Rags to Riches: the compelling life story of Julie Henning

Chester Springs at Henrietta Hankin Branch Library — This spring marks 90 years since author Pearl S. Buck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her moving story of the joys and hardships of the Chinese peasant farmer Wang Lung and his family in her classic novel The Good Earth.  The celebrated author and humanitarian spent the last 40 years of her life living in Perkasie, PA.  During this time, she used her fame to shed light on the rights of marginalized communities including people of color, people with disabilities, women, biracial children, and immigrants.  Through her establishment of Pearl S. Buck International, many actions have, and continue to be made to help those affected by these issues.

On May 23rd from 6:30-7:30, the Henrietta Hankin Library will welcome the adopted daughter of Pearl S. Buck, Julie Henning, to give a talk on her life’s journey from an existence of hardship and poverty in the streets of Busan, South Korea, to a world of plenty, both spiritually and materially, in a house with a white picket fence in Souderton, Pennsylvania.  Ms. Henning gives her own unique perspective on Pearl Buck as a mother and guiding light.  As the daughter of an American G.I., whom she never knew, and her South Korean mother, Ms. Henning has also addressed issues faced by Amerasians through newspaper articles, radio interviews, national television, and U.S. Congressional hearings. 

At the urging of friends and family, Ms. Henning has documented her life story in a book, A Rose in a Ditch, which was published in 2019.  This book, which is now being made into a movie, will be available for purchase and signing at the event!  Come to hear the compelling story of Julie Henning’s life.  This program will be accessible virtually as well as in person in the Annex of the library.

We hope you will join us for this special event.  Register here. This event supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Library Volunteers Celebrated During National Volunteer Week!

(EXTON, PA) April 17th – 23rd is National Volunteer Week.  Here at Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch Library, we are honoring all of our volunteers who so generously shared their time and talent with us during the last year.

This community of volunteers contributes daily to the efficient and smooth running of both libraries. Many volunteers have over twenty years of service, a tribute to library volunteerism. They are, indeed, the backbone of the libraries. This year we are celebrating 26 volunteers who have achieved 500, 1,000, and 2,500 hours of volunteer service for 2019 and 2021.  Many of them worked alongside staff throughout the pandemic – a testament to their dedication and service.

500-hour recipients have selected a book that is special to each of them and we have inserted a bookplate in their names; 1,000-hour recipients have received the much-coveted ‘Share the Gift of Reading’ pin; and last but certainly not least, those who have served 2,500 hours will receive a brass plate on the 2,500 Hour Plaque of Fame that can be found at new Reference/Multimedia Desk on the first floor of the library.  We have also created a special wall display in the Lobby Area at Chester County Library in Exton honoring these volunteers which will be up until April 30th.

We are fortunate to have such a strong service-oriented community and the Library Staff and the Board of Trustees are grateful for the enduring service of all its volunteers. For more information about the Chester County Library & Henrietta Hankin Branch Library volunteer program, email the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteerprgm@ccls.org.

A Celebration of Pearl S. Buck at Henrietta Hankin Branch Library

CHESTER SPRINGSThis spring marks 90 years since author Pearl S. Buck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her moving story of the joys and hardships of the Chinese peasant farmer Wang Lung and his family in her classic novel The Good Earth.  The Henrietta Hankin Branch Library has two programs planned to celebrate the author and humanitarian, who spent the last 40 years of her life living in Perkasie, PA.  During this time, she used her fame to shed light on the rights of marginalized communities including people of color, people with disabilities, women, biracial children, and immigrants.  Through her establishment of Pearl S. Buck International, many actions have, and continue to be made to help those affected by these issues.

On Thursday, April 14th, from 7:00-8:30 p.m., the Page Turners will have a very special discussion of The Good Earth hosted by members of the Pearl S. Buck Book Discussion Group.  This group has been meeting since the 1970s at the Pearl S. Buck House museum in Perkasie. Cindy Louden serves as the Discussion Facilitator as well as Chair of the Pearl S. Buck Writing Center.  Most of its members are House Docents and Volunteers who serve in many roles assisting Pearl S. Buck International to further the legacy of the organization’s founder, improve the lives of children, and promote international and cross-cultural understanding. Whether you’ve read the book recently, fifty years ago, or never quite got the chance, join us to learn more about Pearl S. Buck and the book that earned her both the Pulitzer and the Nobel prizes.

