World map on two hands with doves flying into a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Be the change you wish to see in the world

It’s time for a check in. It is a wonderful time for us to remind ourselves that we are all on a journey to better understanding ourselves and others. This is the journey we are all on, living and learning throughout life. I believe that the library can be an integral part of this journey for each and every person, here is why.

This last weekend I was reflecting on the wonderful opportunity to observe Juneteenth. Juneteenth is meant to be a day of jubilation, a day to celebrate significant turning point for the rights of people who are racially black in the United States. It is also meant to be a day to honor and remember those who have been lost or had their lives disrupted by enslavement. Lastly, it is a day for us to ignite action in individuals to make changes. Action, it is a word of intention, of movement, and change. Yes, there has been so many things that have progressed, but there is still a long ways to go and you can be a part of it.

Today I encourage you to take time to set intentions to first seek to understand before seeking to be understood. This may seem simple, but it takes putting ourselves aside for a moment to better hear and understand others and that can be a really hard skill. We can do this by being intentional about our listening, and focusing not on our own thoughts or responses while we take time to listen to others.

Next, I encourage you to consider that individuals are experts in their own lives. How do we best learn from these experts? By listening, reading, and talking to others about their stories. Pick up a book from an author that is of a different background than yourself, go someplace new that might challenge you to meet new people, or have a conversation with a friend about something new you learned. We can take steps regularly to expose ourselves to new ideas and new people. Here are some programs through the library that might help you find something to enhance your journey.

One Book, One Community

Tough Topics Book Club

Anti-Racism Resources and Book Lists

Diversify Your Reading Challenge

Today I encourage you to take a moment and set intentions. Take a moment and consider one step that you can take to move forward in your journey. Right now I am striving to be a better listener and learner about other’s stories, and how I can be a part of the change. Will you join me?

Cataloging Identity

People don’t fall into neat little categories, but as we try to communicate to each other who we are, we tend to identify ourselves with labels. Nerd, jock, rebel. Mom, uncle, brother. Accountant, mechanic, librarian.

But labels never stay so simple. We start adding qualifiers: computer nerd, fun uncle, children’s librarian. We don’t stick with just one label per person; someone can be a computer nerd, a fun uncle, and a children’s librarian.

This is similar to how libraries catalog books. For example, Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Four Winds, is fiction. It is also cataloged as historical fiction and domestic fiction. We don’t stop there, though; our library catalog also includes subject tags. The Four Winds has 13 subject tags, including “Dust Bowl Era,” “Women Farmers,” “American Dream,” “Texas,” and “California.”

All of these descriptions are helpful because, with just a few carefully chosen words, potential readers have an idea of what a book is about. Of course, reading the synopsis will give you more detailed information. And the only way to truly know what the book contains is to actually read the book.

The same holds true for people. You’ve already formed a basic impression of what a computer nerd, fun uncle, children’s librarian is like. To get a better idea, you could have a conversation with them. But to truly know the nerdy, fun librarian, you’d have to get to know them.

June is Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community has an overwhelming amount of labels. It’s expedient to use just a few words to explain your gender identity and sexual orientation. However, phrases like “genderfluid pansexual person” or “asexual demiromantic female” are far less commonly understood than “rebellious mechanic mom” or “sporty accountant brother”.

If you’d like to brush up on common gender and sexuality terms, I recommend UCSF’s glossary. For a much longer and more comprehensive list, try’s.

With Pride Month in the news and on our social media feeds, these terms become more and more common. If you don’t know what something means, don’t be afraid to ask or look it up.

And remember: books can’t be defined by just a few words, and neither can people.

Happy Pride Month, everyone!


Summer Readin’ [set to Summer Nights]

Click the Play Button Above and Sing Along!

[Verse 1]

Summer readin’, will be a blast

Summer readin’, it’s here at last

I found a novel perfect for me

Found the new Murakami 

Summer days reading away

And, uh oh, through the night


Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!

Read some more, read some more

Really making me think

Read some more, read some more

Sign up here at this link

[Verse 2]

“Bookish Beasts,” it’s this year’s theme

Read for prizes, book lover’s dream

Fun activities for me to do

And events to look forward to

Summer sun, reading is fun

But, uh oh, reading at night


Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!

Read some more, read some more

How many minutes a day?

Read some more, read some more

Thirty gets you all the way

[Verse 3]

Danielle Steel, pulp is her thing,

He likes horror, loves Stephen King

Tried to get her to read Hemingway

Thought he’d like Don Quixote

Summer reading filled with meaning

But, uh oh, all reading’s right


Woah, woah, woah

Tell me more, tell me more

How will I ever keep track?

Tell me more, tell me more

Use the Beanstack app


Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book

Read-a-good book


[Verse 4]

We could find some books we can share,

A teen series? Books of Elsewhere?

