Take the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge

Picture of book display with earth and environmental related stories, and a Smokey Bear Reading Challenge sign.

Celebrate Earth Day all April with the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge! To get started, pick up a challenge sheet in Youth Services or print your own from the US Forest Service! Read three books about the Earth, our environment, and/or wildfire prevention, plus do four activities. Turn in your completed challenge card at the Youth Services desk by Tuesday, April 30th for a prize!

There are a variety of fun activities recommended on the challenge sheet, such as drawing a picture of Smokey Bear or finding the name of Wisconsin’s state tree. One of my favorite activities from the list is to choose a color, then go outside and see how many things you can find that are that color.

The Smokey Bear Reading Challenge is a collaboration between the USDA Forest Service and libraries around the country in celebration of Smokey Bear’s 80th Birthday. Happy Birthday to you, Smokey Bear!


March 25–30: Spring Break Week Activities

Spend Spring Break at the Library!

The week of March 25th marks Spring Break Week for many of the schools in the Eau Claire community and the library’s Youth Services staff has all the fun things planned!  In addition to storytimes and Dabble Box Open Labs we’ll have special programs scheduled daily.  Can’t make it in for a scheduled program?  Come in to complete a scavenger hunt, play a game, or check out a great read, movie, video game, or activity from the Library of Things to take home.  Reservations can also be made for our Escape Room which will be available at specific times throughout the week.

Special programs for 6th grade and under include a Wings of Fire Celebration, Perler Beads craft program, Family BINGO, and Pokemon Club.  Teens in grades 7th-12th grades are invited to a Teen Switch Tournament, a Taylor Swift Eras Party, and the Teen Late Night.

Check out the full list with more details here!

Kids, display your treasures @ the library!

What do your kids collect? Pokémon cards, LEGO, erasers, rocks? Whatever it is, we want to see it here in the kid’s department!

Attached to the ‘reading cave,’ there are 3 display cases for kids to set up their collections. Each display is up for 2 weeks and kids can sign up for one spot a year. Many kids and adults love to stop by and see the collections, and have the opportunity to leave a comment card. Those get delivered to the displayer with a thank you letter at the end of their 2 weeks.

To sign up, you simply go to the YS desk and say you/your child wants to display their collection. A quick exchange of contact information completes the process! You will leave with an instruction sheet and your set up day. Reminder emails will be sent as well. Please keep in mind, reservations fill up fast, so your set up day may be a few weeks out.

Reach out to YS staff if you have any questions; otherwise we can’t wait to see the amazing treasures your kiddos collect!

We Are Happy to Help!

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed at the sheer number of books available in the kids department? There are so many topics, a huge age range, audiobooks, graphic novels, picture books, nonfiction, and on, and on, and on! Where do you begin?! Luckily, there is a very easy answer to that overwhelming question: You begin at the Youth Services Desk.

Youth Services staff members can be found at the Youth Services desk during all open library hours, and at the Teen Desk during select afternoon/evening hours…and we can’t wait to help you find your (or your child’s) next favorite book!

If you are feeling independent, we can point you toward multiple resources—both in our room and online—which feature YS staff members’ book recommendations on a variety of topics. However, we are always very happy to help our customers with personalized recommendations, if you prefer to work with us directly.

If you are not yet at the library, and you’d like to begin your searching online, you can find a multitude of staff-built lists by visiting the Book Suggestions page on our website, or by visiting ECPubLibYouth right in our MORE catalog.

In addition to giving book recommendations, our desk staff offers various other services as well! We will happily provide room directions, give scavenger hunt clues, help you track down answers to questions—we even have diapers if you find yourself without. If you or your children need support (or a high five) while you are at the library, our friendly desk staff is always there to help. So be sure to stop by and say hello the next time you are in the library!

And the Winner Is…Young Readers!

Golden Globes.



Youth Media Awards!

