The Curse of Pandora’s Box: Answers Revealed!

We were so thrilled to offer a take-home murder mystery this season in collaboration with the Big Read. This Greek mythology-themed mystery had you digging through emails, text transcripts, and private journal entries in the hopes of discovering the truth surrounding the mysterious death of Madame Phoebe Gaius.

Now it’s time to reveal the truth!

The suspect who murdered Madame Phoebe is…

Cassandra Troy!

Did you guess correctly?

We gave out roughly 140 take-home mystery kits, and of those who submitted answers, 57% of the them were correct with the second most popular guess being Professor Theus!

So why and how exactly did Cassie kill Madame Phoebe?

It all started with Madame Phoebe’s grandson, Apollo. As a member of a prominent Greek family, Apollo attended many public functions that were covered by journalists. At one of these functions, Apollo met renowned art journalist, Cassandra Troy and asked her out on a date. Cassandra rejected his affection, and Apollo was so offended that he used his Instagram platform to discredit Cassandra’s reports. She was subsequently fired from her job at “To Vima,” but Apollo showed no remorse.

Seeking both the truth and revenge, Cassandra started a personal blog, The Oracle, where she researched the Gaius family and soon uncovered actual scandals associated with both the Acropolis Museum and Madame Phoebe.

These scandals were:

  • In attempts to purchase artifacts that he felt were important, Professor Theus was embezzling funds through the use of a fake cooperation called Pyronix.
  • Madame Phoebe’s granddaughter, Artemis, refused to get married which greatly strained their relationship. Out of pride, Artemis rejected Phoebe’s money, causing her animal sanctuary to suffer financially. Artemis turned to identity theft and fraud to pay the bills.
  • Lord Dio Russo, the museum’s event coordinator, hosted parties with unseemly activities, one of which involved an intern suffering from alcohol poisoning.
  • Madame Phoebe had a tumultuous relationship with her sister, Rhea, involving their inheritance. Rhea, the eldest, was passed over in favor of Phoebe, and this caused tensions in the family
  • Madame Phoebe and Mr. Z, the museum’s curator, were engaged years ago, but Mr. Z was caught in an affair with his personal assistant, and Madame Phoebe broke off the engagement.

Having had experience running a popular gardening blog in her spare time, Cassandra’s new blog gained traction, particularly with other media outlets like the gossip journal, Kous Kous, which hired her on as a social media journalist. This gave Cassandra a little more access to the family, and she truly thought if their secrets were revealed, it would destroy them.

No one believed her, and Madame Phoebe sent a Cease and Desist out, threatening a lawsuit. Cassandra sent flowers to Madame Phoebe as a peace offering, but the threat within the flowers, the “devil’s bread” or poisonous hemlock flower, didn’t go unnoticed. Cassandra was enraged that no one believed her about the scandals at the museum or the wrongs this family was committing.

After the Cease and Desist was sent, Cassandra decided to torment Madame Phoebe with the truth by sending her the box with all of the evidence. She also started stalking her, leading Phoebe to believe she was seeing shadows.

On the day of Mythos Fantastikos, Cassandra used the party’s disorganization to her advantage, swiping a press pass and sneaking about in the kitchens. An avid gardener, Cassandra knew that hemlock would be mistaken for another leafy green and placed it on Madame Phoebe’s plate of ambrosia salad. Madame Phoebe suffered from coniine poison, a toxic chemical found in hemlock. The hemlock is a nod to the death of Socrates, the Greek philosopher.

What mythology-based clues hinted at the true killer?

Besides the evidence in the documents, a few clues based upon Greek mythology were included. Seven Greek gods were presented in the box as well as six items. These gods were associated with the seven deadly sins, and the items correlated to the gods. The gods also correlated to the seven suspects.

  • Plutus and coins = greed, Professor Theus
  • Eros and roses = lust, Mr. Z
  • Adephegia and grapes = gluttony, Lord Dio
  • Lyssa and sword = wrath, Cassandra
  • Phthonus and eye = envy, Countess Rhea
  • Hybris and mirror = pride, Artemis
  • Aergia and no item (due to laziness) = sloth, Apollo

In Madame Phoebe’s journal entry, she said that the statue of the goddess, Lyssa, seemed to be watching her and that she believed the goddess of wrath to be the most feared. Also below Cassandra’s blog was a quote from the Greek dramatist, Menander, that said “the sword the body wounds, sharp words the mind” referencing both the power of words and the power of the sword.

