Two ‘Friends of the Library’ Groups Join Forces to Bring Author Michael Parker to Wilson for a Dinner/Lecture Program on October 4, 2016

new parker photo

Author Michael Parker

The Friends of Hackney Library and Friends of the Wilson County Public Library are pleased to welcome short story writer, novelist, and journalist Michael Parker as guest speaker of a jointly-sponsored dinner/lecture on October 4, 2016, in Hardy Alumni Hall on the campus of Barton College.

The event will begin with a book signing and wine reception at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner at 6:30 pm, and the program immediately afterward.   Titled “A Man Came Up From Wilmington Carrying A Bag of Snakes” after one of his essays,  Parker’s presentation will address the relationship between his work and his having grown  up in Eastern North Carolina.

Michael Parker, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, is the author of six novels – Hello Down There, Towns Without Rivers, Virginia Lovers, If You Want Me To Stay, The Watery Part of the World, and his latest, All I Have In This World–and two collections of stories, The Geographical Cure and Don’t Make Me Stop Now.

His latest work, All I Have In This World, is “a tender novel about our desire to reconcileCover--Parker All I Have In This World past mistakes, and the ways we must learn to forgive others, and perhaps even ourselves, if we are ever to move on,” Parker’s web site explains.  The plot centers around two troubled but appealing characters, Marcus and Maria:  “Two strangers meet on a windswept car lot in West Texas. Marcus is fleeing the disastrous fallout of chasing a lifelong dream; Maria is returning to the hometown she fled years ago, to make amends. They begin to argue over the car that they both desperately want–a low-slung sky-blue twenty-year-old Buick Electra.”  And thus begins an unlikely partnership, not just in their impulsive decision to purchase and share jointly the car Marcus affectionately dubs “Her Lowness,” but also in their mutual struggle toward absolution for their respective life missteps.

The novel has garnered much acclaim.  Mark Richard, author of House of Prayer No. 2, characterizes Parker’s latest work in this way:  “’Car as crucible’ might be the thesis for Michael Parker’s best novel yet.  In front seats and back seats we conjure love and contemplate ruin, as do the wonderful characters in All I Have in This World.  Parker again extends his geographical and emotional ranges here in this layered and nuanced story of heartbroken, debt-ridden and atonement-seeking creatures much like many of us. So get in and drive on. Or as they say in North Carolina, ‘Let’s go to ride.’”

A Denver Post critique praises the authenticity of the novel and its characters as expressed through the use of humor:  “But what makes ‘All I Have in this World’ memorable is this:  While any number of disasters can (and do) take place along the way, and while some are heartbreaking, the watershed moments happen not with sadness or blood or pain, but with cascades of laughter.  It’s through moments of unabashed humor, when Marcus and Maria let go and laugh, that his characters finally, and completely, connect.  Which feels a lot like real life.”

Parker’s short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various journals including Five Points, the Georgia Review, The Southwest Review, Epoch, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Shenandoah, The Black Warrior Review, Trail Runner, Runner’s World and Men’s Journal.

Parker has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart, New Stories from the South and O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies.  He is the Vacc Distinguished Professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and since 2009 has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.  He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and Austin, Texas.

Critics have lavished prodigious praise on the memorable characters and descriptive language in Parker’s entire body of work.  The Washington Post characterizes his appeal in this way:  “In prose languid and mysterious. . . . Parker writes descriptions as precise as line engravings, more revealing than recordings or photographs.”  Frederick Busch of The New York Times Book Review offers his assessment of the allure of Parker’s work:   “What makes Mr. Parker so satisfying a writer: his bone-deep affection for his characters; his love of clear, crisp, pungent language. . . his confidence in the possibility of redemption.” And as author Lee K. Abbott puts it in the flyleaf of Parker’s novel If You Want Me to Stay, “Only Michael Parker can tell a story you don’t want to quit about folks you don’t want to leave. . . . He has us all in mind—all of us who are needy and scared and running fast from the past, all of us who believe in magic and miracles, all of us beleaguered and bewitched by love.”

Books by the author will be sold at the event both during the book signing/wine reception prior to the program and following dinner; Parker will be on hand to sign books at those times as well.

Admission to the event is $30 each for Friends of Hackney Library members; for Barton faculty/staff, students, and spouses; and for Friends of the Wilson County Public Library members.  For all other guests, admission is $35 each.

For more information about invitations for the dinner, please contact Luann Clark at (252) 399-6329, or email the Friends of Hackney Library at  Space is limited, and after invitations have been issued, reservations for the dinner must be received by September 27, 2016.

This event is sponsored in part by BB&T.






