Not Here

Not here? Never fear!

Have you ever looked through the library catalog for something you really wanted or a friend suggested but could not find it? It’s never a good feeling, but I’m here to remind you of two different options you have before you should give up on your quest!

The first option, especially if the thing you’re looking for is relatively new is to make a Suggestion for Purchase request. We love getting these requests because it really does help let us know what our community is interested in! Generally, materials released in the last two years are heavily considered while those older are not.

If it’s over two years old, Interlibrary Loan is the other option you have. We have agreements with libraries all over the state, country, and even sometimes the world where they will send things to us for you to check out. These requests cannot be done yourself, however, the Reference staff would be more than happy to assist you. You can email us at or call 715-839-5004! Just be aware this takes a bit more time than a normal hold, so please allow 2-6 weeks!

Sweater Weather in the Chippewa Valley

It’s that time of the year again… The time of cozy drinks, oversized sweaters, crisp air… and of course, tacky Halloween decorations. In fact, September 22nd is the first official day of autumn!

Fall is my favorite, and no matter how much I do during this season, I always feel like it’s not enough. This time however, I decided to take it upon myself to ask library staff what their most treasured traditions are when the leaves are golden.

For starters, have you considered browsing our DVD/BLU RAY/4K collection of horror movies and cozy fall TV shows? I might not be a kid anymore, but I’m not too old for a sleepover. You can always invite some friends over, bake some seasonable snacks with one of our cookbooks, and spend a rainy night on the couch. Halloween pajamas are a plus! For younger audiences I’d recommend Over the Garden Wall or Gravity Falls, and for adults, The Haunting of Hill House and CastleRock are both equally binge worthy.

Or you can take it one step up from film and see one of the seasonal performances at the Children’s Theater. This year, the ECCT is having productions of “Jekyll and Hyde” (Oct 1-3) “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (Oct. 14-17) and ”Evil Dead” (Oct 28th-30th). The performances are conveniently located near a riverside bike trail and the Brewing Projekt – a great opportunity to take a scenic walk through colored leaves, or have a drink before the show! Other beautiful areas for enjoying the foliage include Pinehurst Park, Putnam Trail, the Northwest Community Park, Chippewa River Trail… the list goes on. For a full list of bike trails of the Chippewa Valley, feel free to find maps to keep here at the public library.

Finally, my favorite fall tradition is to take a Saturday and hit up the very last of the garage sales around town. Afterwards, we end the day at Autumn Harvest winery where we enjoy a sunset over hills of red trees and a bottle of wine. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a live music performance while you’re there! Other popular locations could include the Glass Orchard, which is a unique glass studio and orchard combined. It also happens to be right across from Ferguson’s Orchard, which has a lot less glass art and a lot more giant inflatable pumpkin jumping pads. And by a lot, I mean one. But really, isn’t one enough?

For more ideas, you can visit Volume One’s local event Calendar, or you can always pop into the library! If you have your own that you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Cook Books

Over the Garden Wall

Gravity Falls

Haunting of Hill House

Castle Rock, Season 1

Castle Rock, Season 2

ECCT Shows

Glass Orchard

Ferguson’s Orchard

Volume One Event Calendar

Reflections on Generosity During Times of Crisis

This last Saturday marks 20 years since the events of September 11th, 2001. So many facets of modern life changed as a result of 9/11 that it is difficult for many people to recall a world before the attacks took place. There are many lessons to be taken from 9/11, among the most important lessons is the way that people came together to care for one another after the attacks happened. People reacted with acts of generosity to help heal and rebuild after the collective trauma that Americans experienced. One of my earliest memories is going to a local Red Cross blood drive on 9/11 with my dad so that he could donate blood to help victims of the attacks. People from all over the country, like my dad, found any way that they could to support those directly impacted on 9/11.

