The Reader’s Survival Guide

Are you an avid reader at a loss for what to read next? Do you need a reader’s survival guide? Here are some tips to get through the current pandemic.

  1. Library staff are still here working for you. Let us do the browsing for you! Fill out the Personalized Book Bundle form (children/parents or adults). Staff will create a bundle of books based on your interests. Wait for the notification that your items are ready for pick up and then use Park & Pickup to claim your bundle.
  2. Registration for Reading Challenge 2021 is now open for readers age 17 and older. Are you looking to diversify your reading? This program is for you! The challenge is to read books from 10 different categories. This is a great way to discover new books and to get out of a reading rut.
  3. Use the MORE Online Catalog lists under “Explore.” You can browse new titles, coming soon, awards, bestsellers, and library staff created lists.
  4. Like us, you probably have your favorite books, authors, and genres. Find read-alikes and similar authors using NoveList Plus. Access it from our Discover New Books website.
  5. Discover New Books website also gives you access to:
    • Book Link Genre Guides – browse the complete library of staff-prepared genre guides.
    • Booklist and Book Links Digital Editions (FREE!)
    • Best Books of 2020 Lists – a handy set of links to a number of the very best “best-of” lists.
    • Personalized Reading Suggestions – How is this different from the Book Bundles? Instead of placing items on hold, we will send you a PFD document of five authors and 10 book suggestions that we think you might like based on your interests. 
Several Christmas movies on a book shelf with the movie, Elf, faced out.

Favorite Christmas Movies

I admit it! I love movies! My wife and I miss going to an actual movie theater, but what can you do?

When it comes to Christmas movies, I certainly do have my favorites. However, to me, a Christmas movie has to do with the actual holiday, and the wonderful ideas of family, friendship, love, giving, hope, and peace on earth. For Christians, the birth of Jesus is a significant event.

Searching for the most popular Christmas movies, there are several that come up that are not really about the Christmas Holiday, but only take place during the season. Home Alone was a riot with Macaulay Culkin, Bruce Willis was my hero in Die Hard, and Ben Affleck wearing a Santa outfit at the end of Reindeer Game was a hoot. But each of these was more about the story and characters, than about Christmas.

There are many classic Holiday movies out that I have truly enjoyed over the years. Some of these are It’s a Wonderful Life, The Polar Express, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, plus several Grinch productions, with Jim Carrey as my winner. Also, Scrooge has had many different lead actors, but I think Patrick Stewart portrayed Ebenezer the best in the 1999 Christmas Carol production.

Some newer comedic movies I also enjoyed were Christmas with the Kranks, Four Christmases, and The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix.

Here are my five favorites:

5. The Holiday, with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black. Wonderful story about four lonely and flawed people that meet over the Holidays after the two women in the story swap houses from Los Angeles and small-town England.

4. A Christmas Story. Who has not seen Ralphie almost shoot his eye out with his new Red Rider BB gun? Or stuck their tongue to a flagpole on a cold winter day? How many of you have a leg lamp as a Christmas ornament?

3. Elf. You may have to be a Will Ferrell fan, but Buddy is just so cute, loveable, and innocent that you just have to pull for him. Zooey Deschanel is simply adorable as Buddy’s friend, and Ed Asner looks and sounds, well, just like Santa!

2. The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen. He plays an ordinary man, Scott Calvin (same initials as Santa Claus), who accidentally causes Santa to fall off his roof on Christmas Eve. Scott then must assume the role of Santa, and delivers presents around the world with his son Charlie, played superbly by Eric Lloyd. The drastic transformations Scott goes through the next year, such as weight gain and a beard, are magic special effects. It is a funny and heartwarming story about believing not only in Santa but family as well.

