National Novel Writing Month 101

National Novel Writing Month ( is just around the corner! Have you ever had a story idea you thought would make a great novel? Always wanted to write a memoir about something that happened in your life? Just like to write?

Join us to learn more about getting those words out this November. We’ll go over what NaNoWriMo is, what it isn’t, and how it can help your creativity. Whether you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo before or have been a regular participant for the last 20 years, whether you want to handwrite or use all the latest software, this session is for you.

Chester County Library and the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library are hosting virtual preparation sessions and virtual writing sessions throughout the months of October and November. Attend any and all events that work for you! See our full schedule and register here.

NaNoWriMo Schedule
NaNoWriMo 101 & Prep
Monday, 10/4, 6:30-7:30pm
Monday, 10/11, 7-9pm
Monday, 10/25, 6:30-7:30pm

Kick-Off Party
Monday, 11/1, 7-9pm
Write In
Monday, 11/8, 7-9pm
Midway Party
Monday, 11/15, 7-9pm
Write In
Monday, 11/22, 7-9pm
Night of Drafting Daringly
Monday, 11/29, 7-9pm
Thank Goodness It’s Over Party
Monday, 12/6, 7-9pm

These are independent events managed by a community partner.
The NaNoWriMo name and logo are used by special permission.

Virtual Program: October Adult Book Groups

We are holding our existing adult book groups as virtual programs. Please see our October titles and dates below. These groups are all being held online via Zoom.  We are requiring registration for these online book groups in order to send out the Zoom meeting information. Click on the date below to register. Information on our adult book groups can also be found on our website:

Evening Book Group
Monday, October 4, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Page Turners Book Group
Thursday, October 14, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

Comics Unbound Group
Monday, October 18, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Whodunits Book Group
Wednesday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Afternoon Book Group
Wednesday, October 20, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Registration is required for all book groups. Registration will close at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled start time of the book group. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants 2 hours before the book group starts.  Make sure to check the email address you registered with to receive the link.  You do not need a Zoom account to attend the virtual book group.

These programs support the PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy Initiative.

Reading History on your Library Card

Did you ever forget the name of a book that you checked out?

Do you want to re-read a favorite book to your child?

Would a list of items you’ve checked out in the past be helpful?

Follow these steps to begin keeping a reading history.

Log in to

Click on “How Do I”

Click on “Help With My Account”

Click on “My Reading History”

Click on “Opt In”

Your Reading History will begin with library materials checked out after the Opt In.

Chester County Library offering virtual STEM story times

Starting October 7 for ages 4-7!

Register your child for STEM programs!  Starting October 7th, Thursday afternoons at 3:30, library staff will present stories, songs and activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math!  6 sessions will be offered on Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:00pm starting on October 7th.  Don’t wait! Reserve your child’s spot now. 
Please use this link to find out more or to register your child.
Parents MUST attend and participate with their children, as they will need help with the virtual activities.  Once registered, a list of materials needed for the activities will be emailed to all participants.  When registering, please include your name, your child’s name, and a phone number and email address.  A link will be emailed to you on the day of the program. 

STEM. Science, technology, engineering, mathematics. Stack of books with science education doodles and hand written word “STEM”

Hankin Whodunits to meet via Zoom on Wednesday, October 20 at 1 pm

Do you like classic mysteries? Join the Hankin Whodunits on Wednesday, October 20 at 1 pm for a virtual discussion of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

This description will surely get you hooked!

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die… Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

Click here to register for this Zoom event. This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Copies are currently available at the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library.
If you would like a copy sent to your library,

please call the Reference Desk at 610-344-4196.

Finding Justice:The Untold Story of Women’s Fight for the Vote

Please join Henrietta Hankin Branch Library on Monday, October 4th, at 7:00 pm for a virtual screening of the documentary, “Finding Justice: The Untold Story of Women’s Fight for the Vote”, followed by a discussion with the writer and director of the film, Amanda Owen, Executive Director of the Justice Bell Foundation.

Part present-day detective story and part a historical account of the movement for voting rights, “Finding Justice: The Untold Story of Women’s Fight for the Vote” tells the story of a band of intrepid women and their one-ton bronze bell that became a celebrated icon of the women’s suffrage movement. The Justice Bell—modeled after the Liberty Bell—attracted nationwide attention, which helped rally support in the last crucial years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

 As current struggles for gender equality and voting rights continue to make front-page news, this account of the suffragists’ courage and dogged persistence will inspire new generations in the fight for justice and equality.

“Finding Justice” premiered at the National Women’s History Museum on August 26, 2020 with a screening and panel discussion with Amanda Owen and Rosie Rios, President Obama’s Treasurer. Since then, “Finding Justice” has aired on PBS (WQLN and WHYY) and for a number of institutions, organizations and film festivals.

