Dabbler in Residence, Prepare to Launch!

Are you a skilled creative person, enjoy working with all ages, and desire to share your creative process in a public way? Or maybe you are someone who enjoys trying out new projects and learning new skills with guidance available. In either case, we have a unique opportunity just for you! You might consider applying for our maker resident position or participate in many workshops provided by our maker resident.

The Dabbler in Residence is an opportunity for a selected maker resident to offer hands-on learning to community members through weekly workshops offered in the Dabble Box makerspace. Tell your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors about this cool new program. We aim to foster collaborative efforts between workshop participants of all ages and the resident maker to increase access to creative opportunities. Like turning numbers into meaningful art using the 3D printer or gaining woodworking skills through creative storage design. These are just ideas of what you might experience. Whatever the maker resident teaches, participants will walk away inspired to apply their new-found talents and skills.

If the maker residency position excites you, consider applying for one of our two residencies held March 2020 or August 2020. Through the support of the library’s Endowment Fund, selected makers will receive a $750 stipend and supply reimbursement for up to $500. The application deadline is December 15, 2019. For more information or to submit your application visit https://www.ecpubliclibrary.info/dabblerinresidence

If you are intrigued by the chance to participate in upcoming spring and summer workshops provided by the Dabbler in Residence, continue to visit the Dabble Box webpage for registration information as it becomes available. More importantly, don’t forget to share this blog with your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors on social media by clicking on the associated buttons below.


As temperatures dip and the sky darkens, some rejoice in the snow while others yearn for warmer times. There’s another option than hopes and dreams: Travel. And travelling to most of the world requires a passport.

Obtaining a passport isn’t a difficult process, but it does require a form, evidence, and a payment. You can fill out form DS-11 online or print and complete a paper form. You’ll also need evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and an identification document, such as a driver’s license; you’ll also need a copy of each. The last item you’ll need to submit is a recent photo meeting some specifications that photography studios are familiar with. A passport book costs $115 for children and $145 for adults.

For your first passport, you’ll need to apply in person. In Eau Claire, the Eau Claire Main Post Office requires appointments; in Chippewa Falls, the Chippewa County Clerk allows applicants to drop-in. Routine applications take between 6 and 8 weeks to process, so a submission now should be ready in January.

Macho Picchu

As you await your passport, it’s a great time to read a travel guide and plan your trip—and using Freading means that you’ll have access to 2019 Lonely Planet travel guides without any waiting. We’d love to see photos from your travels, too!

Winter is Coming

We all dread it, but since we choose to live in Wisconsin, we can’t run from winter. So I’m going to try my best to help you get ready to “survive” the season, whether that be a new book, new activity, or possibly even getting you to go out and enjoy what winter brings (if it’s actually possible).

I know what you’re thinking, it’s November, we still have Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, why are all these retail stores playing Christmas music and putting out Christmas stuff. I, too, think it’s way too early but it’s actually about the perfect time to start making some amazing handmade gifts for your friends and family for all the holidays coming up! You get to keep yourself preoccupied and stay out of the cold while also probably making something someone will cherish. Whether it’s knitting, quilting, or any craft, you can find inspiration and instructions here at the library in the 745+ section of non-fiction.

If crafting isn’t your thing, you can always cozy up with a good book. You can live vicariously in a warmer climate while reading a book set around the beach. Maybe you like the spirit of winter but don’t like frostbite, well there’s plenty of books to fill that niche as well! And if you’re really down about winter, you can always read about someone’s winter that is definitely worse off than yours.

Maybe I’ve got you all wrong, maybe you love winter and all it brings. That’s great, and we’ve got something here in the library for you. You can find some nice books about skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. If you love sledding, I’ll let you in on my super-secret sledding spot, which starts at this point. Follow the trails and you’ll come across four or five super fun slopes with differing speeds so all ages can get in on the action.

Whether you spend it inside or out, winter is coming. Let’s just hope it will be better than the last season of Game of Thrones.

Friends of the Library

This week is National Friends of the Library Week, so I asked myself, “Does the community really know who and what the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is and does for the library?” I am guessing the answer for the some of the community is “NO.’’ So, here is a bit of background information about the Friends, and how you can be involved with this wonderful organization.

The Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is a nonprofit organization (501c3) that was established over 32 years ago by a group of faithful library volunteers. Its main focus is to advocate for the library and fundraise dollars to help support library programs and services. We host four large books sales each year and 1 mini sale before the Christmas holiday. The funds from these sales support art exhibits, Youth Services programs, adult reading programs, volunteer/staff appreciation events and other non-service needs of the library. We also coordinate and support two literacy programs separate from the library: “Books for Babies” and “Give a Kid a Book.” Both of these programs give new books to children in the Chippewa Valley and encourage early reading.

If you are wondering how you can support this organization and its wonderful group of volunteers here are a few ways:

  1. Become a Friend of the Library by visiting our website.
  2. Support one of their literacy program with a monetary donation. Donate to Give a Kid a Book here. Donate to Books for Babies here.
  3. Become a Friends of the Library volunteer. We offer numerous volunteer opportunities and are always looking for more help. All of our volunteer opportunities can be examined using this link.
  4. Continue using all the programs and services that the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library offers and offer feedback in ways we can improve your experience.

The Friends of the Library is focused on encouraging the community to become active users of the library. We want to build a community of leaders. 

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”

~Margaret Fuller

twenty events. seven days. one festival

Gather your friends and family for the 20th annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival and prepare yourselves for twenty events, seven days, one festival. Starting October 21, 2019, the Chippewa Valley will be filled with events that will thrill, delight, and enlighten audiences of all ages. Here are ten reasons to drop everything and attend an event or two (or more!) this book festival season:

  1. Celebrate the written word. Books have the power to transport us, to teach us, and to test our assumptions. Join your fellow community members in celebrating the wonderful world of books.
  2. Listen to a Pulitzer Prize winner for the third year in a row. This year, the book festival is once again hosting a Pulitzer Prize winner. Art Cullen will discuss Change and Resilience in the Heartland. You will also have a chance to hear Rebecca Makkai, a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist, speak on her award-winning novel, The Great Believers.
  3. Explore the Chippewa Valley. The events can be found at locations throughout the Chippewa Valley. You’ll find events in Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Fall Creek, and Menomonie. Explore local landmarks such as the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Lazy Monk Brewery, Pablo Center, and more!
  4. Don’t be left out. Each year, nearly 6,000 students and adults attend and participate in festival events, author visits in the schools, and the Young Writers Showcase.
  5. Discover your next favorite read. Reading the book is not required to attend an event but think of the excitement you’ll feel when you find your next great read by hearing the story behind the story and listening to an author talk about their work. You will also have the opportunity to get your books signed by the authors. You can bring your own or purchase a copy from the book festival’s book sale committee.
  6. Support your community. The festival is organized by volunteers who have spent countless hours over the last year preparing high caliber events for the Chippewa Valley. In addition, the book festival relies solely on community donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals to cover the costs of hosting the authors and events.
  7. Learn something new. They’ve got a topic for every interest and a book for every reader. A variety of topics will be covered such as history, parenting, health, poetry, the immigrant experience, and the environment.
  8. Bring the kids. The book festival hosts eleven authors who will present 36 events to school children in our community. These events are closed to the public, but you can meet the school authors at a book sale and signing event on October 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Visit Eau Claire’s Experience Center. Learn more here.
  9. Ask your burning questions. Every author presentation allows for a question and answer segment at the end. This is your chance to find out why the book ended the way it did, why the author picked a specific topic, or what the author is working on next.
  10. Check out Pablo Center at the Confluence. It’s been a full year since Pablo Center opened but not everyone has had an opportunity to see this beautiful addition to our community. Limited tickets are still available for Rebecca Makkai’s discussion on Where Fiction Meets History and Kim Brooks’ presentation on Parenting in the Age of Fear. Both events require a ticket: the Makkai event is $10/ticket but the Brooks event is FREE. Click here for the most up to date information.

For full festival details and complete a list of authors, visit www.cvbookfest.org/schedule. You can also find the featured book titles in the MORE online catalog by using the search term: “Chippewa Valley Book Festival 2019.”

