The Gillespies on the Library: Something for Everyone!

Discover how BCPL customers use the library in this new blog post series.

Avid readers John and Joanne Gillespie, who have been married for 65 years, joined the library when they moved to Florence in 2007. A self-proclaimed lifetime reader, Joanne chooses her books based on the subject. She loves Amish books and Southern historical fiction. John prefers his books action-packed and favors authors like James Patterson, John Grisham and Lee Child. He brought a bit of that action to his real life when he went skydiving last year at 90.

GillespieJohn, 91, really didn’t start reading until after he retired from a long and varied work life. He served in the Navy during World War II from 1943-46 as a gunner’s mate. He worked as a lineman for Cincinnati Bell for almost three years, owned a Mom and Pop store and drove a truck on a local route for 35 years. He has made up for lost time by reading 700 books since retiring. He keeps track of all the books he has read and wants to read in a notebook.

Not to be outdone, Joanne, 89, also keeps a notebook listing what she has read, and it is alphabetized. Even though the couple raised four children, Joanne was never a stay-at-home mother. She worked as a nurse for 50 years at St. Elizabeth in Covington, then spent 17 years as a teacher at the Northern Kentucky Vocational School.

“We couldn’t do without the library,” said Joanne. “We appreciate everything about it. We love the people. We love this branch (Florence).”

“Everyone treats us respectfully,” John added. “The people here are very courteous and helpful. They suggest authors and book series. If they don’t have something, they will get it for you (from another branch or through an interlibrary loan).”

According to Joanne, “There’s something for everyone at the library, no matter what age they are.”


A Circulation Assistant at the Florence Branch, Suzanne Yowler started her career in journalism and public relations. She established her free-lance writing business after her first son was born almost 20 years ago. English was always Suzanne’s best subject and she considers herself a Grammar Queen.

Some Easy Recipe-Free Ideas for School Lunches

The month of August for many parents is associated with back to school. And back to school starts us thinking about the lunch box. Packing the lunch box the first week of school is actually fun, and we are all inspired with cute notes and creative foods. But let’s be realistic. By week three, we are out of ideas and a peanut butter sandwich becomes the daily staple. Here are some easy recipe-free lunch ideas that will put a smile on your child’s face midway through the school day and energize them for the second half.



Traditional lunch meat sandwiches lose their flair after the first week of school. These healthy choice sandwich ideas will brighten up the lunch box.

  • Cream cheese and strawberry jam or sliced strawberries
  • Peanut Butter and sliced apples or bananas
  • Cucumber Sandwiches – mix cream cheese and ranch powder. Spread on mini bread and top with thinly sliced cucumber (or any veggies)
  • Sandwich on a stick – turkey/chicken squares, cheese squares, grape tomatoes, pickles, bread squares and other favorites served on a skewer

Cookie cutters give fun shapes to bread. Kids love to open their lunch box to a flower or airplane shaped sandwich. The cookie cutters also eliminates the crust that so many kids don’t like.

Roll-ups are something fun and easy to eat and kids think they’re cool!

  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups – slice a part-skim mozzarella cheese stick in 4 strips and wrap a piece of lettuce and turkey around each
  • Salami and cream cheese roll-ups

Tortillas of any flavor can be a substitute for bread when trying to change things up.

  • Spread any flavor Laughing Cow cheese, line with ham and pineapple, and fold into a wrap.
  • Spread cream cheese, add turkey and cranberries, and fold into a wrap.
  • Spread hummus, line with favorite lunch meats and veggies, and fold into a wrap.


Kid-Friendly Assemble
Of course there are many mornings where everyone is running behind and there is no time to prep. Here is a list of foods that your child can assemble at the lunch table.

  • Yogurt and fruit with a small cup of dry cereal to pour on top
  • Wheat crackers with cheese spread
  • Pretzel bagels with cream cheese spread
  • Whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter
  • Whole wheat English Muffin with jam spread
  • Pizza – wheat crackers, pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, shredded cheese
  • Raw veggies with ranch or hummus
  • Mini salad – lettuce with a few veggies and raspberry vinaigrette dressing for a sweet taste

Pot Of Tomato And Coriander Salsa With A Corn Tortilla Chip
Always remember that a lunch box is not complete without dessert!

  • Sliced apples with caramel dip
  • Salsa with pita chips or fruit salsa with cinnamon chips
  • Fruit salad with mini dark chocolate chips
  • Trail Mix – popcorn, nuts, raisins, pretzels, M&Ms


Creative Parents
If you are the parent that thrives on putting together a creative lunch, be sure to check out the following books from Boone County Public Library.  You’re sure to win your child’s heart!

  • Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa.
  • The Lunch Box by Kate McMillan and Sarah Putman Clegg
  • Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford

What great lunch box ideas do you have to share with other parents?


Jennifer Cheek has worked for Boone County Public Library for 5 years. A graduate from the College of Mount St. Joseph focusing on English and Communications, she previously worked in Advertising/Media Buying and still continues as a freelancer.