September Staff Picks

Felicia’s Picks

The Night of the Hunter

One of my favorite old films with gorgeous cinematography and set design. A great iteration of the “corrupt preacher” trope.

Igor / Tyler the Creator

A great, dreamy genre-bending album that was pretty popular on release, but is becoming underrated as time moves on. Definitely worth revisiting!

Eric’s Picks

Over the Garden Wall

This animated mini-series, which debuted on Cartoon Network back in 2014, is quietly one of the best, most fully-realized, and lovingly-crafted pieces of art of the last 20 years. Pulling its inspirations from illustrations by Gustave Doré, Hans Christian Anderson, children’s books of the 1800s, folk art and American music from the early 20th century, the series crafts an atmosphere that is at once both undeniably familiar and singularly unique.

The show features an incredible voice cast starring Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, and John Cleese. However, it is undeniable that the show’s true stand out is Elijah Wood’s 9 year old co-star Collin Dean who steals absolutely every scene he is in. Unlike most of today’s children’s programing, this series feels like a return to a time when children’s stories had genuine moments of fright and suspense. The gorgeous, rich, art design of the series is steeped in autumnal imagery, making it a perfect watch to get you and your family in the mood for the fall and Halloween season. For a more in depth review of this series check out this month’s blog post all about it by clicking the link below!

Dance Fever / Florence and the Machine

The fifth and most recent album from one of this generation’s most singular and consistently evolving artists, Florence Welch. Dance Fever delivers the same amount heart-swelling, emotional vocals and synth-rock bangers that fans come to expect from a new Florence and the Machine album while adding plenty of new colors to the band’s ever-expanding palette. Welch’s lyrics, in particular, reach a new stratosphere with this album, especially on tracks such as “Dream Girl Evil” and “King”, giving Dance Fever a level of richness that can only be mined from multiple listens.

Kim’s Picks

Hunting Eichmann

His facility with planning large operations, Adolph Eichmann ingratiated himself with such murderous Nazi delinquents as Reinhard “The Butcher” Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler, for whom he designed extermination camps for Jews and other “undesirables.”  Escaping from Europe at the close of the World War II, Eichmann made his way to Argentina, where in 1959 he was kidnapped by Israeli security personnel and transported to Tel Aviv by plane and tried for, among other charges, crimes against humanity, and he was executed by hanging in 1962.  Hunting Eichmann reads like a thrilling spy novel, but it’s all true and hard to put down.

The Getaway

One of the seminal action films for Steve McQueen and director Sam Peckinpah.  Getting the money, losing the money, getting it back again, and making the getaway.  Violent and occasionally amusing, as when on the train McQueen pummels a grinning Richard Bright (the Corleone family’s favorite hitman) who can’t believe he’s stumbled onto a stash of cash, and when McQueen and Ali McGraw slide from a garbage truck into a landfill. 

Jessie’s Picks


This space western TV show is one of my favorite Science Fiction shows.  It has good worldbuilding, a great cast, and humor – a good fit for Guardians of the Galaxy fans! 


Lake Street Dive/ Side Pony

Lead singer Rachel Price has a great voice and it fits wonderfully with the group’s 60’s and 70’s inspired music. Check out the songs “Call Off Your Dogs,” “I Don’t Care About You,” and “Can’t Stop.”

By Eric

The FRIENDS of Chester County Library Fall Book Sale is Back for 2022!

(EXTON, PA) – THE FRIENDS OF CHESTER COUNTY LIBRARY Fall Book Sale is scheduled for next weekend, October 7th – 9th, 2022. A variety of books, music and movie CDs and DVDs will be sold at bargain prices. A huge selection of children’s books will be available in a separate room.

  • Friday, October 7, 6 to 8:30 p.m. — The sale starts for members of the Friends of the Chester County Library only (Memberships can be purchased on Friday night beginning at 5 p.m. at the membership table or in advance by mailing in the membership form available here.
  • Saturday, October 8, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — The sale will be open to the public.
  • Sunday, October 9, 1 to 4 p.m. — During ‘Bag Sale Day’ we will supply the bag; you fill it and pay $10 (only $7 per bag with your FRIENDS membership). For less than a whole bag, the books will be sold at half-price.

We accept cash, checks, or PayPal. All proceeds from the Book Sale benefit the Chester County Library.

Charlton Heston:  The Sci-Fi Years

Charlton Heston was a leading man in his first movie, the noir Dark City (1950), and in 1952 famed director Cecil B. DeMille chose him to headline The Greatest Show on Earth, the eventual Best Picture Academy Award winner.  That led to another DeMille epic, The Ten Commandments (1956) with Heston as Moses.  Heston’s physical stature was perfect for such films, as Laurence Olivier observed.  In 1959 he won the Best Actor Academy Award for the title role in that most honored Biblical extravaganza, Ben-Hur.  That was followed in 1961 by yet another medieval epic, El Cid, with Heston as the Spanish knight negotiating his way between Christian Castile and the Muslims controlling southern Spain.  On a more modest scale came The War Lord (1964).  The knight Chrysagon (Heston) is entailed with protecting a Norman community threatened by Frisian marauders. 

