Keith Howard: Wood Sculptor and Painter – on display at the Curt Bessette Art Gallery

Keith Howard: Wood Sculptor and Painter is the latest featured artist in The Curt Bessette Art Gallery at the Main Library in Burlington. Keith is a self-taught artist who has worked over the years in many different mediums, including pencil, watercolor, and wood. His subjects primarily include landscapes of old barns, lighthouses, animals, and portraits. Keith has painted a number of well-known local points of interest. He even was the artist that had the honor of re-creating the sign for the Rabbit Hash General Store after their 1997 flood!

As a wood sculptor, Keith carves tree spirits and tree trolls. His wood carvings have been featured in several magazines. In 2011, one of his carvings even made the front cover of Woodcarving Illustrated. According to the June 2011 Boone Community Recorder, Keith began woodcarving in 1985 after being inspired by one he found in an Indiana shop. He only carves tree spirits because “if you try to dabble in too many things, you get confused and sidetracked.”

Don’t miss Keith’s work displayed through Saturday, February 27 at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington. The gallery is located on the first floor, behind the service desk. It is open during library hours.

Interested in learning more about woodcarving?  Check out BCPL’s collection on woodcarving.

The Curt Bessette Art Gallery opened its doors in 2019 to local artists in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati community.  If you or someone you know is interested in displaying work at the Main Library, please visit our Art Gallery page. More information on exhibit guidelines, exhibit request forms, upcoming shows, and a biography of Curt Bessette are included on this site. Join us for this artistic opportunity at the Library!


Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Event Liaison and coordinate the Curt Bessette Art Gallery.


All Creatures Great and Small – A Homage and Reflections From a Fan

In 2005 I had the pleasure of speaking at the Annual Conference of the British and Irish Association of Law Libraries held in Harrogate, England. Located in North Yorkshire, Harrogate might be familiar to those of you who have watched the BBC program Last Tango in Halifax.  Harrogate is also where Agatha Christie was found when she mysteriously disappeared in 1926. And, yes, I did visit the hotel, now the Old Swan, where she was found.

More importantly for me, it is only a short drive from Harrogate to Thirsk, the home of James Herriot, author of All Creatures Great and Small. As a fan of both James Herriot’s books and the television show which premiered in 1978, this speaking commitment gave me the opportunity to engage in a bit of All Creatures Great and Small fandom.

So as PBS is set to air a remake of the 1978 show, I thought I’d share some photos and thoughts on my visit to Herriot Country.

A thirty-seven minute drive from Harrogate, Thirsk is a lovely market town in North Yorkshire and was the home of James Alfred Wight who wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. While there, I visited the home and surgery (Skeldale House in the books) of this famous veterinarian.  And of course the experience would not be complete without some stereotypical English weather, as evidenced by my photos.  For me, the rain was no deterrent.

The World of James Herriot is a museum where fans can visit the Herriot home, view the sets used in the television adaptation of the books, and see Herriot Memorabilia.

Of course, I took full advantage of my visit to be the ultimate tourist, so here I am with one of the books’ most endearing characters, Mrs. Pumphrey (portrayed by the late Diana Rigg in the reboot), and her beloved Pekingese, Triki Woo.

On display to view (and at that time sit-in) is the 1934 Austin Seven Tourer used in the show’s opening credits.

While Dr. Herriot took care of a myriad of animals, from the smallest of kittens to the largest of cows, it was his veterinary partner, Siegfried Farnon, who had a love of horses. As luck would have it, on the day that I was visiting Thirsk, there happened to be races at the Thirsk Racecourse. As a proud lifelong Kentuckian, I of course headed to the races to place my bet, and to see how different a track in England might be as compared to our own Keeneland and Churchill Downs.

Perhaps right now, as the Pandemic has given us all a sense of weariness, James Herriot’s books, for me, bring to mind a time when things seemed simpler and kinder, and we moved at a slower pace. Of course, that may be looking at history through a rose-colored lens. Or, maybe because I currently do not have a pet, having seen my 20-year-old cat Gracie pass away in early December, I enjoy reading about the animals under the care of the veterinarians at Skeldale House.

If you too are already a fan of All Creatures Great and Small, I hope my trip to Herriot Country has inspired you to reread the books or to watch the series.  If you weren’t a fan before, I hope that I’ve brought you on board. Through Boone County Public Library, you can search the catalog to find the books and DVDs, as well as eBooks in our Digital Collection.

So, brew a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and sit back and enjoy the antics of James, Siegfried, and Tristan as they traipse across the Yorkshire Dales taking care of all creatures great and small.

In addition to the many options in BCPL’s collection, the PBS series premiere is Sunday, January 10, 2021 on Masterpiece. 

