Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library

Connecting Community – Broadening Horizons

December’s Author of the Month – James Michener

Something we do every month at the Emerson library is recognize an author and display their books. This month we are spotlighting James Michener.

James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907-October 16, 1997) was an American Author of more that 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations and incorporating historical facts within the stories. Michener took upon himself great, meticulous research when writing his novels. Michener was known for his lengthy novels, some of which ran over 1,000 pages and the author stated that he would spend 12 to 15 hours per day for weeks at a time at his typewriter.

His writing started during World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. There, he was a naval historian and turned his notes and impressions into fiction novels. His first, being Tales of the South Pacific, which was produced on Broadway and film musical as South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Money certainly wasn’t something Michener gloated about. He selflessly donated over $100 million of his earnings to libraries, universities, museums, and other charities. He also founded a Master’s in Fine Arts program now named the Michener Center for Writers and upon his death left his entire $10 million estate and copyrights to his works to his Alma mater, Swarthmore College.

(James Michener on “How to Use a Library”)

Books by Michener

Tales of the South Pacific 1947

The Fires of Spring 1949
Return to Paradise 1950

The Bridges at Toko-ri 1953
Sayonara 1954

Hawaii 1959
Caravans 1963
The Source 1965
The Drifters 1971
Centennial 1974
Chesapeake 1978

The Watermen 1978
The Covenant 1980
Space 1982
Poland 1983
Texas 1985
Legacy 1987
Alaska 1988
Caribbean 1989
Journey 1989
The Novel 1991
South Pacific 1992
Mexico 1992
Recessional 1994
Miracle in Seville 1995
Matecumbe 2007

Let’s Get Digital

Talking Books is making things easier for it’s consumers! Digital Books are here! No more searching for the right cassette, flipping, rewinding, etc. The entire book is on one cartridge, making the casing smaller and less hassle with multiple cassettes. Just insert the digital book into the new player and push play. You’ll love the new player! It’s smaller, less hassle, and double the battery life of the cassette player. Search chapter to chapter instead of fast forwarding and switch between books and the machine automatically knows where you stopped with each one. How much better could it get? Call in or stop by if you would like more information or a demonstration on the digital books and player. Remember, disabilities do not have to be permanent to be eligible for this program. For more information on eligibility check out my earlier post or go to

5 Ways the Library Makes Back-to-School Easier

  1. Find out what they need to know. We have books that list and/or offer short-lessons on the learning requirements for each grade. Review material from the grade before, or get a head start on this year with books like What Your First Grader Needs to Know and the rest of the Core Knowledge series, the Making the Grade series, or Home Learning Year by Year. You can also search West Virginia’s Content Standards and Objectives by grade to see what local schools require.
  2. Use the internet for free and make low-cost print-outs. All of our branches offer free internet services for you or your child. Children under the age of sixteen will need a parent’s permission and anyone wishing to use the internet needs their library card. Visit school websites, print-out academic calendars, and, once school starts, you can print out reports and other homework assignments for ten-cents a page.
  3. Take advantage of our on-line subscriptions to enhance learning. The library subscribes to several on-line databases and research sites that can help kids and adults alike. Visit the library website to use Kids Search and Student Research Center from EBSCO, Grolier Online and Grolier Online Kids, Searchasaurus and more. You may need to obtain a password from the library.
  4. Get help from a reference librarian or a tutor. If there is a question you just can’t find the answer to, you can ask the reference librarian to research it and they will do their best to find the answer for you. Also, if your child needs some extra help on a regular basis this year you might consider one of the many independent tutors that use the library space.
  5. Research education alternatives. If you are considering homeschooling or private school, you can find out more about those topics at your library, too. Many branches maintain a resource file for local home-schoolers, or you might check out some of the following titles: The Parent’s Guide to Alternatives in Education, How to Pick a Perfect Private School, The Homeschooling Book of Answers, The Homeschooling Handbook, or Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling.

Library Quote

The people who welcome us to the library are idealists who believe that accurate information leads to good decisions and that exposure to the intellectual riches of civilization leads to a better world. The next Abraham Lincoln could be sitting in their library, teaching himself all he needs to know to save the country. While they help us get online, employed and informed, librarians don’t try to sell us anything. Nor do they turn around and broadcast our problems, send us spam, or keep a record of our interests and needs, because no matter how savvy this profession is at navigating the online world, it clings to that old-fashioned value, privacy. (A profession dedicated to privacy in charge of our public computers? That’s brilliant.) They represent the best civic value out there, an army of resourceful workers that can help us compete in the world.”

—Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue! in “U.S. Public Libraries: We Lose Them at Our Peril,” editorial in Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2010

For more quotes like this visit Amercan Libraries.