What other connections to Greek mythology were in the story?

Each suspect was inspired by a Greek god or goddess. Readers could say that it’s all a coincidence or they can decide if perhaps these suspects were in fact gods disguised as mortals. It’s up to you!

Madame Phoebe = the Titaness, Phoebe

Phoebe’s last name comes from a blend of Uranus and Gaia, the titans’ parents. Phoebe also had twin grandchildren, Apollo and Artemis. In mythology, Zeus actually had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, but Letitia (the personal assistant) is a nod to her.

The Trojan Priestess, Cassandra

Cassandra Troy = the Trojan priestess, Cassandra

The story goes that when Cassandra rejected the god Apollo, he cursed her to always speak of true prophecies but that no one would believe her.

Apollo Barros = the Greek god, Apollo

Apollo talks about “keeping things shiny” and “bringing things into the light” referencing the sun. Apollo also puts himself into the light via the most modern method; Instagram!

Artemis Barros = the Greek goddess, Artemis

The goddess Artemis is a hunter and protector of wildlife, hence Artemis Barros running an animal sanctuary. The god Orion is actually one of Artemis’ closest companions, and all the names of the identities that Artemis stole are names that the goddess also used.  

Lord Dio Russo = the Greek god, Dionysus

Like Dionysus, the god of wine, Lord Dio loves to party hard, sometimes with reckless abandon. The reference to “Dove Coeur” is actually a nod to Aphrodite and her relationship with the Greek god.

Mr. Z = The Greek god, Zeus

Though in the myths, Zeus had a relationship with Phoebe’s daughter, Leto, we reference it in the story with the mention of Letitia, the assistant who broke up their engagement.

Professor Theus = The Greek god, Prometheus

Professor Theus is embezzling money to purchase items that he thinks are important. He is sending this money to a fake organization called Pyronix, referencing the story of Prometheus’ gift of fire to the humans. His first name, Metis, is also a Greek word meaning “magical cunning.”

Countess Rhea Crohn = the Greek goddess, Rhea

The goddess Rhea is really Phoebe’s sister in mythology and though she was considered “the mother of the gods,” she had no real following or place of worship. Similar to the story’s Rhea, the goddess Rhea was slighted by the more popular deities. The goddess Rhea did marry Cronus which is noted by our Rhea’s last name.

We hope you all enjoyed taking this mystery home and exploring the clues and story. Thank you to all of you for participating, and be on the lookout for more mysteries like this coming to the Derby Public Library soon!

Meet Grace, our newest Youth Services Assistant!

This blog post was written by Grace Cavin, our newest Youth Services Assistant.

Hello new friends! 

Grace and her dog!

My name is Grace, and I just started as a Youth Services Assistant here at the library! I thought I’d share a few of my favorite books with you so you can get to know me.

I graduated this past May with a degree in English, and during my studies, I read The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It radicalized me in college. You may know Dostoyevsky as the author of Crime and Punishment, but The Brothers Karamazov is a 700+ page read written very densely and full of weepy moments of despair, redemption, and maybe murder. It completely changed me as a person.

When it comes to my interests, I enjoy reading, writing, and learning all I can about quantum physics. It all began when I was probably ten or so and first read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I don’t want to spoil it by over summarizing the plot for you, but space and time travel are definitely involved. Also, if you’ve seen either film adaptation without reading the book, I would say that the heart of the book is lost in both of the adaptations so please read it if you haven’t (or if you have, maybe it’s time to read it again)! 

Growing up, I moved every few years (I think I’ve moved about a dozen times so far) and often the first friends I made were the stray neighborhood cats and the local librarians. Books on animals, especially mice, always ended up in the ginormous stack I’d take home every week from my local library. 

A few I remember enjoying that you could check out are: 

As for the books I’m currently reading, they’re a mixture of classics, fantasy, and mystery, which is just how I like it: 

  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke—a book that I currently have no clue what is happening in, but I am loving the journey and the way the story is told.   
Grace on a trip to Colorado!

