Monthly Archives: May 2015

Southern Kentucky Book Fest delivers record numbers

With record numbers in sales, enthusiasts came in masses to hear, meet, and buy books from their favorite authors and illustrators at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest held April 18 at the Knicely Conference Center. Bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, known for her popular Outlander series, filled a room with more than 500 fans, some who waited for hours at the entrance, eager to get seats close to the author. Other well-known authors such as Jamie Ford, Terry Brooks, Mary McDonough, and Doreen Cronin brought in their own fan clubs.

“Book Fest was a tremendous success,” said Kristie Lowry, SOKY Book Fest organizer. “We are getting such positive remarks on social media, in-person, and through surveys given to participants.”

More than 1,200 attended the Friday prior to the main Book Fest event for Children’s Day and the Kentucky Writers Conference. According to Lowry, a new writing workshop for teens was also well attended. “We wanted to offer something specifically for those in grades 9-12 and the response was terrific. We definitely would like to continue this program next year.”

Bowling Green resident Crystal Bowling has attended the Writers Conference more than once. “I enjoy attending for the discussions and ideas, not only for the authors presenting, but for the writers in the audience. It’s a wonderful event with a sense of community,” said Bowling.

Noted as one of the largest book festivals in the state, SOKY Book Fest has been named by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) to the Top 10 Festivals & Events for Spring for the third consecutive year.

In addition to sales from the event, Book Fest is funded with grants and donations by companies and individuals. Corporate donors included: Platinum Level – Dollar General; Gold Level – Daily News, Jim Johnson; Silver Level – WKU Conferencing & Catering, West Sixth Brewing, WKU PBS; Bronze Level – Fruit of the Loom, Meijer, Smuckers; Patron Level – Bell Orr Ayers & Moore, WKU Department of English, Logan Aluminum and Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau.

SOKY Book Fest 2015

Kentucky Writers’ Conference

Book Fest Children’s Day 2015

Meet the Authors Reception



Comments Off on Southern Kentucky Book Fest delivers record numbers

Filed under Events, Flickr Photos, People

WKU Libraries Derby Hat Day

WKU Libraries celebrated Derby Day by wearing hats to work the day before the Derby.Derby Hat Day 3rd

Photo Album

Comments Off on WKU Libraries Derby Hat Day

Filed under Events, Flickr Photos, Past Events, Stuff

Memorial Civil War Sheet Music

U. S. Park Ranger explains that this is the true grave of the boy honored by the song.

U. S. Park Ranger explains that this is the true grave of the boy honored by the song, Memorial Day 2015.

By Associate Professor Sue Lynn McDaniel, Library Special Collections

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the Shiloh National Cemetery located on the Shiloh Battlefield within our national park. Our ranger took us to the grave of the young boy commemorated in a rare piece of sheet music which we hold in Library Special Collections. The title is “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  She told us that immediately following the Civil War, another boy was mistakenly named as the soldier about whom the song had been written and he did not correct the general public, but instead enjoyed the publicity. The lyrics tell that the drummer boy died on the battlefield.  Later, historians researching Shiloh identified J. D. Holmes to be its true soldier hero.

WKU’s Library Special Collections has over one hundred war songs in its 4228 pieces of sheet music.  In our collection of Civil War ballads, WKU has nine titles by Will S. Hays of Louisville, Kentucky, including “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  Although a Unionist who was publishing titles like “The Union forever, for me!” and “Sherman and his gallant boys in blue” through a Louisville publishing house during the Civil War, Hays wrote many lyrics between 1861 and 1865 which stirred the heart strings of Yankees and Rebels.  A good example is “I am dying, Mother, dying.”  During the two day battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, more Americans died in combat than the total of all wars to that date.  It was the first of many Civil War battles with unthinkable numbers of casualties.

J. D. Holmes, the Drummer Boy of Shiloh

J. D. Holmes, the Drummer Boy of Shiloh

This beautiful ballad, dedicated to Miss Annie Cannon of Louisville, reads:

“On Shiloh’s dark and bloody ground, The dead and wounded lay;  Amongst them was a drummer boy, Who beat the drum that day.  A wounded soldier held him up His drum was by his side; He clasp’d his hands,  then rais’d his eyes, And prayed before he died.

Look down upon the battle field, ‘Oh, Thou our Heavenly Friend!  Have mercy on our sinful souls!’ The soldier’s cried ‘Amen!’ For gathered ’round a little group, Each brave man knelt and cried; They listened to the drummer boy, Who prayed before he died.

‘Oh, mother,” said the dying boy, ‘Look down from heavn on me, Receive me to thy fond embrace — Oh, take me home to thee.  I’ve loved my country as my God; To serve them both I’ve tried.’ He smiled, shook hands — death seized the boy Who prayed before he died.

Each solder wept, then, like a child —

Kentuckian Will S. Hays wrote numerous Civil War songs.

