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.


Don Huff: Painter of Memories on display in The Curt Bessette Art Gallery

Don Huff: Painter of Memories is the latest exhibit in The Curt Bessette Art Gallery at the Main Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, during the library’s open hours. You won’t want to miss this display that portrays many local scenes.

Don’s daughter, artist Pattie Purnell, provides an excellent biography featuring Don’s amazing background:

Don Huff started his art career 70+ years ago as a sign painter for the US Navy in World War II.  He studied fine arts at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati going on the GI bill.

Don creates his works in oils with incredible detail and bright colors. His painting portfolio includes many 1st place awards in oils at some of the finest art shows. Don has also participated in many solo shows. His work is on display as far away as New York, Canada, Germany and California. These realistic oil paintings have been displayed in restaurants, banks, churches, train stations, theatres, Chamber of Commerce offices, galleries and fine homes.

Don likes to make custom portraits of people in motion, using skills in their own surroundings to make the painting uniquely their own. He favors painting subjects from the local community such as local train stations, river boats and historic sites. His works illustrate heartwarming moments and capture windows to a time now past in small town American life reminiscent of Americana artists such as Norman Rockwell. Don’s historically valuable imagery will be sure to invoke fond memories.

Stop by the Main Library before November 10 to see Don’s work on display.  If you are not comfortable coming into our building, Don’s work can be viewed on his website or check out the Don Huff video.


Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.

The Show Must Go On!

EEEEEKKKK!!!!  Have you heard Miss Ginger scream?  Well you will soon in one of the upcoming Virtual Storytimes!  New Virtual Storytimes are posted every Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. on our BCPL YouTube channel to enjoy any time, any place.  And you can even catch-up on past Virtual Storytimes!  With the goal of supporting early learning and early literacy, (building the foundations upon which later learning and reading will happen), Boone County Public Library has learned a few things about how to share Storytimes in the time of physical distancing.  Despite the pandemic, the show must go on so Storytime is now an on-demand experience! 

Watch our Virtual Storytime!

So, what can you expect from a Virtual Storytime? Our programmers put the same care, thought, and enthusiasm into planning a virtual storytime as they do a traditional one, selecting great books, songs, and rhymes to share, and then record it so that you can participate in all the learning and fun activities safely and at your convenience. Guided by Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library and its evidence-based content, Storytimes incorporate The Five Practices that can help young children have later success in reading and learning. 

Watch our Virtual Storytime!

How can you make the most of our Virtual Storytimes? Sometimes it’s nice to be able to simply provide an educational distraction, but if you want to maximize the value of that screen time, get ready to join in. When you actively participate in Storytime, you can sing the songs and do the motions, find new favorite books, pause the recording to ask questions and talk about what is happening, and have a shared experience with your child.

Just as with our in-person Storytimes, we encourage you to enjoy learning with your children all the time. Parents and caregivers are, after all, a child’s first and best teachers. You will find suggestions for different ways to support early literacy skills not only during but also after Storytime is finished. Here are a few ideas you can use to extend learning with our Storytimes:

  • Read together! Use BCPL’s catalog to search for or place a hold on books by your favorite authors and illustrators and check them out at the library. Don’t know what you want? You can request a Book Bundle and someone will pull an assortment of books for you.
  • Talk about the books and songs shared in Storytime. This is a great way for children to learn new vocabulary. Ask questions: What happened? Why do you think that? How does that make you feel?
  • Write or draw your own story. Writing and drawing not only develops fine motor skills, but also helps children learn that letters and words have meaning. If you don’t have paper on hand, you can always use the inside of a box, chalk on a sidewalk, or an old envelope!
  • Play with toys and act out the stories you see in Storytime, or use your imagination to make up your own story.
  • Sing your favorite songs. You can sing the songs you learn in Storytime, but feel free to sing your own favorites as well. If you are looking for even more Storytime songs and rhymes, check out our Rhyme Time videos.

This digital age really does have its benefits, and especially when used in conjunction with your guidance and attention, technology can be a fantastic tool. We hope our recordings not only entertain you, but also inspire you to continue learning with your little ones!

Note: There will not be a new video posted on Friday, August 28.  Enjoy our past videos and check back for new videos beginning Wednesday, September 2.

Miss Candace is our Youth Services Associate – Outreach at BCPL.  Her energy and passion for Virtual Storytime shines through in every book she reads.

Let’s get VIRTUAL with Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TTRPG)!

Being sociable in the age of social distancing is quick and easy with tabletop role-playing games (TTRPG)!  What is a TTRPG, you ask? Good question, o anonymous denizen of the internet!  A TTRPG is any game that involves other people, your imagination, and a given set of rules, in a collaborative, shared environment. What rules? Think of games like Dungeons & Dragons or something from the Old School Renaissance. If you need a compelling argument for why YOU, awesome individual that you are, should be playing a TTRPG, check out our blog about Dungeons & Dragons here. In order to join a TTRPG, there’s really only one thing you need to do: show up. In the “before times,” bringing your own dice, pencils, or snacks to share was classy. But what do you do when you can’t do that bare minimum, of “show up,” because the world won’t let you? It’s time to go VIRTUAL!

