By Land, By Water, By Air

I’ve been thinkingthe night bookmobile about bookmobiles lately. It all began when it was recommended that I read Audrey Niffenegger’s graphic novel, The Night Bookmobile. Inspired by an H.G. Wells short story, it spins a surreal tale about a woman  walking the streets of Chicago late at night stumbling upon a bookmobile that contains every book she’s ever read. Not only every book, but every menu, sign, memo, cereal box, scrap of paper; literally everything she’s ever read collected in one endlessly expanding  bookmobile.

While that tale’s bookmobile may only exist in the imagination there are plenty of real world bookmobiles to consider.  The American Library Association’s has this useful summary of bookmobile services in the U.S., Mobile Library. The website says that in 2012 “six percent of public libraries had one or more bookmobile outlets, with a total of 683 bookmobiles.”  Wisconsin has its own proud heritage of early libraries being carried by horse drawn carts, sleds in winter, then eventually cars, and finally bookmobiles. You can read more about this history at Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Bookmobiles.

pedal-powered mobile libraryWanting to take their services to their customers where they are, Denver Public Library just introduced their pedal-powered mobile library and wi-fi hotspot. The brilliance of this concept is that the mobile library can be “stocked with a rotating collection of books tailored to the bike’s location (i.e. cookbooks and urban farming for farmer’s markets, bike repair and Denver maps for bike trails, etc).” What a great way to deliver exactly what a specific audience for library services and materials would be most interested in. 

Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, played host to another innovative book delivery project this summer. The Floating Library is an inspired public art project conceived by Sarah Peters. Its custom made raft allows “patrons in canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, skiffs, rowboats, or even inner tubes are invited to FloatingLibrarypaddle up to the Library and browse the shelves from inside their watercraft.” The Floating Library is even staffed by water librarians who can help you with book recommendations and check out materials that circulate. Paddling to return your borrowed items would certainly make one appreciate the convenience of our library’s drop boxes!

And finally, while no one offers drone delivery of books yet, you can consider this video aerial tour of the New York Public Library!

So let us know if you have a favorite way to get your library services. Is it by land, by water, or by air?

Get the Party Started!

Get the Party Started!

In addition to planning library programs, I love to help my friends and family plan their special events – whether it’s a big wedding or small backyard barbeque.  While some folks are overwhelmed by the seemingly endless decisions to be made, I enjoy taming the chaos.  There is something so satisfying when the theme, decorations, food, and ambiance all come together just 2

In order to bring all of those elements together, I use a number of common tools.  Excel spreadsheets hold all of my menus, decoration supplies, and to-do lists.  A couple of years ago, I started using Pinterest to keep track of all the great, inspiring things I find online.

One of my go-to resources is Canva, an online graphic design site which has a lot of great templates, images, and fonts for creating invitations and social media posts.  Many of the selections on the site are free, though there are some fee-based options.  For more casual affairs, the die cut collection in Youth Services has plenty of options for making your own paper invitations and decorations.  If you need some ideas, or instructions on how to use die cuts, just ask the desk staff.

The library also has a great selection of books on planning menus, table setting, and decorations.  Instructional DVDs, like this hilarious one from John Cleese about selecting and serving wine, are easy to squeeze in while I do daily chores like folding laundry.  The selection of themed music CDs (think Luau, St. Patty’s Day, and first-dance songs) save me tons of time (and money!) over pouring through millions of songs on iTunes.  The books on gift-wrapping also come in handy.

So, what do you think…are you ready to get your party on?

Car Repair

Car Repair Savvy

If you have ever been a car owner you know how easy it is to go from a perfectly purring vehicle to a broken down piece of metal. Though vehicles are one of the best modes of transportation they are not always the most reliable. If you are car repair savvy but you need just the right repair manual or diagram, the library is the place for you! We offer our customers a variety of print resources as well as databases that you can access from your home computer and here at the library.

Our print resource collection contains some great automotive maintenance and repair manuals. These include Mitchell Repair Information Company Manuals and Chilton Automotive Books. Helpful search terms that can lead you to these resources are: “Mitchell Manuals, Inc.” as an author search and “Chilton Automotive Books” as a series search. These manuals include information about domestic cars, domestic light trucks and vans, and imported cars, light trucks and vans.

We not only have these great print resources but also have online databases that can meet your automotive repair needs, Auto Repair Reference Center (ARRC) and AllData. The ARRC can be accessed from your home computer from the Library’s Website. This database is the most comprehensive collection of automobile repair reference information and contains repair and maintenance information on most major manufacturers of domestic and imported vehicles. AllData is a professional-grade resource for car and truck maintenance and repair for vehicles that can be accessed from the library’s in-house computers.