Today we are witnessing the repercussions of a 20-year long war overseas and the impact it has had on people living in Afghanistan and the United States. Recently, refugees from Afghanistan have moved to Fort McCoy and our community has reacted with the kind of generosity that reflects the generosity that helped the United States heal after 9/11. The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library began a toy donation drive for refugee children living at Fort McCoy. Since the toy drive began, the library has received an overwhelming amount of donations! Offices and conference rooms at the library are overflowing with hundreds of toys and books that will help children and families have the opportunity to heal through play.

When I think of events like 9/11 there is a quote from Mr. Rogers that resonates with myself and many who have grown up with Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers

Thank you to all who have been the helpers over the last 20 years. Whether you are a veteran, first responder, medical professional, or just donating toys to bring a smile to a child’s face you are the helpers that we all need to build a brighter future.

Lauren Pomush, UWEC Social Work Student
Social Work Intern, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Summer/Fall 2021

Book Links: Linking You to Your Next Great Read

Without a doubt, one of the best parts of my job is linking customers to their next great read. There are a number of ways that I make book suggestions. I help readers in person at Information & Reference, I share my recent favorites at the monthly BYO Book Club, I create Personalized Book Bundles based on readers’ interests, and I contribute to the Book Links genre guides.

The library has offered Book Link brochures in the past but they recently went through a 21st-century makeover. You can now find them on our website! And one of the best parts? They link you directly to the MORE Catalog.

Browse a favorite genre or check out a new topic to broaden your reading horizons by visiting


Welcome, New Neighbors

It comes as no surprise that over the last 20 years the United States has been at war in Afghanistan. During that time U.S. troops worked hard to build relationships and help support people in Afghanistan to rebuild their county. While this was occurring people in Afghanistan risked their lives and welcomed U.S. troops into their homes and assisted in navigating the unfamiliar languages and landscapes. Now it is our turn to repay that favor and welcome those into our communities that once welcomed our troops. We can do this by fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment.

How can I help?

• Learn more about the culture and common customs of people from Afghanistan. Our library is filled with books and digital materials to learn more about what refugees from Afghanistan have experienced, as well as the war that has gone on for the last 20 years.

• Learn basic greetings and phrases in Pashto and Dari with our free Mango Languages app. Or go a little more in-depth by using Transparent Languages.

• Donate food and household items to local drives or donate money to these sources. Please be mindful of halal food and the processes that are respected as halal in the processing of foods. Having food and items that individuals are used to will greatly aid with the culture shock people experience when relocating.

The following agencies have been identified by Fort McCoy as ways to volunteer or donate: · Team Rubicon: · American Red Cross: · International Rescue Committee: · United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: · Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse:

Thank you to our troops for all they have done over the series of conflicts in the Middle East. If you know veterans, please check on them and offer support to them as well. The individuals fleeing the country, dying, and being attacked are the very people they had close connections with while your troops were away from home. If you are or if you know a veteran in need contact:

There are enough resources to be shared with all who need them at this trying time. Take care, be well, and spread kindness.

Looking to read more about refugees? Click the book covers below and be directed to a list of adult, teen, and children books.

The Summer the Librarians Went Outside

A fictional story based on true events

By Stephanie


It was a beautiful summer day.

The sun shone, the birds chirped, the flowers bloomed, and a light breeze rustled the leaves on the trees.

In the park, there were children playing, people and their dogs walking, Frisbees soaring, and picnics spread out on park tables.

Everyone longed to be outside.

Including the librarians.

In the library, it was cool and quiet. It was the perfect place to take a break and get a book to read before going back out into the sunshine.

But the librarians were stuck inside all day.

One librarian kept looking out the window, watching the wonderful day pass by, and sighing wistfully.

“I wish we could take the library outside!”

Then the librarian paused and asked, “Why can’t we take the library outside?”

“What if the books get dirty?” cried a librarian in shock.

“Well, we wouldn’t just put them on the ground.”

“What if it rains and the books get wet?” another librarian wailed in despair.

“We’ll check the weather before we go out.”

