Both books capture the essence, character, and importance of public libraries, prompting me to express my love for the library:
For the Love of the Library
The Library is a place: to gather, visit, meet, explore, discover, learn, laugh, and play.
The Library is a place: to rest, re-energize, be seen, be heard, connect, disconnect, give voice, and be challenged.
The Library is a place: of collections, story times, games, art, lectures, and book clubs.
The Library is a place: to dream, to imagine, to engage, to grow, to be.
Working outside the walls of the library, my fondness and appreciation has grown stronger.
Klinenberg’s work details how social infrastructure affects ones quality of life; places to gather like libraries, community gardens, and schools help give us a sense of well being. The book is interspersed with stories of triumph and tragedy. In a society that is growing increasingly polarized, he sites multiple examples of communities coming together and learning from one another.
Where relationships exist, communities survive despite circumstance. I’ve seen evidence of this in my neighborhood. In the community garden, people are spending more time together and relationships, along with plants, are thriving.
Orlean’s re-telling of the 1986 Los Angeles Library fire and the history of libraries in her book sends out a similar message. Cutting across socio-economic, generational, and cultural lines, the library by design is a place for all people.
Beyond the books, brick, and mortar, the library lives on in your story and mine. This is just a long and difficult chapter. I want our library back and I think most would agree: a virtual library just isn’t the same thing.
These two books intersected my path at just the right time, offering me perspective and gratitude for this recess from the normal and predictable.
In conclusion, I’d like to share this quote that I have taped to my desk. Take care. We’ll get there!
Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.
The song Changes by David Bowie has the lyrics “ch-ch-ch-ch changes (Turn and face the strange) ch-ch-ch-changes” and I’ve been thinking about those words a lot lately.
Life during a pandemic has been difficult and even scary. Many things have changed drastically: schools, businesses and parks are closed, work has been relegated to those who can work from home and some jobs have been flat out eliminated. People are having to stay at home, stay healthy and the changes are happening at a pace that makes my head spin.
Looking back, I regret that I wasn’t more prepared both physically and mentally for this change. When we were required to go home from our work positions at the library, I thought oh well. . . maybe we’ll be closed for a couple of weeks. Boy was I in La-La land. In a way, it was probably better that I didn’t know the extent of all that was going to happen or I wouldn’t have been able to serve the library in a professional manner.
The words I would use to describe this time in history include fear, loss, and grief but also resiliency and empathy. I made a search of the library catalog using the terms Change, Stress, Anger and Resilience to see what items would come up. Here are some of my great finds!
From the catalog summary: Emotionalagility is a revolutionary, science-based approach that allows us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness, and an open mind. Renowned psychologist Susan David developed this concept after studying emotions, happiness, and achievement for more than twenty years. She found that no matter how intelligent or creative people are, or what type of personality they have, it is how they navigate their inner world—their thoughts, feelings, and self-talk—that ultimately determines how successful they will become.
Something I have personal experience with is the cognitive behavior and freedom technique called Tapping or psychological acupressure. This therapy utilizes meridian points to restore the balance of energy and help resolve physical and emotional issues. Similar to mindfulness, it draws your attention to your body and breathing and serves as a mental distraction from issues causing anxiety or stress. You might ask if it works? Well it didn’t hurt and it gave my something new to try.
From the catalog summary: In a friendly voice, he lays out easy-to-use practices, diagrams and worksheets that will teach readers, step-by-step, how to tap on a variety of issues. With chapters covering everything from the alleviation of pain to the encouragement of weight loss to fostering better relationships, Ortner opens readers’ eyes to just how powerful this practice can be.
From the catalog summary: An inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how deafness taught her to listen fiercely, how being vulnerable allowed her to find love, and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.
From the catalog summary: In this radical new book, practitioner Rodger Dean Duncan shows that humanness, approachability, and friendliness are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful. Change cannot be achieved by a press release, slogan, or announcement. Effective organizational change requires the active, mindful participation of the people affect.
Things are still changing and will likely never go back to ‘how it used to be’ but together we can strive to make it less painful and frightening by being there for each other and understanding ‘we are all in the same boat.’
A little while ago, I had a young reader excitedly ask for the Isadora Moon book series. She was so animated while telling me about Isadora, whose mother was a fairy and father was a vampire, and how her favorite colors were pink and black.
The young reader was such an excellent book-talker, the first in the series made it to the top of my reading list (I believe most librarians have to-be-read lists longer their arm)! The Isadora Moon series by Harriet Muncaster is about a girl who needs to be true to herself and that means not always fitting in where others may expect her to. I love how this relatable theme is shown through the lens of fairy vs vampire.
OK, if you’ve interacted with me before, you knew this was not going to be a gory blog! Check out today’s list of cute downloadable stories, inspired by the Isadora Moon series, combining fairy and vampire characters. The book descriptions are from the Everett Public Library catalog.
