Two Businesswomen Using Laptop In Lobby Of Modern Office

Grant Proposal Writing

Are you new to proposal writing? Or are you looking for a quick refresher? If so, you will want to check out next month’s live viewing of Foundation Center webinar, “Introduction to Proposal Writing.” It will be held in the Chippewa Room on Wednesday, November 14 from 1 to 2 p.m. This class will provide you with an overview of how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation. You will learn:

  • The basic elements of a proposal.
  • The “do’s and don’ts” of writing and submitting a proposal.
  • How to follow up an acceptance or a rejection.

The intended audience is not only for beginners but for people who are already writing grants. The webinar will be lead by Lori Guidry, the City Lead for Foundation Center West. She oversees Foundation Center public services and programming for the social sector in the Bay Area. She helps nonprofits in the region find the information and tools they need to be successful. She has worked in information services for more than 15 years, specializing in business and marketing topics, including corporate social responsibility. She holds a Masters in Library & Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, IL.

After the webinar, there will be time for questions and I’m also more than happy to give a tour of Foundation Directory Online Profession. This database is offered to you free of charge but you must be in the library to use it. It is a comprehensive database of almost 150,000 grantmakers and over 12 million grants. It allows you to search across the text of the entire database of IRS 990s and it is updated weekly.

Are you interested in the topic of grant seeking but are not quite to the proposal writing stage? Well then look no further than the Foundation Center website. You will find easy-to-use resource collections and get up to date information and guidance. The Foundation Center also has a nice collection of helpful videos on their YouTube channel. If you are still at a loss and don’t know where to start, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 715-839-5004 or at

Fall Is the Season for Reading

Fall Is the Season for Reading

CVBF 2017 audienceIn the fall an avid reader’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of books. With due apology to Alfred, Lord Tennyson for mangling his musings on spring, I can’t help but think my observation is more universally apt. As the days draw in and the weather turns cool, my longing to be curled up in a bright, cozy place with a new book or old favorite (and a cat or two) grows stronger. But before I commit completely to my reader’s hibernation period, I’ll be taking the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of the reading season by taking in some of the events at this year’s Chippewa Valley Book Festival (CVBF). The festival consists of twenty events over ten days, October 15 through October 25, and this year’s crop of authors is spectacular. (Did someone say “Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Biography; buy your $10 tickets now while supplies last?” I could’ve sworn I heard someone say that.) In fact, I could rave about this author lineup much longer than you might wish to hear, so perhaps you should check it out for yourself at

ecWIT at CVBF 2017Saturday, October 20 will be a full day of free, drop-in CVBF programming at the library. Book sales and autographing sessions will take place after each event. The library is proud to host presentations by Miriam Karmel, author of Subtle Variations and Other Stories, Leah Weiss, author of If the Creek Don’t RisePeter Geye, author of Wintering, and Patricia McConnell, author of The Education of Will. For long-standing fans of Wisconsin Public Radio, yes! That Patricia McConnell: engaging co-host of the weekly call-in show Calling All Pets on which she and the inimitable Larry Meiller provided entertainment and education for almost 14 years. It’s been a decade since the show was cancelled and I still feel a little bereft. (“Speak, Meiller; speak. Good boy, Meiller!” Best banter ever.) Then, to conclude a day of literary fun, Eau Claire’s own ecWIT (Eau Claire Women in Theater) will perform “Prose and Poetry Alive,” a performance medley of selections from this year’s CVBF authors.

And that’s not all! Wednesday, October 24 William Kent Krueger, author of the Cork O’Connor mystery series, will be at the library to discuss the transformative power of stories. In addition, the library will be supporting the festival’s mission to inspire young writers by playing host to a writing workshop with Mitali Perkins on Wednesday, October 17 as part of the Authors in the Schools program. If you are (or know) a young writer age 10 to 18, register today by calling 715-839-5007. Space is limited!

I for one am looking forward to adding some inspiration to my winter reading list at the Chippewa Valley Book Festival. Hope to see you there!

Happy Birthday, Harry!

I admit it, I wasn’t a huge fan of Harry Potter when the series first debuted in America 20 years ago on September 1, 1998.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t even aware it existed until around the time the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released.  I was “too grown up” to be bothered to spend my nearly-adult time reading about tween wizards.  It wasn’t until I was a library science student in the mid-2000s that I decided to see what the fuss was all about.  However, it didn’t take long (just a few chapters) for me to realize I was going to be a Potterhead for life.