An assortment of roles followed in various genres, some good, like the western Will Penny (1968), some merely fair like the WW II suspense film, Counterpoint, also 1968. 

The third time was the charm:  Planet of the Apes.  Writer and teacher Robert Castle wondered if Apes won the Honorary Academy Award for Makeup because the voters thought the primates in the same year’s 2001:  A Space Odyssey were actual apes!  So, 1968 was a key year in science fiction, which had been playing second fiddle to Hammer Studios’ horror films in the realm of the fantastic.  Apes and 2001 resuscitated the genre, and both were commercial successes. 

In his autobiography In the Arena, Heston said after finishing the Planet of the Apes shoot on schedule he had a drink with director Franklin Schaffner and told him, “I smelled a hit in this from the beginning,…” He was correct.  “It not only grossed enormous numbers, it created a new film genre:  the space opera.”

In 1971 the second outing in what would be a sci-fi triptych for Heston was The Omega Man, a new version of Richard Matheson’s tale of a future earth after a biological holocaust decimated the population and turned some into mutants—or vampires.  It followed the Italian rendering, The Last Man on Earth (1964) with Vincent Price and preceded the high tech I Am Legend (2007) with Will Smith. The Omega Man has several gripping scenes, e.g., Heston driving through a desolate Los Angeles; pulling a sheet from what he imagined to be couple of mutants but instead discovers the desiccated corpses of two lovers; battling his way back into his garage at nightfall against the crazed, robed and anti-technology survivors of the plague who now call themselves the “Family.”  Ron Grainer’s score enhanced the action.

In In the Arena, Heston said the shoot went smoothly and swiftly and was his first hit in four years.  He liked the final product. “It’s become something of a cult film since, still pumping in checks every so often.  I think we’d had a chance to make a really fine film of Omega, but I was quite willing to settle for a merely successful one at the time.

Soylent Green (1973) was, like The Omega Man, a bit “under-funded” but nevertheless possessed of some arresting scenes.  Heston played Detective Thorn, who in 2022 investigates a murder that leads to a shocking revelation.  Just what is the stuff people are eating?  Issues tackled include overpopulation, dying oceans, pollution, and the greenhouse effect.  Sound familiar? 


Heston, Charlton.  The Actor’s Life:  Journals 1956-1976.  1978.  

______.  In the Arena:  An Autobiography.  1995.

By Kim

Over the Garden Wall: A Favorite (New) Yearly Tradition

On November 3rd of 2014, an animated mini series called Over the Garden Wall was unceremoniously released onto Cartoon Network with almost no fanfare or hype, despite a cast which featured the likes of Elijah Wood, Christopher Lloyd, and John Cleese. The mini-series seemed to simply roll in with the autumn wind and ever since its brief 10-episode run from November 3rd to November 7th, it has become beloved as an autumnal re-watch, building legions of fans with each passing year. So what is it about this humble little “cottage-core” show that has caused it to amass such a massive fan base?

If you have never seen Over the Garden Wall, the story follows two children: Wirt (voiced Elijah Wood) and his much younger half-brother Gregory (voiced by Collin Dean), who have found themselves lost within a mysterious forest called “The Unknown”. With the aide of a talking bluebird named Beatrice (Melanie Lynskey), the boys try to find their way back home through the increasingly weird and spooky situations that each new environment thrusts them into. Each episode is structured around the trio wandering into a radically different area of The Unknown where they will encounter new characters, new problems to solve, and new clues to help solve the overarching mystery of the woods.

(Beatrice, Greg, and Wirt’s first meeting in the mysterious woods)