On May 23rd from 6:30-7:30 p.m., the Henrietta Hankin Library will welcome the adopted daughter of Pearl S. Buck, Julie Henning, to give a talk on her life’s journey from an existence of hardship and poverty in the streets of Busan, South Korea, to a world of plenty, both spiritually and materially, in a house with a white picket fence in Souderton, Pennsylvania.  Ms. Henning gives her own unique perspective on Pearl Buck as a mother and guiding light.  As the daughter of an American G.I., whom she never knew, and her South Korean mother, Ms. Henning has also addressed issues faced by Amerasians through newspaper articles, radio interviews, national television, and U.S. Congressional hearings.  At the urging of friends and family, Ms. Henning has documented her life story in a book, A Rose in a Ditch, which was published in 2019.  This book, which is now being made into a movie, will be available for purchase and signing at the event!  Come to hear the compelling story of Julie Henning’s life.  This program will be accessible virtually as well as in-person in the Annex of the library.

We hope you will join us at one or both of these events.  Register here.

This event supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Chester County Library Welcomes New Director

New Director of Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch, Mary Gazdik

Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch have announced Mary Gazdik as its next library director. She will succeed Marguerite Dube, who retired at the end of April after 20 years with the organization.

Gazdik’s understanding of a library’s role in the community comes with over 20 years of prior experience and proven accomplishments providing innovative library services to the community and building great teams that help execute exemplary customer service. Before joining Chester County Library, she was the director at Middletown Free Library in Delaware County for ten years. Before this, Gazdik was the Library Director in Narbeth and a Head Librarian at the Glenside Library in the Cheltenham Library system (both in Montgomery County).

Joe Sherwood, Executive Director for Chester County Library System, praised Gazdik’s “extensive experience as a public library director—starting her career as a Teen Librarian before moving into the administration of small and medium-sized libraries. She brings a mix of service to various constituencies with a thorough knowledge of library services.”

“In her variety of positions, she has pushed for better customer contact to technology and formats. Particularly her work at the forefront of public libraries’ maker spaces and the advancement of new technology access for the public shows that she has the vision to lead the Chester County Library & District Center into the future,” Sherwood said.

Gazdik started her new role on January 31st. Her responsibilities will include all aspects of library operations, future strategy and direction, donor relations, and fundraising. “As I start my new role, I am most looking forward to getting to know the community and staff and to continue the wonderful work the library has been doing in building strategic partnerships with other community organizations and leaders,” said Gazdik. “I am especially excited to share my passion for maker spaces and creative learning in libraries and the way they connect people through curiosity and discovery.”

Library staff and the Library Board of Trustees are equally delighted to welcome Mary as the new Director for Chester County Library. Chester County Library System Board President JoAnn Weinberger said of Gazdik’s appointment: “On behalf of the entire Board, we have the utmost confidence that this appointment as Director for Chester County Library will be one of continued success, always keeping our library community at the forefront of technology, programs, and future initiatives. Mary’s proven track record of leadership and management demonstrates the critical skills needed as we strive to provide the highest quality and diversity of programs and services our community wants.”

A Virtual Novel Tea Event with #1 NYT Bestselling Author, Erik Larson

Ticket sales are now open for our greatly-anticipated, virtual Novel Tea event on Wednesday, March 9, at 7 p.m. featuring #1 NYT bestselling author, Erik Larson, also known for works such as Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, and The Devil in the White City which is set to be a Hulu limited series.  Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts is also currently under option by Tom Hanks, for a feature film.

This will be a LIVE virtual interview with Erik Larson where he discusses his newest book, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz which is a bestselling 2020 work of narrative nonfiction (and due for release in paperback this February) – recounting Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister of Great Britain—a year marked by the Nazi bombing of England (the Blitz). Britain’s top naval official, Churchill is chosen as prime minister on May 10, 1940, amid widespread discontent with the current leader, Neville Chamberlain. On Churchill’s first day as prime minister, the Nazis invade Holland and Belgium, portending an anguished war on the continent. Larson uses letters, diaries, archival documents, and other primary sources to reconstruct the day-to-day lives of Churchill, his family, and his inner circle—and in doing so, shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.”

