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

I Voted Roll of Stickers

VOTING

All I am going to say about the upcoming election is to please vote. Do yourself a favor if you do wish to vote, and make your plan. If you choose to vote on election day at your local polling place, I suggest you double check the location. In Eau Claire, my ward voting location has changed in each of the last 3 elections. The first was due to COVID-19, and the second I do not know why.

Should you wish to vote absentee, great! Just know the local laws, rules, timelines, and dates that are required. Questions? Call the Eau Claire Elections Office at 715-839-4913. Again, please make a plan, understand the current laws, and do not leave your vote to chance.

Nothing political here, I promise. Just some interesting, and I admit, a sometime odd history lesson on voting in the United States. Yes, we were taught early on in school that we are the land of the free, and home of the brave. Yet, in the first Presidential election in 1789, voters were almost all Protestant white males that owned land. Not exactly the land of the free for women, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, or non-land holders.

OK, I did say nothing political here, but unlike today’s Congress, our Founding Fathers really knew how to compromise. The North wanted slaves to count more than the South did, as the goal was to determine taxes paid to the states by the federal government. But regarding representation in Congress, the South wanted slaves to count more than the North did. The Compromise in 1787? After a long debate, what was agreed upon was to count ‘all other persons’ as only 3/5 of their actual numbers. For what we call the Census today, whites counted as 1, where slaves counted as Three-Fifths.

There were movements within states to end these restrictions, starting in 1792 when New Hampshire became the first state to end any sort of landowning requirement. But not until North Carolina became the last state to do so in 1856 did this idea come to an end in the USA.

But while voting rights were expanded for some groups, states also began to enact laws that barred women, African Americans, Native Americans, and many immigrants from being allowed to cast ballots. In 1776 New Jersey allowed ‘all inhabitants’ to vote, but in 1807 passed a law barring women from voting. "Voting isn't the most we can do, but the least. To have a democracy, you have to want one." ~Gloria Steinem

1821 saw New York required Blacks voters to own property worth an amount that more or less banned them. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens, thereby blocking them from the polls.

After slavery ended, the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 gave all men, regardless of ‘race, color, or previous condition of servitude,’ the right to vote. However, many southern states tried to suppress Black voters by intimidation, poll, taxes, and even literacy tests. Nearly all African Americans had been effectively blocked in the early 20th century.

During this time period, women were also demanding their right to vote. Women had started this movement in the early 19th century, but with slow progress. Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote in 1890, and by 1918 women were legal to vote in 15 states. However, it was not until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920 that gave women the right nationally. Side note: It was ratified when Tennessee approved the measure by one vote, becoming the 36th state to pass it; the victory was ensured only after a 24-year-old legislator changed his previous vote at the request of his mother, who told him “to be a good boy.”

In 1964 the Twenty-fourth Amendment was adopted, prohibiting poll taxes in federal elections. The following year the Voting Rights Act was signed; this landmark legislation banned any effort to deny voting rights, such as literacy tests. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout amount Black people went from 6% in 1964 to 59% in 1969.

Please know and understand our history, and how long and hard so many people had to fight (often literally) for this right. Do vote, as there are millions around the world that are still denied this basic right that Americans have.

More Voting Resources

Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition According to the American Association of People with Disabilities, approximately 23% of the electorate this year will be voters with disabilities. If you’re a voter with disabilities in Wisconsin, here’s what you should know.

‘Sideline Dispatches’: Please Vote! I Will! Local CVpost piece by UW-Eau Claire Psychologist Emerita, Dr. Katherine Schneider.

VOTE411 Register to vote, find your polling place, ballot info, and more at VOTE411.org

Rock the Vote Find all the deadlines, dates, requirements, registration options, and information on how to vote in your state.

Absentee Voting in Eau Claire If you are unable or unwilling to go to your voting site on Election Day, you may cast an absentee ballot. Note that there is no Absentee Voting on the Monday immediately before the election.

Early In-Person Voting City of Eau Claire residents can use the drive-thru service to vote by absentee ballot, return a completed absentee ballot, or register to vote.

Dates: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 through Friday, October 30, 2020
Hours: Monday through Thursday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, October 24: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Ode to an October Classic: The Pumpkin Smasher

Long, long ago, back in the October days of my youth, visits to my grade school library meant finding a secluded corner to hunker down with a stack of Halloween picture books and diving into illustrations of amazing autumn days and murky, monster-filled nights. I can’t really remember most of the book titles, just page after page of spooktacular images.

Except one. I do remember one book: The Pumpkin Smasher.