Ms. Owen is an author and an independent scholar of women’s history, specializing in the American women’s suffrage Join the movement. She is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Justice Bell Foundation.  With a background in social work and a twenty-five-year practice as a consultant, writer and speaker, Amanda has been presenting lectures and workshops since the mid-nineties.  She is currently writing a book about the Justice Bell’s role in the American women’s suffrage movement.

To register for this special event, please visit and click on “Find an Event”.

Clifton Webb: Unexpected Star

“The best part of myself.  That’s what you are.  Do you think I’m going to leave it to the vulgar pawing of a second-rate detective who thinks you’re a dame?  Do you think I could bear the thought of him holding you in his arms, kissing you, loving you?”

–Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker to Gene Tierney (Laura, 1944)

Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck, theatrical nom de plume Clifton Webb (1889 – 1966), is at first glance one of the unlikeliest of movie stars.  Upon second thought, there have been many “unexpected” stars.  Consider the fact that mere pretty boys had brief vogues. Think Tab Hunter, for instance.  Actors with distinct, engaging, even features approaching ugliness, have fared better:  snarling Edward G. Robinson; rugged Humphrey Bogart; craggy Lee Marvin and increasingly craggy Clint Eastwood, dimpled Kirk Douglas, sleepy-eyed Robert Mitchum; paunchy Wallace Beery; bald Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas; Richard Widmark, he of the maniacal laugh and extensive forehead; Anthony “every ‘ethnic’ character CWebbaimaginable” Quinn; pock marked Richard Burton.

Webb does seem to be the oldest actor to have achieved film stardom.  He was 54 when Laura was released in 1944.  As the intriguingly-named Waldo Lydecker, Webb was a man obsessed with the young, beautiful title character (Gene Tierney) and rather she be dead than end up with a lowly detective (Dana Andrews) investigating her presumed death.  For Laura, Webb received a Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination.

Born in Indianapolis in 1889, Webb became a song and dance man in theatrical revues and also performed in Noel Coward’s famous play Blithe Spirit.  Hollywood, specifically 20th Century-Fox, beckoned as World War II wound down, and Webb spent his entire career with that studio.  It served him well.laura_56f633f7

Frequently he had the best lines, as in The Dark Corner (1946):  “I never confuse business with sentiment—unless it’s extremely profitable.”

Webb excelled at persnickety snobs in these early years.  A prime fuss budget character was his Elliott Templeton in The Razor’s Edge (1946), and he scored a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and another Academy Award nomination for Supporting Actor.

In 1947 he was nominated for Best Actor by the Academy for his role as the fussy Mr. Belvedere in Sitting Pretty, the gentleman who became nanny for the three unruly children of parents played by Robert Young and Maureen O’Hara.

Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) was a popular favorite based on the successful 1948 semi-autobiographical book about the 14-member Gilbreth family in which Webb portrayed time-motion engineer Frank B. Gilbreth.  Jeanne Crain, one of Titanicposter53aFox’s biggest stars, played the eldest daughter, Hollywood icon Myrna Loy the wife.

Webb played the iconic march king John Philip Sousa in Stars and Stripes Forever (1952).  In Titanic (1953), his well-heeled gentleman was at odds with his estranged wife over custody of their son.  The wife was played by Hollywood icon Barbara Stanwyck, but such was Webb’s status at that time that he got first billing.

CinemaScope had been introduced at Fox that year with The Robe.  The widescreen process was suitable not just for historical epics but contemporary films made in somewhat exotic or at least colorful locales.  It was no hardship for Webb and the rest of the cast (Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Maggie McNamara, Louis Jourdan, Rossano Brazzi) to relocate to Italy for Three Coins in the Fountain (1954).  The title song won the Academy Award and became a standard. The film was nominated for Best Picture.  Webb was top-billed again.three-coins-in-the-fountain_f9r3oK

The same year Webb headed up another powerful cast in Woman’s World (September, 1954).  This time out he was owner of a car manufacturer looking for a new general manager.  He evaluated three men—and their wives—to find the appropriate replacement.

It was no stretch for Webb to portray an Englishman in The Man Who Never Was (1956).  As Lt. Commander Ewen Montagu, his character coordinated the ruse that confused the Germans about the Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II.

According to Wikipedia, Webb was set to star in Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), but he became ill and James womans-world_TZkbNiMason took the role of the expedition leader.

Webb’s last film was with William Holden, Satan Never Sleeps (1962), a Cold War drama in which he played a missionary priest in China who sacrifices himself for others.

Clifton Webb died of a heart attack at the age of 76 in 1966.  His legacy includes a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Shipman, David.  The Great Stars:  The International Years. 1972.

Thomas, Tony.  The Films of 20th Century-Fox:  A Pictorial History.  1979.