Try an epic? Something by Proust?

Or a thriller? Where Ravens Roost?

Summer heat, reading is neat

But, uh oh, read through the night


Woah, woah, woah

Tell me more, tell me more

Is it borrow or lend?

Tell me more, tell me more

Can I sign up my friend?


He got friendly, lent me Wasteland

She got friendly, attempted “The Stand

He was sweet, showed me Beanstack

I prefer paper to track

Summer reading sunshine is fleeting

But, uh oh, those reading nights

(Tell me more, tell me more)


Original lyrics:

Untouched by COVID-19

I really do feel a bit guilty. The past several months have been such a terror for so much of the world, and our country. Now India is again in a terrible situation.

With 163 plus million cases worldwide, and 3.38 plus millions of deaths, hundreds of millions out of work, millions of businesses closed, school children way behind, and so much of life missed. Not being able to see loved ones in nursing homes? Not being able to be with them on their deathbed? These are just unimaginable to me.

So why do I feel guilty? Because this terrible disease that has touched so many has not really touched me personally. My wife and I were blessed that we know of not a single person hospitalized, nor died, from COVID-19. It did not affect me financially, as my wife’s job is secure, and my library position allowed me to work from home while closed. Shoot, I even got out of working nights and weekends!

Raising children is hard enough. Now add schools closing, most after-school sports and activities canceled, virtual classes, homeschooling, mask mandates, and just the fear of it all had to be terrible for students. For you parents that got your kids through this, and keeping your sanity, bless your hearts. I salute you all!

But certainly good news the past few months. Vaccinations are way up, cases and deaths are way down. Things in the United States are opening once again, including our wonderful library. For those who do not know this, our temporary location is on the south side of Eau Claire, where we took over half of the United Health Care building at 2725 Mall Drive. For the first time in over a year, we are welcoming customers without an appointment.

As of now, the hours are a bit different. Mondays and Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and once again Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are not open Sundays during the summer months. Our library management team took months preparing to move, finding another location, and taking the necessary steps to move the entire collection of books, DVDs, CDs, and more. I missed our regular customers, and am eager to see you all again.

So come see us! Without a mask if you are fully vaccinated, and feel safe to do so. The pictures tell you we look like a real library!

Questions? Please call the Reference Team at 715-839-5004, email us at Hope to see you soon!

Podcast Palooza

There isn’t much to say here. I have been researching podcasting for the better part of the last year and realized I had started to compile quite the list of podcasts. I went a little further and started to categorize those podcasts and expand in each category with even more content. Before I knew it, I managed to accumulate an insane list to share with you all. If you can’t find something of interest here, you may want to start re-evaluating your life.

Most of the following podcasts are actively releasing new content as of the writing of this blog post. The few that are limited series or seem to have been discontinued have it noted in the description.

A warning about content in these podcasts is well disclaimed in Conan O’Brien Needs Friend: “free from FCC regulation.” So, please take into consideration that any of these podcasts are subject to the unpredictability of freely contributed internet content without regulation. While some of these podcasts are produced by renowned organizations, many of them will contain content that is sensitive to some and most suited for a mature audience. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Jump to…


Interview (Comedic)

  • The Joe Rogan Experience – One of the longest running podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience explores quite a variety including science, politics, celebrities, and fringe topics.
  • SmartLess – A comedy podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. Each show has the trio interviewing a guest celebrity and hilarity always ensues. 
  • Armchair Expert – Hosted by actor Dax Shepherd where he interviews various celebrities.
  • Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend – Conan O’Brien takes his self-deprecating comedy to an auditory audience as he interviews various celebrities using a modified formula from his television shows.
  • Under the Skin – Russell Brand’s podcast delves into social issues and politics with leading professionals in their fields.

Interview (Serious)

  • TED Interview – You may have watched some TED talks on the many deep and meaningful topics they tackle. TED Interview has Chris Anderson, head of TED, interviewing like-minded professionals on a wide range of topics.
  • On Purpose – Jay Shetty’s podcast, On Purpose, is an attempt to “make wisdom go viral.”
  • You Turn Podcast – A podcast focused on improving its listeners’ lives in many facets of life through discussions with guests and hosted by Ashley Stahl.
  • The Genius Life – Max Lugavere brings professional guests on to share information on how to live a healthy life.

Listener Response

  • My Brother, My Brother and Me – Three brothers respond to listener questions filled with humor and sibling sarcasm. 
  • Timesuck! – Dan Cummins’ long but fascinating podcast episodes cover an array of listener-suggested topics taking on serious issues with a twist of comedic commentary.
  • Pen Pals with Daniel & Rory – The eponymous duo respond to letters sent in from their listener base.
  • Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People – A uniquely formatted podcast where the host takes a call from one listener and lets them tell their story while discussing the details.
  • The Peripheral – The host, Justin, collects listeners’ stories often considered taboo and shares them on the podcast. The show seems to have been discontinued but still has many episodes still available to listen to.


