News and Updates

From the City Manager's Desk

View All Posts

Nov 06

Library System Offers Diverse Programs for Children and Adults

Posted on November 6, 2019 at 11:59 AM by Sharon Hoggard

Did you know that the Portsmouth Public Library system offers various programs throughout the year for children and adults? Well, listen up. Besides offering the best reading materials on the planet, the library offers children's programming that supplements classroom work. Adult reading and writing groups are also held across the city's library branches.

One interesting project is the Library's annual Quilting Expo. This year it was held in July at the Churchland Branch Library. The history of quilting and quilting traditions in the United States can be traced back to early colonial days. Back then, it was necessary to create warm bedding from locally-originated fabrics. The library’s Quilting Guild is trying to keep these traditions alive and the recent expo ignited a lot of interest from patrons. The patrons loved seeing the quilts and library staff heard lots of positive feedback.

According to Emporia State University’s History of Quilting article, written by Julie Johnson, the origins of quilting remain unknown, but historians have found evidence of quilting (and its various forms) that date back to the Egyptian Dynasty about 3400 BC. “In 1924, archaeologists discovered a quilted floor covering in Mongolia. There are also numerous references to quilts in literature and also inventories of estates,” writes Johnson.[1]

Quilting in American, a website devoted to the craft of quilting, defines the art form as “a cloth sandwich, with a top, which is usually the decorated part, a back, and a filler in the middle. The quilt, as we know it in America, was designed strictly as a utilitarian article for providing warm covers for beds. They were also used as hangings for doors and windows that were not sealed well enough to keep out the cold. The earliest American quilts, made by English and Dutch settlers, were so intimately connected to everyday life of the early colonists that no record of them exists.[2]

The Churchland Library Quilting Guild was formed three years ago and now boasts 30 members from beginners to quasi-professional quilters. During the expo, guild members displayed a variety of colorful quilts ranging from nine-patch quilt blocks to intricate full-sized quilts – some reminiscent of African-American history and the Underground Railroad. One attendee was awestruck by a quilt based on the book by Eric Carle The Hungry Caterpillar and wanted to know how he could purchase the work. “I love that quilt,” exclaimed the patron after coming back for a second look.

The Quilting Guild meets every fourth Thursday of the month at the Churchland Branch Library from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s more like a family group than a social one. If you’re interested in keeping up with a real American tradition, or traditions created by your family circle and want to get involved in quilting, call 757-686-2538 for more information. 

Check out the Portsmouth Public Library for a world of things to do and see. Remember, we live one life, but when we read, we live hundreds of different lives. Happy reading. Visit and click on the Government drop-down menu to find the library's website.

[1] 2019 Emporia State University, Center for Great Plans Studies, 1 Kellogg Circle, Emporia, KS.[2] Quilting in America, History of Quilts, 2009-2017.