Forget Goldilocks and the three bears—MOLDILOCKS and the THREE SCARES are here, in a delightful new version of the popular story. Papa Scare (a monster), Mama Scare (a mummy), and Baby Scare (a vampire) live in a haunted house where they eat finger sandwiches and alpha-bat soup. One night, they go out to walk their dog (a bloodhound, of course) to let their soup cool down. While they’re away, in walks the zombie Moldilocks, looking for food, a chair, and a bed that’s just right. Kids will love this hauntingly funny story with its surprise ending!
With Sylva and the Fairy Ball, Margaret McNamara launches the Fairy Bell Sisters, an enchanting new chapter-book series. The books feature Tinker Bell’s little sisters and are a must-read for lovers of the Rainbow Fairies and Disney Fairies stories. Clara Bell, Golden Bell, Rosy Bell, Sylva Bell, and baby Squeak are fairy sisters who live on Sheepskerry Island. Usually Sylva and her sisters get along just fine–until the week of the Fairy Ball. Sylva has her heart set on going–she’ll get to wear magical diamond wings and walk on beautiful satin ribbons under the stars! But fairies must be at least eight years old to attend, and poor Sylva’s birthday is the day after the ball. But before the night is over, Sylva’s big sisters will need her to come to their rescue. Charming illustrations by Julia Denos bring the world of fairies to life.
Meet Isadora Moon! She’s half-fairy, half-vampire and totally unique! Isadora Moon loves sunshine — and nighttime. She loves her magic wand — and her black tutu. She loves spooky bats — and Pink Rabbit. Isadora is half-fairy, half-vampire, and she’s special because she is different!
Now Isadora’s parents want her to start school, but she’s not sure where she belongs — fairy school or vampire school?
Welcome to Camp Mwhaaa-haa-ha-a-watha! This summer is going to be epic. Epically evil, that is. ‘Cause I’m going to Evil Scientist Summer Camp! No annoying little brothers. No annoying zombie goldfish. Just me, my best friend Sanj, our notebook of evil plans, and my truly evil (and totally forbidden) vampire kitten Fang. We’ve got it all planned out. Okay, so maybe I didn’t expect for the totally not-evil Geeky Girl to show up, or for Sanj to find a new partner to work with, but there’s no way I’m going to let them ruin my summer. Evil Emperor of the Camp, here I come! Signed, The Great and Powerful Mark.
THIS book is written by Harold. His full time occupation is dog. He lives with Mr. and Mrs. X (here called Monroe) and their sons Toby and Pete. Also sharing the home are a cat named Chester and a rabbit named Bunnicula. It is because of Bunnicula that Harold turned to writing. Someone had to tell the full story of what happened in the Monroe household after the rabbit arrived.
It all began when the Monroes went to see the movie Dracula At the theater Toby found something on his seat, a baby rabbit that he took home and named Bunnicula. It proved to be an apt name, at least as far as Chester was concerned. A well-read and observant cat, he soon decided that there was something odd about the newcomer. For one thing he seemed to have fangs. And the odd markings on his back looked a little like a cape. Furthermore, Bunnicula slept from sunup to sundown. He was awake only at night.
When the family started funding white vegetables, drained dry, with two fang marks in them, Chester was sure Bunnicula was a vampire. But what to do about it. None of the family seemed to grasp the trouble, and Chester’s hilarious hints were totally misunderstood.
Was Bunnicula really a vampire? Only Bunnicula knows for sure. But the story of Chester’s suspicions and their consequences makes uproarious reading.
Could Dr. Frankenstein’s machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It’s not brains.) This fascinating encyclopedia of monsters delves into the history and science behind eight legendary creatures, from Bigfoot and the kraken to zombies and more. Find out each monster’s origin story and the real-world history that informed it, and then explore the science of each creature in fun and surprising ways. Tips and infographics—including monster anatomy, how to survive a vampire attack, and real-life giant creatures of the deep sea—make this a highly visual and fun-to-browse book.
Stuck at home and lonely. That’s where a lot of us are right now! Let’s be sure not to confuse alone with lonely. Some people are perfectly happy to be alone to work on what they want. Many avoid being lonely by talking to friends on the phone or through Facebook, Zoom or whichever technology they may be using. Sone others, however, can be in a houseful of people and still feel socially isolated and desperate for human interactions that are outside of their family circle.
Hopefully, you are not alone and have family in the house with you and the ability to “be” with your friends.
Of course, being stuck indoors with family can also be annoying! I think everyone should have their own private space set aside where they can take time out from the world. Perhaps your bedroom with the door shut or even hang out in the laundry room or bathroom. Now may also be the time to institute a ‘quiet hour’ where everyone either naps or sits individually with a book or craft.
