Here’s what’s happening at the library!

Has Elf on the Shelf made it to your house this first week of December?  Or will he appear closer to Christmas to watch your good doings……or the naughty ones?
     Elf on the Shelf is one of those simple Christmas ideas that started in 2005 with a book of the same name written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell.  The story?  A little elf is sent from the North Pole to watch the behavior of children.  At night, he would report his findings back to Santa and then return to the child’s house and sit with a different eye view to continue watching their conduct.
     The library had purchased the Elf on the Shelf book some years back, and hidden in the boxes of Christmas decorations was that 12 inch tall, red felt dressed elf.
     The book had been put on the children’s book shelf along with many other seasonal stories for Mrs. Claus’s storytime on Saturday.  The Elf made his position inside the book with arms over the cover to watch the listeners.
     Two school aged students came into the library and wondered if I had noticed Elf perched on the bookcase.  They both left the library quietly and respectfully.  Both said they were waiting on Elf’s arrival at their houses.  December brings a lot of pressure to behave without an Elf reporter to stir things up.
     The great niece and nephew found their Elf tangled in yarn decorations, hanging upside down amongst the cattle ear tag ornaments they had found in Daddy’s stash.  They had decorated the lower third of the tree for Mommy.  The Elf had to be pleased with their actions.
     Elf will have a warm and secure place to stay this month of December, no matter where he decides to lurk.  Be looking for him.
     Come on in and check out a Christmas selection to warm your hearts and get yourself into the spirit of the season.
     By the way, do you know what Elf’s favorite book is?  Stuart “Little”.  His favorite song is Blue Christmas by “Elfis”.  Elf will be here only a “short” time.  In the summer, Elf is a “short” order cook.  He’s got to make some Jingle Bills somehow!
     Season’s Readings!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

There have always been places where forms of quiet or silence is a given, like church, a sleeping baby’s room, a hospital, or during the national anthem out of respect for the faithful, the very young, the sick, or our country.
     There are also those places where quiet is necessary for positive outcomes like a classroom, a quiet room for autistic individuals, or even at a Lighted Horse Parade (like in Barnes this past Saturday).  Too much noise can cause stress on certain people or animals.
     One more quiet space, of course, is the library.  Reading a book, getting on-line, or listening with earphones to an audiobook all require a certain amount of outside soundlessness.
     This need for quietude in our libraries have given librarians this stereotype of being unattractive with angry faces and a shush finger to their pursed lips.  So unfair, but I, too, have developed that librarian tick.  It is an occupational job hazard that I did not look into before accepting this position.
     A second grade student, not necessarily known for her quietness, asked if I could silence the kids just outside the library that were skateboarding on the sidewalk so she could concentrate on the computer.  Young people come in and are very mindful of the quiet rule.  Older patrons just know.
     Many people say they can multitask and can listen to music and read or search on line simultaneously.  Maybe they can.  As for me and this library, “Shh!”
     New books and movies have quietly made their way into the library.
     Mrs. Claus will be giving gift books to her story time listeners on Dec. 5.
     Many newly donated books have come into our “book sale” room.  Come early and often for the best selection to give as gifts or as a present to yourself.
     Newer edition magazines have also been donated and are free to those needing holiday ideas for health, travel, or decorating.
     Two men drove past a construction site and one said, “Rumor has it, it’s going to be a library….of course, it’s all been very hush, hush.”
     Happy reading

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

There was a big push to put the word Christ back in Christmas, using Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, and realizing the real reason for the season.  Christmas is a month away. Let’s talk Thanksgiving.
     Two young boys came into the library wanting to play on the X-Box.  The game was not as exciting a game as they had at their house.  They asked politely if they could borrow a controller with a promise to return it before the library closed.  We “pinky swore” on the return. Part of me was hesitant to let go of a “non-checkoutable” item.  Another part of me gave these young men the benefit of the doubt – after all, we pinky-swore.
     Soon they were back with controller in hand.  I thanked them and they returned a thank you for even letting them borrow it.  Thanks for Giving.
     Same day.  Two slightly older boys.  I am in the back room talking to a patron.  Each had ran off a colored copy of importance to them.  They walked towards the back room with quarters in hand to pay for their pages instead of skipping out on the debt.  Thanks for Giving.
     A young woman, whom I trusted to bring back more than the allotted 4 movies per card limit, turned them into the drop box after many months for others to enjoy.  Thanks for Giving back.
     A shy, quiet man of the community came to say thank you to the library and patrons for the Halloween card he received.  He wanted to say…..Thanks for Giving.
     Thanksgiving cards were sent out to members of the community again.  It has been over a year since this jester began.  Patrons send cards and messages to community members with no hesitation to do so, knowing the individual or not.  Thanks for Giving.
     This time of year it is very difficult to order murder mysteries, crime novels, science fiction, but instead, titles of inspiration, family, friendship, and love.
     Don’t worry thriller readers, I said difficult, not impossible.  How about these special holiday titles?
     Fifty Shades of Gravy
     War and Peas
     Pie and Prejudice
     To Roast a Mockingbird
     Catcher in the Rye Bread
Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