Amy Beckham Foster is the Scheben Branch Manager.  Prior to working at Boone County Public Library, she was a Law Librarian having most recently worked at the University of Kentucky College of Law Library. When not working, Amy loves to exercise, read and travel…especially to Great Britain. 

Meet Andrea Callan – A Librarian Traveler!

My name is Andrea Callan and I’ve been a Reference Librarian at the Scheben Branch since August 2020. You will often see me working at the reference desk or delivering books as part of curbside delivery.

I grew up just across the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. My very first “library job” was as a summer intern in the children’s department at the Lawrenceburg Public Library
District. I volunteered there every summer from 5th grade until 11th grade. I got the chance to help kids find books, sign up for summer reading, and read for the occasional Storytime. It helped spark my interest in libraries that continued into the future.

After graduating high school, I went to Ivy Tech Community College and got an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and then moved to Evansville, Indiana to attend the University of Southern Indiana. I stayed there for about 1.5 years and then finally settled at Northern Kentucky University. In 2009 I graduated from NKU with a Bachelor in English Literature. The following year I began working part-time at the Scheben Branch as a Page. Eventually, I moved over to the Main Library and worked in the Reference Department.

In the 3 years I worked at BCPL my co-workers encouraged me with their support and inspired me to make the Library a part of my career. My co-workers are the reason I love BCPL so much. Eventually, I decided to go back to school for a Master’s in Library Science so I could become a Librarian.

I had lived most of my life in the Greater Cincinnati area. However, on a whim, I decided to apply to a graduate school in Ireland. Ireland holds a special place in my heart because my family originally comes from Ireland. Much to my surprise, I was accepted into the University College Dublin’s Master of Library and Information Studies program. I was moving to Ireland!

I spent one amazing year studying in Ireland. I met people from all over the world. I learned a lot about Irish culture, did a lot of traveling through Europe, and had one of the most life-changing experiences of my life. One of the things I love about Europe is how easy it is to travel. In my time there I traveled to France, Great Britain, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I also did a lot of traveling through much of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher was my favorite place I trekked in Ireland.

I’m also a fan of visiting odd places so in the year I was living abroad I visited the St. Michan’s Church crypt in Dublin and touched the hand of a mummy which was a few hundreds-year old! Another interesting trip I took was to visit the tunnel network of the Paris Catacombs, which is the home to millions of skeletal remains buried beneath the streets of Paris.

Sadly, library jobs are scarce in Ireland so after living there for a year and graduating with First Class Honors, I made my way back to the United States. What an adventure, it’s been over 6 years and I still miss Ireland! I was happy to be home with my family, but I missed all the friends I had made during my time there. Though I moved back to the US, I didn’t return to Northern Kentucky yet but landed in Charlotte, North Carolina. I spent the next several years working as a Librarian and Programmer at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. This opportunity gave me the chance to broaden my customer service skills, work with a diverse community, and grow as a Librarian. At the beginning of this year I decided I needed a change, I had been living by myself in Charlotte for over 5 years and had begun to miss my family and Cincinnati. Luckily for me, a Librarian position opened up at the Scheben Branch and I began the next chapter of my career in August of 2020.

When I’m not at work I like to spend time with my family. I have a 13-pound cat named, Chester and a 3.5-pound chihuahua, named Agnes. I also enjoy watching British crime dramas and Chinese Fantasy television shows, also known as xianxia or wuxia (check out the Untamed on Netflix as a recommendation). I also love to read manga and urban fantasy.

One last thing, a couple of years after I moved back to the US I decided to see how “Irish” I really was, and much to my surprise I’m not as Irish as I thought (only 10%, I’m mostly British/Scottish)! That’s okay, I still feel Irish. Slán! (Translates to “be healthy” and Irish for goodbye).

Meet Summer Smith – Lover of Literature!

Hi, everybody! My name is Summer Smith, and I’ve been with BCPL for a little over a year. I’m a Circulation Assistant, and I work at the Walton Branch. If you ever stop by, you’ll probably see me at the front desk helping patrons with whatever they need. I’ve always wanted to work at the Walton Branch in some capacity. I used to spend long nights there in high school, working on PowerPoint presentations, or wrapping up midterm papers. The staff was always so friendly, and I loved the idea of working with people who loved reading just as much as I did. So last year, when I saw that the Walton Branch was finally hiring, I jumped at the chance. And it worked out!

I grew up in Walton with my parents and went to Walton-Verona High School. After I graduated, I attended Thomas More College where I majored in English with a
concentration in Literary Studies. While there, I also dipped my toe into acting, performing in plays such as “Macbeth” and “Frankenstein.” My time at TMC is so special to me because it’s where I met my partner, Jaime.