  • The Daily Zeitgeist – A humorous news podcast that ironically labels itself a second-rate program.
  • The Daily – A daily news podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro from The New York Times.
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition – Takes the content from the television show, The Daily Show, and optimizes it for listeners in a podcast format.
  • Democracy Now! – One of NPR’s most popular radio shows and podcasts, Democracy Now! shares daily news on humanitarian and progressive issues in the United States.

True Crime

  • Casefile – An Australian true-crime podcast hosted by an anonymous man.
  • Mommy Doomsday – One of several Dateline podcasts, Mommy Doomsday is a limited series podcast hosted by the renowned Keith Morrison as he explores the strange disappearance of two of Lori Vallow’s children in Rexburg, Idaho.
  • Sword and Scale – The host, Mike Boudet, explores true crime stories while also interviewing criminals, witnesses, victims, and more in this long-running true-crime podcast.
  • My Favorite Murder – Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark share their favorite true crime stories while also hearing stories from friends and fans.
  • Criminal – An independently produced podcast hosted by Phoebe Judge where she shares “stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.”



  • This Paranormal Life – A weekly podcast where hosts Rory Powers and Kit Grier investigate cases surrounded with mystery and paranormal circumstance.
  • Spooked! – True stories about supernatural occurrences are shared by Snap Judgment’s host, Glynn Washington. 
  • The Dark Histories – A podcast that focuses on some of history’s strangest mysteries and darkest stories shared by Ben Cutmore.
  • And That’s Why We Drink – A terrifying and effective amalgamation of true crime and paranormal stories, And That’s Why We Drink‬ is the paranormal podcast to keep you up at night.
  • Unexplained You won’t find answers to these unsettling stories that have never been explained. 

Creativity & Art

  • The Unmistakable Creative A podcast designed to help get us creatives out of our slumps. Break those creative blocks with some inspiration from this podcast.
  • Sound & Vision – Host Brian Alfred travels to various studios and galleries to interview fellow creatives on their creative exploration in art and music.
  • Etsy Conversations Podcast – Most people have heard of Etsy, but how many have wondered how the creators came to be? This podcast has host Ijeoma interviewing various Etsy sellers to discuss their crafts and stories.
  • Creative Rebel‪s – Hosts David Speed and Adam Brazier interview other creatives who successfully rebelled against the standard day-job norms.
  • Design Matters – Touted as the longest running design podcast, Debbie Millman has been hosting Design Matters since 2005 discussing a variety of design-based topics with professionals in their fields.


  • Making It – The host trio of Jimmy Diresta, Bob Clagett, and David Picciuto discuss each of their unique areas of creative interests and what they have been making.
  • Reclaimed Audio – Another host trio, Phil Pinsky, Tim Sway, and Bill Lutes, share their very different attempts on making with reclaimed materials.
  • My Disney Class – A podcast that strives to bring the art and creative inspiration of Disney to classroom and makerspace educators everywhere.
  • Shop Talk Live – A podcast published by Fine Woodworking magazine where woodworking professionals discuss various subjects regarding woodwork.
  • 99% Invisible – A podcast hosted by Roman Mars where he digs into the architecture and design that is often left unappreciated or unnoticed in our day-to-day lives.


  • Everything is Alive – Host Ian Chillag interviews an inanimate object in each episode where the object gets to share all of the true aspects of its existence.
  • The Box of Odditie‪s‬ – A bizarre podcast on a slew of strange topics discussed by podcast hosts Kat & Jethro Gilligan Toth.
  • The Unusual History of Every Thin‪g‬ – Each podcast episode has hosts Melanie Dellas and Karen Lacy delve into the history of a selected subject matter whether it be leprechauns or the inaccuracy of our calendars.
  • This Is Actually Happening – A podcast that covers true stories full of unusual or extreme circumstances.
  • The Truth – A dramatic storytelling podcast that drags its listeners through unexpected places. Headphones are recommended.

Mixed Bag

  • Decoder Ring – Willa Paskin hosts this podcast on exploring cultural mysteries whether it be historical fads or unexpected societal changes.
  • The Adam Savage Project – Adam Savage of Myth Busters fame created a podcast to explore his many areas of interest including celebrity interviews, maker community discussions, and answering questions from the audience. The podcast recently concluded in January of 2021 but still has hundreds of episodes available to listen to.
  • Stuff To Blow Your Min‪d‬ – Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the many wonders of reality.
  • The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week – A podcast from Popular Science that offers questions about a wide array of subjects.
  • Stuff You Should Know, or SYSK – Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, former writers from HowStuffWorks, explore many topics to appease the inner information junkie in all of us.

