Photo of ukulele

Ukulele for Beginners

Music brings people together. Playing musical instruments, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to engage the mind and express the soul. Bringing ukuleles to the community for the first monthly session of Ukulele classes offered in the Dabble Box extended this opportunity to adults and children in one room at the same time.

Brought together by curiosity and inspiration, folks of all ages joined forces to learn how to play the small versatile instrument. Grandparents, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, children, and enthusiasts held the small 4 string instrument, learning the basics of ukulele playing as a group.

Nicole Cook teaching our first Ukulele for Beginners Students

Strumming a ukulele with open positioning resonates a happy tone. Who wouldn’t want to pick up a small guitar shaped instrument and “tiptoe through the tulips” with a giddy in their step? Well, as silly as that sounds, I would like to offer you an opportunity to participate in our new class offering: Ukulele for Beginners. We hope to hear you soon!

Diversify Your Reading

The library will once again be offering customers a chance to fight reader’s rut. “Reading Challenge 2020” will help you diversify your reading, and win prizes! If you participated in 2019, we are so happy you are enjoying the program and hope you continue to find joy in your reading journey. If you are joining for the first time, welcome! We’ve made a few changes this year, taking into account the comments we received in 2019. Here is a quick rundown of how the program works:

  • Read or listen to a book from all 12 categories to enter the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite at the end of 2020.
  • Stop by the library each month with your completed monthly Reading Slip to be entered into a monthly prize drawing for $10 in Chamber Buy Local Bucks.
  • Get a free book of your choice for each four Reading Slips you complete.
BYO Book Club

We are also excited to announce a new book club that will help you discover even more diverse books to enjoy. The Bring Your Own Book Club is a non-traditional discussion group for adults. Instead of reading a predetermined title, participants meet to talk about what they’re currently reading and get suggestions for new titles to try. Enrollment in the Reading Challenge is not required to attend.

The club meets on the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in the Board Room on the library’s second floor. Whether you can’t wait to talk about your new favorite read or just want to listen in, readers of all stripes are welcome!

Register for Reading Challenge 2020 here. After you register you can pick up your Reading Journal at Information & Reference. It contains monthly Reading Slips for entering the drawings, reading inspiration for each book category, and is a convenient place to keep track of your thoughts about the new books you will discover.


Can I Choose My Own Books?
Absolutely. You don’t have to pick one of the reading inspiration titles.

Can I Read Ahead?
Sure, but you’ll still need to drop off a completed Reading Slip each month to qualify for monthly prizes.

Can I Catch Up?
Yes, but only one of your completed Reading Slips will qualify for the monthly drawings.

Do My Challenge Books Count for Other Programs?
Yes! Books you read for the challenge also count towards your reading for our seasonal adult reading programs.

Adult holding a piece of red paper in front of their face with a frown drawn upon it.

Winter Blues

For many, the winter season can bring cheer, family connections, and gratitude. Winter is also known to bring depression, stress, isolation, sleep disturbances, and health issues. No one is completely immune to the stress that winter can bring, and each person has a different balance of the positive and negatives that this season brings. If you are finding that the negatives are outweighing the positives in your life this season, or just feeling more down or stressed than you would like, or maybe someone you know may not being doing so well, then keep on reading!

Here are some warning signs that you may be experiencing the winter blues according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Feeling more irritable with others
  • Not leaving the house as much as you used to
  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Having thoughts of wanting to go to sleep and never wake up
  • Having difficulty concentrating

If you or someone you know is feeling this way, do not brush it off! You can have a more enjoyable winter! Here are some of the things that you can do:

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Talk to your family and friends about how you are doing, there is someone to help support you
  • Go for a walk
  • Try mindfulness, the library has books and kits to try out, or explore resources online
  • Develop habits; routines can bring people out of a rut
  • Be social; swing by the library for an activity or to ask staff for a book suggestion
  • If you are able, be kind towards others, check on your neighbors
  • Put yourself first; it is ok to take a break from family to read a book or do something else you enjoy

Your library is here for you and cares for our community members. Whether you are alone, or have your family or friends in tow, there are many programs that can be a part of your winter self-care that gets you out of your house and hopefully out of your rut. Make a conscious effort to opt out of stress and opt in to living your life.