Thanks for reading my first blog post! Come by the Youth Services Desk sometime, and let’s chat! I’m happy to help you find your next great book!  

Fond Farewell To Our Youth Services Coordinator

After 23 years of service, our Youth Services Coordinator, Carri Fry, is retiring. Carri has been a part of the Derby Public Library’s many metamorphoses from the facility’s humble iterations to its now grand and growing infrastructure.

When Carri first joined the library’s team, only two employees worked in Youth Services, and due to circumstance, Carri found herself as the head of the department within a few years of employment. Now Carri manages a team of four others on staff and has supervised that team through facilitation of programs for all ages. Carri has watched our library’s Summer Reading Program evolve from just a few hundred reading finishers to the massive institution that is our summer reading program today with thousands of sign-ups and finishers and a prize package rivaling some of the country’s top libraries.

I’ve been a part of her team for nearly ten years and can still recall the joy and compassion she exuberated in my job interview. She has been a sturdy foundation for me and the Youth Services team. She’s been a leader and mentor, a voice of encouragement, and of course, “the library lady” to so many of our community’s families and their children. Her contributions to the Derby Public Library have helped to evolve our services and resources into what they are today.

Before joining the Derby Public Library’s team, Carri believed she would be a teacher. In college, she participated in preschool lab sessions and instantly knew that early education was the field for her. She would go on to become the director of a child care facility and commit most of her twenties and thirties to both aiding in the upbringing of her local community’s children, and in the raising of her own two boys.

When she was hired as the Youth Services Assistant in 1997, the Derby Public Library was a much smaller organization with barely enough room for preschool storytimes, but Carri would call upon her directorial experience once more when she became the Youth Services Coordinator.

More changes were to come for the library. She says “It has grown substantially. I was fortunate to take part in the campaign, design, and move to our new facility in 2009. And with this new building, we are able to expand the number and scope of the programs we offer the community. By incorporating technology, we have truly become a community gathering space.”

First day at the new library!

Soon Carri was adding more part-time positions into her team which allotted for expanded programming. Derby as a city was also expanding, and summer reading program seasons required additional hires and teen volunteers. Carri also introduced school-aged programming for K-5th graders into the weekly schedule and built long-lasting partnerships with some of our well-known summer performers like Jim Cosgrove and Jay and Leslie’s Laughing Matters.

When Carri reflects upon some of her greatest achievements, many examples come to mind.

“I take great pride in the the Arlee Killion Early Literacy Area and StoryWalk Derby. The Early Literacy Area was made possible by a generous gift from Arlee’s children. I had the privilege to design and implement this addition to the library in 2016. It has proven to be a very popular destination for young families and grandparents. I also had the opportunity in collaboration with the Derby Health Collaborative, City of Derby, and other community sponsors to bring StoryWalk Derby to High Park in 2017. I took the lead on this project as well as designing and installing picture books displayed in signage around the pond and in Derby’s High Park.”

Carri and I also share an achievement that we worked on together in 2016. Carri and I applied for the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) Curiosity Creates Grant with funding provided to the ALSC by the Walt Disney Company. We were one of 79 recipients and the only recipient in Kansas to receive the grant! Using this funding, we adapted our popular Teen Moviecraft summer program into a 12-week spring program for tweens. Carri and I also published an academic paper entitled Chasing Disney: Tween Filmmakers Get Their Shot at Creativity in the ALSC’s professional journal. This was such a highlight for both of us, and we were surprised to have won the grant and had the chance to provide our program on a much bigger scale. You can even watch us in their documentary here!

When Carri recalls some of her fondest memories, it really all goes back to the children.

“Working with children from a newborn infant’s first library experience to seeing preschool children have so much in storytime to watching them fall in love with books and reading to the teenagers who feel like they belong here…watching them grow and have families of their own and be a part of their children’s lives is the best.”

Of course, as with any position, Carri has been met with challenges over the years. From department changes and communicating with other partners to navigating and adapting our services during a global pandemic, Carri has learned so much about doing what is best for the community. When asked what are the more difficult aspects of the supervisory role, Carri says that “hiring” is one of the harder elements. “You only have a small glimpse into who this person is, and really, you have to go with your gut instinct to know if they will be the right fit.”

