Wednesday, September 9, 2015


"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."
-   Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885 

September days are here, and as you may have noticed, we have switched to winter hours. Which means, you have more chances to come by the library and check out our books! 

Some of the things that will be happening at the Library this month:

- Saturday September 12th at 8am: Marble's annual giveaway will be happening at the Community Center

-Wednesday September 16th at 6 pm: Movie Night we are bringing out the big screen and the popcorn to show "Home" and as usual, the event is free and we will have Popcorn in abundance.

-Tuesday September 22nd at 4 pm: Tween and Teen (Cr)afternoon: We will have a Spa Day and make Fizzy Bombs and a Body Scrub to pamper yourself after a stressful day at school!

-Wednesday September 30th at 3:30: Story-hour with Alicia is starting up again! Join Alicia as she reads stories and has art project ready for the kids! Program is for Kindergarten through 4th grade.

- Wednesday September 30th at 6 :30 pm: Book-club: Join us for a lively discussion of "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt, as usual we have extra copies of the book available, so if you thought about joining before, just come on over and pick up a copy.

-Wednesday October 7th at 4pm: Firefighters and Firetrucks: The Greenway Fire Department will be at the Library with their Firetrucks and their gear for a demonstration. This program is perfect for all kids that love Firetrucks and Firemen and/or want to find out more about them. 

- Wednesday October 7th at 6 pm: Cooking at the library is back and we will enjoy Jaegerschnitzel (Schnitzel with mushroom sauce), Spaetzle (homemade noodles) and a typical German Salad! Cost is $15 and payment must be received by 9/30/2015 to be registered. Limited to 20 people.

New books coming out this month are: "Eve" by W. M. Young, "The Spleeper and the Spindle" by Neil Gaimann, "Shadow Play" by Iris Johannsen, "Make me" by Lee Child and last but not least: "Trigger Mortis" by Anthony Horrowitz. Horrowitz has been asked to write a James Bond novel by the Ian Fleming Estate. What's especially exciting here is that his book includes original material by Fleming freshly discovered in the archives. Expect to be shaken, not stirred. - Source: Library Journal. 

I know some of you have asked about it and so I wanted to make sure to let you know that the new Nicholas Spark book: "See me"  is coming out on 10/13/2015 and we will have it available for check out that day. So stop by to be put on the request list.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's Finally Summer! YAY!

“The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don't, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper.”
― Polly Horvath,
My One Hundred Adventures

We actually do have cookies here.  They're Girl Scout cookies, so they aren't free.  We've got lots of other stuff that you can take home with you for free if you have a library card.

We've also got lots of stuff going on at the library:
Wednesday, June 24th, 6:30:  Our adult book club meets to discuss The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Thursday, June 25th, 1:00:  Storyhour for ages 5+: shake the sillies out with your very own maraca and Miss Mary Mack.

Thursday, June 25th, 4:00:  It's the first meeting of our tween/teen book club.  We'll be discussing Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  We're hoping to watch the movie at a later date.

Tuesday, June 30th: Marble Annual Sawdust Pile and Pie Social at 1:00 in the Veterans Park across the street from the library.  The Pie Social will follow the sawdust pile at the community center.  Please join us in showing Mr. Daniel Binet our appreciation for his continued support and generosity towards the children of Marble.

Thursday, July 9th, 1:00:  Storyhour for ages 5+: Hand, hand, fingers, thumb, we will get to make a drum!

Friday, July 10th, 10:00:  Pint Size Polkas is here to perform for us!  This is a free program sponsored by the Arrowhead Library System.  

Thursday, July 23rd, 1:00: Storyhour for ages 5+:  Jingle, jangle, don't get your ribbons in a tangle.  We're making rhythm rings.
Thursday, July 23rd, 4:00:  The tween/teen book club meets to discuss the book we chose in June.  There will be snacks.

Wednesday, July 29th, 6:30: Our adult book club meets to discuss Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
Thursday, August 13th:  Storyhour for ages 5+:
First we'll listen to Piggie, then you listen to my trumpet and I'll listen to yours.