Over a decade later, I’m still a fan.  I listen to the series on audiobook (Jim Dale is the best narrator of all time, in my opinion) and my husband and I watch the film series at least a few times a year.  My daughter, Cate, was introduced to the first film around the time of her first birthday, and I’m looking forward to reading the books with her when she gets a little older.

Why am I reminiscing about HP? Well, “Hogwarts After Dark” is returning for a second year and the library will be hosting a grown-up celebration of all things Harry Potter on Saturday, September 22 from 7 to 10 p.m.  This after-hours event for 21+ and will give long-time Harry Potter fans a sneak peek of the famous wizarding school.  “Early Owl” tickets cost $12 and are available now through September 21 at Tickets will also be available for $15 at the door; cash only.

Last year, over 300 Potterheads gathered together to indulge in revelry unseen since Voldemort’s defeat. Popular activities returning this year include “magical” creatures from the Eau Claire County Humane Association, goods from local artisans in “Diagon Alley,” a Horcrux scavenger hunt, a Sorting Hat roast by Clear Water Comedy, themed crafts in the Dabble Box, and transfiguration by TG Makeup & Hair. New magical offerings will include a NEWT-level trivia contest and divination prophecies from a practicing seer. Bewitching brews and muggle food will be available for purchase.

This fundraising event is provided in partnerships with the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Chippewa Valley Museum, and Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum.  Many thanks to event sponsors Clear Water Comedy, Converge Radio, the Eau Claire County Humane Association, Park Ridge Distributing, Inc., TG Makeup & Hair, and Volume One.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, aged 21 and up, I hope to see you there, and I’d love to learn more about how you came to love the series!

Kindred Spirits and Bosom Friends

Kindred Spirits and Bosom Friends

I must have read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery dozens of times growing up and I still have a tattered, well-worn copy on my bookshelf that I periodically read. Anne with an “E” was a character that I could easily relate to and I would lose myself in her shenanigans. She also taught me a lot about friendship. What person hasn’t wondered at some point in his or her life, as Anne did shortly after arriving at Green Gables, if they would find a “bosom friend?” When questioned what a bosom friend is, Anne replies: “A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my innermost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life.”

Book sale

Volunteers setting up for the quarterly book sales

Two years ago, I started working for the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library not knowing a lot about the organization prior to my employment. I was blown away at the number of “kindred spirits and bosom friends” the library had. From the hundreds of members that contribute financially to the almost 200 volunteers that work hard on programs and events, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of people in our community who care about the library. I have also known several people who have made lifelong friendships through volunteering with the Friends.

Books for Babies

Rachael and baby Evalyn receive a Books for Babies literacy kit

But what exactly does the Friends do?

The Friends donates around $20,000 each year to the library for programs and special projects that they would not be able to do based on City funding alone. Besides revenue from memberships, the quarterly book sale at the library and online book sale is a well-oiled machine that provides significant funding for the Friends as well as many volunteer opportunities. The Friends of the Library runs several programs such as Give a Kid a Book that ensures every child in need receives a brand new book during the holiday season and Books for Babies that delivers literacy kits to new babies and their families at Sacred Heart and Mayo Clinic hospitals.

These are just a few examples of the wonderful programs the Friends are involved in. Check out our recently updated website for Friends events, more programs and how you can become a Friend through donating or volunteering opportunities.

The Friends donated funds to purchase the public scanner that is used daily!


Items Youth Services was able to purchase with Friends’ financial support

Anne also said, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” One can definitely find many kindred spirits at the Friends of the Library and I encourage you to become one!

Check out Friends of the Library website:

Check out Anne of Green Gables from the MORE Online Catalog for some fun summer reading!Cover Art for Anna of Green Gables

picture of Lake Eau Claire

Experience Eau Claire This Summer!

As we quickly approach summer, I thought it’d be a great idea to gather a whole bunch of awesome things you can do in Eau Claire this summer. The Chippewa Valley is stuffed to the brim with really cool events, places, and activities to explore whether you’re a fan of nature, music, or learning.

picture of front of library when Dabble Day 2017 was happeningThere are a ton of great and exciting events that happen all throughout the summer. Start off your summer here at the library by exercising your creative brain at our annual Maker event, Dabble Day on June 2. After that you can hop on over to Altoona for their annual Cinder City Days from June 7-10. Later that month on June 24, get together with all your friends and float down the Chippewa River during the Frenchtown Annual Tube Float and Regatta (FATFAR) starting at Loopy’s, but remember this event is for those 21 years or older. The Northern Wisconsin State Fair, happening July 11-15, has been a staple event in the Chippewa Valley for years! If you can’t get enough of fairs, later in the month from July 25-29 you can check out the amazing Eau Claire County Fair (and it has free admission)! To see some absolutely incredible art, come out to ChalkFest on July 28, or better yet, participate yourself and show off your skills! If you’re getting hungry after all these fun events, check out the annual National Mustard Day Celebration put on by Silver Springs sometime early August.

