredith Hamilton, and Loren Long--moderated by Barton's own Susan Fecho, art professor and illustrator; novelist James W. Hall; historian Dr. William E. Leuchtenburg, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; author and poet Robert Morgan; poet, writer, and psychologist Judson Mitcham; novelist Tim Dorsey; author Joe Lansdale; author and judge Martin Clark; and most recently, children's writer and illustrator Rosemary Wells.
See our Friends Archive page for more information on previous Friends programs and events.
New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box will be the featured speaker at the Friends of Hackney Library's annual Fall Dinner/Lecture on October 29, 2013 in Hardy Alumni Hall on the Barton College campus. A book signing and wine reception will begin at 6 pm, followed by the dinner and program at 7:00 pm. Copies of the author's books will be available for purchase at the event.
Box is the award-winning author of the popular series of novels featuring crime-solving Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, as well as several stand-alone novels and short stories. His books have earned both popular and critical acclaim. His novels appear frequently on the New York Times bestseller lists, and three of them have debuted in the top 15 or higher, with Force of Nature, the twelfth novel to feature Pickett, coming in at #3.
His first stand-alone book, Blue Heaven, garnered the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Novel, and he has also received the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, and the Gumshoe Award, among others, for his various works. His short stories have been featured in America's Best Mystery Stories of 2006 and limited-edition printings. Three of his novels--Open Season, Blue Heaven, and Nowhere to Run--have also been optioned for film. And the popularity of Box's novels is not just an American phenomenon: The translation into French of his first Pickett book, Open Season, received France's Prix Calibre 38 award in 2004; his 2008 Pickett series novel Blood Trail was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin (Ireland) Literary Award; and his books have now been translated into 25 languages.
Critics also like his work--from his first book to his latest, and everything in between. About Open Season, Bill Ott reviewing for Booklist writes, ". . . Wyoming first-novelist Box remains square on target throughout this superb debut. . . . Joe Pickett, game warden of Twelve Sleep County in Wyoming, is just the kind of everyman hero we can't help but identify with. . . . the soft-spoken Joe Pickett is a Gary Cooper for our time: flawed, insecure, but a stand-up guy when it counts--the perfect mix of dream and reality." Publishers Weekly's review of Open Season predicts that "Box's superb debut . . . should immediately make him a contender for best first novel or even best novel awards. . . . Meet Joe Pickett: he's going to be a mystery star."
For number thirteen in the Pickett series, Breaking Point, released in March 2013, Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review: "Thrilling wilderness chases, chilling stories of the abuse of power, and Pickett's indomitable frontier spirit power this explosive novel." And Patricia Ann Owens, writing in Library Journal, says of Breaking Point, “Like the forest fire described in the book, fans of this series will burn through the pages to discover who-dun-it and why. With each book, Joe Pickett has evolved as a complex, deep character, richly described by Box.” Upon its release, Breaking Point debuted on four New York Times bestseller lists.
Like Pickett, his most enduring and beloved character, C. J. Box is a Wyoming native. Born and raised in Casper, he has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, and small town newspaper reporter and editor. Box is an avid outdoorsman, an attribute he shares with many of his characters; he has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He has not only parlayed this love for the outdoors of the western U.S. into award-winning novels set in his native Wyoming and surrounding states, but also into Rocky Mountain International--a marketing firm established in 1990 and co-owned by Box and his wife, Laurie--that coordinates international tourism activities for the state tourism departments of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and North and South Dakota. He and his wife currently live in Wyoming.
A graduate of the University of Denver with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications, Box worked as a journalist for the Wyoming's Saratoga Sun, and then as a columnist for the Rawlins Daily Times. It was during his stint there that he began work on first novel Open Season, which was declared a New York Times Notable Book in 2001 and was nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel (proving prescient the aforementioned Publishers Weekly critique of that book).
As Box explained in an interview in Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, "I have a background in journalism and have always tried to read novels written about or set within Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain west. I was troubled that so many novels (although many brilliantly written) didn't seem to get the state and region 'right' from my standpoint and my motivation was to write novels from the inside-out, from a point-of-view of a novelist who grew up there. I also wanted to tell stories that presented a balanced view of contemporary environmental and cultural issues" (vol. 202, p. 64).
And his novels continue to explore these contentious themes, including endangered species, logging, wind farms, green technology, hunting, and more. Yet in an August 30, 2012 interview with Nichole L. Ballard in the Rawlins Times, Box says that his novels "aren't agenda books. They aren't written to pound home a point of view. They are more to expose both sides of a controversial issue and let the reader come down where they will. In my view, because Wyoming has so many cutting-edge environmental, energy and cultural issues, I think to write about it--well it's important to include all that. . . . I believe that no matter what, the genre [fiction] should be more about something besides simply a whodunit."
In addition to Breaking Point, Box's newest releases include a stand-alone novel slated for publication in August 2013, The Highway, which features the return of protagonist Cody Hoyt from Back of Beyond (2011). Box's web site summarizes the book in this way: "When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls -- and their car -- simply vanish." It's up to former police investigator Cody Hoyt, who has problems of his own, and his former rookie partner to try to find them and bring them back before someone else becomes a victim on "the highway."
In his newsletter, Box calls The Highway "the scariest book I've ever written." The theme of this novel, too, comes from the headlines. Box explains the background behind it: "Several years ago, while flying around America on a book tour, I picked up a newspaper someone had left on the next seat in the departure lounge and read a small item detailing the creation of a "Highway Serial Killer Task Force" by the FBI. The few factoids mentioned in the story were chilling. The FBI claimed there are hundreds of missing women throughout the United States, most of them truck stop prostitutes. The murderers were likely long-haul truckers. Law enforcement guessed there were ten to fifteen (and possibly more) serial killers currently "working" on the nation's highways. Only one had been caught. To those of us who live in rural America where every journey involved hundreds of miles of driving, there is a very real love/hate relationship with the operators of those massive trucks."
If advance reviews are any indication, The Highway will also be rocketing up the bestseller lists. According to Patricia Ann Owens's starred review in Library Journal, this new thriller "weaves together subplots into a nonstop, action-filled race against time. Rolling down the superhighway of suspense, this thriller will leave readers breathless." And Publishers Weekly's signature review says, "Filled with believable characters and hard, realistic dialogue, Edgar-winner Box’s perfectly paced novel . . . offers a suspenseful story laced with more than a few shockingly unexpected plot twists."
We hope you will join us for what is sure to be a fascinating evening with a master storyteller!
Hackney Library staff have posted on our YouTube channel author interviews with various Hackney Friends authors who have appeared as speakers at our dinner/lecture series programs. Enjoy!Last updated June 4, 2013, 2013