It’s award season and, on January 23, the American Library Association recognized its annual selection of the best of the best books through the Youth Media Awards. One of the most well-known awards is the Newbery Medal winner, which is presented each year to the “author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” This year’s Newbery winner is The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers, an adventure featuring Johannes, a free dog, who loves to sprint faster than the speed of light around the urban park he calls home. After a harrowing experience, Johannes becomes determined to free the park’s bison. Yet will the appearance of mysterious rectangles, new buildings, and a strange new hoard of animals prevent him from liberating his friends?

There are a number of different awards that celebrate books for readers from birth through age 18. Check out the winners and honorees! What would you put on this list? What were your favorite books in 2023?

Plus, don’t forget to take a look at our Youth Services staff’s favorite books of 2023.



Looking for a NEW book?

Who doesn’t love the smell and feel of fresh, crisp pages of a brand-new book?  Or the excitement of reading a book that just hit the shelves?  New items are added to the collection regularly (almost daily!) and are shelved separately from the rest of the collection, making it easy to browse the newest titles.  Juvenile New Items can be found near the Youth Services desk, Teen New Items are shelved near the Teen Lounge, and adult New Items are located just inside the library’s front entrance.

Browsing new additions to the library’s collection can also be done on the MORE Catalog.  New titles pop up right on the home screen of the MORE app, and can be searched on a PC by clicking New Titles on the catalogs home page.  Do you want a sneak peek before the items even hit the shelves?  Then click the Coming Soon link to see the titles that have just been ordered.

Browse the new additions to the library’s collection on your next visit to either the library or the MORE Catalog to find your NEW favorite read!


Here comes Storytime!!

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to start our Winter/Spring Storytime series! Storytime at our library is such a joyful time for children and their grownups (and library staff too!). We offer several storytime options for different ages/developmental levels, and we hope you can find a storytime experience just right for your family.

Our storytimes include not only fun stories, but we also mix in music and physical movement to get everyone dancing and having a blast. If you have any questions about storytime at all, please call 715-839-5007 and our Youth Services Staff will be happy to help.

NEW days and times this Winter/Spring? Yes! Take a close look at our all new storytime schedule, and we hope to see you at the library very soon!!

 More storytime information HERE!

Winter Break Week!

Winter Break is almost upon us, which means it’s time to head to the library for tons of extra fun! Kids, Teens, and their families are invited to join us during Winter Break Week  (December 26-30) for a flurry of seasonal activities.  

When you visit the library, you’ll find scavenger hunts, craft activities, and games all week long–just stop by the Youth Services desk (Level 1) for details. While you are there, ask about our Winter Library Programs (December 26–February 29)! Sign up for our Family or Teen program to earn a prize! Click here for full info. 

Of course, we also have some special events happening throughout the week. On Tuesday, December 26, join us for a Color Bash! Together, we’ll brighten up the shortest days of the year with some color. Explore light experiments, prisms, and colorful crafts, no registration required. Details here! 

Or if you prefer icy experiments and snowy crafts, visit us on Wednesday, December 27 for the Ice Bowl! Youth Pre-k through grade 6 will enjoy a cool afternoon excavating objects from ice, testing whether salt melts ice faster than vinegar, designing a snowflake, and more. Click here for all the details. 

Teens will also have a chance to get creative during Winter Break Week. Youth in grades 7-12 are invited to join us for a cozy afternoon of macrame and hot cocoa at Knotty & Nice on Wednesday, December 27. Projects are beginner friendly, and registration is required. For information and to register, click here. 

On Thursday, December 28, kids of all ages (and their grown-ups) are invited to stop in and play Family BINGO for fun and small prizes. This event is so popular, it’s offered twice in one day! No registration is required, please click here for times and details. 

Finally, on Friday, December 29, teens in Grades 7-12 will have an opportunity to make art they can eat at Teen Cookie Decorating! Using icing and sprinkles, teens will create a cookie masterpiece in the library’s cozy kitchen. Registration is required by clicking here. 

And, of course, we always offer books, movies, video games, maker kits, and so much more, so stock-up for chilly weather and family time. Be sure to stop down – we’re always happy to see you! 