I’ve definitely benefited from how she’s modeled leadership over the years, and she suggests that a supervisor “should always consider the work that the team is doing and approach the team with as much understanding and empathy as possible.”

Carri and fellow employee, Linda

When looking to the future, Carri recommends to any new librarians to “find a specialization in the field, especially within Youth Services. Focus on a particular age group or demographic, and incorporate learning into your everyday life. Be a life-long learner.”

Carri will continue that learning even into her retirement. She plans to join the Friends of the Library and volunteer her support. She hopes to one day join the Library Board and also to act as a consultant for other libraries interested in developing early literacy elements or youth resources into their facilities. She also is looking forward to some quality time with her family.

Carri with her husband, Monte

“I’ll be spending time with my husband Monte and our sons Vaughn and Tyler and our extended family. Monte and I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel internationally a great deal in the past years and plan on more adventures once travel restrictions are lifted. In addition, we are planning on purchasing an RV to travel around the U.S.”

On my very first day at the library, Carri immediately encouraged me to jump in and give a program a try. She truly believes in the abilities of others, in their adaptability to work, and in their creativity to mold and match the needs of our patrons. Of all her talents as a leader and supervisor, one of her greatest is in her constant look towards a sustainable team. This has been most apparent now as we move into a new generation of Youth programming in an ever-evolving community and world.

Carri may be moving onto the next adventure of her life, but it’s a guarantee that she has made a lasting imprint on our library staff and on every family that she has supported. We here at the library, all of our patrons, and even our beloved books thank her for these years of service and will always remember her dedication and passion to the power of stories.

A Universe of Fun in the Children’s Department

Hello, Friends!

Its Chelsea again– Lala the Library Lady. Today I’m here to tell you about some new fun going on at the library.

Last semester I started a weekly blog post titled “Mom and Me Book Reviews”. It’s been fun sharing my nightly book choices with both my children AND each of you! For those of you who haven’t read one of these, the process goes a little something like this: My I read a book to my kids. A lot of nights this means just my oldest, because my 18 month old isn’t ready to cooperate for bedtime books yet. She tells me what she thinks of the book, and I tell you. I also tell you my “mommy” opinion of the book, because that matters too! I can like a book and not think it appropriate. I can also think something is a good book, but not enjoyable. All of that is explored in our book reviews.

Well, this month we are taking “Mommy and Me Book Reviews” a step further. Starting this semester (January 18th) there will be a scavenger hunt and wiggle walk matching the book review theme!

Don’t know what a wiggle walk is? Let me tell you! It’s exactly what it sounds like– a walk meant to make you wiggle and move! Better yet, this made-of-chalk wiggle-walk is OUTDOORS so you and your family can do it any time during the week– day, night, library open or library closed. Each week new themed directions will be drawn on the sidewalk on the west side of the building by the parking lot. A “swirl” might suggest that you twirl, and an “line” might be a balance beam. The next week, maybe you’ll jump on all the stars or dash down all of the lines. Whatever it is, its sure to keep you moving, and sure to be fun!

The scavenger hunt will also be indoor/outdoor as much as possible. Some items may only be seen inside, but others will be visible from outdoors, so keep your eyes open for items matching that weeks theme!

Speaking of themes, stay tuned because each theme will be announced here weekly!

This week’s theme, is THE UNIVERSE. Keep your eyes out for stars, planets, sunshine and moons!

See you Monday for our this week’s book review!

Holiday Bags for Children at the Library

Happy Holiday from the Derby Pubic Library! Bring your youth to the library to pick up their very own holiday goodie bag.

We miss you.

There, I said it. Covid-19 has kept us apart, and that makes us sad.

We even missed out on our annual time with Santa at the park this year! No trains, crafts, or young smiling faces to greet us.

It’s just too much. We can give up the cookies and crafts, but those smiling faces is where we draw the line. So, come! We have a present for a few of you.

Come pick yours up (if you are between the ages of birth and 18) Monday, December 14th- Friday December 19th! There are a few goodies in there for you to enjoy, just from us to you. A way to say “thank you for being you, and thank you for coming to see us.”