There were more objections, of course.

“How will we get all of our books outside?”

“Where will we take the books?”

“What if it gets too hot? Or too cold?”

“People don’t bring their library cards outside, how will they check out books?”

But the first librarian thought of solutions for everything, and soon the other librarians got excited about the idea.

“I ride my bike to work, maybe we could bike to the park?”

“Let’s bring a big umbrella for shade!”

“We could bring activities!”

“We could give out library cards!”

The librarians came up with a plan on that glorious summer day. They got bicycles, and helmets, and a special trailer, and a big umbrella for shade. They packed up a bunch of books, and a few activities, and some library cards.

They took their bicycles and books to parks, to farmer’s markets, to concerts, and to festivals. They checked out books, and gave out library cards, and did activities, just like they did at the library.

At first, people were confused when they saw the librarians outside. Libraries had always belonged inside before!

But they checked out books, and played games, and made crafts, and soon they got used to seeing the librarians outside the library.

The traveling outdoor library was a success! And for the rest of that summer, and every summer after, if the weather was nice, the librarians packed up their books and joined in the fun outside.

The End

*There’s still time to catch the BookBike this summer!

Find the BookBike and Dabble Box from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays at Owen Park and on Wednesdays at Carson Park through the end of August.

In September, find us at Owen Park on Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, with storytime at 10 a.m.

The BookBike will also be at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Phoenix Park from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through at least the end of September.

You can find the most up-to-date schedule on our website at

Depicts an old filmstrip projector

Celluloid Tear Releasers

People who know me well know that beneath my thin veneer of cynicism lurks a person who cries easily. I’m talking bursting into tears when a female vice president is sworn in, when finding out that the very first Hmong American gymnast wins the all-around in gymnastics, or when she finds out that her favorite Chicago Cub is going to play for the loathed Yankees (all true stories – there are witnesses). But sometimes, when the tears won’t flow and I know what I really need is a good cry, I turn to the movies.

Now I could fill this list of recommendations with movies that might make you want to eat an entire pint of non-dairy Americone Dream®  and hide in bed for a few hours but I’m not going to do that to you. Instead, I’ve populated this list with movies that are guaranteed to make you “pretty cry” instead of “ugly cry” and should leave you with a sense of hope, optimism, and inspiration to dream big and keep trying.

1 Hoosiers (1986) Outside of Bambi, this is the first movie I recall bringing me to tears in the theatre. Just hearing the synthesized (check the production date) soundtrack makes my tears well up. It’s all about forgiveness and second chances. Oh, and it has a bit of Indiana basketball thrown in for good measure.

Tearjerker moment: Shooter (one of Dennis Hopper’s best performances) talking to his son about drying up in the rehab facility.

2 Breaking Away (1979) This gem about the big dreams of a young cyclist in Bloomington, IN won for “Best Writing, Screenplay: Written Directly for the Screen” in 1980. This is another underdog movie (see no. 1) that features a young Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley as a misfit group of townies, or “Cutters,” seeking to find their place in the community.

Tearjerker moment: When the Italians put a bar in Dave’s spokes.

3 Billy Elliot (2000) A young boy from County Durham, which is deep in the violent coal mine strike of 1984, discovers his passion for ballet. The honesty of the characters drive this coming-of-age tale as they struggle with scarcity and emotional growth.

Tearjerker moment: When the father breaks down to return to the mine and the older brother stops him.

4 Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) How many Nicolas Cage movies can you name that have made you cry? (Aside from Leaving Las Vegas, which is definitely an “ugly cry” movie). Anyway, this movie has yet another soundtrack with songs that make me tear up after hearing just a phrase. When Peggy Sue faints at her high school reunion, she wakes up to find herself back in her senior year of high school and is given a second chance to evaluate some of her choices.

Tearjerker moment: When Peggy answers the phone and her grandmother is on the other end.