Life, Health, and Love

  • Mark Groves Podcast – Mark Groves is a Human Connection Specialist and shares his insight into human relationships on all levels in his podcast.
  • Food Psych – Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN hosts this podcast on intuitive eating and body liberation.
  • Love, Food – Podcast host Julie Duffy Dillon, RDN navigates the complexity of intuitive eating in a world of social norms.
  • The Ultimate Health Podcast – Marni Wasserman and Dr. Jesse Chappus interview professionals on various health topics focused on holistic and alternative viewpoints to mainstream medical thinking.
  • The School of Greatness – One of the most popular podcast series on iTunes that provides listeners with information regarding many topics to help live a better life including entrepreneurship, health, and money.


  • The Golfer’s Journal Podcast – A podcast from The Golfer’s Journal covering all topics golf.
  • 30 For 30 Podcasts – A renowned sports podcast that brings captivating stories about sports and athletes from the broad world of sports.
  • The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny – Mina Kimes, an acclaimed sports journalist, discusses all things football with her friends and the occasional input from her dog, Lenny.
  • Pardon My Take – A comedic sports podcast from Barstool Sports that has hosts Big Cat & PFT Commenter covering various sports topics.
  • The Bill Simmons Podcast – Touted as “the most downloaded sports podcast of time,” Bill Simmons brings a variety show centered around his area of expertise—sports.


  • StarTalk Radio – Famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson hosts his equally as famous podcast, StarTalk, with various co-hosts and guests from both the science and entertainment industries.
  • Radiolab – Both a radio program and a podcast, New York’s Radiolab is a well-known and long-running series that started with a heavy focus on scientific inquiry, but has since branched out to include much more.
  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe – A podcast that discusses scientific issues with a panel of “skeptical rogues” that approaches everything with a sense of “scientific skepticism.”
  • Science Vs – A team of science-focused fact-checkers that tackle popular issues that need scientific backing or debunking.
  • Nature Podcast – The official podcast of Nature journal brings its scientific professionals’ voices to listeners’ ears.

Deep & Heavy

  • Griefcast – Cariad Lloyd takes a comedic approach to a very heavy topic—death.
  • On the Media – An NPR podcast that takes a critical view of the media and how it impacts us from a worldwide lens.
  • On Being – A radio show/podcast out of Minneapolis that asked “What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?”
  • Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everythin‪g‬ – An attempt to “connect the dots” of the complex world around us through a wide variety of topics.
  • Mindset Zone – A podcast that attempts to grow its listeners’ mindsets.


  • The Dollop – A history podcast with a comedic approach.
  • You’re Wrong Abou‪t‬ – Journalists Mike and Sarah challenge the socially prominent view of various historical topics and re-evaluate the controversial topics.
  • Mobituaries – Mo Rocca of CBS News takes some of his favorite underrated people from history and shares their little-known contributions. This does seem to be a limited podcast with the last episode in early 2020.
  • The Alarmist – A podcast that shares the blame behind some of history’s worst tragedies.
  • Noble Blood – Dana Schwartz’s historical podcast focuses on the royal side of history and the impact that various nobles have had on their nations.


Myth and Folklore

  • Myths and Legends – A podcast by Jason Weiser who shares stories from mythology and folklore from around the world.
  • Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby – A host known simply as Liv shares her favorite stories from Greek and Roman Mythology.
  • Mythunderstood – Paul Bianchi and Sarah Oliver take a comedic approach to sharing Paul’s love of Greek Mythology.
  • Drunk Mythology – Another comedy pair shares stories in mythology while they become intoxicated.
  • The Myth Legend & Lore Podcast – Siobhan Clark’s mesmerizing Irish accent drags her listeners in her tellings of mythology.


Variety Storytelling

  • Selected Shorts – Short stories are selected by guest hosts and performed by various famous actors and celebrities. Episodes are available for a limited time after first airing.
  • 1001 Classic Short Stories & Tales – Some of history’s greatest classics are read aloud by the show’s host, John Hagadorn.
  • The Writer’s Voice – The New Yorker provides a podcast where the authors of their stories read the stories that were provided in issues of The New Yorker.
  • Clarkesworld Magazine – This Science Fiction & Fantasy magazine shares some of its printed short stories in a podcast format for readers and listeners to enjoy.
  • Lightspeed Magazine – Another Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine that shares its published material. 

Horror Storytelling

  • Nightlight – This podcast has horror both written and performed by Black writers and actors.
  • Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – A weekly horror podcast that shares several stories per episode from various authors and professional voice actors.
  • The Magnus Archives – One of several varying podcasts out of Rusty Quill Ltd., The Magnus Archives is a horror anthology podcast touting five seasons of content so far.
  • The Wicked Library – An award-winning horror podcast that has a whopping ten seasons of content.