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Constitution Day Program 2016 to Feature NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson

Sup Ct Justice Robin Hudson

NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson

Hackney Library is pleased to host the Honorable Robin E. Hudson, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, as featured speaker at our annual Constitution Day reception and program.  The event will be held this year on Monday, September 19, 2016 at Hackney Library from 5:00-7:00 pm.  

(Constitution Day is traditionally celebrated each September 17 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution on that date in 1787, but since it falls on a Saturday this year, the commemoration of the 229th anniversary is on the following Monday instead.) 

The reception, which begins at 5:00 pm in the Learning Commons on the first floorwill feature refreshments, followed by the program at 5:30 pm.  Justice Hudson’s presentation will address “Judicial Elections and Money: Why Our Courts are not For Sale.” After the presentation, a question-and-answer period will conclude the program.

This free event is sponsored by Hackney Library and is open to the Barton community as well as to the general public.

North Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin E. Hudson holds a BA degree in philosophy and psychology from Yale University and a JD degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  She was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1976 and practiced law in Raleigh and Durham until elected to the Court of Appeals in November 2000.  She is the first North Carolina woman elected to the appellate court division without having been appointed first.  Justice Hudson served on the NC Court of Appeals from January 2001 through December 2006. During that time, she helped organize and coordinate the Court of Appeals voluntary mediation program.  She was elected to the Supreme Court and began her first 8-year term in January 2007.  In 2014, she was re-elected to her current term, which runs through 2022.

Except for 3 years as assistant appellant defender in the mid 1980s, Justice Hudson practiced law in the private sector and handled a variety of trials and appeals, but concentrated on workers’ compensation and tort litigation, with particular emphasis on occupational disease and products liability, as well as criminal law.  She practiced extensively before the Industrial Commission, as well as in all levels of State and Federal courts.  From 1994 until she began serving on the Court of Appeals, she was certified to mediate cases from Superior Court and the Industrial Commission.

She has served on a variety of boards, professional associations, and commissions, including her appointment by the Chief Justice to the Family Court Advisory Committee in 2001.  In addition, she has received a variety of awards and honors:  In 2004, she received the Outstanding Appellate Judge Award from the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (now Advocates for Justice); in 2005, she was awarded the Voices of Experience Recognition by the Gold Leaf Chapter of the Association of Business Women of America; in 2006 she received the Women of Achievement Award from the General Federation of Women’s clubs; and in 2008, she received the Gwyneth B. Davis Award for Public Services for the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.

Justice Hudson was born in DeKalb County, Georgia but moved to Greensboro, NC with her family in 1966.  She is married and has two grown children—both second grade teachers—and one granddaughter.

Please join us on September 19 for an informative program on the Constitution by a member of the North Carolina’s highest state court.

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Hackney Library’s 11th Annual Open House Scheduled for Thursday, August 18!

Jay Williams TV ImageHackney Library’s throwing a party, and you are invited!

On Thursday, August 18, we will be hosting our eleventh annual Open House from 4-6 pm on the first floor of Hackney Library, during which we will both be welcoming new students, faculty and staff to the Library and to the Office of Student Success and welcoming back returning students, staff, and faculty.

The Open House, which is sponsored by Hackney Library, the Office of Student Success, and the Friends of Hackney Library, is also open to the public.

Jay Williams coverThis year’s Open House celebrates Jay Williams’s Life Is Not An Accident:  A Memoir of Reinvention, which has been chosen as this year’s FYS Summer Reader (as well as the Wilson County Public Library’s 2016 “Wilson Reads” selection).

As always, we will have oodles of takeaways for attendees to enjoy:

  • All who complete a brief online survey at the event will once again receive one of our wildly popular Library Open House t-shirts (again designed this year by Barton art professor Susan Fecho, who has incorporated themes from Williams’s memoir).
  • In addition, other giveaways from the Library and the Office of Student Success (OSS) will be available to attendees visiting six “stations” around the library (each is designed to introduce new Barton community members to the library’s and OSS’s faculty/staff and services, as well as to refresh the memory of returnees).
  • You will have the  opportunity to “build-your-own” scrumptious ice cream sundae again this year in the library’s foyer (thanks to Tony Tilley and his incomparable Aramark crew).
  • You will also be able to purchase a bookstore copy of Williams’s Life Is Not An Accident at the event ($23.00, including tax).

And last but not least, a door prize drawing for fantastic prizes (see the list below!) will be held at 5:30 pm, so plan to hang around until then, as you must be present to win! 