After leaving TMC, I received my Master’s in English from Northern Kentucky University. That was one of my proudest achievements. I love dissecting literature and discovering
hidden meanings and theories that no one else has thought of or looking at a piece of work through the lens of someone other than myself. One day, I hope to go back to school and receive my Ph.D. in English Literature. But right now, I’m happy working at
BCPL and helping our patrons achieve their own literary goals.

Outside of work, you’ll find me gardening, knitting (ask me about the time I had to knit two “Moby Dick” scarves), snuggling with my cat, and watching — and making fun of —
Hallmark movies with my best friend. Also, like many others, I’ve spent the majority of quarantine binging shows on Netflix. So, if you need someone to talk about “Schitt’s Creek” or “The Office”, I’m your girl.

I never would have imagined that my first year at BCPL would turn out quite like this. With everything that’s happened, it’s been quite a roller coaster. However, I am so thankful for the work that I’m doing and to be working with such a wonderful group of strong women. My co-workers have shown nothing but kindness toward myself and our patrons. They are my favorite part about working at BCPL, and I can’t wait for the day when we all get to work together again.

GOAT Games With the Fam According to BCPL Staff

Although this year’s Thanksgiving plans may not follow tradition, one tradition stays the same…crushing your family in a fun family game night! There are an endless number of entertaining board games from Candy Land to Balderdash.  Here are some of the favorites according to BCPL staff!


Lisa Sensale, Youth Service Manager-Outreach, has found Pop! The Pig to be a family favorite. Her kids (ages 2 and 4) both enjoy playing, but for very different reasons. Her youngest likes feeding the pig and the oldest, of course, loves winning.  For Lisa, she just loves that they can all play together!

Barbara Hill, Member of the Library Board, suggests Dominoes for young players. Barbara and her 7 grandchildren are big on playing games. It is something special when everyone agrees on a game, but when it comes to Dominoes, there is no opposition! It is a great game to teach young kids as the rules are simple, and kids enjoy it.


Carrie Herrmann, Library Director, recommends Seven Wonders, a good historical card game. The goal is to build ancient structures, from the Great Pyramid at Giza to a Roman Temple to the Great Wall of China. You will need lots of table room as you build societies and fight wars. The game is great for ages 10 to 100 and keeps all players entertained.

Sheila Riehemann and Nadine Swinford, Circulation Assistants, recommend Rummy or Gin Rummy for adults.  Sheila says that the game is very competitive and has many adults accusing each other of cheating by the end. Nadine remembers, “My family used to get together one night a week to play Rummy and make milkshakes. We’re all very competitive and the games would get really intense.”  But truthfully, any card game is a good card game!

Jennifer Cheek, Public Relations, cannot pick just one game as there are so many her family enjoys.  The top pick for this week is Code Names which somehow manages to create so much laughter because of the single word clues. Taboo is the ole’ stand-by and most of the pleasure comes from holding the buzzer!  Jennifer’s favorite game to play with her kids when they were young was Life, but her son hated the game because he didn’t want to get married!  Sequence and Clue are also family favorites.

Deanna Pina, Teen Librarian, recommends Among Us and Jackbox Games for an electronic game night. Among Us is a great way of connecting with anyone, anywhere, and being able to play a fun game even in quarantine. It is a social deduction game that teaches, yet challenges, trust in a group. You can play it on your phone or computer for $5; cross play is allowed so if you play on your phone you can still play with people that are using a computer. Jackbox Games has a variety of games to choose from that are run on a TV and answers or responses to questions are submitted using your device to appear on the screen. D’s favorite game to play on Jackbox is Mad Rhyme City, a rapping mad-lib game that pits you against your family and friends. D says she loves winning with her rhymes that are silly and nice!


Lia Sansoucy, Public Services Assistant, recommends Killer Bunnies, also a great game for teens.  She notes that the game is not suitable for younger children; it has a bit of morbid humor that could be traumatizing. The goal is to collect the winning carrot- which is not decided until the end of the game. Therefore, you need to get as many carrots as possible, while thwarting other players by killing off their bunnies. Some cards are funny such as having a single bunny run over by an ice cream truck or things like that, while others are like a nuclear bomb where all the bunnies on the table get taken out – even the person playing that card.


You couldn’t possibly have a family game night without the classics. Kevin Wadlow, Reference Librarian, and his family can’t stay away from Monopoly. Candace Clarke, Youth Services Associate, recommends UNO. Emily Sexton, Public Relations Specialist, enjoys playing 21 questions. Taylor Rasor, Youth Services Associate, likes Bananagrams. Ginger Stapp, Early Literacy Specialist, likes a good old fashion jigsaw puzzle.

These are some of our favorites!  What are some of yours?


Amy Hendrix is a teen intern at Boone County Public Library, a senior at Ignite Institute, a nature enthusiast, and the best water skier she knows!