Eau Claire has made a name for itself nationally for its amazing music scene, and with all the great music festivals, it’s hard not to see why. The music starts June 14-16 with the Blue Ox Music Festival where you can check out some of the best bluegrass, root, and Americana music in the nation. For something a little more heavy, rock out at Rock Fest July 12-14 with some great headliners like Godsmack, Disturbed, and Incubus. If you’re willing to travel a little bit south, Ashley for the Arts in Arcadia (August 9-11) has some great bands like Rascal Flatts and Daughtry, but best of all the proceeds go towards charity! You can get your country music fix with two staple festivals with Country Fest June 21-23 and Country Jam July 20-22. The relatively new Eaux Claires is entering its fourth year on July 6-7, where I’m sure you’ll fall in love with a band you’ve never heard before.

On top of all these big events, there are plenty of great recurring events over the summer. You can buy an amazing array of fresh and local fruits, vegetables, and other interesting food during the summer at the Eau Claire Downtown Farmer’s Market. Be sure to check out our BookBike while you’re there! More amazing music can also be experienced every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Park with the Sounds Like Summer Series that features tons of amazing local musicians! For some amazing Blues music, head on over to Owen Park for Tuesday Night Blues, also at 6:30 p.m. Throughout the summer you can also enjoy some great local baseball at Carson Park where both the Cavaliers and Express duke it out against their respective leagues.

All these great events will keep anyone busy, sure, but you also need stuff to do during the downtime, and the Eau Claire area has you covered. Getting outside and enjoying the weather is definitely a must during the summer especially after the winter we had, and the beautiful parks, Big Falls being the most popular, are great spots to have a picnic, grill out, or just relax. There are also dozens of courses around the area to get both your golfing and frolfing fix. FATFAR isn’t the only time you can go tubing during the summer, as long as the Chippewa River is safe, floating is a great afternoon adventure. Lastly, just a little bit outside of town is the amazing Beaver Creek Reserve! For those really hot days, one of the best things you can do is cool off at the Fairfax Pool for the day.

photo of Downtown Eau ClaireFor rainy days or after a day of getting maybe a little too much sun, Eau Claire has plenty of great activities and places to visit. If you have some young ones to entertain, the Eau Claire Children’s Museum has plenty of interesting things for kids and adults alike. The Chippewa Valley Museum and Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum are a fun way to learn about the history of Eau Claire and surrounding areas. If just want to game out with all your friends, Action City and Eau Claire Arcade and Games are both great spots! Last, but not least, you can stop on down to the library to check out a great book and sign up for the Summer Reading Program (kids, teen, and adult) and win great prizes just for reading/listening over the course of the summer!

Eau Claire is full of so many super fun things to do over the summer and I hope I suggested something to you that you hadn’t thought of doing yet! If you have any other suggestions or want to really say how awesome something I suggested was, please leave a comment!

An April Villanelle

April ‘tis the National Month of Poetry
To celebrate sonnets and odes and songs
And forget our woes that it is so snowy…
Although the weather feels like February,
We can rally and cheer our way through,
With Byron, Burns and Bukowski
All on the shelves at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library
You should check out a book today,
Or try any other activity
In Youth Services, get some poetry
From a machine against the wall
Just remember it takes tokens only!

Try some blackout or collage poetry
In the Dabble Box on the first floor
But if neither tickles your fancy
Take a trip to the second story
Where Young Adults have a delightful display
With many books of poetry
To help forget that it feels like February.

Introverts' Club

Introverts’ Book Club

Jonestown Houses

Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, better known as “Jonestown”

My name is Susan, and I am an introvert. This has some real and measurable advantages. I am the opposite of a “joiner,” so my chances of being seduced into some crazy cult, for example, are zero. Unlike extroverts, who recharge by socializing, I spend my energy being with people. In fact, I love people. I chose a profession where I not only work in a team environment, but our shared goal is to help everyone in the community. I’m not shy, and I like to think I’m approachable. I hardly ever lurk near the edge of a room staring at my own feet looking vaguely creepy. I am not anti-social; I’m just pro-solitude. I have a lot of solitary hobbies, the foremost being reading.