Thursday, August 20th, 1:00: It's the end of the Summer Reading Program.  Come and get your prizes and bring in your instrument of choice for an impromptu concert.

Thursday, August 20th, 4:00: Our tween/teen book club meets to discuss the book we selected in July.  Can you say snacks?

Wednesday, August 26th, 6:30: Our adult book club meets to discuss The Nightmare by Lars Kepler

Those are the things on the schedule right now.  There's always stuff going on, and you just never know what you might find when you walk through the library door.  


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What to do, what to do???

You might ask yourself that question, after your child just informed you that they will be out of school for 16 days! No need to sweat it, we have the solution here at the library. Just send them to the library; as always, we love to see them here. On Mondays and Fridays at 1:30 pm, we will change it up a bit and turn off the computers for the kids and make some crafts instead.

On Monday the 22nd we will find out what Grungy Candles are. All  you need is a little Mod Podge, coffee  and a candle.

Friday the 26th is the day to make something for our winged friends. So bring a couple of cookie cutters with and we will make some really cute Bird-feeders

We might not have enough snow on the ground to make a snowman, but that will not stop us from creating our own Snowman inside on Monday 29th, if you have an empty coffee-creamer bottle, bring it with, so that we have enough for everyone.

On Friday January 2nd 2015 we will finish our winter program by filling our Snowmen with a Hot-Chocolate-Mix that we make and then we have to try it of course. We will also be playing some fun games.

Since all  the crafts are from Pinterest, they might change since we are still trying them out because we want to avoid a Pinterest fail with the kids. Also please let us know a week in advance if your child plans to attend, because we want to make sure we have enough for everyone.

On the  23rd of December we are showing a movie at 5:30 pm on our big screen. It will be a fun one for the whole family to enjoy. Watch our Facebook site to find out which one we are showing.

On December 30th at 6 pm we are having a workshop about Henna-Bodyart: Art, History,Hands-On. This should be a fun one and it sounds like this one is for teens and adults. It is funded in part or in whole by a grant from Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. 

We are having a little contest going for the kids during the month of December.  The kids need to tell us how many books they plan to read during the month and when they meet their goal we will reward them with a mitten filled with goodies. So far we have 10 kids signed up and one of them, Brittney S. met her goal today. Way to go, Brittney! And thank you Walmart of Grand Rapids for helping us making the contest possible!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's happy holiday time!

I wander forth this chill December dawn:
John Frost and all his elves are out, I see,
As busy as the elfin world can be,
Clothing a world asleep with fleecy lawn.
~Robert Buchanan (1841–1901), "Snow"

December is upon us, and we're adding some extra holiday activities to our schedule.  

Sunday, December 7th is the Marble City Christmas Party from 1:00-3:00 at the Greenway town hall.  There will be sleigh rides around town along with crafts, cookies, and juice.  This free event is sponsored by the city of Marble, the Marble Public Library, and our three local Girl Scout troops.

Wednesday, December 10th we will have more crafts here at the library from 3:30-4:30.  All ages are welcome to attend this free holiday decoration creating session.  Snacks will be served.

Wednesday, December 17th is only a week until Christmas eve, so it's time to jump into survival mode.  Are you holi-dazzled enough?  Need more glitter?  Come and join me from 3:30-4:30 and I'll do my best to help you avoid some common Christmas pitfalls while we make more holiday ornaments.

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas: A Safety Guide for Scaredies     

Wednesday, December 17th is also the night to come discuss our book club selection for the month: Atticus by Ron Hansen.  We have a couple of copies currently on hand if you would like to join our lively group.  Dessert and coffee will be served!  
Atticus: Novel

 The only thing bad about a holiday is it is followed by a non-holiday.  ~Anonymous

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The cold days of November are upon us.

