Celebrating Juneteenth

On Saturday, June 19, Americans across the country will celebrate the end of slavery.

What is the history of this observance, which is separate from the Emancipation Proclamation? Juneteenth is a day of observance, celebrating Black freedom and culture. On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation into law declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday and naming it Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The end of slavery began on January 1, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but in many states, news traveled slowly and Black Americans were not immediately freed. This was especially true in Texas, the most distant state.

Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, from the Union army, arrived in Galveston, Texas and demanded that enslaved Blacks be set free. Upon hearing the news, Black Americans celebrated their freedom and new rights, including buying land. Slavery was officially abolished on January 31, 1865 when the 13th Amendment was ratified.

To help you learn more about racial justice, here are selected lists of fiction and nonfiction, linked to our print and digital catalogs.


Beloved by Toni Morrison: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora: print, large type, eBook, eAudiobook
Dear Martin by Nic Stone: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Hell of a Book by Jason Mott: print, large type
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison: print, eAudiobook
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin: print, eBook, eAudiobook
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain: print, large type, audiobook player, eBook, eAudiobook
The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham: print, Book Club in a Bag, eBook, eAudiobook
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall: print, eBook, eAudiobook
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: print, book on CD, audiobook player, eBook, eAudiobook
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown: print, eBook, eAudiobook
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook, YA eAudiobook, DVD, Blu-Ray DVD
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib: print, eBook
A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls LaNier and Lisa Frazier Page: print, eBook
The Purpose of Power by Alicia Garza: print, eBook
Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: print, eAudiobook
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson: print, book on CD, audiobook player, eBook

Looking for more? Visit our Black Voices digital collection here.

For print, books on CD, and DVDs, try these keyword searches:
Black independence
End of slavery
Black freedom
Black lives matter
Juneteenth (in Children’s Collections)
Juneteenth (in Adult Book Collections)

You can learn more about Juneteenth at these websites:
National Museum of African American History & Culture

TED Talks discussion on creativity and resilience via Zoom on Tuesday, March 23

Join us on Tuesday, March 23 at 3:00 pm via Zoom for a community discussion of TED Talks on creativity and resilience.

This month’s talks are: “Your Elusive Creative Genius” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative” by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “How to Build Your Creative Confidence” by David Kelley, and “My Year of Saying Yes to Everything” by Shonda Rhimes. Watch these videos at ted.com and bring your thoughts to share!

Haven’t heard of TED Talks before? TED Talks are “short, powerful talks…that cover almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 110 languages.” TED is a nonprofit with a “global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. [TED] believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”

Registration is required. This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Hankin Whodunits to meet via Zoom Wednesday, March 17

The Hankin Whodunits Mystery Book Club will meet via Zoom on Wednesday, March 17 at 1 pm to discuss The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

This classic Sherlock Holmes mystery is the third of four crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and first appeared in 1901 as a serial in The Strand Magazine.

In this story, wealthy landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the parkland surrounding his manor. It seems he died of a heart attack, but the footprints of a huge dog are found near his body, and Holmes must unravel the mystery and ensure the safety of Baskerville’s heir amid rumors of an other-worldly creature haunting the moor – an enormous hound with glowing eyes and jaw.

Registration is required. Copies are on reserve at the Henrietta Hankin Branch. Or visit our catalog here to place a hold in print, large type, CD and DVD formats. Click here to reserve eBook and eAudiobook formats.

This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Virtual Hankin Whodunits Mystery Book Club – Wed, Feb 17 at 1 pm

Please join us for a virtual discussion of My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.

What’s it about? Check out the book blurb from our catalog:

“Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith in this wildly compulsive debut thriller about a couple whose fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…

Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.”

All are welcome! Click here to register.

This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Virtual Adult Winter Reading Book Chat – Tues Feb 16 at 2 pm

Please join us for an informal virtual book chat on Tuesday, February 16 at 2 pm. This month’s themed discussion will be Favorite Nonfiction. We’ll present our favorite nonfiction titles – bring yours too!

All are welcome!

Click here to register.

This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Looking for nonfiction ideas? Find reading recommendations including reviews, lists, articles, and more. Use NoveList Plus to find read-alikes in both fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages. NoveList also has series information, award winners, best-of lists, top ten lists, and much more! Click here to sign in with your library card.

Sign up for our TEDx virtual event on Wed Nov 18 – “Ideas Worth Spreading”

The Henrietta Hankin Branch Library is excited to offer a monthly virtual TEDx program to discuss “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Join us on Wednesday, November 18 at 6 pm to watch a curated selection of TED Talks followed by a community discussion.

This month we are diving into the topic of success with talks like “The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure” and “Should you live for your resume or your eulogy?” Come share your ideas and viewpoints on what success means to you and how these videos impact those views.

Haven’t heard of TED Talks before? TED Talks are “short, powerful talks…that cover almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 110 languages.” TED is a nonprofit with a “global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. [TED] believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.”

Registration is required. This program supports PA Forward Information Literacy.

National Novel Writing Month Author Interview – Jill Weatherholt

Dreaming about writing a novel? NaNoWriMo is a great chance to get your book idea going. This month, aspiring and published authors from around the world have committed to writing 50,000 words in thirty days.