Visit https://bit.ly/LarsonLibrary for more event information, online registration, and ticket sales which opens on Monday, January 24 – March 8. Two ticket options consist of: a $55 Premium Tea Ticket which includes a library branded tea tin, chocolates, a signed novel, a book club discussion kit, and tea to enjoy at home while watching a live interview with Erik Larson. In purchasing a Basic Ticket for $35, you will receive a signed novel, a book club discussion kit, and a link to view the live stream.

Proceeds collected during this Novel Tea fundraiser support your local library within Chester County and we are very excited to be collaborating with Reads & Company Bookshop, in Phoenixville, for this event.  Your contribution promotes and celebrates reading and writing, but also raises needed funds for the library to meet the changing needs of the community we serve. Your support helps your local library consistently provide opportunities to read, learn, create, connect, and support individual well-being. In doing so you are strengthening your community! Be sure to join us for an enthralling evening!

Chester County Library’s 10th Annual Holiday Craft Fair This Weekend

Make it a homemade holiday!

The holiday season is a busy time of year. Family gatherings and finding the perfect gift for loved ones can be frustrating and stressful. With time being a precious commodity, remember that the library can be your best destination to find all of your family entertainment, holiday de-stressors, and party planning ideas, as well as unique, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for everyone on your list! The Chester County Library will be hosting its 10th annual Craft Show this Saturday, December 11th, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Vendors will be set up throughout the library to display and sell their crafts just in time for the holidays. We have a great selection of vendors this year that you can view here! Save some holiday shopping and enjoy browsing our vendors who will include makers of personalized ornaments, jewelry, pottery, woodworking, knit and fabric crafts, bath and body products, home décor, baked goods, and more!

The Craft Show is free to attend. We look forward to helping you out with your gift search during this holiday season!

Giving Tuesday is November 30th

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on November 30, 2021.

It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. The Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch Library are proud to serve as your community center and provide resources for computer skills, job searches, genealogy, writing workshops, and so much more.

Please help us to uphold this tradition by donating here. http://tinyurl.com/ccltrust

Diwali: the Festival of Lights

Diwali is a celebration of major significance to many in our community who are of Indian heritage.  Would you like to learn more about the significance of the celebration here and around the world and also take part in a fun traditional craft? 

Henrietta Hankin Branch Library will be hosting a virtual educational program on this topic presented by the Dr. Preetha Kesari on Friday, November 5th, from 7:00 – 8:00 pm.   Dr. Kesari’s presentation will explain what Diwali is, how it is celebrated all over the world, and what it symbolizes to the Indian population.  This will include descriptions of origin stories from Hindu mythology pertaining to Diwali and progress to explain Diwali’s current economic and political significance.  

Born and raised in India, Dr. Kesari came to the United States in 1988 to pursue a degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.  She has been practicing dentistry in Chester County since graduating in 1992. Having celebrated Diwali her entire life, Dr. Kesari is very passionate about educating those in her community about this very special celebration.  She has presented in the past for various community organizations including the YMCA and Camphill Village Kimberton Hills. 

In addition to her dental career and raising a family, Dr. Kesari enjoys doing pottery and creating porcelain sculptures for her nonprofit organization, Supreeti Creations.  Following her presentation and a question and answer period, Dr. Kesari will share her pottery and crafting skills to lead participants through a demonstration of traditional techniques for decorating diyas, the oil lamps made from clay often used as part of the celebration of Diwali.  Registered participants can stop by the Reference Desk at Henrietta Hankin Branch Library to pick up a craft kit consisting of a clay diya made by Dr. Kesari and painting supplies.  These craft kits will be available in the week preceding the program, from Friday, October 29th through November 5th, while supplies last. 

Register for this special event here

This event supports PA Forward Civic and Social Literacy.

Let’s Go To Exton Park

Enjoy the beautiful fall weather, take a stroll around Exton Park, (located at Swedesford Rd. and Church Farm Ln.) and explore our StoryWalk® where we have just installed a new book “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts. Jeremy’s story shows diversity in family structures, economic funds, need vs. want, giving, and friendship and is beautifully illustrated by Noah Z. Jones.

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 www.ccls.org and click on “Find an Event”.