I have come to regard November as the older, harder man's October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer's death as winter tightens its grip.
Henry Rollins

The cold days of November are upon us!  Time to hunker down under a blanket with a cup of cocoa and a good book.  If you don't have any idea what to read next, maybe you'd like some suggestions.  Here's a couple I've read that have stuck with me:

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen:  I love known tales turned on their heads, and this story of Neverland does just that.  A dark look at Peter Pan and the boys who never grow up.  Hook is not all that he appears in Disney's version of the story, that's for sure!

 Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein: a delightful book for ages 8-125.  A new library opens with a select few invited in for fun and games.  They get in, but can they get out??

I've read lots more, but those two are currently on our shelves ready to be checked out.  As soon as I finish up the final book in The Giver series by Lois Lowry (good!), I'll have to move on to The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich.  Our library book club is meeting a week early this month which means I have until the 19th to finish it.

The kids around here don't have school this Friday, October 14th.  We'll be showing Maleficent at 1:30.  Come in from the cold for this free showing, popcorn may be served.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lots and lots to do at the Library

So according to my brother, I am supposed to tell you about all of the happenings at the library. Boy do I have my work cut out for me then, because there are a couple of things happening at the library next week.

Next week on Tuesday at 1 pm Susan from the Bovey Youth Center will be stopping by the library to have lots of fun with the kids again. I know they had a blast when she stopped by this week, they were tie-dying and playing a lot of water games. I heard a rumor that they might do something that has to do with Christmas, a White House and Trees. Christmas? Trees? A White House? Really!? Hmm, I wonder what it could be.

Wednesday night, at 6pm, we will have lots of fun, as we are bringing out the big screen and popcorn, and we are showing a movie called: The Nut Job. Find out what Surly and his friends could be up to. After all, they are squirrels.

On Thursday at 3:30 pm join Stubby the Elephant as he journeys through the jungle.  Stubby questions many different animals played by the audience, but the answer he gets from the Crocodile changes the “profile” of Elephants forever!

Sign up for the Stables is still open, so if you ever wanted to visit a Barn with lots and lots of horses, here is your chance.  Just stop by the library and sign up. Hurry in, space is limited.

As you might have heard, there are a lot of animals that aren't as fortunate as Alvin and I. The folks at the Star of the North Humane Society are trying to help those animals and so we thought we should help them. They are always in need of supplies.  Here is a list of things they need: Paper towels, Pine Sol type cleaner, Bleach, Dishsoap, waterless hand sanitizer, puppy collars, leashes, Purina puppy or kitten food, litter boxes, 45- gallon trash bags, copy paper and the list goes on and on. If you need more ideas, just ask Tanja, and she will be able to tell you more items that are needed. And if you have some of the items around the house and don't mind sharing, drop them off at the library.

And last but not least, the book that I am currently reading is called Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich. This is the newest one in the Stephanie Plum saga and let me tell you, it is really good! The usual crew is in it; Stephanie, Ranger, Morelli and Grandma Mazur. I don't want to say to much about the book, but it is a must read, it has everything: crime, humor, bucket lists and a hamster named Rex. I know, it isn't out yet, but Alicia and Tanja will make sure that it will be on the shelf on Tuesday. Since this is a hot ticket item, you better stop by and grab it right away!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Let me introduce ourselves ...

                                                     Hello there,

I am Mr. Whiskers ( I am the cute one with the dark fur), my brother Alvin and I are staying at the Marble Public Library. I don't know what it is with my brother, but if you should happen to peak into our cage, he is the one that just has to keep on waking me up, by crawling on top of me. Anyhow, if you should not have guessed it, we are not to be mistaken as humans, guinea pigs or mice. We are just to cute to be one of the listed!

We usually stay at the VanDyke Elementary school, but since school is out for the summer, we decided to take a little R and R at the library. Trust me, keeping up with Mrs. Inglebret's class can tucker you out. Don't believe it? Then spend a day with us in the classroom and you will end up wondering, where do those teachers get their energy? I swear, they must have special powers to keep up with those "little" munchkins (Yeah right, like they are little! They are the size of a giant compared to us). Don't take me wrong; the kids are lots of fun, but they sure are busy.