If you have more questions about library materials and events, please visit the library’s Information and Reference staff on the second floor, call us at 715-839-5004, or email us at

If you want to get connected to community resources to support your social, mental, and physical health, please contact the Community Resource Specialist by stopping in or at 715-839-5061 or at

Dabbler in Residence, Prepare to Launch!

Are you a skilled creative person, enjoy working with all ages, and desire to share your creative process in a public way? Or maybe you are someone who enjoys trying out new projects and learning new skills with guidance available. In either case, we have a unique opportunity just for you! You might consider applying for our maker resident position or participate in many workshops provided by our maker resident.

The Dabbler in Residence is an opportunity for a selected maker resident to offer hands-on learning to community members through weekly workshops offered in the Dabble Box makerspace. Tell your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors about this cool new program. We aim to foster collaborative efforts between workshop participants of all ages and the resident maker to increase access to creative opportunities. Like turning numbers into meaningful art using the 3D printer or gaining woodworking skills through creative storage design. These are just ideas of what you might experience. Whatever the maker resident teaches, participants will walk away inspired to apply their new-found talents and skills.

If the maker residency position excites you, consider applying for one of our two residencies held March 2020 or August 2020. Through the support of the library’s Endowment Fund, selected makers will receive a $750 stipend and supply reimbursement for up to $500. The application deadline is December 15, 2019. For more information or to submit your application visit

If you are intrigued by the chance to participate in upcoming spring and summer workshops provided by the Dabbler in Residence, continue to visit the Dabble Box webpage for registration information as it becomes available. More importantly, don’t forget to share this blog with your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors on social media by clicking on the associated buttons below.

twenty events. seven days. one festival

Gather your friends and family for the 20th annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival and prepare yourselves for twenty events, seven days, one festival. Starting October 21, 2019, the Chippewa Valley will be filled with events that will thrill, delight, and enlighten audiences of all ages. Here are ten reasons to drop everything and attend an event or two (or more!) this book festival season:

  1. Celebrate the written word. Books have the power to transport us, to teach us, and to test our assumptions. Join your fellow community members in celebrating the wonderful world of books.
  2. Listen to a Pulitzer Prize winner for the third year in a row. This year, the book festival is once again hosting a Pulitzer Prize winner. Art Cullen will discuss Change and Resilience in the Heartland. You will also have a chance to hear Rebecca Makkai, a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist, speak on her award-winning novel, The Great Believers.
  3. Explore the Chippewa Valley. The events can be found at locations throughout the Chippewa Valley. You’ll find events in Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Fall Creek, and Menomonie. Explore local landmarks such as the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Lazy Monk Brewery, Pablo Center, and more!
  4. Don’t be left out. Each year, nearly 6,000 students and adults attend and participate in festival events, author visits in the schools, and the Young Writers Showcase.
  5. Discover your next favorite read. Reading the book is not required to attend an event but think of the excitement you’ll feel when you find your next great read by hearing the story behind the story and listening to an author talk about their work. You will also have the opportunity to get your books signed by the authors. You can bring your own or purchase a copy from the book festival’s book sale committee.
  6. Support your community. The festival is organized by volunteers who have spent countless hours over the last year preparing high caliber events for the Chippewa Valley. In addition, the book festival relies solely on community donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals to cover the costs of hosting the authors and events.
  7. Learn something new. They’ve got a topic for every interest and a book for every reader. A variety of topics will be covered such as history, parenting, health, poetry, the immigrant experience, and the environment.
  8. Bring the kids. The book festival hosts eleven authors who will present 36 events to school children in our community. These events are closed to the public, but you can meet the school authors at a book sale and signing event on October 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Visit Eau Claire’s Experience Center. Learn more here.
  9. Ask your burning questions. Every author presentation allows for a question and answer segment at the end. This is your chance to find out why the book ended the way it did, why the author picked a specific topic, or what the author is working on next.
  10. Check out Pablo Center at the Confluence. It’s been a full year since Pablo Center opened but not everyone has had an opportunity to see this beautiful addition to our community. Limited tickets are still available for Rebecca Makkai’s discussion on Where Fiction Meets History and Kim Brooks’ presentation on Parenting in the Age of Fear. Both events require a ticket: the Makkai event is $10/ticket but the Brooks event is FREE. Click here for the most up to date information.

