Stephanie Albert works part-time at the Iva Branch Library. A long-time library patron, Stephanie enjoys researching the town’s history, cooking with her daughter, and playing with their new Beagle/Spaniel mix, Buddy.
Can you tell me a little about growing up in Iva?
Yes, not only did I grow up in Iva, but my mom and her parents grew up here as well. One thing my daughter says to me frequently is, “Mama, tell me a story about when I was little.” So for me, to have heard similar stories about my mom and grandparents and to live where I can visualize everything that happened, has been a wonderful thing for me.
My grandfather and uncle both worked at Jackson Mill. I’ve enjoyed looking through the local history books at the Iva Library, one of which includes a detailed photo history of Jackson Mill. I found many photos of my family members and friends in it. I’ve heard my mom’s stories of going to school where the Iva Civic Center is now, about working at the original nursing home with her mom, and about all the community and church events held when she was little, like talent shows and festivals. And it’s not just the places and events that are special, but the people of Iva too. Many people I grew up knowing and being around, they still live here in Iva, and it is really a great community.
What brought you to working at the Iva Library?
I was an active library patron, even before coming to work here in March of this year, so I really enjoy the environment. I’ve really enjoyed seeing a lot of library patrons regularly and learning their individual interests.
What do you enjoy reading? Are there any specific books you would recommend?
I love to read anything inspirational, such as the Amish books by Wanda Brunstetter or Amy Clipston. I also read some some nonfiction books, usually cookbooks or home and garden books.
I recently enjoyed the Twice as Nice Amish Romance Collection by Jean Brunstetter and Wanda E. Brunstetter about twin sisters, Elma and Thelma Hochstetler. This collection has two stories included: The Lopsided Christmas Cake and The Farmers’ Market Mishap. In the first book, the sisters enter a cake in charity event, realizing later they actually have to demonstrate the baking of the cake onstage live. It turns out pretty funny. In the second book, one sister is getting the hang of running their general store by herself, and lots of struggles are real for her. In both books, there are romantic relationships involved, as are in most Amish stories. Be sure to look out for this collection.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I love to do any kinds of crafts, painting, or drawing. I have a 7 year old daughter, who inspires me and brings joy to my life. I’m trying to teach her some other cooking skills, since she has been a great helper in the kitchen and already pretty good at chopping veggies for me. I recently checked out a cookbook called Chop Chop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family. Here’s a simple recipe that I think is very adaptable, so you could use really any nuts, fruits, nut butters, or cereal that you like or have on hand. Stay simple or get adventurous! And you can look for this book to find specific measurements and detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Fruit and Nut Energy Bars: You’ll need an 8×8 pan, wax paper, bowls, spatula, knife, plastic wrap.
Ingredients: chopped nuts, dried fruit, old-fashioned oats, rice cereal, unsweetened coconut, peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract
Instructions: Line the pan with wax paper. Place all dry ingredients together in one bowl, and stir to mix. In another bowl, warm the peanut butter 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth, and add vanilla. Combine all, blending contents together, and press into pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours. Cut into bars, and store up to 1 week.
You can find Stephanie at the Iva Library with new inspirational books to recommend and maybe even a new recipe.
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