So we decided, why not pack our stuff up and stay at a place where we can just relax, visit with kids when we feel like it and read as many books as we can over the summer. And oh boy, do they have lots of books here! You would be amazed! And Tanja told me, if she doesn't have it at the library, she can get it for me! How cool is that? So I am thinking, that Alvin and I will not run out of things to read.

Anyhow, as I settle in at the library I will be stopping by at the blog and let you know what I am currently reading and if it is any good! Trust me, I will also let you know, if a book is a snoozer. I heard, that this is a most welcomed side-effect, if you are a parent and trying to get the kids to sleep, but I usually like to stay awake while I am reading. I will let you know so you can come into the library and check it out.

And since it seems that Alvin is more social even though he is a bit camera shy; I am sure that I can talk him into popping in every now and then to educate you (ha, I heard that word a few times in the school and I was just itching to use it) about things that will be happening at the library.

Anyway, I have to get started on my reading. Tanja told me to check out a picture book for tonight.  It is called: The Pigeon Needs a Bath by a fellow named Mo Willems. Supposedly those books are funny according to a gal named Alicia ( I think she works here, too but I haven't seen her yet). I guess I have to take Tanja's word for it and hope that that Alicia person is right.

Talk to you later,
Mr. Whiskers

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dig into Creepy Carrots

“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”
― Paul Cézanne

Today marked week two of the summer reading program.  Last week we read about yucky worms and made worm art, this week we read about creepy carrots and made creepy carrots.  So far, so fun.

Does it seem like we've approached Dig Into Reading from the dark side?  I hadn't realized it until I wrote that first paragraph.  Oh well, yucky and creepy are fun.  Next week we'll tackle bored potatoes.  WHAT??  Oh great; I guess we are not all happy sunshine over here with the reading program.  

Let's see: Yucky, Creepy, Bored are the sub-themes for the first three weeks of the summer reading program.  The first two weeks were super fun.  I have high hopes for next week.  Who doesn't love to be bored?  I don't know exactly what the final three weeks of the program may entail, but I'm sure it will be better than it sounds.

You can stop at the library and pick up a reading log.  I like to keep track of the time spent reading versus the number of books.  That way a kid who reads Harry Potter over the summer can have equal footing with kids who read one Mo Willems book after another.  Each oval is worth 20 minutes of reading, so if you only read for 10 minutes, just fill in half of the oval.  We'll have prizes to give away on August 13th; but if you fill out one whole book log before then, you can bring it in for an extra prize and get another book log to start the process over again.  Of course, to make it more challenging, your second book logs ovals are worth 30 minutes of reading.  (I'd hate for those avid readers to claim all the great prizes right away.)

I'm at the Coleraine Public Library on Tuesday mornings from 10:00-11:00, and at the Marble Public Library on Tuesday afternoons from 1:00-2:00.  This is a fun, free program.  

Stop by next week, we'll explored being bored together!

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
― A.A. Milne

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Brain Drain

"Two-thirds of the achievement gap occurs during the summers, not during the school year." ~~Richard Allington, an education professor at the University of Texas

Summer brain drain is highly preventable.  It doesn't have to take a lot of money or energy.  It takes a little time and effort; but it's summer, we've got all the time in the world!

Experts say that 15 minutes of reading per day over the summer does a lot to prevent summer brain drain.  There are some days when 15 minutes is too much time.  There are other days when 4 hours isn't enough time.  If a child can average 2 hours of reading a week, they can head back to school in the fall not too much dumber than they left it.

Getting your kids to practice their math skills over the summer doesn't have to give you a headache.  Play a few board games.  Monopoly, Yahtzee, and even Chutes and Ladders require some basic math.  If they use a recipe to make something, they need to know a little something about measurements.  At least they do if they want it to be edible.  You also need to read the recipe.  SCORE!  You get cookies and your kids took in some math and reading.