CCLS/CCL Board Meeting

Due to the easing of COVID restrictions, the Board of Trustees of the Chester County Library System/Chester County Library will now be hosting their monthly board meeting as a hybrid offering. If you have always wanted to attend a meeting but haven’t had the time, this is your opportunity. Please click on this link at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 21, to join the Chester County Library System Board Meeting virtually; or attend in person at Chester County Library, 450 Exton Square Parkway, PA 19341. The Chester County Library Board Meeting will immediately follow.

If you are a person with a disability and wish to attend this meeting and require an auxiliary aid, service, or other accommodation to observe or participate in the proceedings, please call Chester County Library’s Administration Office at 610-344-5600 to discuss how we may best accommodate your needs.

Multimedia Staff Picks

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Emily’s Picks

Libby Audiobook: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
castle movingYou won’t be able to put this breezy, lighthearted, and hilarious fantasy down! It has lots of humor and heart, memorable characters and dialogue, and a perfect happily (or scrappily!) ever after. Plain but spunky Sophie is transformed by a curse into an old woman, and must enlist the help of the cowardly, wizard Howl. They butt heads, and bicker constantly, but there is a spark between them that Sophie can’t seem to extinguish. And Howl may need her help to break a curse of his own…

CD: The First Band on the Moon by The Cardigans
Probably best remembered for its one hit, “Lovefool,” this album boasts a dreamy, psychedelic sound that feels more likeFirstBandOnTheMoon a product of the 70s than of 1996. It’s fun and funky, and easy to listen to over and over. Standout tracks include “Your New Cuckoo,” “Step On Me,” and the band’s very groovy cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”


Jessie’s Picks

DVD: Soul
soulPixar once again successfully tackles a big, heavy topic with humor and heart.  Soul is about a Middle School music teacher/Jazz pianist and an unborn soul that grapple with finding purpose and living life fully.  This movie is a must-watch for fans of Up or Inside Out.

CD: Complete Greatest Hits by The Carscar greatest hits
This is a good collection of this New Wave band’s hits.  It includes one of my favorites, “Moving  in Stereo,” which is not included on some of their other greatest hits compilations since it was not released as a single.


John’s Picks

DVD: How the States Got Their Shapes
how the states gotEver wonder why Pennsylvania and Delaware share a rounded border?  Or what about all those perfectly square states out west? And why the heck is Rhode Island so tiny?  If these questions interest you, then this History Channel series is perfect for you! It’s a super interesting show that explores why each state in the USA looks the way it does. Combining history, geography, and culture—host  Brian Unger uncovers the stories behind the familiar shapes on our modern American map.

CD: Game of Thrones Season Eight: Music from the HBO Seriesgame of thrones s8 music
Revisit Westeros through the soundtrack to the final season of HBO’s legendary series—Game of  Thrones. Season 8 was when so many storylines we’ve been anticipating finally wrapped up, and these were the songs accompanying the hype.  “Jenny of Oldstones,” “The Last of the Starks,” and “The Night King” may leave you with goosebumps.


Kim’s Picks

DVD: The Railway Children
railway childrenBased on Edith’s Nesbit’s 1906 novel of the same name, this 1970 film is a charming and episodic (in the most complimentary way) tale of the numerous childhood adventures of the Waterburys, trying to make due in Yorkshire after the father is falsely accused of spying and imprisoned.

Libby Audiobook: Middlemarch by George Eliotmiddlemarch
This is sometimes considered the greatest novel (1871) in English.  Eliot, nom de plume for Mary Ann Evans, describes life in a 19th century English town on the verge of modernity.  She draws masterful life-like portraits of all its denizens, from bankers and physicians to clerics and politicians, from farmers and auctioneers to stay-at-home biddies and young women waking up to potentialities.


Mary’s Picks

DVD: Once Upon a Time
once upon a time s1All the classic fairytales in one place with a new twist. Enchanting and fun to watch for any fan of fantasy and fairytales. Makes for a great girls night; I used to watch this every Sunday in the fall and winter with my roommates and we loved it.

Audiobook: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pinkwhen perfect timing
An interesting read that can help you plan when to make important decisions in life. Timing  really is everything. Includes such topics as circadian rhythms, time of year, beginnings, endings, motivation, restorative breaks, and group behavior. Will make you look at things you’ve done in the past and things you’d like to do in the future in a different way.

Stephanie’s Picks

DVD: The Hate U Give
hate u give“Starr Carter navigates the perilous waters between her poor, black neighborhood and her prestigious, mainly white private school. This all changes when she finds herself in the middle of racial activism after her best friend is shot by police officers, and she’s forced to make a decision. Allow the media to skewer her friend to protect the status quo, or stand up and tell the truth in memory of Khalil?”

CD: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse
After topping the charts with hits off the album Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Wewe were dead Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank brings more of a mainstream vibe without losing any authenticity.

To view our past staff picks, go to All quoted summaries are from