Pick up is available at the Youth Services desk, or at the drive through. Bags are divided into age groups (Birth-2) Toddler Bags, (age 3-5) Preschool Bags, (K- 2nd grade) Beginner Reader Bags, (3rd-5th grade) Elementary Bags, and (6th-12th grade) Young Adult bags. We also have a limited supply of bags with Spanish (picture) books in them.

Toddler Holiday Gift Bag

“It touches my heart how excited he is about having his own ornament. He loves it! He keeps pulling it off the tree and showing it to people.” — Conor’s mom

Preschool Holiday Gift Bag

“See all this!?” — Amelia

Beginner Reader/ Early Elementary Holiday Gift Bag

“Look! We got two bookmarks!” — Evan Gustafson

Elementary Holiday Gift Bag

“I LOVE Junie B. Jones!”

Young Adult Bag

“I love everything in the holiday bags… My favorite think in the bag was the make-your-own-ornament because it allows me to get creative and it is easy to do.” — Anni

Hopefully you’ll enjoy your bag every bit as much as these young people did! See you soon!

Happy Reading my friends,

LaLa the Library Lady

What’s Ashley Reading?: Cinderella Liberator

Cinderella Liberator by Rebecca Solnit

First Line: Once upon a time there was a girl named Cinderella.

Summary: Cinderella is poor little girl who sleeps in the fire place with the ashes and cleans for her mean step-mother. One day she wishes that she could go to the ball at the palace to dance and wear a pretty dress. Her wish is granted by her fairy godmother. She has a wonderful time until the prince asks for her name. Rather than giving it she runs away and losing one of her glass slippers in the process. The prince is determined to find the young girl and he scours the countryside looking for her. You know the rest. Or do you?

My Thoughts: This was a cute little spin on the traditional Cinderella story. But most of the changes happen at the end when Cinderella realizes that she can make her own choices and choose her own destiny.

I loved the illustrations. They were beautiful silhouettes. I liked that it has a positive message for young girls about making their own decisions and not relying on a man to fix everything. It is easy to see why it was the November/December pick for Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf book club.

FYI: This is a short picture book. I expected more when I placed it on hold.

*This is my pick for category #7 (A selection from a celebrity book club) for the ReadICT challenge.*

Big Changes are Coming to the Library!

Derby Public Library to launch partnership, new catalog Aug. 19

Derby Public Library is pleased to announce the creation of a new library consortium, KanShare Libraries. Beginning Aug. 19, Derby Public Library, Andover Public Library and Park City Public Library will share a common catalog and patrons of the three libraries will be able to check out items from any of the three libraries with their current library card.

Catalog change will affect patrons Aug. 17-18

Because of the new catalog and creation of the consortium, the Derby Public Library’s current catalog will be offline Aug. 17 and 18. The library will remain open and community services will be available, including passport application processing, and fax and notary services.

Park City Library is a member of KanShare Libraries.

No items will be due on those days, nor will items be able to be renewed. Items on hold can still be picked up, but no new holds will be able to be placed until the new catalog launches Aug. 19.

Public-use computers and public Wi-Fi will also be available in the library Aug. 17 and 18. However, patrons will not have access to the computer catalog to check their account, search for items, place items on hold, or renew items. This will also affect use of the library app.

These dates are a good time to take advantage of the many digital services the library offers, including Sunflower eLibrary via Libby or your computer, online learning resources through the library website, audiobooks and magazines from RBDigital, and e-books, audiobooks and video content available in the Hoopla app.

Partnership offers many patron benefits

The consortium also brings some changes that directly affect checkouts at the Derby Library. The number of magazines, DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks that patrons are able to check out at one time has been increased.

The partnership of these three libraries will mean that library patrons will be able to seamlessly request an item from one library and pick it up at the library of their choice. Items will be transferred from one library to another via courier, so patrons will be able to choose where they would like to pick up items they’ve placed on hold.

Andover Public Library is also a member of KanShare Libraries.

For example, an Andover cardholder will be able to put a book on hold from Derby and pick it up in Andover if they desire. Additionally, library patrons will be able to visit any of the libraries in the consortium and check out items using their current library card. Those items can then be returned at any library in the consortium.

Other regional libraries, including Goddard, El Dorado, Rose Hill, Mulvane and Augusta, are scheduled to join the consortium later this year or in the first several months of 2020.