My kids read.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree over here, so it isn't any effort to get them to crack open a book.  Pretty much all other subjects need a little conscious effort on my part.  Having them do a little research on places they'd like to travel is a good way to introduce some geography, map reading, and distance calculating.  If you really want to throw some math at them, have them figure out how much a vacation costs and how long it will take them to raise enough allowance money to afford the trip.  Ah ha!  The kids get some math, and a reality check on finances. Win-win!

Take the kids out on a walk through the woods.  Bring along a bird guide, tree guide, flower guide, insect guide, footprint guide, or whatever else you can get your hands on.  We've got many of those things here at the library.  You can explore the world around you, and your kids might learn something.

Our summer reading program doesn't start until July 9th this year.  We decided to start later than usual because there seems to be so much available for kids to do right away after school lets out for the year.  Once July hits, things kind of slow down a little.  You get into August, and there are days when you just want to stay in air-conditioned comfort all day.  A good book and a cold drink are all you need to make that a perfect hot summer day.

It's summer.  Step away from the screens, and have some real-life fun.  You just might learn something in the process.  

 "The vast majority of us imagine ourselves as like literature people or math people. But the truth is that the massive processor known as the human brain is neither a literature organ or a math organ. It is both and more."
— John Green

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Snow time like spring

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.  ~Hal Borland

 I know we'll get spring eventually.  I just know we will.  I know this snow will melt.  I know it.  But sometimes knowing things and feeling things are two different things.  It feels like this winter will never end.

I don't hate winter.  I like the snow and the little bit of hibernation that I feel justified slipping into.  But, it's now April 17th and we're on another round of 3-9 inches of snow in the forecast.  Maybe it's just my Facebook newsfeed full of complaints about the weather that is bringing me down.  

I need to stay away from my window, my computer, and the local weather reports for the next two days.  I should keep my nose in my book, only surfacing occasionally to eat and make more coffee.  I'm suffering a bit from cabin fever.  But if I just keep my head down, I can escape into a book and forget about the LONGEST snow melt EVER.  Did I mention that this book takes place in Virginia (the state, not the northern Minnesota city)?  It's a lot more green in the book.  

I'll just keep my head down.

Eventually it will stop snowing. 

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reader's block

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
― Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I spent the weekend without a book to read.  I had a few magazines that I read from cover to cover, and a couple of guide books for Vancouver, British Columbia that I read through.  I saw stuff in the magazines that made me want to shop and some places in the guide books that I'd like to visit.  I  didn't stay up late reading either.  I missed having a story to dive into. 

I'm currently suffering from reader's block.  Usually this happens after I've read something really great and I just need to let the story steep for a while.  This time I'm suffering from reader's block because I haven't read anything riveting in a couple weeks.  I've read some good books, but nothing that I had trouble putting down.  It's been months since I read something like that.  The past few books have been a bit more dry, a bit more factual, a bit less fun.  Interesting?  Yes.  Worth reading?  Yes.  But, too much of one thing makes me bored.  Now I'm kind of off books and I need something really great to get me back to reading.  The problem is, I don't know exactly what I want.  I want to make sure it's something I can immediately get sucked into.  If I have to read fifty pages before I get into the story I may find myself thinking that reading is boring.  I know that isn't true. 

I may have to pull out the Terry Pratchett books I've been saving.  I saved them for a time when I would need a book other than a library book.  A time when I'm traveling.  I may not be going anywhere anytime real soon, but I think this is an emergency.  It's either that or another read of my favorite book, Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen.  It's been a couple years since I last read it, and I think one of my copies of the book just came back after being loaned out to a friend.  Either of those books will get me back on the reading track.  Either of those books will cause me to read past a decent bedtime.  EXACTLY what I'm looking for!

I like to think that if you hate reading, you just haven't found the right book.  I know it's true.  If you think reading is boring, you haven't been reading the right books.  Sure, there are a lot of boring books out there.  But there's something for everyone out there, you just have to find it.  If you don't know where to look, come and ask me--it would be my pleasure to find something for you!