On paper that may seem like a fairly vague and possibly even “garden-variety” fairytale structure, but the success of Over the Garden Wall comes from its unique voice, proving that how a story is told is just as important as the story itself. Over the Garden Wall is primarily the brainchild of it’s creator and showrunner Patrick McHale, a man who was no stranger to the world of children’s animation or Cartoon Network for that matter. Prior to Over the Garden Wall, McHale had already built a strong relationship with Cartoon Network, previously working on such series as The Misadventures of Flapjack and the cultural phenomenon that was Adventure Time; a show whose style of humor and visual aesthetic still serves as the main influence on the landscape of modern children’s cartoons. It feels important to note Adventure Time, in particular, as it may be the closest comparison point that comes to mind when recommending this series. However, I would argue that the similarities between the two begin and end with their post-modern sense of humor, which bounces back and forth between being completely earnest one moment and joyfully flippant in the next. When it comes to their visual aesthetics, however, the two shows are night and day. Where Adventure Time’s art design is extremely modern, deploying its bright neon color palate to craft an environment so sugary it could give you a cavity, Over the Garden Wall is decidedly old-fashioned and familiar. Many fans have commented on their love for the atmosphere and art design of Over the Garden Wall, specifying that it manages to feel extremely familiar while remaining deceptively hard to identify what is so familiar about it. According to McHale, the show’s aesthetic was the culmination of a variety of different influences “including children’s books of the 1800s, folk art and American music from the early 20th century” (Day, 2014, para. 6). In a 2014 interview with the Los Angeles Times, McHale states “There are a lot of layouts borrowed from Gustav Doré . . . And also from Disney’s early ‘Alice’ shorts” (Day, 2014, para. 7).

For those who may be unaware Gustav Doré was a French illustrator renowned for wood-engraved illustrations. Some examples of his work can be seen in “The Divine Comedy” and “Paradise Lost”. As for the Disney Alice shorts’; in the 1920s, the Walt Disney company made shorts that were half live-action and half animated. Some other notable artistic influences are illustrations from old Hans Christian Andersen stories such as The Tinderbox, the “Dogville Comedies” shorts, vintage Halloween postcards, and chromolithography. All of these different visual influences become enmeshed to create the overall look of the show and it is truly astonishing how well each one fits together and serve to compliment each other. It is this level of care and detail that manages to serve the overall mood of the story; a seemingly warm and friendly mood that contains unexpected complexities and dimensions for both its characters and the story itself.

Visual Influences of Over the Garden Wall

One such added dimension is that the show takes on a noticeably darker tone with each episode, giving its protagonists real stakes and imbuing their circumstances with tangible weight. While a perfectly appropriate show for most families to watch together, there does tend to be some darker elements involving spooky situations or creepy looking monsters that may prove a bit too scary for some of the younger viewers. However, it is these surprisingly darker elements that make the program feel truly unique among much of today’s children’s programs; many of which avoid age-appropriate elements of suspense and horror all together for fear of negative backlash. This well intentioned choice can unfortunately result in content that talks down to children or patronizes them.

While the show arguably never strays too far into the Horror genre, it does allow itself to provide moments of true suspense and age-appropriate scares. This choice is one that is very much fitting with the subject matter of the show. McHale uses the more nightmarish imagery in a way that feels like he is acknowledging the roots of children’s fables from its earliest days. In fact, the majority of well-known children’s fairy tales are often greatly altered from the original versions which were often very horrific. (Look up the original versions of such stories as The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio if you don’t believe me.) While this is fun part of the show’s dynamic, the elements of horror would be nothing without the magic that lies at the heart of the story: the half-brothers Gregory and Wirt.

Moments of horror in Over the Garden Wall

Beyond the horror, beyond the humor, beyond the beautiful painted vistas of the show’s art direction; I believe that Over the Garden Wall has become a beloved piece of pop culture because of the story at its center: a story about the relationship between anxiety-ridden teenager Wirt and his silly, carefree, 5-year old brother Greg. There is something so simple, so elemental about their dynamic that their characters feel practically timeless. While much of their adventures has a humorous tone, the show does build to a truly cathartic and heartfelt conclusion which focuses heavily on the still newly burgeoning relationship between the two half-brothers. McHale and company do a truly great job developing such iconic new characters in Greg and Wirt that you instantly fall in love with; Greg in particular who was voiced by a real child which gives his character a special added layer of authenticity. In fact, even though seasoned veterans of the screen such as Wood and Lynskey deliver excellent performances, it is undeniably 9-year old Collin Dean (Greg) who steals the show.

In trying to synthesize why this mini-series has become a yearly re-watch for so many people, myself included, it is easy to see that there is a lot to love. It is genuinely funny for people of all ages; the art direction for the show is incredible; the central characters are lovable, and the performances are all top notch. But, if we are being completely honest, it’s also probably the fact that the show is brimming with Autumnal imagery and its the perfect thing to get you in the mood for the fall season.

So throw on your comfiest fall sweater, pour yourself some hot apple cider, and curl up with your family to start a new yearly ritual with this seasonal treat!

By Eric


Day, P. K. (2014, October 3). ‘Over the Garden Wall’ gets lost in creator’s imagination. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from ‘Over the Garden Wall’ gets lost in creator’s imagination 

October Adult Book Groups

Our Adult Book Groups are a mix of in person, hybrid, and virtual programs. Please see our October titles and dates below. The online groups are being held via Zoom. We are requiring registration for the book groups in order to send out the Zoom meeting information, if applicable. 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 3, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
Please note: This session will be held via Zoom. Registration is required.

