Untouched by COVID-19

I really do feel a bit guilty. The past several months have been such a terror for so much of the world, and our country. Now India is again in a terrible situation.

With 163 plus million cases worldwide, and 3.38 plus millions of deaths, hundreds of millions out of work, millions of businesses closed, school children way behind, and so much of life missed. Not being able to see loved ones in nursing homes? Not being able to be with them on their deathbed? These are just unimaginable to me.

So why do I feel guilty? Because this terrible disease that has touched so many has not really touched me personally. My wife and I were blessed that we know of not a single person hospitalized, nor died, from COVID-19. It did not affect me financially, as my wife’s job is secure, and my library position allowed me to work from home while closed. Shoot, I even got out of working nights and weekends!

Raising children is hard enough. Now add schools closing, most after-school sports and activities canceled, virtual classes, homeschooling, mask mandates, and just the fear of it all had to be terrible for students. For you parents that got your kids through this, and keeping your sanity, bless your hearts. I salute you all!

But certainly good news the past few months. Vaccinations are way up, cases and deaths are way down. Things in the United States are opening once again, including our wonderful library. For those who do not know this, our temporary location is on the south side of Eau Claire, where we took over half of the United Health Care building at 2725 Mall Drive. For the first time in over a year, we are welcoming customers without an appointment.

As of now, the hours are a bit different. Mondays and Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and once again Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are not open Sundays during the summer months. Our library management team took months preparing to move, finding another location, and taking the necessary steps to move the entire collection of books, DVDs, CDs, and more. I missed our regular customers, and am eager to see you all again.

So come see us! Without a mask if you are fully vaccinated, and feel safe to do so. The pictures tell you we look like a real library!

Questions? Please call the Reference Team at 715-839-5004, email us at librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us. Hope to see you soon!

Banner reads Neurodiversity with a rainbow colored infinity symbol

April is Autism Acceptance Month!

April is Autism Acceptance Month!

Did you know that in 1970, the Autism Society began a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness to assure that all people affected by autism are able to achieve the highest quality of life possible? Then, a few years later in 1972 the Autism Society launched the first annual National Autistic Children’s week which eventually turned into Autism Acceptance Month (AAM). Now, April is officially Autism Acceptance Month! (previously known as Autism Awareness Month)

Autism is a developmental condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience:

  • Too much or too little sensitivity to sensory stimulation
  • Obsessive repetitive routines and anxiety when change occurs
  • Difficulties with organizing, sequencing and prioritizing things
  • Intense responses to overwhelming situations
  • Difficulties in communication and social interactions

Books are essential to everybody, but I want to emphasize how they are especially indispensable to children; specifically, to children who have been diagnosed with ASD. Books teach children vital ways to communicate, make sense of their lives and simply are a source of security and reassurance. For children with ASD, books can often open doors to the world by acting as a navigational guide to complex and confusing social situations. By reading about characters and having a window into their lives, children are able to gain a better understanding that other people have different viewpoints from them, and that it’s okay to have different feelings and ideas than those around you. New and unfamiliar situations can often be very challenging for individuals with ASD. Reading stories can help prepare them for new experiences while also providing effective coping strategies. Books also provide illustrious support for children in other ways too. For example, picture books with lots of repetition and rhythms can encourage children to build and practice language skills. Furthermore, books can also boost the connection between a parent and child when the parent reads out loud with non-fiction books that help bolster a child’s specific interest.

Given the overall broad notion of what Autism truly is as well as the challenges that individuals who have an Autism diagnosis face, it can sometimes be difficult to take the correct steps in making a library environment as welcoming as possible. For example, making it clear what services the library offers by providing adequate signage is something that many libraries throughout the country overlook. Libraries tend to fall into a “one-size fits all” trap, especially when serving a large and diverse group of library patrons. Furthermore, library staff who do not know what to expect from autistic users will often misinterpret behavior such as a meltdown as “dangerous” behavior that requires some sort of disciplinary action.

So what can we do to ensure that library patrons who have an ASD diagnosis are given the best possible service and are given a reason to keep returning to the library? For most people (both with Autism or without), challenges to accessing the library include transportation, conflict with work hours, childcare commitments and/or other obstacles. Once they reach the library itself, navigating the collection and other services offered become pretty straightforward; especially when a library staff is able to point them in the right direction; however, for individuals with Autism and their families, making it into the library and being able to navigate their way inside is not enough to ensure a positive and productive experience. The Illinois Library Association makes the following recommendations to make the library environment more accessible and welcoming for members of the Autistic community.