Building a Health Literate Community

October is National Health Literacy Month. Health Literacy is the degree to which and individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. Librarians understand that information is the best tool for individuals to have when making these health decisions.

Libraries play an important role in health and wellness. That may be surprising to some individuals, but libraries can play an active role in assisting you to transform your life. L.E. Phillips Memorial Public library offers a variety of materials and services that can help you enhance your health literacy.

The state estimates that 55% of Eau Claire County is reading proficient. Our youth services team is on a mission to change that. L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library helps kindle the love of reading and learning so that children are set on track to enhance their own health and wellness as they grow. Youth services librarians build programming around physical and mental activities to engage all parts of the young reader. Our Early Literacy Outreach Librarian is particularly working hard to meet children where they are at and find ways to bring literacy to the greater community. Children in the Dabble Box may become the scientists of tomorrow that solve our world health crises. All you need to invest in your child’s literacy is your time. The library has dozens of Dabble Box kits that enhance children’s skills in coping, science, math, cooking, reading, dexterity and more!

Libraries keep you and your family healthy. The seed library each spring provides free seeds for starting your own healthy garden. It does not need to be huge, starting with a couple potted plants is ok too! If you are a beginner try checking out one of the many gardening books at the library to find out how to get started.

Librarians are information experts that possess the ability to help you find information on a variety of subject matters, with no judgement. Staff can help you find those workout DVD’s that you would like to try at home because the gym is too intimidating. (I get it!) They can also help you find everything from cookbooks, to self-help books on mental health, and everything in between. L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library also has Wellness Kits to check out. These cover a variety of topics including mindfulness, happiness, vision, breathing, qigong, detoxing, and more. Wellness is multidimensional, and librarians are prepared to help you round out your wellness with a variety of tools.  

There are over 1,200 health conditions with a genetic basis (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Librarians can educate customers on how to utilize ancestry research services so that you can become empowered to understand how your genetic background plays into your health. Genetic history is a good indicator for risk factors for disease, and this knowledge can put you back in control to compact these risk factors.

I, the Community Resources Specialist, assist individuals who are faltering on their journey by directing them to library and community resources that will help them meet their health and wellness goals. We sit down and talk about what is going well, and what is not going so well in their lives. Together we set goals and break down the steps needed to meet these goals. We look at what they can do on their own, what they need more information about that the librarians can help them with, and what they will need a referral for outside services for. This more intensive one-on-one time can get people on track when they do not know where to start.

An informed community is a healthier community. Eau Claire County is ranked 33rd out of the 72 counties in Wisconsin in overall health and wellness (University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute). I think that we can continue to do better. In collaboration with community partners, we bring health and wellness programming to you. Keep an eye out for library events to see how you can incorporate activities into your and your family’s lives to enhance the many domains of your wellbeing. Trying something new can be a huge step in your wellness journey. Let your library partner with you on this adventure.

Photo of art print area

Getting Artsy!

The Pastel Dog by Kat Prevanas

Do you have a wall that’s looking a little dull? Do you want to wow all your friends with your artistic tastes? Have you always wanted to display local artists work but can’t decide on just one piece of art? What if I told you that you could fix all of the above for FREE with only one catch? What if I told you that the catch is just having a library card, which is also FREE! That’s right, the library has an awesome assortment of art prints by local artists for you to check out!

The process is simple, you come into the library and head up to the 2nd floor. Just to the left of the reference desk you’ll find all the art prints that are available currently for check out. A convenient catalog shows all the different pieces offered in the collection with their corresponding number. Once you’ve found the prints you want (yes, you can check out more than one!) just grab them from the shelving and check them out using the barcode found on the label attached to the case. If you’re struggling at any point during the process, just ask a staff member and they’ll be glad to assist you. Checkouts for the artwork are for 42 days but if you’re really loving your art prints you can renew it up to two times.

If you find the art print you want is already checked out, you can always check from home using the MORE Catalog to check the current status. Searching “art prints’ in the search bar of the catalog will bring up all the different prints in the collection. If looking for a specific one, you can search by the name of the art piece if you know it or “art reproductions x” where “x” is the number of the art print you are looking for. The catalog is a little finicky, so make sure “reproductions” is plural.