Page Turners Book Group 
Thursday, October 13, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
This session will be a hybrid session, in person or via Zoom.

Comics Unbound Group
Monday, October 17, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
This session will be held via Zoom.

Whodunits Book Group
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
This session will be a hybrid session, in person or via Zoom.

Afternoon Book Group
Wednesday, October 19, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
This session will be held in person in the Burke Room at the Chester County Library. 

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.

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 20 to join the Chester County Library System Board Meeting virtually; or attend in person at the Chester County Library, 450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton, PA. The Chester County Library Board Meeting will immediately follow. Find the Chester County Library Board Packet here.

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 or email to discuss how we may best accommodate your needs.

Chester County Library Housing Fair this Weekend

Chester County Library will host several social service organizations that offer assistance with various housing needs. Stop by the Reference Department between 9:30am-12:30pm to gather information, discover available services, build contacts, and improve your situation. The following organizations will be in attendance:

  • 211/United Way of Chester County
  • Chester County Department of Aging
  • Chester County Department of Community Development
  • Chester County Food Bank
  • CHOP Homeless Health Initiative
  • Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
  • Friends Association for Care & Protection of Children
  • Good Samaritan Services
  • Home of the Sparrow
  • Housing Authority of Chester County
  • Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania
  • Housing Partnership of Chester County
  • North Star of Chester County
  • Open Hearth
  • PECO Outreach
  • Veterans Multi-Service Center

Check back for updates. The event takes place on Saturday, September 17, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Sheri Houpt, a Housing Counselor from the Housing Partnership of Chester County, will also be holding Credit Workshops in the Story Time Room at 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00. Without good credit, it is nearly impossible to secure proper/stable housing, whether renting or purchasing. It can hinder you from securing a job and can impact the amount you pay for loans and insurance. During the workshop, HPCC will cover the basic principles everyone should understand including how credit is reported, the credit bureaus, FICO scores, and how to improve your credit situation.

The mission of the Chester County and Henrietta Hankin Branch Libraries is to provide informational, educational, and cultural services to the residents of Chester County so that they may be lifelong learners. Chester County Library & District Center is located at 450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton, PA. For hours or more information, visit our website at

Multimedia New Releases – September


Celebrate Library Card Sign Up Month with Idina and Cara Menzel

September is Library Card Sign-up Month when libraries nationwide join the American Library Association (ALA) to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

Libraries play a crucial role in the education and development of children, offering a variety of programs to spark creativity and stimulate an interest in reading and learning. Through access to technology, media resources, and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams, explore new passions and interests, and find their voice.

Throughout the school year, public librarians and library staff will assist parents and caregivers with saving hundreds of dollars on educational resources and services for students of all ages. A library card is one of the most cost-effective back-to-school supplies available! For younger children, we offer early literacy resources to help them learn to read and encourage school readiness.

For older children and teens as well as our adult patrons, we provide access to technology and digital tools such as 3D printers, crafting and sewing equipment, STEM kits, laser-cutting, computer programming, self-publishing resources, welding, virtual reality programs, collaborative workspaces, and GED resources. With a library card, families can also borrow one-day passes for free to visit various educational and cultural museums and historic sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware with our Museum Pass Program.

Don’t know what to read next? Let our librarians help you with personal reading suggestions. Perhaps you want to learn a new language or research your family tree.  With the wide knowledge of our Reference librarians and free access to numerous databases such as Mango Languages, Ancestry Library Edition, and The New York Times we have you covered. Apart from our extensive multimedia and book collections and Reference databases, we also offer 24/7 online access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, and magazines with services such as Libby by Overdrive and Flipster. Our Business and Career Center offers job, career, and personal finance resources and workshops as well as free wireless Internet access to the public for use with personal laptops and other mobile devices.

This year, Tony Award-winning performer, actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist Idina Menzel (Frozen, Wicked) and her sister, author, and educator Cara Mentzel, will serve as honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-Up Month. Idina and Cara are excited to remind everyone that one of the best places to find your voice is at the library. During Library Card Sign-Up Month, they want us to explore all the library has to offer, like-new children’s books, access to technology, and educational programming. “It’s a little card that goes a loud way. Let your imagination sing at the library,” said Mentzel.

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, Chester County Library and its Henrietta Hankin Branch, along with libraries everywhere, continues to adapt and expand services to meet the evolving community needs. To sign up for a library card or to learn more about the library’s resources and programs, please visit

The mission of the Chester County Library System is to ensure that every resident has access to exceptional opportunities to read, learn, create, connect and contribute to a better quality of life. For hours or more information regarding our 18 library locations, please visit our website at