  • $100 Amazon gift card
  • Three kinds of portable, wireless water-resistant speakers for indoor/outdoor listening pleasure
  • A phone-/keyring-attachable tile with finder app to locate misplaced phones and keys
  • A compact key holder–no more loose, jangling keys poking holes in your pockets
  • Sleep headphones/eye mask–drift off to sleep to your favorite tunes with these comfortable CozyPhones

An opportunity to join the Friends of Hackney Library will be also be available at a table at the event for those who’d like to support the work of the library while reaping the benefits of membership.

So come check us out on Thursday, August 18th from 4-6 pm and see what Hackney Library and the Office of Student Success have to offer at this eleventh annual Hackney Library Open House!

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Last ‘Science & Religion in Conversation’ to be Held Tuesday, May 3rd, 3:00 pm

issrlogoThe Barton College final public forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ will be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM in Barton College’s Hackney Library.  Our discussion this month highlights The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough.

Though biology at times may seem in conflict with religion, yet the hand of God as envisioned in religion may nowhere seem more spectacular than in Life which may leave one gasping in wonder. This book can awaken the reader to that experience.

After briefly reviewing the earth’s origin, The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough guides us through an orchard of results and reflections.  Goodenough articulates her covenant with Mystery. She uses pithy phrases like “Life has no choice but to evolve”.   She reminds us of “…all this complexity and awareness and intent and beauty and … ability to apprehend it,” and that “we are all… creatures who are alive today, equally old, or equally recent “.

The author writes; “death is the price paid to have trees and clams and birds and grasshoppers, and death is the price to have human consciousness, to be aware of all that shimmering awareness and all that love”.  Her language is simple and clear, her prose is lucid, at times poetic. There are short quotes from thinkers and scriptures at the close of many chapters.  She quotes from the Psalms and Walt Whitman as well as lesser known authors.  Goodenough admits her inability to resonate with some traditional beliefs, yet she shows how one can respond religiously to the facts of rigorous science.

One can undergo deep religious experience, even when anchored to science.  Traditional religions stress personal conduct in relation to others.  Many of them express reverence for the powers and principles of Nature. In the face of the technological assault on the environment, there is a crying need for a planetary ethic.  Goodenough states that her agenda “for this book is to outline the foundations for such a planetary ethic, an ethic that would make no claim to supplant existing traditions but would seek to coexist with them, informing our global concerns”.  This can be effectively done with the help of the deep understanding that science offers, and the reverential humility toward the natural world that wisdom fosters.

Our monthly meetings have aimed to facilitate the ongoing dialogue between the disciplines of science and religion, one of the most important current areas of debate in terms of understanding the nature of humanity.  You may come to just listen or to freely participate in our conversation.

Please join our gathering for the final forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ to be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 3rd at 3 PM.


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Hackney Library Hosts Historical Display

Historical plaque

This panel is the first of twelve in the series of historical panels detailing the history of Atlantic Christian/Barton College, which are now on display in Hackney Library’s Art Gallery area.

In celebration of Dr. Douglas Searcy’s recent inauguration as the twelfth president of Barton College, Hackney Library is hosting a display of twelve historical panels documenting the College’s story from the institution’s beginnings to 2015.  Shannon Wilson, College Archivist, researched and wrote the text for the exhibit while Keith Tew and Harriet Barnes in Publications designed the panels themselves.

The exhibit tells the story of Barton College using documents and photographs from the College Archives, currently housed in Harper Hall.  Dr. Norval Kneten, Barton’s 11th President, wanted an historical display for the third floor of Harper Hall to complement the portraits of the College’s Presidents and to attract the attention of prospective students and their families, as well as friends and visitors to the College.

While the panels are arranged by presidential administration, Dr. Kneten insisted that the panels not be about executive administrators but about topics of interest to students.  Consequently, each panel features a summary of activities and accomplishments in a given administration while photographs, letters, promotional literature and other archival materials describe notable events from each era.  “The idea for this exhibit came about shortly after my arrival on campus,” Wilson noted, “and provided a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted not only with materials that had been organized by my predecesors, Hugh Johnston and Ed Holloway, but the over 250 cubic feet of unarranged materials that comprise the College Archives at the present time.”

The historical panels are currently on display in the Art Gallery area of Hackney Library and will remain throughout the rest of the Spring semester and into the Summer term.

Drop by and take a look!

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Carolina Discipliana Collection Receives Hillyer Memorial Centennial History

Joe Harris (left) presents archivist Shannon Wilson a copy of "Hillyer Memorial Christian Church: One Hundred Years, 1915-2015."

Joe Harris (left) presents archivist Shannon Wilson with a copy of “Hillyer Memorial Christian Church: One Hundred Years, 1915-2015.”

It began with a question.