For full festival details and complete a list of authors, visit You can also find the featured book titles in the MORE online catalog by using the search term: “Chippewa Valley Book Festival 2019.”

Take Me to Your Reader

This month marked the launch of the Adult Summer Reading Program, “A Universe of Stories.” If you have always participated in our summer activities, then you already know how much fun you can have with it. But if this is the first time you’ve heard that we have reading programs for the adults too, then you are in for some fun new reading adventures.

Starting now until August 15, you can win prizes for every three books you read or listen to as audiobooks. We can help you register in person at Information & Reference or you can visit us online at After you register for the program, visit us on the 2nd floor of the library to pick up your Reading Rocket entry slips. You may also print them from home here. Once you complete your three books, come and spin the wheel to win a free book, chocolate, or a small prize! All completed reading slips will be entered into the final prize drawings. You may fill out a new entry slip for every three books you finish.

For more otherworldly fun and chances to win, participate in the monthly “Guess the Book” challenges, and “Alien Hunter” weekly trivia games. Your Alien Hunter Badge is waiting! To celebrate all your summer reading accomplishments, join us for a Landing Party on Thursday, August 15 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be door prizes, snacks, games, and a DJ.

Diversity Challenge 2019

If you are looking for even more ways to win, consider taking on the 2019 Diversity Challenge. The best part of all this great library programming? You can read the same books for both the Diversity Challenge and the Adult Summer Reading Program. The Diversity Challenge offers you the opportunity to dive into reading and win prizes along the way. Each month, you must read a book from one of the twelve categories. After you register online, visit us at Information & Reference for your FREE reading journal.

It’s not just a way for us to keep track of your progress but it also contains reading inspiration for each book category and is a convenient place to keep track of your thoughts about the new books you will discover. Once you finish your book, visit us before the last day of each month and you will be entered to win $10 in Chamber Buy Local Bucks. When you complete all twelve categories you will get an automatic free book of your choice and be entered into a drawing for the grand prize: a new Kindle Fire.

I have heard from several participants that through this challenge they have broadened what they are reading and discovered books that they never would have thought to read before. Now is a great time to take up the challenge. You may not read ahead, but you can catch up.

Share with us what you’ve discovered on your reading adventures this summer and beyond.

ArtsWest 40

On Thursday, April 11, local artists and art enthusiasts will gather for the artist reception of Wisconsin ArtsWest, the fortieth annual juried art exhibit sponsored by the library. 

The first ArtsWest show opened in September 1979.  With ArtsWest Two in April 1981, it became a spring show and has been held annually since then.  Since its inception, ArtsWest had provided a venue for thousands of artists to exhibit their talent and creativity, as well as the opportunity for everyone in the community to experience and support the arts in a uniquely personal way.

Image courtesy of Matthew Bailey

This year, 139 artists from 28 communities submitted 220 to be judged for entry into the show. The jurors for the exhibit are husband and wife team, Franklin and Lynn Zetzman.  The couple met while they were attending UW–Eau Claire.  Lynn Zetzman is the director of the Aylward Gallery, UW–Fox Valley, while Frank Zetzman currently teaches studio courses at the same university.

Cash awards for the artists were inaugurated in 1984.  Prizes for ArtsWest 40 will be selected in person by the jurors prior to the artist reception held on Thursday, April 11.

The exhibit may be seen in the gallery and throughout the library through April March 31 during the library’s regular hours:  10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Successful Learning

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin

For many people, the word “learning” suggests passively listening to lectures or reading textbooks. This is especially true for those of us who were mainly educated in traditional classrooms. As it turns out, participating in your own learning may be easier, more convenient, and more fun than you think. There are plenty of opportunities to gain a new skill or discover fresh ideas about the world around you through active learning—starting at your library.

Programs at the public library in Eau Claire are most often based on participation. Involvement can lead to a higher success rate in learning about both new and familiar topics. The library designs programs to help participants connect with others in the community, learn stuff, and engage with experts. This emphasis on engagement supplies encouragement and inspiration to be the very best you can be.

Throughout the year, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library hosts programs about topics of interest in our community, and those topics are as diverse as our neighbors themselves. This month, they include an interactive poetry event (“Writers’ Read,” a salute to the beat generation), a hands-on workshop on finding reliable health information online (“Health Online”), a horticulture class (“Hydrangeas 101”), and a make-and-take crafting session for adults (“Sashay Scarf”). Visit to learn more, and to browse all library programs by intended age group and interest. By learning actively, you’ll have better long-term outcomes and more fun.