How do you go virtual with a TTRPG? It’s easy! You need a device (smartphone, laptop or desktop computer) and a means of connecting to the internet. If you can read and write, and/or speak and listen, you are ready to play! There are countless ways to do this, but we will cover our top three that are, additionally, free.

  • Online Meeting Software. If you’ve attended a webinar, or meeting, from home, you’ve already got the basics for how this works.  You can gather, and meet, through online software like Zoom or Google Hangouts. If you want to see what you’re doing, roll dice, and track character sheets, there are websites like Roll20 to show you what you want.
  • Discord and Voice Chats. Discord, and other voice programs like Skype, offer easy and quick ways to group up and game! Discord is a favorite of ours for its ability to recruit bots, helpful AI that make running games painless and easy. One great example is the Avrae bot, which helps players with Dungeons & Dragons 5e. If you have a Dungeons & Dragons Beyond account, you can link it with Avrae to automate tasks from characters to monsters. CritterDB can be used to make custom content for Discord, like haunted shovels. 
  • . Play-By-Post. Play-By-Post games have been going on for slightly less time than TTRPG have existed (and only less because the game had to exist first). You can play together by posting on forums, sending text messages, through email, or even using good old snail mail (if you have more of an attention span than either of us). Discord is not only for voice, but text as well, and is a popular way to play games when you can’t quite agree on a day and time to meet.

Now that you’re interested, how do you find people for a virtual TTRPG? You can recruit friends and family that you miss for a game over Skype. Kevin, Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch, has been playing “Barbarians of the Ruined Earth” with his brother in California! And D, Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch, has a server of 15+ players from around the world playing by post. You can visit websites like Dungeons & Dragons Beyond, Reddit, or a local Meet up to find a group. The easiest way, though, is to join the library for our virtual events! We have a monthly Dungeons & Dragons program for teens and a monthly TTRPG program for adults.  Even if we can’t be together in person, we both hope to virtually game with you soon!

D Pina is the Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch leading Dungeons and Dragons each month for teens. Kevin Wadlow is the Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch leading Old School Gamers of Florence.

Face to Face with the Library…well sort of

We all miss seeing each other in “normal” circumstances, including at the Library. While we are unable to meet in person, the Library is using various digital platforms to bring you a few of the activities you would normally have enjoyed at our locations. It’s the next best thing to actually being in our buildings. The platforms we are using include Facebook Live, YouTube, Zoom, Discord, and Roll20. And guess what…you don’t have to be tech savvy! Check out just how easy it is.

Facebook Live

BCPL was Live to learn about what we can recycle.

Facebook Live allows us to share a Library program that you can enjoy from anywhere. There is no need for you to register, and the Library doesn’t have to limit participation.
Whether you are a Facebook user or not, you can check out Facebook Live. If you are a
Facebook user and follow the Library Facebook page, you will be notified when we go Live (or when any page you follow goes Live). Don’t have a Facebook account? That’s okay! Facebook allows public Facebook Live videos to be viewed by anyone, with or without an account. You may not be able to ask questions during the program, but you can view the program. Click here for our Facebook page link or it can be found via the Facebook icon at the bottom of our website.  Interested in learning more about what can be recycled?  Check out our Facebook Live event at Boone County Public Works.


Dr. RC Tilley: Lady Killer, Serial Killer?

The Library uses YouTube to upload videos on a variety of topics as well as Storytimes hosted by the Library. Future virtual programs will be posted on YouTube for viewing as well. YouTube has been around for 15 years as the primary platform to upload and share videos around the world, and BCPL is a part of this. YouTube videos can be viewed without an account and can be organized by topic or by channel, which makes finding your favorite Rhyme Time video a little easier! Click here for our YouTube
page link or it can be found via the YouTube icon at the bottom of our website.  Interested in learning more about Dr. RC Tilley?  Check out this video.


BCPL uses Zoom for programs in which we need to limit the number of participants, or in which we want an extra layer of safety and privacy that we are unable to get with other platforms. If you participate in a Library Zoom program, you will register the same way you typically do for a program (through our website), but will then be sent further instructions by staff via email. If you are interested in learning more about the platform, the help section of Zoom covers several general questions. Zoom has been around for a few years but has recently taken off in popularity. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, this is a service that was created as a virtual meeting space. It has quickly become one of the largest virtual platforms for meetings, education, and virtual events. Zoom does require you to create an account.  The Library uses Zoom for events such as book groups.

Discord and Roll20

BCPL is using Discord and Roll20 for programs such as Dungeons and Dragons, and Teen Writers Groups. Discord is an online chat service that allows participants to communicate via text or audio. Roll20 is a site that allows users to play tabletop games virtually while still playing them as tabletop games, not video games. You will need to create an account for both platforms in order to participate.

If you are interested in participating in more programs from home, check out our Events page and scroll to Virtual Branch.  We hope one day to be able to meet again in person to learn new things while socializing with one another, but in the meantime, we are lucky to have so much technology to keep us connected. Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming virtual opportunities on our website and social media platforms. Stay safe and happy learning!



Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.