Hopefully the next time you look at a spot on your wall that looks a little boring, you’ll remember your library card gives you access to over 30+ art prints! Did I mention it’s FREE!

Image of a crowd at a local rock music festival

Time to Catch that Festival Fever

It’s about to be that time of year again where you get together with all your buds, grab some grub, and apply not nearly enough sunscreen before getting away and enjoying some great music. Luckily, the Chippewa Valley is an amazing location that holds a ton of awesome festivals that include both great local and big name acts.

For decades now, the Chippewa Valley has been a great spot for country music fans to see some of the hottest artists and some good area bands. Country Fest is the first country music festival in the area with headliners Sugarland, Luke Bryan, and Little Big Town. The three day festival starts June 27 until June 29. If that’s not enough of a country fix, check out Country Jam a couple weeks later, July 18 through 20. Headlining Country Jam is Toby Keith, Jake Owen, and Keith Urban.

Close-up of someone playing the acoustic guitar.

The self-proclaimed best kept secret of the upper Midwest, the Blue Ox Music Festival, runs from June 13-15 in Eau Claire. It’s definitely the best place around to get your fix of some amazing bluegrass, roots, and Americana artists. Make it a family trip, as children thirteen and under get in for free! If you’re looking for something with a little more punch, you can check out Rock Fest, July 18-20, with headliners Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Evanescence and a ton more. Closing out the music festivals in the area, OneFest is a Christian music event happening in Chippewa Falls at the end of July (26-28).

Beyond all the awesome music festivals, you can also get your music fix every week with two awesome free events in Eau Claire. Every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Owen Park, Tuesday Night Blues has an amazing Blues performer! With no real genre focus, Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Phoenix Park, starts at 6 p.m. and features awesome local artists from around the area. Definitely check them out!

Festival season is fast approaching and I cannot wait. Let me know in the comments which one you’re going to and/or what you’re most excited for!

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month, an opportunity to discuss openly about taking care of our minds as well as our bodies. It is essential that we take care of ourselves as well as other’s mental health if we can. We all have emotions, so let’s talk about them!

We do not need to have a mental health diagnosis in order to care about our mental health. There are so many situations in life that we can struggle with and need support on. Our minds did not come with a support manual for managing the stress of exams, family gatherings, or relationship problems. Some individuals want to work on sobriety, grief and loss, or self-confidence and body image struggles. Maybe you need help with working on specific goals like getting your dream job or learning to be a better communicator. These are all a part of our mental health, and there are many ways to address this.

Talk. Talk to your friends and family members about what you are working on. By talking about it you are more likely to reach your goals because you now have accountability and support. If you would rather not talk to your friends and family about it yet you could try talking to a therapist or a support line. Therapists can be a vital support for helping us learn new tools, and get through tough life events.

Medication. Talk to your doctor to see if medication is right for you to help manage your symptoms. Medication can help balance out the chemicals in our brain to put us in a better mindset to manage life’s situations.

Research. There are so many great materials on display right now in the library as well as online. Take control of your struggle and learn more about it. After all, knowledge is power. Check out this reading list for novels in our collection covering various mental health topics. Contact Information & Reference or the Community Resources Specialist if you are looking for materials or help in a particular subject matter.

Reach out. Talk to someone you know that is struggling. See what you can do to help support them. Did you know that the estimated median delay from when someone starts experiencing symptoms to when they start to get help is 10 years?! If we speak up to our neighbors, coworkers, children, family, and friends about mental health we could prevent school dropout, incarceration, hospitalization, unemployment, and even death. The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that one in five individuals will be affected by mental health in their lifetime. That’s 20% of the people around you every day. Don’t be silent, speak up and speak out.

The library now has a social worker to help aid individuals in finding the right community resources for them. Reach out by stopping in or sending an email to libbyr@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

If you have concerns about the mental health of yourself or someone you know please contact emergency services- 911, Northwest Connections for local crisis support at 888-552-6642, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, your primary healthcare provider, the NAMI helpline to find services or support 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org, NAMI’s crisis text line: Text NAMI to 741-741, or at your nearest emergency room. Learn the warning signs and take action. Everyone deserves a chance to be happy in their own mind.