Real Life Stories

  • This American Life – A weekly podcast hosted by Ira Grass that airs on various radio stations and as a podcast that focuses primarily on non-fiction content.
  • Here Be Monster‪s‬ – A podcast by a socially anxious host, Jeff Emtman who shares his own experience on how to conquer one’s own fears.
  • Ear Hustle – The podcast about daily life in the prison where they interview prisoners currently or formerly incarcerated in the American prison system.
  • Conversations – A podcast based out of Australia and produced by ABC, Conversations brings truly incredible stories of people who have had amazing and sometimes horrifying experiences.
  • The Mortified Podcast – A podcast that has adults share some of their most embarrassing memorabilia from childhood.

Pop Culture

  • The Popcast With Knox and Jamie – A self-aware waste of time, The Popcast has hosts Knox and Jamie discussing pop culture every week.
  • How Did This Get Made? – Hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas discuss terrible movies and wonder, “How Did This Get Made?
  • The Trend Reporter – A podcast that keeps its listeners up to date on the latest trends and topics.
  • Keep It – A podcast self-described as “a show about pop culture, politics, and what happens when they smack into each other at alarming speed.”
  • Culture Gabfest A Slate podcast about culture.


  • Reply All – A podcast from Gimlet Media about the mutually impactful effects of the internet and its users. This popular series was recently placed on indefinite hold as of February of 2021 but the almost 200 episodes are still available for your listening pleasure.
  • Accidental Tech Podcast – Three self-described nerds, Marco Arment, Casey Liss, John Siracusa, discuss nerdy tech topics in a collection of hundreds of episodes and counting.
  • Rocket – A weekly podcast where hosts, Christina Warren, Brianna Wu, and Simone de Rochefort, have “accelerated geek conversation.” A true nerd variety podcast.
  • Tech Talker – Eric Escobar takes the intimidating complexity of technology and explains it in layman’s terms for the average listener to understand.
  • Clockwise – A weekly podcast where hosts Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent invite two guests and the four discuss four topics regarding technology.


  • The Angie Lee Show – The self-declared “hilarious business x wellness bestie,” Ang, has made it her goal to help others find their energy.
  • Business Wars – A podcast that strives to bring the truth behind the scenes of business decisions that the average person is often left unaware of.
  • Dear HBR – HBR, aka Harvard Business Review, is a podcast that provides listeners with solutions for their difficulties at work.
  • The BizChix – A podcast for female entrepreneurs with a variety of success stories and coaching episodes.
  • Brown Ambitio‪n‬ – A weekly podcast where successful-in-life hosts, Mandi Woodruff and Tiffany Aliche, share their tips on how to be successful through investment and career choices.

Therapy & Psychology

  • Heavyweight – A seasonal podcast with host Jonathan Goldstein delving into the past of one subject per episode where he helps them come to terms with a moment they wish they could change.
  • Deeply Human‬ – A BBC podcast that helps explain why humans are the way they are.
  • Therapist Uncensored – A pair of therapists, Sue Marriott LCSW, CGP, and Ann Kelley PhD, host as they bring on various professionals in neuroscience onto the show.
  • ADHD reWired Podcast – Host, Eric Tivers, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with ADHD. He offers tips, stories, and strategies to help other adults with ADHD cope.
  • Therapy Chat Podcast – Best described with the intro from iTunes, “Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist, Burnout Prevention Consultant and Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator interviews guests to discuss holistic and alternative approaches used in psychotherapy, counseling, coaching and healing sessions.”


  • Interfaith Voices – Started by a nun after 9/11 to bring together a multi-faith panel to discuss religious matters in an attempt to inform the public on religious issues and promote dialogue across religious lines.
  • Bible Project – BibleProject is a website dedicated to providing biblical information through modern technology. Their podcast expands on some of their other content and gets deeper with conversations between hosts Tim and Jon.
  • Hijabi Diaries – Its subtitle “Muslim women, speaking for themselves” speaks volumes. This podcast brings several Muslim women together from Indiana for them to share their otherwise unheard voices.
  • Buddhism Guide – Host Karma Yeshe Rabgye separates this podcast from other Buddhist podcasts by focusing on the “way of life” rather than the philosophy or religion. 
  • Heart and Soul – A BBC podcast that covers topics covering many religions throughout the world.

Racial Topics

  • Be the Bridge – Latasha Morrison hosts this podcast as a voice against racial injustice.
  • Floodlines – A limited podcast that covers the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the racial disparities and racist reactions to those events.
  • Code Switch – A hard-hitting podcast that attempts to bring racial topics to the table that are often avoided but are in dire need of coverage.
  • Good Ancestor – An interview podcast with host Layla F. Saad where she combats racism through conversations with “change-makers & culture-shapers.”
  • Intersectionality Matters – American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw hosts this podcast that covers various topics that explore racial inequality in the United States.