“We are celebrating Hillyer Memorial Christian Church on its centennial,” said Joe Harris in the first of several phone calls and emails, “and I am looking for information on Raleigh Topping, who attended Atlantic Christian College and founded our congregation.  Do you have anything?”

The call came in on February 9th, 2015.  “We’re having a recognition of Topping and our church’s centennial on February 22, 2015,” Joe continued, “so anything you can get to me before then would be much appreciated.”

Fortunately, previous Barton College archivists had preserved a small but valuable set of materials, including copies of several letters that Topping had written while he was a student in Wilson.  Copies were made and duly sent to Joe Harris in time for the celebrations at Hillyer.

Written by J. Michael Wenger (son of College President Arthur Wenger) and Dr. Alvin M. Fountain, II and designed by Theresa Scott, Hillyer Memorial documents the many personalities and events that mark the life, work and ministry of this important Disciples congregation.

Joe Harris (left) and archivist Shannon Wilson peruse “Hillyer Memorial,” which documents the many personalities and events that mark the life, work and ministry of this important Disciples congregation.

Now in recent weeks, Joe and his wife, Helen, visited the campus to renew acquaintance with their alma mater and to present a copy of Hillyer Memorial Christian Church: One Hundred Years, 1915-2015 to the Carolina Discipliana Collection. Written by J. Michael Wenger (son of College President Arthur Wenger) and Dr. Alvin M. Fountain, II and designed by Barton College senior Theresa Scott (who has been accepted into NC State’s Graphic Design master’s program), Hillyer Memorial documents the many personalities and events that mark the life, work and ministry of this important Disciples congregation. 

Raleigh Topping was among that small group of “anxious” Christians meeting to organize a new congregation in the downtown Raleigh Police Courtroom on February 28, 1915.  Doubtless, Topping and his fledgling congregation were filled with questions as to what work God might call them to do.  This volume explores not only the early days but brings the congregation’s history all the way to the Centennial celebrations of 2015.

Hillyer Memorial Christian Church: One Hundred Years, 1915-2015 will soon take its place on the shelves of a newly reconstituted Carolina Discipliana Collection.  Carefully organized and preserved by Charles Crossfield Ware, Kitty Gaylord and Walter Anderson, and now tended by College archivist Shannon Wilson, the collection for several years has been in storage in Harper Hall but is currently being prepared for relocation to the Hackney Library.  Once this task is completed, students, researchers and visitors will once again have access to one of the more important collections of books, pamphlets, journals, church records, and photographs documenting Disciples in the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.

Many more stories await discovery in these collections, waiting only for a question.

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‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ Forum Takes Place Tuesday, April 5, 3 pm

ISSR LogoThe Barton College monthly public forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ will be held again on Tuesday afternoon, April 5th at 3 PM in the Barton College’s Hackney Library.  Our discussion this month highlights The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan.

This is an extraordinary book in which Ricard, an ordained Buddhist monk, and Thuan, who is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia, conduct several extended dialogues.  Ricard, after completing his Doctoral research in genetics, decided to pursue Buddhism instead of science.  He is the Dalai Lama’s French translator.  Thuan, born in Vietnam in a Buddhist family, has focused his research on the evolution of galaxies and the chemical composition of the universe.  He was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR).

Ricard and Thuan conduct a series of fifteen dialogues, which are edited and presented so as to be both lay readable and engaging and lead to a wealth of information and insights from the birth of the universe to questions of time, to appropriate action in our world.  Each brings to the table their own rich traditions of seeking the truth, both in Buddhism and modern science.

The real issue at the heart of the dialogues is what Buddhism and modern science have to offer to one another.  In this forum we will discuss three of their dialogues: ‘The Universe in a Grain of Sand’, ‘Each to His Own Reality’ (really?), and ‘The Grammar of the Universe.

Buddhism, essentially, is a path to enlightenment, not a set of dogmas or beliefs.  Its purpose is to end suffering through right knowledge, mostly about states of mind, craving and aversion, and the freedom from both of these which leads to liberation.  Science, on the other hand, is not concerned primarily with existential questions or with what constitutes right living.  Its purpose is to understand and describe phenomenal reality as accurately as possible.  What the dialogues show is that the two traditions do share a commitment to truth and to logical criteria of verifiability.  However other than that, their paths and goals are very different.  Yet, can they complement each other?  Attend and see.

Our monthly meeting aims to facilitate the ongoing dialogue between the disciplines of science and religion, one of the most important current areas of debate in terms of understanding the nature of humanity.  You may come to just listen or to freely participate in our conversation.

Please join our gathering for the forum ‘Science and Religion in Conversation’ to be held on Tuesday afternoon, April 5th at 3 PM in the Hackney Library classroom.


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