“This book was written using 100% recycled words.”
― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SPAM and the changes because of it

I get spam, therefore I am. ~Alicia Wikstrom

Lately we have been noticing a large increase of SPAM on our site.  The first couple of times it was amusing, but it isn't any more. So for right now we decided to lock up our comments.  You can comment, but now we will preview them before they're published.  Just to keep the riff-raff out.  I'm sure the real people who read this won't mind that much.  It's been a while since we've had a real comment anyway.  Please leave us your comments, but be aware that they won't show up right away.

SPAM belongs on a sandwich more than it belongs here.  I'm not even sure about the sandwich thing.  Apparently I loved them when my great-aunt Alice would make fried Spam sandwiches for me when I was a wee toddler.  My family is eating Spam for supper this evening.  The girls had commented to my husband that they'd never eaten it, so he decided to make some for them.  I'm missing out, but I asked him to take a Spam picture for me so that I can share it with all of you who read this.  We'll see if Spam sandwiches become a regular in the meal rotations. 

 " Haul them off! Hide them!
The heart winces

For junk and gimcrack,
for jerrybuilt things
And the men who make them
for a little money,"

~Richard Wilbur

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'd like some chocolate.

"Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates."  ~Fernando Pessoa

“Happy Valentines Day to those who have found love, in whatever shape or form, and to those who are still hunting, don’t give up. If you feel bad, send yourself a card. You must be worth it...”  ~Jeanette Winterson

It's Valentine's Day!  A day for flowers, chocolate, and expressions of love.  Or like.  Or maybe just some chocolate the next day when it's all on sale.  

I have three girls.  They all had valentines to make.  For the past four years or so, I haven't bought valentines.  I did for a couple years, but I just couldn't see spending money on some pieces of paper that the kids were going to look at for a second before discarding because there was no candy attachedSo, the girls make their cards.  I have no idea what the parents of the kids in their class think about us.  I would guess they think I'm a nut.  They're partly right.  I am nuts; but more than that, I'm cheap.  We have paper, crayons, markers, pens, pencils, tape and glue.  And the kids have time.    

I like making cards.  I used to buy them, but this way I can get a card that really says what I think & feel.  Instead of spending time finding the card that says the right thing; I make my own that says exactly what I feel, although much less poetically.  Sometimes I just find a quote I like and use that.  I always do some artwork on the front of the card.  I feel like it's more personal.  I may not have words, but I can create something.  They might not be great, but they are cheaper than Hallmark.  It takes some time, but I've got time.  I just spend an hour less doing something else.   I'm sure I won't miss too much online during that time.  My book will wait.  The dishes can soak.  The laundry can sit in the dryer and get a little more wrinkled.  

I like getting cards that people have spent time making.   I understand that my husband isn't an artist.  I understand that he isn't a poet.  I appreciate the efforts he goes to when making me a card.  My kids have varying degrees of creativity and interest in making cards.  I appreciate the effort they put into them.  I think they have fun.  I don't think they mind that they're the only kids in class who make their own valentines.  They seem to be proud of the fact that they make the cards themselves.  This year I didn't help them.  At all.  I might have helped one of them track down the list of kids in their classroom, but that's it.  

And that's just the way I like it.

I'll pick up a heart shaped box of chocolates for myself on Friday when they're on sale.

Valentine's Day makes me feel so warm inside :D

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt." ~Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beautiful Creatures available for download

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
“Elton John?”
“Close. Ernest Hemingway. In his own way, sort of the rock star of his time.”
― Kami Garcia,
Beautiful Creatures

I've been reading more than one book at a time lately.  Except that one of those books is an audio book.  I got the recommendation from a friend of mine (Thanks, Ann!) and decided to download the audio book instead of reading the actual book.  It's a young adult novel,there are witches and other supernatural creatures, and I knew I wouldn't have to finish reading  one book to move onto this one when I found the audio option.  I have not minded the long car rides I've had to take lately, and the apicoectomy I had this morning was a breeze all because I had a book to listen to.