Now the downside of introversion for me is that I really enjoy discussing books, but joining so much as a book club sends up some red flags. We’re talking about a commitment here, during which I will be physically present with other people at a regularly scheduled time and place. When other people are expecting you, it’s rude to say “Sorry, I’m just not that into you at this exact moment.” I can’t prove that a heightened aversion to disappointing people is directly linked to introversion, but I’ve got some pretty strong anecdotal evidence supporting that notion.

Flat Broke with Two GoatsLuckily for me, there’s Big Library Read (BLR), a global, online e-book club. In conjunction with Wisconsin’s Digital Library (Overdrive), BLR offers on-demand titles for users all over the world to download and discuss for free. I am excited to announce that BLR titles are now also available as e-audiobooks, perfect for the busy introvert on-the-go. Best yet, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library adds a local flavor to the club by hosting its own book discussion on Goodreads. Visit our Big Library Read page for more information and help getting started.

The latest BLR title, Flat Broke with Two Goats, just became available today. If you are a paper-person don’t fret, “book-book” copies are also available. I’m really looking forward to this story, which is a memoir of a family’s experiences returning to the land after a personal debt crisis. I’ve got a feeling that there will be a lot of laughs to be had as well as learning. Read more about the book here, and I hope to see you on the Goodreads discussion page

Tabletop Gaming Tips and Treats

We’ve all played some kind of tabletop game in our lives. Whether it’s playing cards, traditional board games, or the geekier side like heavy strategy games, trading card games or pen and paper role playing.

As a matter of fact, the tabletop gaming industry is growing every year. ICv2 reported a value of what they refer to as hobby gaming, essentially non-traditional games, being valued at $1.2 billion in 2015 and $1.4 billion in 2016

But, enough with the statistics, you want to read about something fun, right? This post has a dual intent. First, I’m excited to announce that we are starting to collect tabletop games for the Dabble Box, and I’ll mention some of the kinds of games that will work well with it. Second, I’d love to share some digital resources for those who struggle to find other players to scratch their tabletop gaming itch as I often do.

As for the Dabble Box. I am currently wrapping up some of my plans for the month of February which includes a month long project for a fun nomic style card game where players get to make their own game as they play. I am also working on contacting various game manufacturers for donations and have even donated several games of my own. Gotta share the love. Some of my games are only here for February, so come check ‘em out while you can! Games you can expect to find in the Dabble Box…Well, you might find a few of the more traditional family games, but it should be noted that we already have a wonderful selection available over in Youth Services. Head on over there to ask about what they have available. What you can expect to find more of are the complex tabletop games that involve more strategy and/or interaction than traditional games like Monopoly or Candy Land. Some titles I hope to see in the Dabble Box include Carcassonne, Catan, Dominion, Small World, Pandemic, Dixit, Werewolf, 7 Wonders, and countless more. These are a dream collection, and I can’t promise we’ll get them, but I hope to see at least similar titles eventually.

Now for the digital resources! For those with few local friends, like me (Sad, sad truth), there are resources available on the internet for you to use. Some of these are websites to simply connect with other tabletop gamers, some allow you to play tabletop games online either live or turn-based, and a couple even simulate tabletop games in a 3D environment that is also playable online.

Board Game Geek – A website with message boards, a board game trading/selling area, and all kinds of lists to find more games! Definitely the digital go-to for all information regarding tabletop games.

Yucata – A website that allows you to play games via turn-based gameplay including over 130 titles. Some of these games retail around $50, so finding a free digital version is pure gold.

Board Game Arena – Another website that allows for online web-based gameplay. This site actually separates games into live or turn-based sessions and boasts a collection of nearly 130 titles. The one downside of this site is a subscription service that’s necessary to host a few of the games, but I rarely find it hard to find someone willing to host a match.

Brettspiel Welt – Provides a live board game experience with a list of 57 titles. May be the most difficult to navigate without speaking German, but does have English options if you look carefully.

Boite A Jeux – Has a few similar titles as the others, but a few unique titles as well. Seem to have more games from the publisher, Czech Games Edition, than the others. CGE games tend to have a lot going on, so those who are seeking complexity and strategy might want to look here. Boite A Jeux has more than 60 titles available to play.

Your Turn My Turn – By far the most simplistic interface, this site is great for some of the traditional and/or abstract tabletop games and has about 45 titles to choose from. The one downside, which is a minor one, is that your account might get deleted after a year of inactivity. I know this from personal experience.