  • Address any issues related to noise and lighting in a timely matter
  • Include a map or signage that is color-coded or includes pictures of the different locations of the library
  • Provide sensory-related items for patrons to use, such as noise-cancelling headphones, small fidgets, weighted lap pads or small blankets with a variety of different fabrics
  • To assist patrons who struggle with executive functioning, providing reminders such as calendars, timers and checklists can help them stay on task and reach a goal

Although there is still a significant amount of work to be done in raising awareness about Autism and ensuring that libraries completely meet the needs of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as their families, there has already been notable progress already made in library systems throughout the country.

Here at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library we have many accessible resources available that are beneficial to all patrons, no matter your ability. For instance, you might have heard that the library is moving locations! This week the library is transitioning to its temporary location at 2725 Mall Drive while the main facility at 400 Eau Claire Street undergoes some remodeling and expansion allowing for more space within the library. Furthermore, there are a variety of resources that Youth Services offers to aid children in their learning such as online story times (https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/read/) as well as a collection of online educational games (https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/play/). In addition, library customers are also able to check-out sensory kits that allows children to explore their world through senses.

L.E. Phillips also has different digital services that patrons are able to access at their convenience. By having a greater access to digital media, individuals who may have a hard time making it to the library will have greater access to the library’s collections.

Tumble Books (E-books for children)

Wisconsin Digital Library (Audiobooks, E-books, Graphic Novels, Videos)

Freading (Graphic Novels, travel guides, non-fiction E-books) • Sawdust City Sounds (Music)

Freegal (Music and unlimited video streaming) • Hoopla (Audiobooks, E-books, graphic novels, music, videos)

Flipster (Magazines)

We can’t stop there though, it’s just a start to making our library as inclusive as possible. Raising awareness about what ASD is and is not, the challenges that individuals with ASD face while using libraries, and how libraries can adapt to meet the specific needs of their users with ASD are the first steps to making libraries as autism-friendly as possible.

Banner Reads Autism Acceptance Month


Maggie Slater, UWEC Social Work Student

Social Work Intern, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Spring 2021

National Library Week, April 4 – 10

This week is National Library Week. It is a time to celebrate all the wonderful things our local library does for our community. As we look back on the last 12 months, the staff of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has done amazing things to keep the community engaged in using the library.

Each day over the last year I have had the opportunity to watch the library staff develop new and innovative ways to keep library services available to the public. Youth Services took storytime to Facebook, the Reference staff has worked with the public to get tax forms through the library’s Park and Pick Up system, the Circulation staff has mastered Park and Pick Up so that the public can still enjoy reading books at home, and Home Delivery has worked with its customers to make sure those that rely on that service are still able to receive library materials, along with many other things.

So I encourage the community to thank the staff of the library for all their dedication to this community during this time. Share with the staff what your favorite resource is at the library, or what you love the most about the library. We truly have an amazing library and staff.

Stacy Yearous
Program and Development Coordinator
Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

Love to Read? NoveList Plus Is for You!

NoveList Plus logo

Do you love to read? Have you read everything by your favorite author? Do you like to explore new reading avenues? Did you answer “yes!” to one or more of these questions? Then NoveList Plus is for you!

NoveList Plus connects readers to their next book by making recommendations for what to read next. One of the most popular elements is read-alikes. This feature suggests titles that are “just like” other titles. If you’ve just finished a great book, use NoveList Plus to find great read-alikes. It is your one-stop guide to great reading. You can also browse by genre and appeal. Check out the User Guide for NoveList Plus for help getting started.

Are you a parent or teacher? Not only can you find great books for yourself, but help your kids find the right books for them. You can search by age, reading level, grade, and more.

Are you part of a book group? Find useful resources such as book discussion guides and tips on how to re-energize a long-term book club. Find these resources at the top of the page:


Photo depicts joggers feet in motion

Be Active Wisconsin

With fake spring upon, there’s no better time than to get out and get some exercise (or you could do it inside as well). Maybe you need a little bit more motivation, how about supporting charity and Eau Claire in the state-wide competition, “Be Active” Wisconsin. Although it started on the 1st of the month, you have until the 14th to register, and any active hours after the 1st still count evenWoman jogging while listening to music if you haven’t registered.

To register, go here and make an account. There’s a $10 fee per person, but it comes with a cool t-shirt and all additional proceeds support youth scholarship funds! Definitely check out the website for more information on how to track your minutes!

So you’ve signed up and are ready to get active, sounds great! But what if I told you the library could actually keep you entertained while you’re getting your fit on? Exercise your mind with your body by listening to an audiobook while walking/jogging/biking through your phone using either the Libby by Overdrive or Hoopla app. You could also listen to some bangers from local music artists by downloading or streaming songs from Sawdust City Sounds! Or maybe Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” will give you that extra pep in your step, just check out Freegal for that and many more free music downloads!

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.
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