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 https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/bookbike/

Getting the Most Out of Your Summer

A fun fact about the month of June: it has the longest days out of any month of the year. We can consider ourselves lucky to have more daylight when enjoying June’s warm weather, weddings, and festivals. While the month may be coming to an end, it’s also technically the official start (June 20th) of a promising Wisconsin summer!

This year, it should be extra special now that we are witnessing the rebirth of our restaurants, events, and businesses once again. While things aren’t quite 100% just yet, there is still an immense amount of progress to celebrate.

For families:

Farmers markets, playtimes, and museums are safely welcoming back Eau Claire’s smiling faces. Of course, the library’s doors are open once again as well, along with the beautiful book bike visiting your favorite parks and events!

For friends:

Music festivals like the Cadott Rock Fest, Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, and food trucks galore are making appearances across the valley. Or can we suggest your own cookout, with our selection of grilling/picnicking/campout cookbooks?

For adults:

Wisconsin’s incredible wineries, supper clubs, and breweries are buzzing with new business and creative cocktails! If you’re trying to get the most out of the warm weather, many of these locations have outside seating and live music as well. I personally will be found sipping cocktails made by the wonderful staff at Fall Creek’s Connells Club 12!

With all this excitement, you may also be feeling a bit overwhelmed or overstimulated. While I’m looking forward to my favorite summer comeback events, COVID has taught me to become quite the introvert… and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! When I think back on my favorite summer memories, they often don’t include any expensive weekend trips or fancy vacations, but rather, small moments. For example, the spontaneous excitement of discovering some new secret spot in my hometown while on a casual bike ride. You can do this yourself, with our collection of bike trail books or maps!  I’ve also got a soft spot for wasting away the afternoon by laying in my yard, listening to oldies on my trusty cassette Walkman. While the public library may have outgrown cassettes, we do have an extensive music collection both digitally and on physical CD. We offer access to almost all genres of music, and by some incredible local artists as well. In fact, you can even create some of your own music with our selection of instruments to check out. The possibilities are endless!

My challenge for you this summer is to take what you’ve learned, and how you’ve grown in the past year or so, and use it to have your best summer yet.

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

[Chorus]

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

[Chorus]

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

[Chorus]

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

[All]

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

Yeah

[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

[Chorus]

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?

[Bridge]

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: https://genius.com/John-travolta-and-olivia-newton-john-summer-nights-lyrics

Image of the Neighborhood Trolley from Mr. Rogers

What Would Mr. Rogers Say?

I strive to empower my children to be good people, do right in the world, to actively participate, be positive, not to sweat the small stuff, and focus their energy on meaningful work. However, the last several months, and in more recent days, I have found myself drowning in conversations on current (difficult) events in the news that my information professional brain struggles to articulate in words to my impressionable adolescents. Not quite knowing where to start, I called on our Early Literacy and Outreach Librarian, Jerissa, who is knowledgeable in parenting resources.

“Have you tried the Fred Rogers Center?” Jerissa asked.

B&W Photo of Fred RogersMr. Rogers! Of course! How could I not consider that?! Together Jerissa and I cruised through fredrogerscenter.org to uncover a timely resource “Talking with Children about Difficult Things in the News.” In this one page resource, I am reminded in my widowed parenthood that “even when you are overwhelmed, unsure of what to say, or are struggling, you are just what the child in your life needs and you are enough.”

You are enough. Parents balancing work, school, finances, custody schedules, and/or personal strife… you are enough. The Fred Rogers Center suggests you tell your children you will “always care for them and love them, no matter what.” When you don’t know the answer to a difficult question, especially pertaining to recent events, it’s okay to say you do not know and work together to learn more. Ask your child how they are feeling and listen. We are reminded by Fred Rogers that “listening to a child’s feelings around uncertainty can help them feel safe.”

Listen. You are enough.

The L.E. Phillips Public Library and Family Resource Center have partnered with Mayo Clinic and UW-Extension to offer Positive Parenting Programs (Triple P). January through March programs being offered include The Power of Positive Parenting; Raising Confident, Competent Children; and Raising Resilient Children. More information can be found here.