I have been looking at Creativebug, which is in our online resources, and have seen a lot of family friendly crafts that are easy to do with stuff you have lying around the house. There was an especially easy weaving project where all you need is some leftover bits of yarn and a piece of thin cardboard from the recycling bin to get you started.
Perhaps you have a yard you can sit in and enjoy. Why not have fun with your family and start a small vegetable or flower garden? Ask Ciscoe: Your Gardening Questions Answered by Ciscoe Morris is a great resource to get you started, and Small Garden Style by Jennifer Blaise Kramer will give you great ideas for making use of the smallest garden spaces such as patios or your deck. Early spring is the perfect time to start a garden. You may also want to see if there is a community garden in your neighborhood or a vacant lot that could become one.
While you may not be able to take a vacation right now, you can enjoy planning a trip. We have many Lonely Planet Travel Guides in ebook format to explore. Pretend you are going toFiji, the South Pacific, Paris or Berlin! Or you can watch a show on Kanopy and take a virtual trip. On the tab ‘sciences’ under ‘zoology’ there are a number of shows about animals from all over the world. And of course, you won’t need a travel guide if you are sitting in your living room!
No matter what you find to do, it is good to remember that this is all temporary. You may even look back on it eventually and say “remember when we were all stuck at home? I kind of miss that.” Stay safe and healthy!
April felt like a very long month. I’m skeptical of my calendar saying it was only thirty days; I think an extra week or two might have been snuck in this year. As essential as it has been to stay home and stay indoors whenever possible, it has been a mental struggle for some (okay, at least for me). With the spring weather showing up my mind kept wandering to the outdoors and what hiking trails I’d like to explore before I remembered that outdoor recreation sites – like so many things – were closed to keep us safe.
Rejoice, though! Starting on May 5th the restrictions on some outdoor activities that can be done safely were relaxed, opening up state lands to hikers – with the expectation that those partaking in recreation activities follow safe social distancing procedures.
So why not check out some of the hiking ebooks we offer to get you ready for your next outdoor adventure?
One of the provisions in the new outdoor recreation guidelines is the request that those who wish to hike try to stay as close to their home area as possible to help reduce the risk of accidental spread of covid-19.
Another great series of trail guides are the Day Hike! books published by Sasquatch Publishing. Each title covers a specific region, such as the Olympic Peninsula, Columbia River Gorge, or probably the most relevant to readers of this blog, the North Cascades. Each hike listed can be done in a day, perfect for a quick getaway without needing to pack a tent (which is good, because camping is still prohibited).
Always be sure to check for the latest information before planning a trip to municipal, county, state or federal areas as restrictions may vary.
That said, maybe it’s just best to stay home, relax, and let someone else do the hiking. One of my favorite books is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, his humorous memoir of trying to tackle America’s famed Appalachian Trail. Spanning over two thousand miles, there’s plenty of room for eccentric characters and beautiful landscapes, all brought to life by Bryson’s signature wit and keen observations. It’s an enjoyable read and you won’t even need to risk blistered feet, bug bites, or unexpected wildlife encounters to get a laugh.
We also offer a few outdoor related digital magazine titles as well. On Libby you can access issues of Backpacker Magazine, full of trail highlights from around the world, gear reviews, and other articles focusing on trail life, as well as Field & Stream magazine for content more focused on hunting, fishing and outdoorsmanship.
You may have seen this wonderful viral picture on social media about owls and their long legs. Who knew that’s what was under all those feathers! There are so many things to learn about owls. Did you know that in the Harry Potter series, Harry’s owl Hedwig is a female Snowy Owl. All the owls that played her part in the movies were male.
From the book Snowy Owl Invasion, I learned about a 2013 Snowy Owl irruption, a sudden increase in an animal’s population. Due to the larger number of owls in unusual places, scientists studying these owls found that they flew faster, higher, and further than they thought possible. Sounds like the perfect mail carrying owl for Harry Potter!
Below I have included a list of fantastic owl books, including the non-fiction book Snowy Owl Invasion, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Through the end of May, Pottermore Publishing and Overdrive has given libraries unlimited access to Book 1 in the Harry Potter Series, in downloadable book and audio versions! All book descriptions are taken from the library’s catalog.
Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge In the night skies above Paris, an adorable young owl teaches her older brother about the power of imagination—and the unconditional love between siblings
Little Owl’s Nightby Divya Srinivasan It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep.
Owl Babiesby Martin Waddell Features an audio read-along! When three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, they can’t help but wonder where she is. Stunning illustrations capture the owls as they worry about their mother: What is she doing? When will she be back? Not surprisingly, a joyous flapping and dancing and bouncing greets her return, lending a celebratory tone to the ending of this comforting tale.