 What is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl about?  Teen casters, the yearning to break out of a small town by a restless teen, the longing to find a home, the fight between light and dark, young love, funny old women, the powers that can be found in a library, and a dogThat's really just the tip of the iceberg.  There's more to it than that.  It's a perfect escape book.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that, with some laughs thrown in for good measure.

It's so great to have books available for download with your library card.  If you don't like them, you don't have to beat yourself up over money wasted.  Which is what I would have done if I had paid for The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht instead of getting it for free with my library card.  Even though I didn't like The Tiger's Wife, I thought the narrator did a great job reading it.  Beautiful Creatures is even better.  You can tell the difference between the main characters and it's just one guy reading the story.  There are also some sound effects added to enhance the story.  It's really been hard to quit listening, in much the same way that a really good book can be hard to put down.  This is my first experience with an audio book like that. 

Teen books are fun.  I now have a new series to recommend to other readers who like this type of book.  And by "this type of book" I mean anyone with a penchant for the mystical, and anyone who loves young adult fiction.  Also, anyone who thinks librarians are heroes.  Because, they are.  Aunt Marian is a great librarian.  At least so far.  I'm not done with the book yet. 

The movie opens the day before Valentine's Day, and although I probably won't make it to the theater to see it, I'll be sure to check it out once it comes to the library.  If you hadn't heard of the Beautiful Creatures series of books, now you have.  I look forward to reading the next three books in the series.  Now that you know about them, you can check them out for yourself!

 “I'm just the librarian. I can only give you the books. I can't give you the answers."
- Aunt Marian in "Beautiful Creatures”
― Kami Garcia

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter chills bring thoughts of summer reading programs

We need society, and we need solitude also, as we need summer and winter, day and night, exercise and rest.
--Philip Gilbert Hamerton


It's freezing outside.  Which means it is time to start planning the summer reading program.  This will be my fourteenth summer running the program, and I need to breathe some new life into it.  Switch things up a little bit, and hopefully attract some more kids.  

Attendence over the past few years has remained small.   Some kids grow out of the program, and few return to take their places.  I'm not great at promoting the summer reading program.  I've done it for so many years already, and have never really succeeded in drawing extra kids through the library door.  I would not make a great salesman.  So, we're doing some work to come up with new ideas.

In the past few years, I've started the summer reading program shortly after school gets out.  Bigger libraries do this with great success.  But, we aren't a bigger library.  With a town of less than 500 people, there aren't all that many kids, and right after school gets out is when there are a lot of other really great programs and activities for them.  Maybe that will help.  

For many years we've had a library store at the end of the program.  Each 15 minutes of reading equals one library dollar to spend at the store.  The kids love it, but it doesn't necessarily encourage six weeks of reading.  Many of them cram some book reading into the last week of the program.  This year we're thinking about giving the kids prizes at each level of reading met.  Read for two hours, you get a prize.  Continue reading for another two and you get another.  We're also toying with the idea of getting credit for attending story hour and credit for bringing in the book logs and getting them stamped for some extra prizes.  Big libraries can't do that, but since we're so small it would be an option.

The thing about small libraries is that you know most of the kids that walk through the door.  You know their names, ages, and have a pretty good idea of what their home lives are like.  You know which ones need the most help with reading.  You know what kinds of books they prefer.  You know what games they play on our computers.  

At a small library you build relationships with these kids.  Granted, it's only for a short time.  Sometime in their teens they don't come through the door on a regular basis anymore.  Sometimes you don't see them until they bring their own children in.  You do your best to provide them with some tools for a successful life while you have the opportunity.  You impart on them the belief that public libraries are a wonderful thing.

It's really only the beginning of the planning stage, but we've already brainstormed quite a few new ideas.  It should be a fun year.  The Dig Into Reading theme translates to one thing for me, WORM ART!!  One of my most favorite projects!  I can hardly wait to share this painting technique with a few more kids.  What the rest of the six week program will bring is still up for discussion.  

Here's hoping we can bring a breath of fresh air to our summer reading program.  Maybe we can bottle up some of this below zero windchill and pull it out in July. 

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America