Tales from the Castle

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Hello and Welcome!

By Sarah Mayzum, Program Manager

Hello and welcome to the Wagnalls Memorial Library’s new blog Tales from the Castle. We hope this blog will help you get to know our staff, keep up to date on library events and be a place for you to visit for reading recommendations and more!

I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Sarah and I am the Program Manager here. I am so excited that we will soon be able to have in-person programming again. I would love to hear your ideas about programs you would like to see at the library. Maybe you have a special skill or interest and would like to present a program? Please email me with any and all ideas! My email is smayzum@wagnalls.org.

To kick off the blog, I would like to talk about one of my favorite programs we hosted here at Wagnalls - the Bigfoot presentation. Marc DeWerth, a local Bigfoot expert, had approached me about hosting a Bigfoot presentation at Wagnalls. He was particularly interested in our rural location and gathering any stories from local residents that might have had encounters. I am a huge fan of unexplained phenomena and immediately said yes! We advertised the program, not knowing what to expect in terms of attendance. The big day finally came and people started showing up over an hour early to get a good seat. People drove in from all over the state. Many of them had Bigfoot t-shirts. I learned there is quite the community of Bigfoot enthusiasts! We had set up chairs for 100 people and there was standing room only by the time the program started. Marc is an amazing performer: he is a true expert and hilarious to boot. He spoke of his own Bigfoot sighting as well. Then he opened the floor for questions. Many in the audience had come to share their own encounters. It seemed like were happy to be validated in their stories and hear that others have had similar experiences. Marc even left a gift to the library - a plaster cast of a footprint from the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot sighting film.

I recently read the novel Devolution by Max Brooks, who is also the author of World War Z. Devolution is about a Bigfoot attack in a remote community cut off from communication with the outside world due to the explosion of Mt. Rainier. It is told through a diary that is a firsthand account of the attack. It is a very suspense, tension-building story. You can feel the residents becoming more and more desperate as the Bigfoot community gets closer and closer to their homes. It is a fast-paced book that is very different than the books I usually read, but I enjoyed it a lot.

If you are looking for a lighter read, consider Bound to Bigfoot by Ellen Fritz. This book, found in our teen section, portrays Bigfoot as a shape shifter who can appear in human form. There is romance in the book, reminiscent of the Twilight series.

Finally, if you are interested in a more scientific approach, try Cryptid Creatures: a Field Guide by Kelly Milner Halls. This book examines the scientific evidence that exists for many types of mysterious creatures, from Bigfoot to the Mothman.

More Tales from the Castle

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Summer Reading Book Reviews - Week Five

Stop in the library to complete our last Summer Reading activity for this year and learn about Esperanto, a language near and dear to our founder Mabel's heart.  While you are in the library, considering checking out or reserving one of the books recommended by our patrons!

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Summer Reading Book Reviews - Week Four

In addition to book reviews, Wagnalls has activities for teens and adults in the library and grounds each week during Summer Reading.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Summer Reading Book Reviews - Week Three

Our patrons really came through with book reviews this week! It makes our librarian hearts happy to see so many people passionate about reading and sharing with others!

Tuesday, 06 July 2021

Summer Reading Book Reviews - Week Two

More book reviews from our patrons!

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Summer Reading Book Reviews - Week One

One of the ways for teens and adults to earn a chance to win a prize in Wagnalls' Summer Reading Program is to provide a book review of a book you have recently read, with the option for that book review to be featured in our blog.  This week we are sharing reviews from Pam, Katherine and Denise.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Outdoor Fairy Gardens

Our local gardeners, including the Fairfield County Master Gardeners and the Wagnalls Teen Garden Club, have made the Wagnalls gardens a magical place to explore.  Be sure to check out the many colorful flowers in bloom right now and all summer long!  Where the 1992 library addition now stands was once the house of Dr. Edward Roller, a beloved local doctor who maintained beautiful gardens and built all of the stone structures you see in our gardens with rocks he brought back from his travels.  We do our best to lovingly maintain his legacy.  

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Library Fairy Gardens

In the midst of the pandemic last fall and winter, I wanted something bright and cheerful to occupy my mind, so I cobbled together some knickknacks I had at home and ended up with a little fairy library in a lantern.

Tuesday, 08 June 2021

10 Speed Bikes and Other Vehicles to Becoming a Life-Long Reader

This week’s blog comes to us from Amy Hesterman, our newest Wagnalls employee. Amy will be working on Library Outreach programs for Bloom Carroll Schools and the local community. She comes to us from a 11-year career as teacher-librarian at Madison Christian School. She writes about one of the original modes of library outreach - the Book Mobile.

Tuesday, 01 June 2021

Mabel and Houdini

Hi, this is my first blog for Tales from the Castle, so I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Carol Gaal but a lot of people know me as Mabel – yes, Mabel Wagnalls, the woman who built the Memorial to honor her parents, Adam and Anna Wagnalls! About ten years ago, I was asked to start giving tours of this amazing building. Since I didn’t know anything about the history of the Memorial I started digging into the family’s story – and well, one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was giving tours of the building as Mabel. I’ve got to tell you, the more I learn about Mabel and her family the more I enamored I become with them!

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

A Community Hero

With Memorial Weekend fast approaching did you know The Wall that Heals (the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial) will be in Columbus this Friday, May 28th through 2:00 pm on Memorial Day?  I never would have known if the information wasn’t delivered directly to my library email. The message came from Michael Croan of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.   I only know Michael through a local resident and loyal patron of Wagnalls, Mr. Alan Wallace.  The email was to inquire if Al planned to visit the traveling memorial.  Al is a true community hero that served as a medic in Vietnam and then volunteered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Maybe you have seen him or heard one of his stories when you stopped in to pick up books. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Norman Rockwell

Beloved American artist Norman Rockwell has strong connection with The Wagnalls Memorial. The Literary Digest started publishing in 1890 by Adam Wagnalls and Isaac Funk, “Funk & Wagnalls”. In the 1920s, their covers carried full-color reproductions of famous paintings. Norman Rockwell art graced the cover of The Literary Digest 48 times. The Wagnalls Memorial owns two of those covers, The Old Couple and Smiles in Belgium Once More.  These original paintings are on permanent display in the building.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021


I have a daughter in college. She goes to Florida State University (I am so jealous that she has no real winter!). Even with the distance between us, she will text or call me almost every day. Recently she texted me “I have an idea for your library”. I asked her what it was and she replied “BookTok!”.

Tuesday, 04 May 2021

Mary Ann Johnston Collection

Check out the Mary Ann Johnston Collection! One of our library’s unique collections focuses on herbs, yoga, alternative medicine, diet, holistic medicine, macrobiotics, and more thanks to the generous bequest of Mary Ann Johnston.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

A New Book Club is Coming to Wagnalls!

About four years ago, I was asked to take over the Adult Book Club, because Carol Gaal wasn’t able to continue overseeing the group. I said sure, then I panicked. I’d never been in a book club. What did they do at those monthly meetings? How did they pick their books? What if they found my leadership unacceptable? What if, what if, what if..

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Happy Birthday Mabel!

On April 20th, we celebrate the birthday of our founder, Mabel Wagnalls Jones. Even though she was born in Kansas City, to the village of Lithopolis, she will always be “Our Mabel.” Both of Mabel’s parents were born here, and Mabel grew up visiting Lithopolis and hearing her mother say she wanted to do something special for the little town that had never had anything done for it. The Wagnalls Memorial was born of this dream.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to the Wagnalls Memorial Library’s new blog Tales from the Castle. We hope this blog will help you get to know our staff, keep up to date on library events and be a place for you to visit for reading recommendations and more!