Rocket Writes a Storya Story by Tad Hills Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can’t think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way he discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story.
National Geographic Readers: Owls by Laura Marsh In this level 1 reader, young readers will explore the feathery world of adorable owls. Follow these curious-looking creatures through their wooded habitats, and learn how owls raise their young, hunt, and protect themselves. Beautiful photos and carefully leveled text make this book perfect for reading aloud or for independent reading.
Favorite Stories from Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman It’s springtime on the ranch. Cowgirl Kate is excited about the arrival of all the baby animals: a newborn calf, a frisky puppy, and a nest of little barn owls. Her best friend Cocoa the horse is not so excited. Babies are a lot of work! But they are also sweet, as Cocoa and beginning readers will discover in this delightful addition to Green Light Readers. Short sentences and simple dialogue keep newly independent readers engaged and confident.
Beginning Chapter Book
Owl Diariesby Rebecca Elliot Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy’s help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva’s diary — with Rebecca Elliott’s owl-dorable full-color illustrations throughout!
Origami Papertainment: Samurai, Owls, Ninja Stars, and More!By Christopher Harbo From samurai and owls to ninja stars and dragonflies, exciting traditional and original paper folding projects await young origami artists. Organized from easy to challenging, each project includes clear, step by step, photo illustrated instructions that make developing paper folding skills fun. All projects also include creative tips for using and displaying models to impress friends and family.
Snowy Owl Invasion! Tracking an Unusual Migrationby Sandra Markle Late in 2013, snowy owls started showing up in places no one expected to find them—including Florida. What had caused so many of these majestic birds to leave their Arctic home and fly to southern Canada and the United States? Scientists quickly began working to find out. Author Sandra Markle brings together firsthand reports from the scientists involved along with stunning photographs of the owls to explain this rare event, known as an irruption. Follow along as scientists figure out why snowy owls took part in this unusual migration and discover what they learned from the unexpected opportunity to study them up close.
Middle Grade Fiction
Hootby Carl Hiaasen Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and–here’s the odd part–wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneby J.K. Rowling Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
There’s a reason that the nightly news ends with a ‘good news story,’ we need hope. Hope gives us energy. Hearing and watching stories of how others have triumphed over the odds inspires and helps us to think better of others and ourselves.
We had our own good news story live last evening when we looked out our living room window and spotted a young couple setting up a Covid 19 style birthday party in our neighborhood. We stood in awe as decorations went up in the pouring rain and the little family waited a good 40 minutes until a trail of young families, including the 32 year old birthday girl, arrived dressed to party. We joined in from our deck as everyone sang happy birthday.
Last evening was remarkable, but other days it’s been a bit like searching for diamonds in the rough. I’ve found Cloud Library the easier of the two online ebook apps to use when doing a subject search. I began my search on self-care and health but, landed on inspirational books and stories of courage. I encourage you to do your own search. Cloud Library has an extensive topic search although some titles overlap.
I don’t want to die, however in my more broken and vulnerable moments I feel like I need to be fixed. Author Anna Mehler-Paperny tracks her quest for knowledge and her desire to get well. Impeccably reported, Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me is a profoundly compelling story about the human spirit and the myriad ways we treat (and fail to treat) depression, a condition that accounts for more years swallowed up by disability than any other in the world.
Last May I blogged on depression. No one was more surprised than me on the response I received, which attests to the importance of mental health. More recently co-worker Linda blogged on the subject as part of her Did You Know series.
I’ve enjoyed and shared my enthusiasm for Lamott’s candor in a previous post. I can’t think of a better time to revisit her in Almost Everything. In this profound and funny book, Lamott calls for each of us to rediscover the nuggets of hope and wisdom that are buried within us so we can make life sweeter than we ever imagined. Her work is divided into short chapters that explore life’s essential truths. Candid and caring, insightful and sometimes hilarious, Almost Everything is the book we need and that only Anne Lamott can write.
Whimsical comes to mind when reading this short summary: From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.“ Kind,” said the boy.
Eric was 150 pounds, overweight, depressed, and sick. After a lifetime of failed diet attempts… sound familiar?…Walking with Peety is for anyone who is ready to make a change in his or her life, and for everyone who knows the joy, love, and hope that dogs can bring. This is more than a tale of mutual rescue. This is an epic story of friendship and strength
A powerful journey from star athlete to sudden paralysis to creative awakening, award-winning science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor shows that what we think are our limitations have the potential to become our greatest strengths.
We’ve heard it, and we’ve said it a thousand times over these past weeks “We’re in this together.” Author Philip Yancey once wrote “We don’t get to choose the family we’re born into.” So much of life is about not having control, yet seeing a spontaneous birthday party outside in the rain and finding books with amazing stories and insights helps us along our way. A bit like finding a diamond in the rough.