  • Still Processing – A New York Times podcast hosted by Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham that covers many cultural topics through a queer lens.
  • LGBTQ&A – A podcast with an obvious subject matter that focuses on the success stories and lives of people who identify with LGBTQ+.
  • Food 4 Thot – I can’t describe it better than the iTunes description: “A multiracial mix of queer writers talk about sex, relationships, race, identity, what we like to read, and who we like to read. It’s not about food — we just really like the pun.”
  • Getting Curious – You may know him as the energetic hairdresser from Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness, or JVN, hosts this podcast where he interviews professionals from a variety of professional fields where they explore anything they find “curious.”
  • Las Culturistas – Hosts Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang talk with guests on their professional area of interest, culture. 

Local Eau Claire/Chippewa Valley

  • Get Lost: A Walking Podcast of Eau Claire – An innovative podcast created by students from the UWEC Theatre who took the opportunity during the COVID pandemic to create something unique and fun for the Eau Claire area.
  • Eau Claire Hometown Media – A collection of local community-related podcasts including emBarks’s A Dose of Dog, Northwestern Bank’s Banker with a Beer, and several more.
  • Cool & Unusual Punishment – Locally famed for its year-long coverage of the Joe Luginbill controversy, Cool & Unusual Punishment  covers Midwest “crime, corruption, and fascinating people.”

Podcasts About Podcasting (How Meta!)

  • Podcasts We Listen To – This podcast is focused on interviewing other podcasters to help listeners get to know their favorite podcast hosts a little better.
  • School of Podcasting – Not much to explain about this one. More than just a podcast, School of Podcasting has many tutorials and other resources to help would-be podcasters get launched.
  • Podcasters’ Roundtable – A podcast where podcasters get to have meaningful discussion on podcast topics.
  • She Podcasts – The host, Jessica, discovered a disparity in the female presence of podcast-related podcasts and knew that people needed to see the wonderful world of women in podcasts.
  • The Podcast Engineering Show Another meta podcast that focuses more on the technical side of things. Chris Curran interviews podcasters on their equipment and software.


  • Dewey Decibel – American Library Magazine’s podcast about all things library.
  • Cyberpunk Librarian – A podcast that amalgamates two wonderfully compatible topics, libraries, and technology.
  • Circulating Ideas – A podcast where they discuss innovation in libraries.
  • Book Riot – Books and reading is the topic of this weekly podcast.
  • Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange – A series of podcasts for librarians regarding professional development and material selection/suggestion.

Library Staff Favs

  • LeVar Burton Reads – Everyone’s favorite childhood bibliophile is now reading stories for adults in his very own podcast.
  • David Tennant Does a Podcast With… – Everyone’s favorite Doctor, or not, has his own podcast where he interviews various celebrities.
  • Ear BiscuitsGood Mythical Morning’s Xenniels, Rhett and Link, sum the show up best in their introductory statement, “Where two lifelong friends talk about life for a long time.”
  • Unf*ck Your Brain – A successful woman, Kara Loewentheil, podcasts with advice on how to cope with the struggles of succeeding as a woman.
  • Hello From the Magic Tavern – Host Arnie has been teleported to the magical land of Foon and uses his mysterious WiFi access to share his interviews with Foon’s inhabitants.
Banner reads Neurodiversity with a rainbow colored infinity symbol

April is Autism Acceptance Month!

April is Autism Acceptance Month!

Did you know that in 1970, the Autism Society began a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness to assure that all people affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible? Then, a few years later in 1972 the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s week which eventually turned into Autism Acceptance Month (AAM). Now, April is officially Autism Acceptance Month! (previously known as Autism Awareness Month)

Autism is a developmental condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience:

  • Too much or too little sensitivity to sensory stimulation
  • Obsessive repetitive routines and anxiety when change occurs
  • Difficulties with organizing, sequencing and prioritizing things
  • Intense responses to overwhelming situations
  • Difficulties in communication and social interactions

Books are essential to everybody, but I want to emphasize how they are especially indispensable to children; specifically, to children who have been diagnosed with ASD. Books teach children vital ways to communicate, make sense of their lives and simply are a source of security and reassurance. For children with ASD, books can often open doors to the world by acting as a navigational guide to complex and confusing social situations. By reading about characters and having a window into their lives, children are able to gain a better understanding that other people have different viewpoints from them, and that it’s okay to have different feelings and ideas than those around you. New and unfamiliar situations can often be very challenging for individuals with ASD. Reading stories can help prepare them for new experiences while also providing effective coping strategies. Books also provide illustrious support for children in other ways too. For example, picture books with lots of repetition and rhythms can encourage children to build and practice language skills. Furthermore, books can also boost the connection between a parent and child when the parent reads out loud with non-fiction books that help bolster a child’s specific interest.

