Thursday, February 28, 2019

Beginning Genealogy

“We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within us this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.” –Author and theologian Edward Sellner

If you have ever thought about exploring your family tree, the Bristol Public Library has tools to start you on your journey!  To be sure that you are on the right path, we encourage you to search for records connecting each generation to the next.  Census records, birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses can help you go back to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond.  Gravestones, wills, military records, and land records can add extra texture to your personal family history narrative.

The Bristol Public Library has many sources to explore:  local record books, family histories, newspapers on microfilm, Heritage Quest Online, Ancestry Library Edition, and so much more.  We also have periodic genealogy classes on a variety of topics.  If you’re just getting started, come to our next Beginning Genealogy class on Wednesday, March 6, at 2:00 p.m.  Check our monthly calendars for classes on other special subjects, and if there is a particular thing you would like to learn, let us know!

As an unknown genealogist said, “Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Donate to your Library!

Tidying your bookshelf, but not sure what to do with those books that no longer spark joy?  Consider donating them to the Friends of the Bristol Public Library!  The BPL FOL is now accepting donations of gently loved books in preparation for their book sale, and they would love to see new books in their inventory.

If you have some books that you would like to donate, please bring their by the library or give us a call at 276-645-8780 to find a drop-off location.  Book donations can be accepted at the desks, but please let us know if your donation is designated for the Friends or for the library.  For more information, please contact the BPL FOL at or 276-821-6147.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Business Resources Online: Find it Virginia

As a patron of the Bristol Public Library, individuals and small businesses also have access to Find It Virginia, a collection of online databases and resources funded by the Library of Virginia.  Like the Tennessee Electronic Library, the Find It Virginia offers different tools and resources to help learners of all ages on their path to success.

One of the great resources available for job searchers and small businesses is GCF Global's free learning center:  This website offers free classes and guides for technology, core skills, reading and math, and much more.

Under the "Work" tab, handy resources and classes can be found in the separate categories of Career Planning, Workplace Skills, Applying for Jobs, Work Life, and Education and Training.  Many of these resources can be used by employers and small businesses to improve their understanding of technology, business planning, and employee training opportunities.

For instance, GCF Global offers a great overview of QuickBooks Resources (found under the Workplace Skills tab) and tutorials for improving your Business Communication skills.

Additional information can also be found under the "Technology" tab.  If you're new to Office or email, or if you're just trying to learn basic computer skills, you can find resources, tutorials, and helpful guides to get you started.

While under "Topics," you can find "Skills for Today" that features general information on digital media literacy, computer science, and more.

For more information, make sure to check out Find It Virginia at, or visit your local library for job search help, small business planning resources, or technology and online assistance.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Library Closing: Presidents' Day

The Bristol Public Library and the Avoca Branch Library will be closed today, February 18, in observance of Presidents' Day.  We will resume our regular hours of operation tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

And, don't forget, the Friends of the Bristol Public Library will still be meeting at the library today at 6:00 p.m.  Please use the upstairs meeting room entrance as all other entries will be locked.  If you have any questions, please contact the BPL FOL at

Friday, February 15, 2019

BPL Anime Theater

If you're curious about what we're showing next in the BPL Anime Theater, make sure to check out our official flyer!

We have tons of new anime movies and TV shows scheduled for 2019, including My Hero Academia, Soul Eater, Witch Hunter Robin, and .hack//SIGN.  We meet on the first Saturday of each month at 2:00 p.m. to watch movies and TV series on the big screen, eat popcorn and Japanese snacks, and discuss our favorite manga and anime.

All movies and TV series are rated TV-14/PG-13 or lower.

For more information, contact us at the library at 276-821-6147 or stay up to date with our events on Facebook.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Business Resources Online: Tennessee Electronic Library

To celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week, which officially begins on February 16, we're taking a look at the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) and the wonderful array of free resources they have available for small businesses, employers and employees, and job searchers.  (Please note:  TEL is only available to Tennessee residents and, luckily for library card holders, Bristol Public Library patrons.)

The TEL Business Center, which can be found under the "General Public" tab, provides three very important resources for small business:  the Small Business Collection, which provides free access to business journals and magazines; the Small Business Portal at, which offers free help and tools for getting your business started; and the Small Business Resource Center, a collection of resources on planning, funding, budgeting, starting, and managing your small business.

The Small Business Resource Center, which is powered by Gale, is a primarily a collection of articles from academic journals and magazines.  All articles are fully vetted and categorized to make searching easy.  Each section--Plan, Fund, Start, and Manage--has listings of free resources that will allow you to get started on research and planning.

The Small Business Portal offered through is also a great resource for learning how to start a small business.  To get started, click the "Start Your Own Business" link to learn more about the steps to starting a new business and find out the requirements for taxes, insurance, hiring employees, and more. also has links to the Small Business Administration at, which offers handy resources and guides to planning, launching, managing, and growing your business.  Both and can be accessed even if you are not a Tennessee resident or a library card holder.

For more information on small business resources, check out the TEL website at or visit your local library.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Library Closing: Presidents' Day

The Bristol Public Library and the Avoca Branch Library will be closed on Monday, February 18, 2019, in observance of Presidents' Day.  We will reopen on Tuesday, February 19, at 9:00 a.m.  If you have questions about our upcoming schedule changes, please feel free to contact the BPL at 276-645-8780 or the Avoca Branch at 423-968-9663.

