Rogue Reads

February 2, 2021

To promote reading and community discussion, Jackson County Library Services has launched Rogue Reads, a program encouraging everyone to read the same books this winter. The featured author is Jacqueline Woodson.

Jacqueline Woodson

Woodson has written much-honored books for all ages, from picture books to middle-grade and teen fiction, to her first adult novel, Red at the Bone (Riverhead Books, 2019). For all ages, Woodson’s titles explore timely themes such as race and family dynamics.  There are activities and events planned for each age group, culminating in a live virtual talk by Ms. Woodson on Sunday, February 21, 4-5 pm. Click here for more information about Rogue Reads and a calendar of events..

The Rogue Reads organizers hope that book clubs and discussion groups will decide to read Red at the Bone in January or February. For example, new Friends of the Ashland Library director Karen Clarke initiated discussions at Mountain Meadows. She reports that both the Mountain Meadows book club and their anti-racism group chose Red at the Bone for their February selections and set a joint meeting in early February to deepen the conversation. The Book Bag books are circulating among the members of both groups. 

Clarke goes on to say, “Many in Mountain Meadows were familiar with Ms. Woodson’s writing and thrilled to have access to her first adult novel. Well written, and from multiple viewpoints, the novel touches on many salient topics, which are encouraging individual and group discussion. We are looking forward to Ms. Woodson’s presentation in February and are appreciative of JCLS bringing the program to the Rogue Valley.” Click here to request a book bag.

A Winter Pairing

February 2, 2021

Author Amira Makansi. Photo by Steven Addington.

In the midst of a particularly challenging winter, poetry, like Sara Teasdale’s lines below, can bring us a sweet moment of lift.


Night by Sara Teasdale

Stars over snow,

    And in the west a planet

Swinging below a star–

    Look for a lovely thing and you will find it,

It is not far–

    It never will be far.


To add to the poem’s effervescence, we asked Amira Makansi to suggest a pairing.  Amira is our local expert in all things beverage-related and the author of Literary Libations: What to Drink with What You Read (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018). Here is the pairing she suggests for “Night.”

“Let the twinkle of stars match the twinkle of bubbles, and pair this delicate, hopeful poem with something equally bright: a glass of blanc de blancs Champagne. Many sparkling wines from Champagne are a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir, but blanc de blancs is made exclusively from Chardonnay. With focused tannins and brilliant acid, blanc de blancs carries a lightness and delicacy unmatched by either brut or blanc de noirs. These elegant wines give a sense of perpetual hope: that there is always something glimmering and joyful not far away.”

Book and Toy Drive

October 27, 2020

The Almeda and Obenchain fires have brought another huge hardship to our community, so when we heard that Jackson County Library Services was launching a book and toy drive for children and teens impacted by the fires, we knew that the Ashland Friends would want to be a part of it. And you really stepped up! Karen Spence’s front porch overflowed with books and toys and games for all ages, and we took two stuffed loads to the Medford Library for distribution throughout the county. Youth Services Coordinator Brystan Strong reported that the whole drive was an enormous success. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed!

Here is Nancy Clark delivering one of Ashland’s full carts.

The Library’s Fire Response

October 27, 2020

Fortunately, no Ashland staff lost their homes to the fire, although several had harrowing commutes that day. However, many district-wide staff were displaced due to the evacuations, and three staff–from Jacksonville Branch, IT, and Digital Services–lost their homes. Seven libraries were closed for a week.

Despite all this, the JCLS administration and staff jumped into action after the fires.

For example, Ashland Adult Services Librarian Ken Loders spearheaded the effort to create a Fire Response and Recovery Resource Guide that has been added to the website ( The Outreach to Child Care team donated 172 new Spanish language books and 60 new English language books to local preschool programs heavily impacted by the fire.

Library Director Kari May reported that there was an immediate increase in computer use due to fire victims placing insurance claims, getting new driver licenses, updating voter registrations and requesting new vital records documents. Printing fees are waived for all these cases.

Our Ashland Library Manager, Kristin Anderson, reported that the Ashland Children’s Department has helped families find books about fire, fire fighters, and feeling scared. Ashland staff have also been available for people to share their stories, helping to reinforce the library as a place for community. Evacuated families have also created a new market for the “Take and Make” kits, to give children something fun to do during a traumatic time. In addition, the use of Ashland’s free Wi-Fi service increased after the fire. On Thursday, September 10th, the library’s Information Technology Department recorded twice the normal usage.

It is heartening to see how essential library services are in a crisis, and it reaffirms the importance of the support we provide as Friends. In January, we’ll get back to you regarding 2021 membership. Meanwhile, remember that the Ashland Library is currently open noon-4 pm each day except Friday, and the dynamic Jackson County Library Services website is always open at