5 Coco (2017) I love Pixar’s depiction of the Day of the Dead  (Día de los Muertos) traditions in this Oscar winner for “Best Animated Feature Film” and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)” for “Remember Me.” This very colorful ode to Mexican culture and family values is heartbreakingly delightful and a definite “must see.”

Tearjerker moment: Miguel whisper singing to Coco.

Granted, there is plenty to cry about right now, but when the tears won’t flow or you’ve been holding them back because you’ve been told they are a sign of weakness, or you don’t want to cry in front of the kids or your partner or at work, OR because there’s no crying in baseball, give one of these celluloid tear releasers a try. If you have any suggestions of your own for films that guarantee a cathartic release, please share in the comments below!

Honorable Mentions:


Good Will Hunting

Kubo and the Two Strings


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Field of Dreams


Stand by Me

The Sound of Music


Live Music Performance in Phoenix Park, Eau Claire, WI

Outdoor Music is Back

In so many ways, 2020 was a bust, right?  Certainly, the larger issues of death, illnesses, jobs lost, and businesses closing were the big picture but who did not miss their favorite outdoor activities?

For me, it is all of the free outdoor music events that are so well attended in the Chippewa Valley.  All of these are free and open to the public through the summer, weather permitting of course.

In Altoona, at the River Prairie Center, they have the Kickin’ It Country on Monday night, and Rock’n on the River Concert Series on Wednesday evenings.

Eau Claire offers Tuesday Night Blues at Owen Park on Tuesdays, the Eau Claire Municipal Band at Owen Park on Wednesday, and the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at Phoenix Park on Thursday evenings.

Last, at the new Riverfront Park in Chippewa Falls, they offer their Music at the Riverfront on Sunday evenings.

That is not all! Of course there are several bars, restaurants, and coffee shops with free music group offerings that go on all year long.

Your best bet to check out who is performing at each event?  Volume One is the areas go-to place for this information, with their free publications all over the city, plus their website at  Phone is 715-552-0457.  Or call the Reference Team at the library at 715-839-5004, cuz we know, well, almost everything.

I get it. Now it is August, and summer is rapidly ending. So forget the chores for a night. Do not work later. Do the laundry or garden another day.  Summer is always way too short, so get out and enjoy the wonderful local offerings. Food trucks are an option at each venue, but feel free to bring your own beverage, food, and yes, dog. On a leash, please!

Want to listen to the local music artists that are featured at these events?  We have many CDs here at the library, or you can enjoy them to stream, or even download, through our free digital service, Sawdust City Sounds.

Sorry Eau Claire, but my favorite?  Wednesday night at River Prairie in Altoona.  There is better seating, suits my music taste better, and the dance floor is often packed.


Tasting the Unknown

While we are certainly not out of the clear of this pandemic, it has been nice to finally go to events again after getting vaccinated. One event I sorely missed last year was the Minnesota State Fair, which is one of the funnest events of the summer. I love checking out all the awesome things at the fair, but what gets me the most excited is definitely trying out the new foods. There’s something so exciting about trying something new for the first time. This year, I’m definitely excited for the Waffle Burger, Panera Pakora, and Cucumber Jalapeño Limeade.

When it comes to restaurants, I’m always excited to try out one I’ve never been before or a menu item I’ve never had before. Even when it seems a little iffy at first, like cactus or beef tongue, you sometimes might end up finding a new favorite food!

Likewise, I like to try my hand at cooking interesting foods I’ve never eaten before as well. One of my new favorite things to cook is Chinese crispy pork belly. The contrast of the delicious pork, juicy fat, and crisp skin is amazing! Traditionally, from what I read, it is dipped in either mustard or sugar (but not both). Mustard made sense, but I was surprised how well the sugar tasted. I also love perusing the grocery store, seeing a particular ingredient, and wondering what it could be used for. I then go home and look it up and try to make it!

Is there anything strange you’ve eaten that you wouldn’t have thought you’d enjoy, but did? Did you find an awesome recipe and cook something you normally wouldn’t that have tasted amazing? Share it!