And, don't forget, even though the library will be closed on February 19, the Friends will still meet in the large meeting room upstairs at 6:00 p.m.  For more information on the Friends, please reach out to the BPL FOL at or 276-821-6147.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Google My Business: Get Your Business Found on Google Search and Google Maps

Thanks to the Training Opportunities for the Public (TOP) Grant, which is provided through the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Jones Creativity Center will be offering free workshops on Google My Business during National Entrepreneurship Week.  Google My Business is a free tool for local businesses looking to connect with customers through Google Search and Google Maps.  During this workshop, attendees will gain hands-on practice with Google My Business and receive instruction on how to create or update business listings online.

Our first workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Bristol Public Library on 701 Goode Street in Bristol, Virginia.  A repeat session will be held on Thursday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m. at the Avoca Branch Library at 1550 Volunteer Parkway in Bristol, Tennessee.  All workshops are free to attend, but registration is required.

For more information about “Google My Business,” please contact the Bristol Public Library by phone at 276-821-6147 or by email at, or sign up online at  Interested participants can also reach out to the Avoca Branch Library regarding their upcoming workshop at 423-968-9663, or register online at

Saturday, February 2, 2019

VITA Tax Preparation: Begins today!

Don't forget, Free Tax Preparation by People Incorporated begins today at the Bristol Public Library!

People Incorporated will be offering free tax preparation services at the Bristol Public Library starting on Saturday, February 2, 2019.  VITA Volunteers will be available on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Tuesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. until Saturday, April 13.  All services are first come, first served and interested filers are asked to bring these items in order to file:

  • Photo ID.  For married filing jointly, both spouses must be present and must have a photo ID.
  • Voided check for direct deposit.
  • Social Security Cards or Taxpaper Identification Numbers (ITIN)
  • All income statements, such as W-2, W2-P, W-2G, 1099, etc. for you and all dependents.
  • Expense documents:  dependent care, college tuition, student loan statements, home mortgage interest statements, property tax statements, alimony paid or received, etc.
  • Total paid to daycare provider and provider's tax ID number.
  • Proof of health insurance:  insurance card, Medicare/Medicaid card, 1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C if you had other kinds of insurance or coverage.
  • Copy of last year's tax return

Taxes are due on Monday, April 15, 2019.

For more information on free tax preparation services, please call People Inc. at 276-619-2235 or visit their website at

Friday, February 1, 2019

Newsletter & Calendars: February 2019

February is National Library Lovers Month!

We're very excited to be sharing another month with our patrons, especially since we have some fun Valentine's Day-themed crafts and events coming up.  On Saturday, February 9, we're hosting a Valentine's Day Canvas class at 2:00 p.m. and then on Tuesday, February 26, we're painting totes during our "Creative & Crafty:  I ♥ Totes" program at 5:30 p.m.

Registration is required for all Creative & Crafty events; fees may be associated with some classes.  For more information on our events, or to learn how to register for a class, please contact the Bristol Public Library at 276-821-6147 or

We're also looking forward to National Entrepreneurship Week, which is February 16 - February 23, because we have some great programs planned, including a free seminar with Regions for small businesses on February 21 at 2:00 p.m. and a Google My Business workshop with the JCC on February 20 at 5:30 p.m.  Additionally, we'll be highlighting free business resources on our blog all month long!

Our Children's Department will be continuing their Family Winter Reading program on Thursday, February 7, at 6:00 p.m. and Thursday, February 21, at 6:00 p.m.  On February 7, children and their families will have the opportunities to play with battlebots, spheros, and ozobots; while on February 21, they're hosting a free night of skating at the new Bristol Skateway on 210 Skateway Drive.  (Please note:  No drop-offs are allowed at the Bristol Skateway.  Parents must accompany their children for this outing.)

For more information on any Children's Department programs, please feel free to contact the library at 276-821-6153.

The Teen Library also has some great events planned.  In February, the Teens will be reading Uglies by Scott Westerfield and the Tweens will be reading The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, and then they'll take some time for Game nights on February 25 and February 27.  To top things off, they'll be celebrating a special "Anti-Valentine's Day Party" on February 13 at 4:30 p.m.

The Jones Creativity Center will be making some slight changes to the Open Lab schedule on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  To accommodate the VITA Tax Prep and regular library activities, the JCC will now have Open Lab from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  VITA Tax Prep will occur on Tuesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

For more information on the Jones Creativity Center, please feel free to contact them at 276-645-8790 or

The Avoca Branch Library will be hosting Family Board Games on February 8 at 4:00 p.m.  They'll also have a special Candy Lab project offered with the help of the JCC on Saturday, February 16, at 10:00 a.m. and Saturday, February 23, at 10:00 a.m.  Like the Candy Lab at the JCC, registered participants will be able to create a 3D printed form and craft a silicone mold for candy-making.  To register, please call the Avoca Branch at 423-968-9663.

Avoca is also getting in on the action with National Entrepreneurship Week by offering a Google My Business workshop on Thursday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m.  Interested participants are encouraged to sign up at  For more information, please contact the Avoca Branch Library.