These resources are also great if you are looking to restore that classic car that’s been sitting in your garage just waiting for you to work on it. For example, we own a Hayne’s Car Restorer’s Manual. Also the ARRC database covers vehicles from 1954-2015 and AllData covers vehicles from 1982-2015. So if you have a 1954 Volkswagen Beetle and you’re looking to have it run like new, the ARRC should be your next stop!

What car project are you working on this summer? And as always, remember you are welcome to stop at Information & Reference if you need assistance with finding just the right manual for your summer project!

Collecting People

I like people, old and young, short and tall, whomever. “My” people don’t necessarily have to be alive for me to like them.  In fact, some of the most interesting characters I’ve met haven’t even lived in my lifetime. Indexes galore exist to find your ancestors, many online, some not. My motto is “If everything were online, what fun would that be?” Field trips to cemeteries, courthouses, funeral homes, and of course, libraries are a nice way to spend some time. I’ve run across many sad stories in my search to add people to the Genealogical Research Society’s (GRSEC) Obituary/Cemetery database.  Morbid, you say? Maybe, but rewarding to think there might be someone out there looking for that person to add to their family tree. Is there scandal in the past? Sure, but it was 100 years ago, and it adds a touch of color to the research. The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has ways to help you with your research. In addition to the obituary database already mentioned, we have Ancestry Library Edition for use here at the library; we have Heritage Quest which you can use at home with your MORE library card, and many more. In addition, the GRSEC and the library sponsor Genealogy Open Labs in the Spring and Fall. Come check out what the library has to offer!

Finding Your Next Great Read

As a student, I often look forward to the end of any semester- a small break from required reading, but a break, nonetheless, for recreational reading.  If you’re like me and you do not have a never-ending TBR (to-be-read) pile of books, there are plenty of online services that can help you find your next great read.

NoveList Plus  is a terrific source for finding read-alikes based on book title or author.  Available to those with a MORE library card, NoveList Plus is an electronic subscription-based service provided to patrons for free.  On it, you can search for books based on what appeals to you as a reader, such as genre, storyline, writing style, and much more.  In addition, you can search for audiobooks and book series.

Pinterest can be another good site when looking for books to read.  The library’s own Pinterest Page has boards for new fiction, new nonfiction, mystery, romance, science fiction/fantasybooks, and even for “What to read?”  With this interactive site, you can simply pin books that appeal to you and create your own boards for what you want to read next.

Goodreads and LibraryThing  are two others sources you can use to discover new books to read.  On Goodreads, you can read and rate your own books, or compile your own want-to-read book lists.  It is a bit more social in the sense that you can befriend others on the site, comment on what they have read, or even see how they have rated and reviewed their own books.  LibraryThing lets you catalog your own books (up to 200 for free) and create tags for them.  In this way, you can see other user “libraries” and find books for yourself based on tags that jump out at you, such as historical fiction, WWII, or memoir.

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for our new online readers’ advisory service that will make its grand debut on the library’s website this June!

Free Movies!

Our library’s collection of DVD’s is hugely popular with our patrons, offering thousands upon thousands of titles that are checked out again and again. The option to checkout and view movies free of charge is another tremendous value we offer (Well, so long as you return them on time!).  L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library has a proud history of being the very first place in Eau Claire where you could check out VHS movies when “video store rentals” were still quite a new concept. Now with streaming options like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, there are even more ways to view films online. I’ve always enjoyed watching movies, and being a fan of the Film Noir genre led me to discover the website Open Culture and its promise of “60 Free Film Noir Movies.” They had me at free.

Open Culture was founded in 2006 as a website that “brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community“. In addition to providing access to over 700 movies, the site offers 550 audiobooks, 1,100 online courses, 300 language Open Culturelearning courses, over 1000 MOOC’s, 200 textbooks, and 700 eBooks. Their basic mission is to cultivate and curate these collections of content and ensure their users have free access 24/7. Actually, their mission is very similar to that of the public library: to collect, curate, and provide access to materials free of charge to the public. Offering remote access to these materials online is also an increasing focus for libraries. Organizations like Open Culture provide us an inspiring example.

Open Culture has their movies organized into collections like Comedy & Drama; Film Noir; Horror & Hitchcock; Westerns; Silent Films; Documentaries, and Animation. They also have special collections of Oscar Winning Movies, films by Andrei Tarkovsky and Charlie Chaplin films. Closer inspection of their offerings reveals that these aren’t solely public domain films from decades ago. There are a variety of interesting recent short films, animations, and documentaries. I was pleased to see Richard Linklater’s Gen-X comedy Slacker, which I’ve been meaning to re-watch.

So enjoy these FREE Open Culture movies and let us know what you discover.  You’re also encouraged to use the MORE Online Catalog’s New DVDs MORE Quick List to see what’s been recently added to our collection of DVD’s.  We’re always happy to help you search for a film you’ve been hoping to screen too. Just let us know what you’d like to watch next!