Favorite Books of 2023

As 2023 draws to a close (Can you believe it?!), Youth Services staff has been reflecting on some of the most exciting contributions to children and teen literature this year. We have compiled our absolute favorites to share with you. We trust there will be titles on this list that will become (or maybe already are) favorites for you and your family as well! The list features a mixture of books that are funny, poignant, creative, mind-bending, and more from our various collections in Youth Services (board books and picture books as well as juvenile and teen graphic novels, fiction, and nonfiction).

➜ Without further ado, here is the list of Youth Services’ Favorite Books of 2023.

What were your favorites this year? Let us know! Want more suggestions for great books for babies, children, and teens? Check out our collection of book lists here and here, or chat with us at the Youth Services desk during your next library visit.

Here’s to another great year of reading!

Lovevery @ the Library!

When I first heard about the toy-based subscription service, Lovevery, I was dubious. My children had piles of toys, many of which were collecting dust. We do not need more toys! When does “so many toys” become “too many toys”?

It all changed for me when my brother started regularly receiving the developmentally appropriate Lovevery kits of toys for their growing family. As their children grew the kits were regifted to my children, allowing us to experience the toy-based subscription service first hand. The kits quickly became favorites for my little ones, giving me the freedom to donate unused toys in favor of a less cluttered house filled with developmentally appropriate play.

What is Lovevery?

Lovevery, a toy-based subscription service, was founded using research on the neurodevelopment of babies and intended to help foster development through play and experiences. These stage-based kits were designed to support brain development using toys, books and a play guide for parents.

Lovevery at the Library

Interested in experiencing these kits first hand with your child? Check out one of the six new Library of Things Play Kits featuring Lovevery! Click the links below to learn more, check availability, or place a hold today!

The Helper Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 25-27 months.  Your child may be eager for independence and to step into the world of “big kids.” This Play Kit responds to your two-year-old’s natural curiosity with Montessori-practical life activities and tools to develop security in their routines.

The Investigator Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 31-33 months.  Your toddler is working on their emerging executive function skills, which are important for everything from controlling one’s behavior to planning a future task, and even creativity. This Play Kit will support their natural curiosity.  Practice jumping, balancing, and tossing.  Build concentration, language, and memory skills.  Strengthen gross motor skills.  Learn lessons in liquid conservation.

The Free Spirit Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 34-36 months.  Your child is almost three years-old! Age three is sometimes called “the magic year,” a time when language blossoms, independence and curiosity grow, and social-emotional skills start to sharpen. Embark on this special stage together with play essentials to support their growing skillset.  Fit shapes and contrasting colors together.  Early exposure to numeracy.  Practice problem-solving and balancing skills.  Engage in imaginative play.  Build real-life skills.

The Observer Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 37-39 months.  Welcome your new three-year-old to the “Year of the Self” as they take ownership of their routines, build emotional intelligence, and make sense of their world through open-ended play.  Explore routines with pretend play.  Practice nesting with early exposure to architecture concepts.  Set expectations by planning their day. Encourage independence and self care.

The Analyst Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 46-48 months.  Challenge your (almost) four-year-old to use precise fine motor skills, solve new sensory and STEM puzzles, and cook with fractions—all with fun, hands-on play.  Practice matching objects through sensory play.  Build descriptive language skills.  Solve a color puzzle using different shades.  Put fine motor skills to practical use.  Translate 2D pictures into 3D objects.  Visualize parts of a whole.

The Connector Play Kit ➜

Activities for children ages 49-51 months.  Support flexible thinking with playthings that help your child think differently and make new connections as they learn to investigate, solve problems, and adapt to change.  Practice flexible thinking.  Investigate objects from different perspectives.  Build independence and routines.  Strengthen precise fine motor skills.  Create, adapt, and act out new stories.

Library of Things kits can be checked out for 21 days using your library card. Kits must be checked out and returned to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library Customer Services desk. Library of Things kits accrue fines of $1 a day if returned after the checkout period.