Given the overall broad notion of what Autism truly is as well as the challenges that individuals who have an Autism diagnosis face, it can sometimes be difficult to take the correct steps in making a library environment as welcoming as possible. For example, making it clear what services the library offers by providing adequate signage is something that many libraries throughout the country overlook. Libraries tend to fall into a “one-size fits all” trap, especially when serving a large and diverse group of library patrons. Furthermore, library staff who do not know what to expect from autistic users will often misinterpret behavior such as a meltdown as “dangerous” behavior that requires some sort of disciplinary action.

So what can we do to ensure that library patrons who have an ASD diagnosis are given the best possible service and are given a reason to keep returning to the library? For most people (both with Autism or without), challenges to accessing the library include transportation, conflict with work hours, childcare commitments and/or other obstacles. Once they reach the library itself, navigating the collection and other services offered become pretty straightforward; especially when a library staff is able to point them in the right direction; however, for individuals with Autism and their families, making it into the library and being able to navigate their way inside is not enough to ensure a positive and productive experience. The Illinois Library Association makes the following recommendations to make the library environment more accessible and welcoming for members of the Autistic community.

  • Address any issues related to noise and lighting in a timely matter
  • Include a map or signage that is color-coded or includes pictures of the different locations of the library
  • Provide sensory-related items for patrons to use, such as noise-cancelling headphones, small fidgets, weighted lap pads or small blankets with a variety of different fabrics
  • To assist patrons who struggle with executive functioning, providing reminders such as calendars, timers and checklists can help them stay on task and reach a goal

Although there is still a significant amount of work to be done in raising awareness about Autism and ensuring that libraries completely meet the needs of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as their families, there has already been notable progress already made in library systems throughout the country.

Here at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library we have many accessible resources available that are beneficial to all patrons, no matter your ability. For instance, you might have heard that the library is moving locations! This week the library is transitioning to its temporary location at 2725 Mall Drive while the main facility at 400 Eau Claire Street undergoes some remodeling and expansion allowing for more space within the library. Furthermore, there are a variety of resources that Youth Services offers to aid children in their learning such as online story times ( as well as a collection of online educational games ( In addition, library customers are also able to check-out sensory kits that allows children to explore their world through senses.

L.E. Phillips also has different digital services that patrons are able to access at their convenience. By having a greater access to digital media, individuals who may have a hard time making it to the library will have greater access to the library’s collections.

Tumble Books (E-books for children)

Wisconsin Digital Library (Audiobooks, E-books, Graphic Novels, Videos)

Freading (Graphic Novels, travel guides, non-fiction E-books) • Sawdust City Sounds (Music)

Freegal (Music and unlimited video streaming) • Hoopla (Audiobooks, E-books, graphic novels, music, videos)

Flipster (Magazines)

We can’t stop there though, it’s just a start to making our library as inclusive as possible. Raising awareness about what ASD is and is not, the challenges that individuals with ASD face while using libraries, and how libraries can adapt to meet the specific needs of their users with ASD are the first steps to making libraries as autism-friendly as possible.

Banner Reads Autism Acceptance Month


Maggie Slater, UWEC Social Work Student

Social Work Intern, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Spring 2021

National Library Week, April 4 – 10

This week is National Library Week. It is a time to celebrate all the wonderful things our local library does for our community. As we look back on the last 12 months, the staff of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has done amazing things to keep the community engaged in using the library.

Each day over the last year I have had the opportunity to watch the library staff develop new and innovative ways to keep library services available to the public. Youth Services took storytime to Facebook, the Reference staff has worked with the public to get tax forms through the library’s Park and Pick Up system, the Circulation staff has mastered Park and Pick Up so that the public can still enjoy reading books at home, and Home Delivery has worked with its customers to make sure those that rely on that service are still able to receive library materials, along with many other things.

So I encourage the community to thank the staff of the library for all their dedication to this community during this time. Share with the staff what your favorite resource is at the library, or what you love the most about the library. We truly have an amazing library and staff.

Stacy Yearous
Program and Development Coordinator
Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

You Might Actually Enjoy Poetry. Who knew?

Like many people in our country and around the world, I watched the 2021 presidential inauguration and was absolutely enraptured by Amanda Gorman’s recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb”. Her performance actually gave me goosebumps. It was the perfect reminder of how powerful poetry can be when given a chance.

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,

and the norms and notions of what “just is”

isn’t always just-ice.”

-Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”

Many of us, when we think about poetry, conjure up memories of being forced to tediously study the works of long-dead white men. Byron, Wordsworth, and Whitman are all still well-known poets for a reason, but they’re not for everyone. If your introduction to poetry was slogging through Tennyson for a high school literature class, you probably wrote off the whole affair.