Kentuckian Will S. Hays wrote numerous Civil War songs.

Stout hearts were they, and brave; The flag his winding — sheet — God’s Book The key unto his grave.  They wrote upon a simple board These words; ‘This is a guide To thoses who’d mourn the drummer boy Who prayed before he died.’

Ye angels ’round the Throne of Grace, Look down upon the braves, Who fought and died on Shiloh’s plain, Now slumb’ring in their graves!  How many homes made desolate — How many hearts have sighed — How many, like that drummer boy Who prayer before they died!

Our sheet music collection includes more than 118 pieces of music published by composer & lyricist William Shakespeare Hays; many of them from Louisville, Kentucky publishing companies.  To learn more about historic sheet music at WKU, please visit


1 Comment

Filed under General, Uncategorized

“Raging, Roaring, Tearing, Whirling”

Nancy Brooks's 1855 letter

Nancy Brooks’s 1855 letter

Among many letters received from the far-flung members of his family by Cumberland County’s Reuben Alexander (1785-1864) was one from his niece, Nancy Brooks, who lived with her husband and son on a plantation near Pontotoc, Mississippi.  Writing on March 22, 1855, she described her harrowing experience of a tornado:

Last Friday night, the 16th of March, an awful, raging, roaring, tearing whirling Tornado passed over, among and round about us, with terrifying fury!

My family were all at home. . . .  [We] secured everything as well as we could.  I had scarcely got my little son, and several of us, in a little shed room which I thought the safest place, and lifted up my heart & voice in prayer, before the deafening roar of the storm commenced. . . .

The next morning we went out of our house and looked around — destruction reigned around our premises!  An immense quantity of large timber fallen, and torn to atoms. . . .  Our meat house, kitchen, cabbins, corn houses, stables, unroofed and wrecked. . . .

In Pontotoc, a neighbor reported, the destruction was “awful”:

One man got his leg broken, when a very large new brick Livery stable was blown to atoms. . . .  Only two horses were killed, but a great smashing of buggies & carriages.

Also lost was a new school, set to open the following week:

The pride of our town, the Male Academy, a substantial beautiful brick building, was blown down! . . . They were teaching in one of the churches, waiting for a little finish, on the Academy, but alas!  how their hopes are blasted!

Twenty miles away, a woman had been killed and her clergyman husband seriously injured in their collapsed house, but Nancy wrote that her son and husband, who was “very busy at work, helping to repair our shattered place,” had survived “what I fervently implore my Heavenly Father that I may never experience again.”

Nancy Brooks’s letter is part of the Alexander Family Papers in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here for a finding aid.  For more collections about Kentucky families, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on “Raging, Roaring, Tearing, Whirling”

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Congratulations Chris Robinson-Nkongola!


WKU Libraries would like to congratulate Chris Robinson-Nkongola, an Assistant Professor and Librarian at the WKU-Glasgow Library, on graduating from the 2014-2015 Glasgow-Barren County Leadership Program. The Graduation Ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 13th at the Glasgow Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Comments Off on Congratulations Chris Robinson-Nkongola!

Filed under Uncategorized

Yogi Berra: American Icon

Yogi Berra turned 90 last week

Yogi Berra turned 90 last week, May 12, 2015

On May 12, 2015 former New York Yankee catcher and Hall of Famer Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra turned 90 years old. Yogi Berra was born in 1925 and grew up in the St. Louis’ Italian-American neighborhood “The Hill”. His father immigrated from Italy in 1909 and, valuing work above all, made Berra leave school in the eighth grade to find a job. Despite these challenges, Berra continued playing baseball and in 1942 was offered a signing with the New York Yankees, including a $500 signing bonus and $90 per month contract.

Yogi Berra, playing for the New York Yankees

Yogi Berra, playing for the New York Yankees

Berra served in the Navy during World War II, participating in the D-Day invasion off of Omaha Beach. He returned to baseball with the Newark Bears in the middle of the 1946 season where at first his practices were unimpressive as the coach had him shagging baseballs and skipping batting practice. After Berra hit a few balls over the stadium lights during one workout he played every night for the rest of the season before getting a call from the Yankees. Today Yogi Berra is seen as an American icon for his nineteen season career, with over two thousand hits, 358 homeruns, fifteen All-Star games, and ten World Series championships, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame. His personal sayings or “Yogi-isms” are famous and include recognizable lines such as “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” and “It’s déjà vu all over again”. Berra went on to manage for the New York Mets and later the Yankees in the 1984 season before being fired by George Steinbrenner in 1985. The two reconciled prior to the Yankees’ “Yogi Berra Day” on July 18, 1999 and Berra has since been honored with a Yogi Berra Museum and Stadium and has attended appearances at the annual “Old Timer’s Day”.