And #1 on my list? Love Actually. This sexy romantic comedy starts five weeks before Christmas, delving into the different aspects of love from a variety of individuals, many are shown to be interlinked at the end. Bill Nighy as an aging rock star is hilarious, Hugh Grant as a serious, love-struck Prime Minister, and Liam Neeson’s son Sam, played by Thomas Sangster, flawlessly plays a tween boy who falls in love with a classmate. With several other intertwining stories and characters, it is a must-see. There are several other well-played parts of the story by Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Rowan Atkinson. Like life itself, not all the stories have happy endings.

Love Actually movie posterAs always, the library has many of these available to check out. With our new hold pickup service, library staff want to help all of us get past what has been a challenging 2020 for many people. Our only goal is to help you get the movies, books, and music you love into your hands.

The Reference Team is here to help 10-5, Monday-Friday. Please give us a call at 715-839-5004, send an email to librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us, or contact us via our new chat window.

Merry Christmas, and Blessed New Year to all!

A Freegal Holiday

With Thanksgiving behind us, Hanukkah drawing to a close, and Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s  just around the corner, why not celebrate the holidays with some free music from Freegal?

If you haven’t heard of Freegal, it’s one of our digital services. It lets you stream or even download DRM-free mp3s of your favorite songs. Once you download a song, you can keep the mp3 forever. Put it on your phone, your computer, your iPod–wherever you want. It’s yours!

If you have an L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library card, visit https://www.freegalmusic.com/home, hit the login button in the upper right-hand corner, enter L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library as your library name, select said library from the list of options (it should appear as the third option in the list), enter your library card number, your last name, and start listening today.

Cardholders are allowed five downloads per week and there is no limit to streaming music from the collection. You can find songs to celebrate all of your favorite holidays, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Jazz singer Kenny Ellis is pictured singing into a studio microphone on the cover of the album Hanukkah Swings!

  1. Kenny Ellis’ “Hanukkah Swings!” is a collection of traditional and contemporary Hanukkah tunes with an enjoyable swing beat.
  2. Fun Songs for St. Patrick’s Day, Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanzaa This collection of 24 songs by The Hit Crew features covers of multiple holiday tunes, including “Happy Happy Kwanzaa” and the comedic “Chanukah Song.” But if you are looking for the original, check out Adam Sandler’s album Eight Crazy Nights, also featured in the Freegal music catalog.
  3. Come On, Santa: A Rockin’ Christmas Playlist This curated playlist features 71 songs from different artists. Tunes by Elvis, indie rock band Low from Duluth, MN, and even a rendition of “Frosty the Snowman” by Fiona Apple can be downloaded and streamed for FREE!

If you have any questions about Freegal or any of your library’s digital services, remember you can always contact us via phone, chat, or email. Happy listening!

Developing a Winter Resilience Plan

With the weather growing colder we can no longer deny that winter is upon us here in Wisconsin. On an average year, the coming of winter can bring both dread and happiness for many. With the changes to our lives with COVID-19, many individuals have been overwhelmed with a sense of dread for the 2020/2021 winter. Luckily we still have time to start coping ahead for the isolation and possible quarantines that may take place during these colder months.

What is coping ahead? Coping ahead is one way to enhance our resiliency—the ability to bounce back from something difficult. Coping ahead is what we do when we can see those difficulties coming. Think to yourself about how winters normally go for you. Do you immediately start to isolate and feel down? Maybe it isn’t until February hits that winter starts to wear on you? Maybe it’s frequent up and downs? Or maybe your bigger concern is coping through a quarantine? No matter what, you can make a plan to start taking care of yourself now, so when things get tough you are already on track and prepared.

Imagine you have a toolbox that you are preparing for when days get tough, this could even be a physical box that you store a few things in to keep yourself busy. Here are a few ideas to pack in your toolbox to prepare for tough days.

Start With the Basics. Sleeping, eating, and taking care of hygiene are some of the basics of feeling good. We can spin out of control very quickly when these basics are “off”. Find a schedule that works for you to keep you on track. Maybe start meal planning to make sure your shopping trips are more efficient and that you are balancing meals in a way that works for you. This can help prevent snacking or skipping meals that can occur when we are not feeling well.

