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


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Comment, old story

We live in an increasingly sophisticated world that makes it difficult to make simple comments on stuff. There are too many people on both sides of the border who are taking advantage of circumstances and the situation.
Arlo Guthrie


I love it when people comment on this blog.  I like the feedback, I like the shared stories, I like the shared ideas.  For every post I do, I hope for a comment or fifty.  Lately, I've been getting a lot of comments.  Usually not on the current posting though.  More often than not, it's on the Smooth Seas or What Happened After the After School Special postings.  Those comments don't make it onto the actual blog.  Sometimes, the comments are quite flattering.

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~Africa...":

This post is priceless. How can I find out more?
Also visit my web site ... immobilien alanya
See, my writing is priceless!  Maybe I should have clicked on that sight.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ode to Toys":

Thanks for finally talking about > "Ode to Toys" < Loved it!
my web page :: cool minecraft pictures
Too bad I don't have any use for cool minecraft pictures, but thank you for taking time to leave a comment!

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

I am curious to find out what blog system you have been using?
I'm experiencing some small security problems with my latest blog and I'd like to
find something more secure. Do you have any recommendations?
My webpage : Tropical Fish Food
Oh, sorry to hear about the security problems with your Tropical Fish Food website.  I'm really not a great person to ask about that kind of stuff though.  I just write the postings, I don't get too involved with anything else.  Good luck!

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~Africa...":

I do not leave many remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~African Proverb".
And I actually do have 2 questions for you if you usually do not
mind. Is it only me or does it look like some of the comments appear like they are coming from brain dead folks?
:-P And, if you are writing at other online social sites,
I'd like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?
Also see my web page - buy cigarettes online
I don't think that about anyone leaving comments on this blog.  You must have accidentally posted your comment to the wrong blog.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "From Russia with Love":

Pay day loans are whenever you borrow cash from the loan company, plus they recuperate their money.
The charges are additional,and curiosity instantly out of your subsequent paycheck.

Essentially, you spend additional to obtain your paycheck earlier.
Whilst this could be occasionally extremely handy in a
few situations, failing to pay for them back
again has severe effects. Study on to find out about whether or not,
or not pay day loans are correct for you personally.
Also see my webpage :: www.cathedral.cork.anglican
I'm sorry, what??   I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say.  I don't take out payday loans. 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

Hi there everybody, here every person is sharing these kinds of experience, so it's fastidious to read this website, and I used to pay a visit this web site all the time.
My weblog ... Coupon Codes
Wow, fastidious is a great word.  Very flattering.  For anyone else who doesn't know:
fas·tid·i·ous [fa-stid-ee-uh s, fuh-] adjective 1.  excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please: a fastidious eater.  2.  requiring or characterized by excessive care or delicacy; painstaking.
I'm not sure I'd say that it's fastidious to read this.   Perhaps you were talking about how hard it is to read it instead of referring to the care I take in composing the blog.  Nuts.  Now I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

I'm gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this website on regular basis to get updated from newest reports.
Also visit my website ; I need to sell my house PA
I hope your brother enjoys reading this blog.  Good luck selling your house! 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

It's really a great and helpful piece of info. I'm satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with us.

Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.
Here is my homepage :: Stage Lighting
I'm glad you found this useful.  I didn't set out to satisfy anyone with the posting, but I'm glad you are.  

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

Can you tell us more about this? I'd like to find out more details.
Take a look at my homepage :: green coffee beans Canada
I think it's great that you want to know more.  There are all kids of ways to find out.  Maybe you want to ask someone a little more local to you, since I assume you're typing from Canada.  I never knew you could grow coffee there.  You learn something new every day! 

There is always a link attached to some website or another.  I usually delete them right away from my emails, but I knew I was going to write this post, so I've been saving them up.  

It does take a lot of effort to make a comment.  It seems that perhaps some of these comments were made by people who get paid to post comments along with links to various places.  

One final word from someone who wants to say hello to everyone here:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happened after the After School Special?":

Hi to all, it's really a good for me to pay a quick visit this website, it contains helpful Information.
Visit my website errol denton uk
I'm going to hope they were talking about this website instead of their own, but I can't be sure.

So, thank you to anyone who has ever made a comment.  I know it takes some effort to make them.  I would also like to thank anyone who has never made a comment.  Thanks for reading this and hopefully enjoying the Marble Public Library blog. 
SPAM Tower

 “Observing and commenting, it is a piece of cake.
Experiencing and sharing, that is a piece of work.”
― Toba Beta,
My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Thursday, January 3, 2013

You'll never get a book deal with that resolution.

“If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution.”
― Jasper Fforde,
Something Rotten


Did you make a resolution?  I didn't.  I couldn't think of any that I haven't already made and failed atWhich got me to thinking.  If I often make some effort to come up with a resolution at this time of year and then repeatedly fail at these resolutions, maybe I need to rethink my strategy.  

On that note, here are my resolutions:

1.  I will never turn in a library book on time again.  Ever.  Those fines help (very indirectly) pay my wages, and I need to support the library by paying them.

2.  I will spend more time sleeping.  Or, at least sleeping when I should be awake.  Naps are not okay.  I need to sleep until the morning is almost over.  To accomplish this, I need to stay up until the wee hours of the morning.  Preferrably long enough that I only get a few hours of sleep before lunch.  Which makes napping in the afternoon a bad idea since I would have only just gotten up. 

3.  I will get more screen time.  

4.  I will cut down on the amount of time I spend cleaning and organizing my house.  One person should only do so much.

5.  I will read nothing but romance novels.  But just one per month.

6.  I will gaze into every sunny sky looking for a dark cloud.  Not just figuratively either.

7.  I will eat more butter.  I love butter.  I will eat more of it.

Maybe that's all a little too tongue in cheek and just invites trouble.  I should probably stick to some of the same resolutions my sister came up with.  Things like:

1.  I will put my pants on the right way.  If the tag is in the front, I will switch them around.

2.  When I wear socks I'll wear one on each foot.  Unless it's super cold outside and then I might wear two socks on each foot.  At no time when I wear socks will I have zero socks on my feet.

I'm fond of the one about socksMaybe I'll just keep it simple and stick to that one.  You'll notice that it says nothing about the socks having to match.  That should make it a resolution that is much easier to accomplish.

It's fun to make resolutions, I'm just not any good at keeping them for very long.  At least not the ones made around the first of the year.  But maybe if I break any of these resolutions I won't feel too guilty.  I might even be happy about it.

2013 Goals

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!”
― Aleister Crowley, Moonchild