As summer begins and baseball season progresses, WKU Libraries offers a vast collection of summer reading on any topic. To learn more about Yogi Berra, see:


When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!: Inspiration and Wisdom from One of Baseball’s Greatest Heroes by Yogi Berra
 Call Number: GV865.B4 A3 2001bx


You Can Observe a Lot by Watching: What I’ve Learned About Teamwork from the Yankees and Life by Yogi Berra with Dave Kaplan
Call Number: GV865.B4 A3 2008


Ten Rings: My Championship Seasons
by Yogi Berra with Dave Kaplan
Call Number: GV865.B4 A313 2005x


Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee by Allen Barra
Call Number: GV865.B4 B37 2009


Yogi: It Ain’t Over by Yogi Berra with Tom Horton
Call Number: GV865 .B4 A3 1989

Comments Off on Yogi Berra: American Icon

Filed under Past Events, Stuff, Uncategorized

“ Libraries celebrates its graduating student assistants and scholarship recipient”

DSC_0630 - CopyWKU Libraries honored its graduating seniors and library assistant scholarship recipient this past week at a reception in Cravens Library.  Fifteen library student assistants, some working as many as four years with the libraries, graduated this past weekend, including Emily Anderson, Kelsi Campbell, Danielle Davenport, Katie Decoursey, Ling Hao Liu, Christopher McConnell, Lyndsey Pender, Anna Pettus, Cecia Reyes, Ayaz Sadal, Kameron Simmons, Kelli Storm, Hieu Vo, Rachel Wyatt, and Anna Young. Dean Connie Foster recognized Abby Zibart, the library scholarship recipient, and also congratulated the graduating students. Library Department Heads Brian Coutts, Deana Groves, and Jonathan Jeffrey announced each student assistant from his and her respective work area and honored them with certificates, red towels, and a graduation gift from WKU Libraries. Each student picked out a book or video that will be housed in one of the libraries with a name plate in honor of the graduating student.

 “We look forward to this time each semester to honor our graduating student workers,” said Amanda Hardin. “Some of them have been here for several semesters and through summers so they become like family to us. It’s just a small way to thank them for their time with us at WKU and show them how much we appreciate them.”

 Photo Album


Comments Off on “ Libraries celebrates its graduating student assistants and scholarship recipient”

Filed under Events, Flickr Photos

Who is up for the vote?


For a sample ballot for your county, go to:  All  Counties:

Where Do I Vote? :   Polls open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Get out today and vote!

Comments Off on Who is up for the vote?

Filed under Uncategorized

“To Be: Not to Seem”

Cedar Bluff College commencement invitation

Cedar Bluff College commencement invitation

So declared the motto on the 1886 commencement invitation for Cedar Bluff College in Woodburn, Kentucky, a boarding school that educated young ladies from 1864 until fire destroyed its building in 1892.

In June 1877, Addie Darden was class salutatorian, and her greeting to those assembled for that year’s graduation exercises touched on familiar themes of happy memories, sad farewells, and hopes for the future.  Addie used those sentiments to introduce a then-customary feature of commencement exercises, particularly at women’s colleges, where the “sweet girl graduates” showed off their proficiency in the “ornamental” subjects of their curriculum with readings and musical performances.  “Some of our number,” she told the assembled crowd, “will give you songs and music, some of it bright and fair as their own sweet lives, and some will be in the minor chords of sadness; but each strain will speak to you in its own language, telling its own story.”

But Addie rebutted the notion that she and her classmates were just charm school graduates, academic lightweights who only seemed to be educated.  Her second speaking duty was to deliver the Latin salutatory, an address that one might more readily associate with Harvard or Princeton.  For her subject, Addie chose the Catiline Conspiracy–De Catilinae Conjuratione–and read her page-and-a-half speech, in Latin, to the gathering of parents, teachers and friends.

Addie Darden’s salutatories (both English and Latin) are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives holdings of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Click here to access a finding aid.  For more collections about Cedar Bluff College and other Kentucky schools, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on “To Be: Not to Seem”

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Best Reference Sources of 2014

Brian Coutts presents Best Reference

Brian Coutts presents Best Reference 2014

Brian Coutts gave his annual workshop on the “Best Reference Sources of the Year” an annual selection he makes for Library Journal,  the nation’s oldest and leading trade journal.  The article appears in the March 1, 2015 issue in both print and online.  This year’s list included 33  titles from 20 different publishers’ including 12 university presses.  This is the 29th consecutive year Brian has been involved with this project either as a consultant, coauthor or author.  A reception followed with strawberry cake from Cocomo’s and Balinese coffee imported by Spencer’s.


Strawberry cake from Cocomo’s at reception


WKU Libraries faculty and staff were invited to attend.
Laura Delancey skims one of the Best Reference volumes as John Gottfriend listens to the presentation.

Brian Coutts, “Best Reference 2014” article 

Photo Album

Comments Off on Best Reference Sources of 2014

Filed under New Stuff, Past Events, People, Reference, Stuff, Uncategorized