Tabletop Simulator – This is not a website, but rather an application available through Steam, a video game distributor known for their digital downloads. The Tabletop Simulator allows users to download thousands of tabletop resources available for free, and also has over 30 officially licensed board games. This software, or the licensed games, are not free, however. Tabletop Simulator runs $20 and the licensed games range from $5-$15 a piece. I advise watching for sales.

Tabletopia – A more recent development in competition with Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia is available through both the Steam client as well as a website. It does not allow user-made content as easily as Tabletop Simulator, but it still advertises over 500 titles available. Do keep in mind that this is a simulation and leaves much of the calculation and setup to the users. Like Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia also allows the purchase of some licensed software as well.

Welcome New College Students

Ok, I admit it’s been a while, but I fondly remember my college days when the semester was finished, and I could read a book that I WANTED to read, not one I HAD to read. One weekend I blew off school and read The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Probably paid for it with a lower grade, but to me at the time it was worth it. I just needed a break and distraction during the school year.

For you new or existing college students at UWEC, and CVTC, welcome to Eau Claire. Out of town? Stop at the checkout desk, bring your school ID, and get a library card. We offer great entertainment (books, audio books, music CDs, movies, and all sorts of downloadable media) at a great price. FREE!

Need more info and data? A to Z database helps you to find a business, job, or person, with tons of stuff on cover letters, resumes, and tips. has all sorts of education and tutorial information. Pronunciator is a fun and free way to learn 80 languages. Do you need reference and special collection books? Old books and magazines? See us at the reference desk. What do you need for all of this free stuff? A free library card!

Events? Check out Hogwarts After dark 21+ event Saturday, October 7 • 7–10 p.m. Wizards and muggles alike are invited to a spellbinding celebration of all things Harry Potter. Sample from a few Hogwarts classes, show off your skills in the spell-ing bee, or cut loose by playing Quidditch and hunting horcruxes. Experience the muggle miracle that is a food truck and wash it down with a beverage of choice from the Three Broomsticks. Tickets $12. For details, go to

Eau Claire culture? Ask at the reference desk for Tickets to Adventure. More free stuff! Tickets to check out the Children’s Museum, Chippewa Valley Museum, Beaver Creek Reserve, Chippewa Valley Theater Guild, and even the Chippewa Valley Symphony.

Am I telling you to blow off school and read a good mystery or romance? No. Maybe. Read between the lines….

Harry, Hogwarts, and Hippogriffs…oh, my!

I only read Harry Potter because I was “supposed” to. As a library science student, I took the required Children’s Literature course in which I was asked to read several books from a selected list of prize-winning chapter books and evaluate them. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was on the list; I’d had put off reading it for nearly a decade but I knew it was an incredibly successful series that I should probably be familiar with if I was going to be a librarian. So, I reluctantly requested a copy from the library and more reluctantly picked it up just a few days later when I received notification that my hold had come in.

I took the book home, sat it on my crowded kitchen table, and promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, just a day before my assignment was due, that I dug through the stack of bills, grocery store mailers, and old assignments to find it. I had forgotten how big it was; much larger than most of the other books I’d been reading for the class. The plan was to skim chapters, read some reviews online, and get the pesky report done so I could move on to my “real” homework.

I started reading the first chapter at lunchtime and somehow, after what felt like only moments, Harry’s first term was over and he was boarding the Hogwarts Express to head back to the Dursleys’ in Little Whinging.  As I read those final words, I realized I was also leaving a magical place and headed back to stark reality. I was hooked. Luckily, there were another six books to read and apparate me back to Hogwarts.

My love of all things Harry Potter has continued well into my adulthood, and I have already introduced my six month-old daughter, Cate, to the first film. While she seemed most attracted to Professor McGonagall in her animagus cat form, I am certain Cate will grow to love the wizarding world as much as I do. 

Why am I reminiscing about HP? Well, the library will be hosting an exciting Harry Potter themed event on Saturday, October 7 from 7 to 10 p.m. “Hogwarts After Dark” will be an after-hours event for 21+ and will give long-time Harry Potter fans a sneak peek of the famous wizarding school. Sample a few Hogwarts classes, show off your skills in the “spell-ing” bee or cut loose by playing quidditch pong and hunting horcruxes. There will also be muggle food and adult beverages. Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased at

This is the fourth installment of the After Dark event series, which introduces young professionals and parents to cultural and educational organizations in the Chippewa Valley. Previous events have been hosted by our After Dark partners: the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Museum, and Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum.

The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Jamf, Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley, Clear Water Comedy, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra, Eau Claire County Humane Association, and TG Makeup & Hair.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, aged 21 and up, I hope to see you there, and I’d love to learn more about how you came to love the series!