Speaking of having fun, check out this upcoming program: “Books & Beasts.” It’s a pop-up adoption event and book sale taking place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. Volunteers from the Eau Claire County Humane Association will bring animals to meet potential adoptive pet parents, and the Friends of the Library will offer animal-themed books for sale.

Every day is a new chance for learning and success. Now, go get it!

Boy with book, laughing

Give a Kid a Book

I have always enjoyed the feeling of opening a brand new book. The crisp, untouched pages, vibrant colors that just pop and fresh ink and new paper smell that hits your nose before you even open it. There is something magical knowing that no one else has ever witnessed the adventures in your brand new book. Many children in need, however, do

Memorial High School students delivering their donations to the library

not get to experience this joy. They are used to hand me down books; battered, torn, dog-eared…very well loved. There is nothing wrong with these books, my shelves are full of them. But to give these children in the Eau Claire area the opportunity to experience owning a brand new book that they can call their own, the Friends of the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has hosted the Give a Kid a Book project for the past 24 years during the holiday season. This book drive collects new and unwrapped books and then distributes them to local agencies, like the Salvation Army and Boys and Girls Club of the Chippewa Valley, who in turn give them to children in their programs.

For the past two years, I have volunteered at the Toys for Tots event at the Salvation Army. Parents can select which brand new book they think their child would like to receive for Christmas because of the donations from the Give a Kid a Book project. I have witnessed the excitement the parents share when they have found the perfect book they want to gift to their child. The generosity of the community allows a wide selection of quality books that may not be found other times of the year. We appreciate the support of donors and volunteers and there are many ways you can help with Give a Kid a Book to ensure that every child receives their perfect, new book this holiday season!

1. Donate new, unwrapped children’s books and deliver them to the library: 

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

    Give a Kid a Book volunteers sorting books to be delivered to agencies.

2. Let us shop for you!

  • Mail your check to:

                        Friends of LEPMPL

                        Attn: GAKAB

                        400 Eau Claire St.

                        Eau Claire, WI 54701

3. Drop off books at The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild event, “Joy to the Word: An Evening Of Songs, Stories, Humbug And Holiday Cheer,” on December 18 at 7 p.m. at the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

4. Participate in Books-A-Million’s (BAM) holiday book drive Nov. 4 – Dec. 15.

5. Volunteer to shop, sort or deliver books at or email

International Games Week is Here!

We are excited to announce that L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is celebrating International Games Week for the first time ever. We have a variety of programs available for the week covering a wide spectrum of gaming.

On Monday we have our Pen & Paper Night with our wonderful volunteer game master, John. John will be running a campaign from 5-8pm for the game, Tiny Dungeon, a fast-paced introductory role-playing game to give you a taste of a returning gaming trend. Registration required. Go to

Tuesday has our Retro Video Games for teens with Andria in the Dabble Box. If any teens have ever wondered what their parents played “back in the day,” come by and check it out in the Dabble Box 3-6pm. No registration required.

We are hosting a cube draft for the reigning king of trading card games, Magic: The Gathering. Dustin from Games by James will be here to run the draft from 4-8pm. The cube draft is a draft style tournament without the need to purchase cards, so leave your wallets in your pockets/purses. Registration required. Go to

Our fun-loving reference and information guy, Jon, will be trapping his victims in Jon’s Escape Room on Thursday night 6-8pm. Can you survive his dreaded room of doom? No registration required.

Friday will be running our much-anticipated Adult Game After Hours where we will be participating in games appropriate for participants age 18 and over. The event starts at close from 6-8pm. Registration required. Adults, register at

Aside from the daily activities, we are also launching our Minecraft server. The server will be accessible internally only. Two laptops will be located on the table just outside of the Dabble Box for people to try out. Whether you’re a master Minecrafter or a complete novice, all are welcome and encouraged to check it out.

Youth Services is hosting a whole smorgasbord of giant-sized games available in the program room anytime after storytime. Games included are Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, Guess Who, Connect 4, Tic-Tac-Toe, Chinese Checkers, Yahtzee, Bananagrams, and Matching.

We can’t wait to see our customers participating in this new and growing trend in libraries. Happy International Games Week!