I count circling The Pumpkin Smasher on my Scholastic book order form as one of the very best decisions of my entire life. This book isn’t just my favorite Halloween book, it’s one of my favorite books, period.

The artwork? Fabulous. Smasher was written and illustrated by mixed media printmaker and handmade paper artist Anita Benarde, and published in 1972. I don’t know anything about Anita, but I’m confident history will recognize her as…just really awesome. The entire book is colored in only black and orange, with gorgeous illustrations of a small town called Cranberry.

Every year just before Halloween, someone (or something) appears in the dead of night to smash every pumpkin in Cranberry. The town almost cancels Halloween until some troublemaking twins take matters into their own hands.

© Anita Benarde

As an adult, you’ll get a strong ’60s or ’70s vibe from the book, which creates a much richer tone, as if the story, decades later, may have become a kind of urban legend.

Looking over the illustrations, I quickly realize how this book pretty much defined autumn and Halloween for me—it hardwired certain images into my head which became the gold standard for how this time of year is supposed to look. A creaky old wooden wagon stuffed with pumpkins and hay. Kids in warm coats climbing scraggly trees to hang up ghosts. A giant orange moon looming over a black town square.

Years ago, I tried to find my old copy of the book within the dusty boxes of childhood junk my parents keep in their basement. But it was gone. And it was also out of print. You could find used copies online, but they were pretty pricey. I wasn’t sure I’d ever see The Pumpkin Smasher again.

Until 2013. Because in the summer of 2013 the book was reissued (to much rejoicing), making it way more affordable (to much rejoicing). That year, my family surprised me with our very own copy (to much, much rejoicing).

So I beg you—go find a copy and make your autumn season that much better.


P.S. Our very own MORE catalog has a copy. (Thanks, Chetek!) There used to be more in circulation, including a handful of copies here in Eau Claire’s collection, but the quality of the reissue is unfortunately kind of flimsy, and it looks like most are gone.


 

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.

Books flying in the street

Book Festivals, 2020 Style

Two years ago, my sister invited me to go to the Twin Cities Book Festival with her. I’d never been to a book festival before, but I love books and festivals can be fun, so I decided to go.

The TCBF takes place in mid-October on the Minnesota State Fair grounds. In the Eco building, there was a gigantic used book sale and row upon row of exhibitors — authors, publishers, universities, librarians, all promoting books or services or programs. Many had small activities or free publications. A calligrapher was personalizing bookmarks.

The building was packed full of people who love books. It was like a Scholastic Book Fair, but with fewer sparkly pens and more people who want to geek out about literature. And that was just in the exhibit building.

Across the street in the Fine Arts building were the event stages. There, they had author readings, Q&A’s, panels, and activities. Unprepared as I was that first year, I didn’t have time to attend any of the events, though my sister stuck around for a discussion and book signing with YA authors Neal and Jarrod Shusterman.

Last year, I absolutely wanted to go again. I planned better and attended a discussion between William Kent Krueger and Leif Enger about the art of storytelling.

Attendee looking at books at book festivalThis year, like all other events, the Twin Cities Book Festival has had to adapt to the coronavirus. It’s their 20th year and, rather than cancelling, the TCBF is going virtual. They recently released the author lineup and there’s something for every age and interest.

Am I disappointed that I can’t physically attend? Yes. Are virtual events as exciting as in person events? Not at all. But I am glad that the festival wasn’t cancelled and I’m really looking forward to hearing from Kate DiCamillo.

There’s a silver lining, too. When I looked up the Twin Cities Book Festival, I discovered many other book festivals also transitioning to online platforms. This year, you can attend virtual literary events from all over the country. Have you ever wanted to attend New York Comic Con? They’ll be streaming four days of free panels live on YouTube. I also recommend checking out the Brooklyn Book Festival events this week. Plan ahead, though; while most book festivals are free, many are requiring pre-registration.

Like everyone, I’m tired of cancelling or adapting plans. I miss spontaneous weekend trips and seeing people’s faces. I hope that next year I can go back to the TCBF in person. In the meantime, though, I have lessons in pandemic cooking and Jedi mindfulness to attend.

Books Worth Re-Reading

Have you found yourself in a reading slump? If yes, you are not alone. When the quarantine first began, I initially thought that I would get so much reading accomplished. I was looking forward to all the books I was going to finish. But guess what? It didn’t happen. After talking to a co-worker about my reading slump, she let me in on a secret. I wasn’t alone. Finding the right book can be comforting so why not return to an old favorite? Here are a few books that I enjoy reading again and again. Share your favorites in the comments below.

 

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.