Jill Weatherholt

Today we welcome NaNoWriMo published author Jill Weatherholt, whose Whispering Slopes series began as a NaNoWriMo challenge.

Thank you for joining us, Jill!

Can you tell us about the story you’re writing for NaNoWriMo 2020? The story I will be writing for NaNoWriMo 2020 is the last book in my Whispering Slopes series, the fictional town in the Shenandoah Valley. The hero, a well-known professional bull rider, is injured and returns to his childhood home to seek medical attention out of the spotlight. He’s unaware that his high school sweetheart, and the only woman he ever loved, has moved back to town and is working as a physical therapist. After this book, I plan to move my next series out West where my hero’s brothers currently live.

What is your favorite method of writing — pen and paper or the computer? Why? When I start a story, I like to write with my favorite Mont Blanc pen, given to me by my father. I also use a separate journal for each book. I use the journal to get to know my character’s backstory, their internal and external goals and the story’s setting. I’m not exactly sure why, but writing my ideas makes me feel closer to my characters. Once I have a solid idea and really know my characters, I move to the computer.

What’s the most important part of your writing ritual (e.g. what kind of music do you listen to, favorite snack when writing, motivational quotes, etc.)? I don’t snack while writing, but I do need water and plenty of caffeine. When I first started the Whispering Slopes series, I listened to a lot of John Denver. Now, when I get stuck, I’ll take a break and play one of his CDs. I also listen to a lot of The Carpenters. I know…corny, but their music is perfect for writing romance.

What was your process of editing and preparing your NaNoWriMo manuscript for publication? For me, NaNoWriMo is a time to get a fast, partial draft written. Since the 50k word requirement is less than a full-length novel, additional writing is required after I’ve completed the competition to get to THE END. After that, extensive editing is required before I submit for publication.

Do you have any advice for first time NaNoWriMo participants? Don’t fall behind in your word count. If you keep a steady pace of 1667 words a day, you’ll reach the 50K word goal. Since I work a full-time day job, I write additional words on the weekends and some weekday evenings. Just keep writing! It will be a mess, but that can all be fixed after November.

How did you first hear about or get started with NaNoWriMo? Around 2008 or so, I became obsessed with reading authors’ websites. I loved to read their bios about how they got started writing, interviews, craft books that were helpful and about their writing process. I would even email authors after I’d finish reading their book to let them know how much I enjoyed it. It was always a thrill to receive a response. During that time, I think I stumbled across the website for NaNoWriMo. I participated for the first time in 2010. That story went on to become my first published book in 2017. I didn’t work on it all of those years. In fact, once I completed the 2010 competition, those 50k words sat on my hard drive untouched for many years, but the characters always stayed with me.

What makes you want to continue participating in NaNoWriMo? I’m not a disciplined writer. I need deadlines. If I commit to something, I’ll do it, so NaNoWriMo is perfect for me. In the three times that I’ve participated in the contest, each book has gone on to become published. That’s my biggest motivation to continue to participate.

What authors or books have inspired you to write your own stories? I can’t say there is one author or book that has inspired me to write my stories. I’ve always used writing as a way to relax and ease my worries. In fact, the first short story I ever had published was written after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I remember after her appointment I sat down with a pen and tablet and wrote a story about a lighthouse keeper’s daughter whose father had Alzheimer’s. It was my way of processing what was happening to my family. There is inspiration all around us. We just need to pull away from our devices and take notice.

About Jill Weatherholt

By day, Jill Weatherholt works for the City of Charlotte. At night, and on the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness for Harlequin Love Inspired. Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, but her heart belongs to Virginia. She holds a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and Paralegal Studies Certification from Duke University. She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Their relationship grew on the golf course, and now they have one in their backyard.

Jill loves to connect with readers at JillWeatherholt.com.

About NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel. NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit organization since 2006, supports writing fluency and education. Their website hosts more than a million writers, serving as a social network with author profiles, personal project libraries, and writing buddies.

NaNoWriMo Programs and Links from Chester County Library and the Henrietta Hankin Branch.

It’s not too late to get started with NaNoWriMo! Click here for resources, tips, information about our month-long Write-Ins, and a free virtual Writer’s Emergency Kit.

Virtual Hankin Whodunits Mystery Book Club – Wednesday, November 18

The Hankin Whodunits Mystery Book Club will meet via Zoom on Wednesday, November 18 at 1 pm to discuss The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian.

Join us as we discuss this exciting thriller mystery, soon to be an HBO series, premiering November 26. You can watch the trailer here.

What’s it about?

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police – she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home – Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

Copies of The Flight Attendant are available at the Henrietta Hankin Branch Circulation Desk. You can also reserve a print copy to pick up at a different library here.

Register here to join the fun! This program supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

New virtual program: Making Your Money Last – Wed Oct 28 at 6 pm

Have you retired recently? Are you planning to retire soon? Sign up for Making Your Money Last, Wednesday, October 28 at 6 pm.

This virtual presentation discusses ideas to help build a reasonable and sustainable strategy for managing income and expenses during retirement. We’ll explore how to address key concerns such as inflation, health care expenses and market volatility as well as ways to prepare for things that may not go as expected. Provided by Edward Jones.

Click here to register. This program supports PA Forward Financial Literacy.