Small libraries such as ours are blessed with a sense of family and we get to know our patrons, in many cases generations of the same family, and we get to know each of the staff members. This brings a wonderful sense of community and continuity, but it also means each loss is felt by our “family’” as well.

Recently, we lost Pat Peterkin, a longtime employee of the Russellville Library, who had just recently retired. Pat was faithful and diligent in her work, and as an avid reader, her selections of titles she enjoyed helped broaden the collection. As we purchase books in her memory, I hope that she would approve of the selection. We also just lost Ripley’s Mary K. Helbling, known to many as their accountant. She often came into the library to chat, get some obscure tax form, or just see how the library was doing. She was active in many organizations in Ripley, and she will be sorely missed. Our “family” grows with each new card we issue or new hire that comes on board, but as with most families, we are saddened when we lose a member.

Sometimes I purchase titles based on the book mentioning Ripley (or Russellville, or Aberdeen) and some of these books perhaps wouldn’t have made the purchase cut without the local context, especially the smaller or independent press works, but hey, I’m a sucker for local ties.

Last week, several of the “Ripley” books came in, each with their own style. The first is “The Cyclist’s Bucket List: A Celebration of 75 Quintessential Cycling Experiences,” by Ian Dille . The rides cover trails in Africa, Asia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Ripley? Well, not just Ripley, but a section of the Underground Railroad ride designed by Adventure Cycling, the Kentucky-Ohio spur, and Ripley is well mentioned in the ride. That’s pretty cool.

We’ve had fun with the Brown County ghost stories in “Ohio Ghost Hunter Guide VI” that came out last year and well, “Ohio Ghost Hunter Guide VIII” just came out, and Amazon said it had a Ripley/Aberdeen story in it. It does, but just one out of the entire book. The last is fiction titled “Shallow Graves” by Christina Wolfer that starts out with the sentence, “When a young girl’s body is discovered in a shallow grave on a farm outside of Ripley, Ohio, FBI agent Kendal McNally returns to her estranged hometown to investigate.” How could I not purchase that title? The author grew up in Williamsburg.

By Alison Gibson

Director, Ripley Library