Let’s Get Ready to Roleplay!!!

So, what is roleplaying all about? We have all found ourselves in some sort of roleplay scenario at some point in our lives, whether it’s acting out a customer interaction at work with your coworkers, pretending to be in a certain role while playing house as a kid, or while playing roleplaying games of the tabletop or videogame variety. Maybe you’re familiar with tabletop roleplaying games already, but for those who are not aware, it’s a game of imagination and calculation where a gamemaster, the storyteller/referee/moderator, describes the setting and story as it unfolds while considering each of the players’ characters and how they are interacting with the world around them. The most famous of these is D&D, or Dungeons & Dragons. It’s currently on D&D 5th Edition commonly referred to simply as 5E. Thanks to the popularity of the Netflix show, Stranger Things, there has been a resurgence of interest in the genre. And, if you think D&D is for the nerds, I dare you to say that to the face of Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson or Vin Diesel. You could also incur the witty wrath of the likes of Anderson Cooper, Stephen Colbert, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt who have all credited D&D with being an influential part of their lives. If you’ve never played a tabletop roleplaying game or if you’re a nostalgic veteran looking to get back into it, here are some resources to get you started.

Though it’s referred to as a “tabletop” roleplaying game, you are not limited to sitting at a table with close friends to play. The onset of technology since the days of pen & paper roleplaying, a synonymous name for the genre, has made it possible to use smart devices and computers to replace the need for the pens, paper, and even dice. That means a group can sit around a campfire with their phones or tablets in hand and still participate. You can also connect with long-distance friends and family, or even some random people, and play a game online. Here’s how…

  • Roll20 – Roll20 is arguably the most popular web-based resource for tabletop roleplaying. It contains all of the tools you need to play including GM resources, maps, character sheets, dice rolling, and more. It also has content for hundreds, yes hundreds, of different roleplay systems, including the ever-popular D&D 5E. There are pay-to-use features but offers plenty of free content to appease the average player.
  • Astral – A recent competitor to Roll20, Astral offers similar web-based features with a little more polish and pizazz, but lacks in the content variety. Like Roll20, it hides some of its content behind a paywall but functions well in its free state.
  • D&D Beyond – If you’re planning on doing 5E specifically, you can use D&D Beyond to maintain your character sheets. It has a wonderful interface with automated features making the maintenance of your character a little less rigorous.
  • Discord – Discord is a popular chat and VoIP software that many gamers use to communicate. It offers live vocal interaction for communication while playing as well as chat interfaces for sharing information that is retained indefinitely.
  • Zoom – If COVID brought us anything great, it would be the popularity of video conferencing software like Zoom. Zoom may be used to make the interactions in tabletop roleplaying more personable or to share that amazing costume you assembled for your character. 
  • DriveThru RPG – An incredible catalog of content for many tabletop roleplaying systems, DriveThru RPG offers cost-effective content, frequent sales, and even some free material for anyone looking to delve into the world of tabletop roleplay.
  • RPG Table Finder – If you’re looking for people to play with, check out RPG Table Finder. It’s a website dedicated to posting as either players or GMs who are looking to play games.
  • RPG Geek – RPG Geek is an informative website on tabletop roleplaying games that connects a community of players and GMs to many resources and provides forums for communication and even a market for buying, selling, and trading tabletop roleplaying resources.

Though we have a limited selection on the MORE catalog, there are some libraries that are carrying various books for a few popular tabletop roleplaying systems including D&D 5E, Pathfinder, and various RPG Kits from the Cadott Community Library. For GMs who are looking for some help, Table Fables books are a great resource that offers various randomization tables for just about anything you could think of for a fantasy-themed roleplaying system. If you want to take a gander at the general roleplaying content in the MORE catalog, you should try the call number 793.93. There are a few other materials included such as Minecraft, but most of the books are tabletop roleplaying related.