It’s Gonna Be May!

Okay, it already is May. I was neither lucky enough nor had the forethought to try and get last week’s blog post. So what’s this about? May holidays! May celebrates so many days recognizing culturally significant popularities and ideas. Why? We can only speculate. Maybe it’s a way to fill a lull in holiday celebration or maybe we need to create days to reflect our enlightened moods with the onset of spring. It’s also possible that we just need to find the time to celebrate our favorite things. Whatever the reason, here’s a list of several great days that are sure to touch on some interest of yours.

It’s Gonna Be May (April 30th)
No, it isn’t actually in May, but April 30th celebrates the coming month with a play on the lyrics from N’Sync’s “It’s Gonna Be Me.” The day might be done and gone but you can still find this blast from the past and enjoy the popular tune from the 90s.

Space Day (First Friday, May 3rd) & Astronaut Day (May 5th)
Two separate days celebrate related endeavors. Space Day celebrates humanity’s past achievements and continued exploration of the cosmos. Astronaut Day, celebrated in honor of the first manned space flight by Astronaut Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. on May 5, 1961, recognizes the heroic achievements of some of our bravest heroes who have risked all to explore the unknown. For science!

May the 4th Be With You! (…May 4th)
When talking about May holidays, you can’t skip out on Star Wars Day! Star Wars Day, celebrated by fans and supported by Lucasfilm, is the day to don your favorite Star Wars themed outfit and attend a local Star Wars celebration. Keep your eye out for any scoundrel scuffles. #GreedoShotFirst

Free Comic Book Day (First Saturday, May 4th)
This year Free Comic Book Day shares its day with Star Wars. If you have never tried reading comics before and want to try without the investment or you just want some free comics, stop in at your local comic book store and pick up your free copies. This is largely considered the biggest day for comic books which means there are often exciting new launches and reveals at the same time.

National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 7th)
Some of the greatest influences in our society have a much deserved day of honor, our teachers. Honor your present or past teachers who have had a powerful impact on who you are as a person. You can give them a nice gift to show your appreciation, give them a shout out on social media, or even make a donation in their honor. Whatever you can do, teachers appreciate a little recognition for their impact.

Mother’s Day! (Second Sunday, May 12th)
Almost everyone recognizes this day in one way or another, but we can’t forget the other days for those who may not gain the same enjoyment from traditional Mother’s Day. Birth Mother’s Day (Saturday before Mother’s Day, May 11th) is a day for mothers who have given birth to support one another and still be acknowledged for those they brought into the world. It’s also Dog Mom’s Day (Second Saturday, also May 11th) for those whose babies contain a bit more fur, a tail, and a slightly wetter nose. We can’t forget the mother of all May holidays–I know I’m punny–Mother’s Day. Give your mother, biological or non-biological, a little recognition for all she has contributed.

Armed Forces Day (Third Saturday, May 18th)
Not to be confused with Memorial Day, a day of recognition for those who lost their lives in service for this country, or Veteran’s Day, a day of recognition for those who have served in the past, Armed Forces Day recognizes those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. If you know anybody that serves, sending them a care package as a thank you is an outstanding way to give them thanks. I can attest to the rarity and the wonderful feeling of receiving care packages when serving away from home.

Memorial Day (Last Monday, May 27th)
Arguably second only to Mother’s Day, Memorial Day represents many things including a transition to summer and the biggest camping weekend of the year. It’s really supposed to be about honoring those who lost their lives in service to this country. It’s nice to think of those who passed later or even those who are still alive and served in the past, but it’s important to remember the real reason we have this nationally recognized holiday. Maybe try leaving the campsite a little earlier and taking a side trip to a local VA cemetery. Give a little recognition for what some of those soldiers had to do in defense of your privilege to have had that amazing camping experience.

Creativity Day (May 30th)
If it wasn’t made via a natural process, then it was created. And if it was created by you, then this day honors you! Whatever you might like to create, this is the day to celebrate it. Spend some time creating whatever you want and feel a sense of pride along with a world full of other creators who are hopefully doing the same. You can stop in the Dabble Box and create something there on May 30th between 3 pm and 5 pm.