But our memories deceive us. If you think your introduction to poetry happened in your teens, you’re probably mistaken.

Poetry is difficult to define. It can be defined as simply as “metrical writing” (Merriam-Webster), as extensively as “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts” (, or as, well, poetically as “that synthetic and magical power, to which we have exclusively appropriated the name of imagination” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria).

By all of these definitions, many of our most beloved children’s picture books are a form of poetry. Meant to be read out loud, they frequently employ rhyme and rhythm, tell imaginative tales, and evoke beautiful and ofttimes magical imagery. Sure, they might not count as “elevated thoughts”, but rereading them as adults can bring out far more meaning than our young minds originally found.

“But the wild things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go—

We’ll eat you up—we love you so!’

And Max said, ‘No!’”

-Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

“Goodnight stars

Goodnight air

Goodnight noises everywhere”

-Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon

As you got older, chances are that you were introduced to fun poems written for children, such as those by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky.

“There is a voice inside of you

That whispers all day long,

‘I feel that this is right for me,

I know that this is wrong.’”

-Shel Silverstein, “The Voice”

Poetry is all around us in our everyday lives, too. Famous lines are printed on our coffee mugs, etched into statues and monuments, quoted in the dedications of our favorite books. We regularly reference poetry in conversation whenever we call our path “the road less travelled,” ironically bemoan our thirst despite there being “water, water, everywhere,” or comfort the grieving with the sentiment “’tis better to have loved and lost”. I’d even argue that song lyrics (at least some of them) are just poetry set to music.

So this April, for National Poetry Month, I challenge you to seek out poetry that you enjoy. If you enjoy nature, check out Mary Oliver. Do you read young adult and coming-of-age stories? Try Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. If you like vivid, artistic imagery, try former poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. And if you’re just looking for a bit of nostalgia, A Pizza the Size of the Sun is where it’s at, I promise not to judge.

*Also, if you’d like to try your hand at writing some poetry, check out these instructions from our Dabble Box Makerspace on Types of Poetry and Blackout Poetry.


For almost a decade my wife and I have watched my nieces and nephews have several children, letting my in-laws have these great grandparent experiences. You watch these babies grow up, play with them on occasion, and get all sorts of pictures and videos. But we are not really involved in their lives, living many miles away.

Yippee! That changed last December, as our first grandchild, a boy, was born. A huge benefit is that he lives in Eau Claire! He is just a joy to watch, as my wife and I usually get to watch him once a week for a few hours, and sometimes more. I think the only time I have heard him cry was when he has to get bundled up to go home.

But, a bit of a backstory, in that we do have a grandchild. However, he was placed for adoption and is doing very well in Oklahoma, but we are not part of his life. Since all of my children are adopted, this is a topic for a future blog.

Certainly, there will be challenges ahead. Our home will need to be baby-proofed, again. And let’s face it; kids can be, well, little monsters at times. They require time, effort, and patience. But is it not true that as grandparents we get to spoil them more than their parents? Give them candy, ice cream, and Mountain Dew before you send them home?

Grandparents provide a valuable resource to share their stories and histories, and also offer links to their family history. My wife and I both have so many stories about our grandparents we can share. We hope to be able to set limits and lessons from parents, to listen, and show them we understand. And to always know they are loved.

For those grandparents who are needed to raise their grandchildren, there are several resources to help. is a federal government website that has a special page for grandparents raising grandchildren. You can get access to information here about government benefits and social services, insurance and financial planning information, and all kinds of other resources to help with raising grandchildren. Of course, the library also has a variety of books on not only government benefits but also the lifelong benefits of watching family grow.

For all you grandchildren out there, Sunday, September 12, is National Grandparents Day.

We are blessed to watch this new person grow and learn and to hopefully be an important part of his life.

Love to Read? NoveList Plus Is for You!

NoveList Plus logo

Do you love to read? Have you read everything by your favorite author? Do you like to explore new reading avenues? Did you answer “yes!” to one or more of these questions? Then NoveList Plus is for you!

NoveList Plus connects readers to their next book by making recommendations for what to read next. One of the most popular elements is read-alikes. This feature suggests titles that are “just like” other titles. If you’ve just finished a great book, use NoveList Plus to find great read-alikes. It is your one-stop guide to great reading. You can also browse by genre and appeal. Check out the User Guide for NoveList Plus for help getting started.

Are you a parent or teacher? Not only can you find great books for yourself, but help your kids find the right books for them. You can search by age, reading level, grade, and more.

Are you part of a book group? Find useful resources such as book discussion guides and tips on how to re-energize a long-term book club. Find these resources at the top of the page: