World map on two hands with doves flying into a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Be the change you wish to see in the world

It’s time for a check in. It is a wonderful time for us to remind ourselves that we are all on a journey to better understanding ourselves and others. This is the journey we are all on, living and learning throughout life. I believe that the library can be an integral part of this journey for each and every person, here is why.

This last weekend I was reflecting on the wonderful opportunity to observe Juneteenth. Juneteenth is meant to be a day of jubilation, a day to celebrate significant turning point for the rights of people who are racially black in the United States. It is also meant to be a day to honor and remember those who have been lost or had their lives disrupted by enslavement. Lastly, it is a day for us to ignite action in individuals to make changes. Action, it is a word of intention, of movement, and change. Yes, there has been so many things that have progressed, but there is still a long ways to go and you can be a part of it.

Today I encourage you to take time to set intentions to first seek to understand before seeking to be understood. This may seem simple, but it takes putting ourselves aside for a moment to better hear and understand others and that can be a really hard skill. We can do this by being intentional about our listening, and focusing not on our own thoughts or responses while we take time to listen to others.

Next, I encourage you to consider that individuals are experts in their own lives. How do we best learn from these experts? By listening, reading, and talking to others about their stories. Pick up a book from an author that is of a different background than yourself, go someplace new that might challenge you to meet new people, or have a conversation with a friend about something new you learned. We can take steps regularly to expose ourselves to new ideas and new people. Here are some programs through the library that might help you find something to enhance your journey.

One Book, One Community

Tough Topics Book Club

Anti-Racism Resources and Book Lists

Diversify Your Reading Challenge

Today I encourage you to take a moment and set intentions. Take a moment and consider one step that you can take to move forward in your journey. Right now I am striving to be a better listener and learner about other’s stories, and how I can be a part of the change. Will you join me?

Check Out Our Anti-Racist Resource Page

The concept of “anti-racism” has rested near the center of national discussion over the past three months as significant protests and demonstrations have sprawled across the country, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. We’ve entered one of this country’s most divisive periods, greatly intensified by a global pandemic and an upcoming presidential election. This isn’t the only time our country has faced such personal and cultural divisions, but it’s a stark reminder of how much work we’ve left undone to create true racial equality.

As a predominantly white community, these past few months have caused many in Eau Claire to reexamine the concept racism, as well as the role it plays in their lives. More importantly, the concept of anti-racism has gained significant traction. New to many of us, the term “anti-racism” refers to an active and engaged mindset designed to work against systemic racism in our everyday lives and within our trusted institutions. That’s a simplified way to put things, but it represents a significant shift in how we approach and work for racial equality. It’s not enough to acknowledge racism. You must fight it.

In this spirit, the library has created a webpage filled with resources focused on the concept of anti-racism. While we know you can’t end massive societal problems with book lists alone, reading and education are a crucial part of the puzzle. It’s the library’s mission to promote lifelong learning and support open access to diverse materials and resources enhancing the quality of life in this community. This means addressing the issues of racism and inequity through our services.

So on our Anti-Racism Resources page, you’ll find anti-racist book suggestions (fiction and nonfiction), helpful websites, and important multimedia organized by topic and age. We’ve also included info on community organizations, upcoming library events, and more. Please check it out and see what you think.


Anti-Racism Resources Page


Keep Calm & Access Information

What Do We Know About COVID-19?

We do not know when the novel coronavirus disease 2019/ COVID-19 will reach Eau Claire. What we do know is that the library will still be here for you in some way no matter what. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been keeping track of the increasing incidents of COVID-19 and we encourage the public to get their information from the CDC. Library administration is keeping a close eye on CDC’s reports and will continue to advise the public when there are changes with our services. Wherever our risk level is at, there are still things we can do to keep ourselves informed and learn about healthy habits that are best practice right now.

What Can I Do To Stay Healthy?

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Make plans in case of school/ work closures, or needing to stay at home due to illness. Talk to your boss about leave time to prevent the virus from spreading.
  • Have food and medication on hand that may be helpful for the symptoms of the virus.

How Do I Know If I Have COVID-19?

What Are We Doing About It?

We care about our community and our community’s health. We have made the difficult decision to close the library at this time due to the recommendations from the governemnt and the CDC. We take our responsibility of providing services to the community very seriously. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up to date information on this topic. We will be working hard in the coming days on providing services in new and innovative ways during this difficult time.

What Library Services Can I Use At Home?

Sawdust City Sounds is an original service brought to you by your library that carries local music to the Chippewa Valley.
Wisconsin’s Digital Library is a great way to access materials for all ages for OverDrive and Libby on your devices at home. This allows you to access audiobooks, books, graphic novels, and videos!
FREADING is another great resource, especially for travel guides and nonfiction.
Freegal brings downloadable music and music videos straight to your devices!
hoopla is another service to access popular audiobooks, e-books, graphic novels, music, and video.
We have not forgotten about the magazine lovers! Use Flipster to access magazines, anytime, anywhere.
Learn a new language. Mango offers over 70 languages and dialects and works with you on how you learn best.

Battling Racism with Books

February is well known as Black History Month, but by no means should we only expose ourselves to diversity during this month. One way that we can continuously expose ourselves to diversity without spending money or traveling is by visiting your local library. Your library houses books and media that contains stories written by and about people from different walks of life than your own. The library can support you in learning about history, and how it shapes our present and future. This can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience, but I challenge you to reflect on why you are experiencing discomfort. If you want to put a book down that is making you uncomfortable, I ask you to consider that you are only experiencing these stories for a moment, while others are experiencing these stories as the reality of their everyday lives. Everyone has a unique story to tell, and if you are willing to lean into the discomfort, give a new movie or book a try that will help you learn new things about other walks of life.

Other ways that we can expose ourselves to diversity:

  • Visit new places
  • Try new foods
  • Visit historical sites
  • Attend public cultural celebrations (i.e. Hmong New Year, Pow wows)
  • Talk to people and share what you’ve learned
  • Listen to other’s experiences
  • Reflect on how your background has shaped your experiences
  • Practice love and understanding

There are billions of people on this Earth. There is so much to learn from each other, and so many ways to embrace and celebrate our diversity.

Adult holding a piece of red paper in front of their face with a frown drawn upon it.

Winter Blues

For many, the winter season can bring cheer, family connections, and gratitude. Winter is also known to bring depression, stress, isolation, sleep disturbances, and health issues. No one is completely immune to the stress that winter can bring, and each person has a different balance of the positive and negatives that this season brings. If you are finding that the negatives are outweighing the positives in your life this season, or just feeling more down or stressed than you would like, or maybe someone you know may not being doing so well, then keep on reading!

Here are some warning signs that you may be experiencing the winter blues according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Feeling more irritable with others
  • Not leaving the house as much as you used to
  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Having thoughts of wanting to go to sleep and never wake up
  • Having difficulty concentrating

If you or someone you know is feeling this way, do not brush it off! You can have a more enjoyable winter! Here are some of the things that you can do:

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Talk to your family and friends about how you are doing, there is someone to help support you
  • Go for a walk
  • Try mindfulness, the library has books and kits to try out, or explore resources online
  • Develop habits; routines can bring people out of a rut
  • Be social; swing by the library for an activity or to ask staff for a book suggestion
  • If you are able, be kind towards others, check on your neighbors
  • Put yourself first; it is ok to take a break from family to read a book or do something else you enjoy

Your library is here for you and cares for our community members. Whether you are alone, or have your family or friends in tow, there are many programs that can be a part of your winter self-care that gets you out of your house and hopefully out of your rut. Make a conscious effort to opt out of stress and opt in to living your life.

If you have more questions about library materials and events, please visit the library’s Information and Reference staff on the second floor, call us at 715-839-5004, or email us at

If you want to get connected to community resources to support your social, mental, and physical health, please contact the Community Resource Specialist by stopping in or at 715-839-5061 or at

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.

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

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, 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.