Give a Kid a Book

Today I was thankful for the book my son received from his school for us to be able to read together. As Thanksgiving gets closer I am finding myself looking for more and more things to be thankful for. These last few months have been challenging for the entire community, but one thing I am thankful for is the wonderful volunteers within the Friends of the Library organization that were determined to continue the tradition of its annual Give a Kid a Book Program. The COVID-19 pandemic that we are all living with was not going to stop our volunteers from making sure that kids received books this holiday season. We knew the need was going to be great, but our volunteers are up for the challenge.

The Friends’ mission statement includes encouraging literacy and this program supports that point to a “T”. Each year it is a goal to get new books into the hands of all children in need by partnering with agencies in the area. The planning for this program starts in the fall as we reach out to agencies to find out what their needs will be for this holiday season. Then as donations start coming in our volunteers purchase, sort, and box up thousands of boxes to be distributed to the agencies. All with the hope to provide a child with the opportunity to fall in love with reading.

There is still plenty of time to get involved with the 2020 Give a Kid a Book campaign. Here are three ways you can help support this program. Questions? Please call 715.831.5301 or email friendsofthelibrary@eauclaire.lib.wi.us

  1. Contribute monetarily. The easiest way to support this program in 2020. Checks can be made payable to Friends of the LEPMPL and mailed to:
    Friends of LEPMPL
    Attn: GAKAB
    400 Eau Claire St.
    Eau Claire, WI 54701
    Give online at https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/friends/programs/give-a-kid-a-book/
  2. Participate in Books-A-Million’s (BAM) Holiday Book Drive October 25 – December 13.
  3. Donate new, unwrapped children’s books. Donations can be dropped off at the Volume One Local Store, 205 N. Dewey St. Eau Claire.

Fiction & non-fiction books for ages 6-18
Picture books for ages 2-5
Board or cloth books for babies
Audiobooks for all ages

“I think it is the books that you read when you’re young that live with you forever” – J.K. Rowling

International Games Week, Month, Thing 2020

Wondering if we’re doing anything for IGW this year? Bummed out because COVID’s getting all the fun stuff canceled? Well, we are doing what we can! We have a few options for all you gamers and game-curious. We are running a couple of games online as well as providing customers with packets of printed games, often referred to as Print & Play games. I will also share a list of Print & Play resources if you want to print some of your own copies at home.

Now, for the events! First, we have Teamfight Tactics night with Jon. He will be running a session with up to seven other players on Thursday, November 5th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Players will need a Discord account and a Riot Games account to participate. Come a little early if you need help. Don’t be alarmed when you find you are creating an account for League of Legends. Teamfight Tactics is part of LoL. Registration for the event is here.

 

Second, we have Board Game Arena night with Brad. The night is Thursday, November 12th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Come a little early if you need help. Depending on the number of registrants, there will be a number of games to choose from. We could play Carcassonne, Kingdomino, Sushi Go!, Love Letter, or Saboteur. Players will need a Discord account and a Board Game Arena account to participate. Registration for the event can be found here.

Last, and certainly not least, we have our Print & Play games. Five games will be available for you to take home and play. The games have been printed out and need to be cut out, but will be yours to keep and play forever after. Each game was obtained from the manufacturer/creator who has graciously shared their games for anyone to use. We will have the demo version of both Dixit and Carcassonne from Asmodee, Love Letter Sender from Z-Man Games, Dungeon Squad 2 from Bully Pulpit Games, and Caterpillar Feast from Venntik Games. If you have the means to print at home, you are certainly welcome to grab the files yourself and print at your leisure.

The following is a list of more resources where you can find games to Print & Play at home.
Jellybean Games
Greenbrier Games
Asmodee
Good Little Games
Cheapass Games
PNP Arcade

The following is a list of free tabletop game websites where you can play various tabletop games online.
Board Game Arena
Yucata
BrettspielWelt
Boite a Jeux
Tabletopia
Playing Cards.io
netgames.io

Celebrating National Friends of the Library Week

I’ve heard it said that true friendships last forever and I believe this is true. While October has always been my favorite month for many reasons, it wasn’t until I started working for The Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Library that I added friendship to the list of reasons that I LOVE this month. You see, National Friends of the Library Week is celebrated every October and this year the dates are October 18 through 24. It’s not only a time to reflect on what the Friends’ relationship with their respective libraries are but also our friendship with our many members and volunteers as well as personal friendships.

Looking back to the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library Articles of Incorporation it appears that we are now in our 32nd year of friendship with the Library. That means 32 years of contributing to their success, whether by financial means, including special projects, or just something as simple as finding a volunteer for a library event. We are rewarded for our friendship by watching the library grow and evolve over the years and seeing first-hand how some of our contributions have made a difference in their success. How amazing is that “friendship”?

This is all made possible by our many members that have supported us through the years by their continued friendship and loyalty. That is true friendship! It’s always nice to meet our members and our wonderful volunteers who give so much of their free time to make our organization run smoothly. It would not be possible without their unwavering dedication and support.

For myself, I am proud to be working for a non-profit that benefits one of my favorite places as a child. While most will say a friendship cannot exist with an inanimate object I beg to differ. Books make wonderful friends for a lot of reasons! They can cheer you up when you are sad, take you to lands and universes far away, help you to learn new things, show you unique cultures and open your eyes to different ways of thinking and feeling, and teaching you many new things. As a child, I loved spending time in the library and picking out my next new adventure in the form of the printed page. Some of my personal favorites as a young reader were Bed-Knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton, Mary Poppins by P.L.Travers, One Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith, To Spoil the Sun by Joyce Rockwood,

Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck, Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White and anything Disney or written by Beverly Clearly, Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, or J.R.R. Tolkien to name a few. I know, quite the variety. To this day I enjoy reading anything and everything, fiction and non-fiction. I have the library, the wonderful librarians that worked at my grade school, and my mom to thank for my love of reading!

Covers of well-loved books

 

Onward to my position as Administrative Assistant for the Friends. I have to say one of my favorite projects in October is working with Youth Services for their Riddle Middle Readers program. Every year the Friends purchase seven prizes during National Friends Week for this program. Youth Services provides a riddle every day and each child that solves it correctly is entered into a drawing to receive a specific prize being offered that day. It’s always an exciting project to pick out the prizes for this event. While this year has been challenging for the Library in so many ways I am happy to report that Riddle Me Readers will still be offered to our young readers, just a little differently than in years past. Riddles will be posted on the kid’s website, https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/, with a web form to fill out to submit their answer and prize drawing form. Also be sure to check out the library’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ecpubliclibrary, which will feature a link to the website and possibly a picture of the day’s prize along with a teaser to the riddle. Make sure to spread the word, it’s always a fun event.

We look forward to many more years of friendship with both the Library and our members! Thanks for reading.

Cartoon image of people wearing masks to stop the spread

YES, WE ARE OPEN!

As with so many places around the country, and the world, the Eau Claire library is now open for business.

And like most businesses or organizations, it is not business as usual.  You need to know right off that anyone coming into the library, for any reason, or any amount of time, needs to schedule an appointment.

First, yes indeed, we are open for you to come into the library to browse all of the libraries materials such as books, DVDs, or CDs for 1 hour. We allow only 10 people in the building for browsing per hour, a mask is required (unless you have a health issue or under the age of 2), social distancing is encouraged, and we ask that you bring your library card with you. Using the self-checkout machines helps to eliminate as much contact between people as possible.

Second, if you choose to not come into the library, we offer a contactless library pickup service in the lower level, which used to be for parking. Once materials are on hold, and ready to be picked up, customers schedule a time within 5 days to pick their items up. When contacted, customers are instructed to drive to a certain lane, at a certain time, from 10-5, and 10-4:30 on Saturdays. Library materials are placed on a cart, with the normal hold slips that have their patron alias, and are already checked out on their card.

Third, you may reserve a computer on the second floor for 75-minutes, and have access to the printers. Need copies, or something scanned? The folks in reference are happy to assist you. Tax forms?  Reference materials? Voter registration? Yes, we can help. Call 715-839-5004 to schedule your appointment between 10:15 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Last, should you need our Community Resource Specialist for questions on food, housing, mental health, substance abuse, parenting, children, domestic violence, education, or unemployment, please contact Libby Richter at 715-839-5061, or email her at libbyr@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

What is not open?  Well, most other services are not.  The monthly free legal clinic, which has gone on for decades, and is extremely popular, is on hold.  Same with the Dabble Box, although you may still check out the Dabble Box kits.  All of the meeting rooms are closed for now, ArtsWest is virtual this year, and the summer reading programs are online.  In short, most activities are not happening right now. I sadly miss my BookBike shifts.

While the library staff has done an amazing job getting items together, and out the door, it has been noted that phone calls are not always answered, and things do get missed. We take hundreds of calls each day, and we are super heroes, but really human after all.

Please know we are open 10-4 Monday-Friday, which means if you work a typical 9-5 job, well, you are hosed to actually come into the library. Please keep in touch, and check our website and Facebook page. Library staff will adapt once schools open, looking at ways that best suit both the public and staff. As with any business or organization, you need to keep up, as changes due to the coronavirus are constantly changing.

Reservations? For curbside or browsing appointments, call circulation at 715-839-5066. For computer reservations, call reference at 715-839-5004. The Reference Team is here to assist and answer phones 10-5 Monday-Friday. We would love to hear from you.

So give us a call!  We are open for business!

Adult Summer Reading is a GO!

Change and uncertainty have become the new norm, but there are some things that remain constant. The Packers and the Bears are still rivals, gravity prevents us from floating off into space, and the library will offer a summer library program.

You read that right! The library may not be open yet and yes, we’re a couple of weeks later than usual, but the summer library program is here! There are, of course, a few changes and we’re excited to introduce some fun new challenges, too.

The biggest change is how you log your progress. This summer, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library gives you the option to go paperless! (Though we do, of course, still have paper records available to either print or pick up.) Register online using the web-based challenge tracker Beanstack or download the Beanstack Tracker app. Once you’ve created your account, you can add your family members to that same account; adults, children, and teens can all participate in summer library programs.

How we measure your progress is a bit different, too. In past years, we’ve asked you to record how many books you read and submit a slip for every three titles. This year, we’re challenging you to read for 20 hours between June 15 and August 15 (that’s an average of 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, for 8 weeks). For every two hours you read, you’ll earn a ticket to enter into the prize drawings of your choice. This year’s prizes include a grand prize $100 Dotters Books gift card, four different themed prize bundles, and seventy-five gift cards for local businesses.

Reading isn’t the only way to earn prize tickets this summer. We’ve included 14 activity challenges you may complete for extra chances to win! Some of the challenges involve reading, such as Read On The Go (read an e-book or e-audiobook) and Soundtrack Surprise (listen to music you discovered in a book). Others challenge you to expand your horizons, such as Hit Those Local Trails (take a walk in nature) and Give Back (do something nice for your community).

We’ll wrap up our program with a virtual trivia contest on Friday, August 14 from 6-8 p.m. The theme will be Myths, Stories, and Fairy Tales. Check back later for more details!

Questions? Contact Information and Reference at 715-839-5004 or librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

Want more information about the youth summer library program? Check out the program description or contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

Panoramic view of library's Dabble Box makerspace.

Play, Make, and Share – Safer at Home Edition

The mission of the Dabble Box Makerspace at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of making and creating by providing access to equipment, materials, and space.

For those who have visited the Dabble Box, you will have seen these three words featured in our space: Play. Make. Share. Like other makerspaces around the country, the Dabble Box provides a space for community members to share creative equipment, supplies, and ideas (and I mean creative in the connotation that the Dabble Box is for creating). It is a resource that we at the library love to share with you, and, though we cannot currently gather in its dedicated space, we’re still dedicated to playing, making, and sharing our creative resources with you virtually.

Finished product of Pop Tab bracelet with orange ribbon. A Dabble Box monthly project. You may be familiar with the rotating projects featured each month in the Dabble Box. From DIY jewelry and seed pellets to homemade bath salts and website design, library staff have put together 49 project cards in the last few years to guide and inspire your dabbling. Did you know that all of those projects are available online in our How-To Library? Many of them only require supplies that you probably already have at home, like Pop Tab Bracelets which require pop tabs, ribbon, and tape, or Upcycled Book Baskets which only require an old book, a piece of cardboard, and time. Any supplies you might be missing can easily be added to your next outing for essential supplies (please don’t make a special trip).

Some other projects which require Dabble Box equipment to complete may be started at home. Design a 3D print on your home computer using free software like Tinkercad or get started on a design for a heat press mug. We will be open again someday.

Part of the joy inherent in a makerspace is seeing what others are making. If you’d like to share the results of your dabbling with us, we would love to see them! Share with us on Facebook or tell us about it in the comments below. Also, make sure to check out our Facebook page for activities and inspiration for people of all ages, including book recommendations, virtual story times, Dabble Box projects, and digital media offerings.

Stay safe, everyone and play, make, share.