Use Your Library. We are here for you no matter if our doors are open or closed. Search tons of content, books, movies, magazines, music, and more, all from the safety of your home! Check out our digital services here. We also have cool things to try like a light therapy kit that you can use to see if it helps relieve your symptoms of feeling sad and/or groggy during the wintertime. We also have snowshoes that you can check out that, just maybe, will help you embrace the snow. Our materials can also help push you towards opposite actions. This is when we are feeling sad so we choose a book or movie that will make us laugh. Doing these opposite actions can be hard at first, but may help shift your mood to a more positive place.

Be Active. Try to maintain or slightly increase the exercise you have been doing. Try YouTube for videos on yoga in your chair. Next, get the whole family moving with YouTube channels like Yoga with Adriene or Cosmic Kids Yoga. These are great options for gently exercising your whole body in small spaces. If you can, get outside and do a lap around the block, do what you can, and just keep yourself moving!

Stay Connected. Make a plan for who you want to stay connected with. I have seen a resurgence in popularity for pen pals, or people scheduling regular phone chats. This is a very positive way to safely stay connected to people we care about.

Be Prepared. Have essentials ready if you need to quarantine. This is everything from canned goods and medicines, to projects, crafts, and puzzles that can help keep you busy. When you are feeling good (hopefully you are right now!) don’t delay getting these items out. Put them all together in one place so you are ready. This may help prevent you from feeling out of control and unprepared. It may also help you choose healthy hobbies to go to instead of getting sucked into doing nothing or other unhealthy pastimes.

Talk to Your Doctor. Ask your doctor if any treatments or supplements may be right for you.

Talk to a Therapist. If you are experiencing ongoing distress it may be time to talk to someone to help you cope through the hard times.

Get Help. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of hurting themselves or thoughts of no longer wanting to be here, know that there is help out there and to not delay. A local emergency resource is Northwest Connections, or the national resource—the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you have more questions about library materials and events, please reach out to the library’s Information and Reference staff, call them at 715-839-5004, chat with them via our website, or email them at reference@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

If you want to get connected to community resources to support your social, mental, and physical health, please contact the Community Resource Specialist by reaching out at 715-839-5061 or at libbyr@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

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

Latinx at the Library

During this month and throughout the year, library staff are working to improve access and develop more inclusive and equitable collections. National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 through October 15 and I wanted to encourage folks to check out a book from one of the library’s Latinx booklists or a music title from the Latinx music list listed below.

Libraries need diversity in books and other library materials because they can expose us to the world and to people who are different from us. The Latinx lists bring together recent book titles concerning a Latinx experience from history, heritage, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans of past and present. These selections are by or about the people, and shine a light on the rich cultural contributions we see in our modern lives. From memoirs to cooking to popular fiction, I sincerely hope you enjoy the range of topics and formats!

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.

ReferenceUSA Banner

Ref, White, and Blue

That’s right, your Eau Claire library card can now give you access to one of the best and most up-to-date business and consumer databases online. The best part about it, it’s free! ReferenceUSA is an amazing resource to help you do research for all sorts of great things. You can find it on our website under “Databases” on the “Explore” page!

ReferenceUSA is a great resource for job seekers, allowing you to search by skills, location, and industry. Especially in these trying times, it’s nice to be able to have a resource like this in your back pocket. Small business owners or those possibly hoping to become one can also tap into ReferenceUSA’s data about consumers so they can plan how to advertise or where to open up shop. For the everyday user, it can be a great resource to try and find contact information on an old friend. Maybe a friend gave you a gift and you loved it so much you wanted to order more; ReferenceUSA makes it easy to search for companies nationwide.

Upon rereading, I really sound like a corny salesperson for ReferenceUSA. But that’s the thing, it really is an awesome research tool and it’s completely free for you to use. We’re really excited to have it available not only for you, but it’s also a great tool for us to answer questions as well.

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!