Fake news. It has been around for years. Up until the 1890’s, it was called “false news” and sometimes punishable if the journalist was found to be spreading false stories. In 1890, the “fake news” term was used, but the meaning was still the same; false, often shocking information, spread under the form of news reporting.
A person gets to wondering exactly how much of what you hear or read on television, radio, newspapers, or the internet is real, or do people really care that much as long as the story “hooks” them, as in a good work of fiction.
Remember the game Rumor or Telephone in which the first person would whisper a sentence into the next person’s ear, for example, “dogs dig holes for big bones”, or “twelve people pulled ripe turnips”? By the time the message had gotten to the last person in line, it had taken on a whole new meaning.
People like to hear the juicy stuff, read the juicy stuff, believe the juicy stuff. But there has to be room for the truth, too, ergo our non-fiction section of the library which hosts only about a third of our books.
There are ways to protect yourself from fake news by, knowing the source of the information, reading more than just the headlines, checking the dates of the story, or knowing that just because a story agrees with your ideals, it does not make it true.
Personally, I’d rather let the professionals at CNN or our national networks do the investigating for me. I want the whole story, the details, the colorful words that make up great fake news.
I want all of that aforementioned stuff that a good book of crime/detective fiction, fantasy fiction, historical fiction, horror, mystery, and science fiction, short fictional stories, westerns, realistic fiction, fairy tales, picture books, junior and young adult fiction, and many more “fictions” can bring to my need of fake news.
Fake news you want? Come on in. There are new “reports” that arrive at our door every month.
Happy Reading!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

Have you ever driven by a place and wonder what it’s like inside? Whether the inside is as awesome as the outside? Oh, you know you have.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, nor can you judge this library by its sometimes “cornea” windows. This library, like many others like it, are not just for books anymore, for better or worse. Although, 19 new titles have been ordered for your reading pleasure.
Inside this little library, many small things are happening with big impacts on our community members. Computers are helping to find jobs, finish homework, or ordering parts. Paper/pencil activities are there for people of all ages to expand the mind, relax the body, and boost their creativity. Cards are there to be sent to people that need a little note from a stranger to let them know they are thought of. A few weeks ago 27 postcards with Thank You messages were sent to 3 of Waterville’s Vietnam veterans. These cards were there when the 3 veterans got to Washington D.C. and then read with “moist” eyes. We made an impact.
Patrons new and old are what is keeping these small, but important gestures of kindness going. There is a small element of surprise when they come into this library as to what’s new, and hopefully, they pay those small surprises forward by writing and sending a kind surprise to those that need it at home and…. make an impact.
This library is one of Waterville’s best kept secrets.
No, I am not going to advertise the goings on in here. That’s a lot of pressure to have to live up to with all that advertised hype!
Happy Reading, Viewing, Sending!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

A worldly traveler, I am not, but this past week took me to St. Louis and Wichita, a day’s trip each. Both places were visited for totally different, but important reasons.
I began to wonder what these two cities had in common besides being big, loud, and busy. I did some Goggling and found out their populations were fairly similar with the number being within 70,000 people and Wichita is the larger of the two. The male to female ratio is equal. The median age of 34 years is alike. The water area is the same even with St. Louis having the Mississippi River with its border. Wichita has the Arkansas River and numerous lakes.
They both have interesting sites to see like the Gateway Arch, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Anheuser Busch Brewery to name a few. Wichita has Old Cowtown Museum, the Chisholm Trail Cattle Pen and trail markers, and the Original Pizza Hut.
The reasons for visiting these two similar cities?
St. Louis is the site of the Children’s Shriner’s Hospital in which I had the highest privilege of being asked to go with my great niece and her mother for her biweekly checkup. She was born with a very rare, 1 in 40,000 birth defect. She had a hemimelia of the lower limb which required surgery in July and a Taylor Spatial Frame was placed on her lower leg. She goes for x-rays to see how the bone is growing, physical therapy, and exercises to be done at home every day.
Wichita hosted the annual Kansas Library Association Conference. They reiterated how important our public libraries are to our communities large and small. They also stated that libraries anymore are more than books, but also technology and employment opportunities on the web. The chance to talk to fellow directors is always a bonus.
For both trips, books were taken to fill the travel time lulls. I am happy to report that the art of conversation is not dead. The niece prepared for the trip by bringing 2 pages of 40 conversation starters. We got through 3 questions before going off on our own topics. She may need it next time with her uncle, or just to be safe, maybe take along a book!
Happy Reading!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

K…..S…..U…..Wildcats! Wabash Cannonball! Willie the Wildcat! 52,000 purple clad fans. Nose bleed section. Above it all. Perfectly in sync marching band. The purple and orange fall sunset behind the stadium entrance. Did I mention FREE tickets?
Oh, the memories. My daughter said, “I miss college.” It has been only four and a half months for her. For me, a few more, but, oh the memories!
As I looked over those young students and young alumni, I hope I got my students off to a good start those 32 years by teaching reading strategies to the ones that found reading difficult. They won’t remember and neither will their parents…..but I do.
Reading is the foundation of all these students’ studies. I am so glad I had a part in helping those children “tackle” that skill and feel S-U-C-C-E-S-S!
“2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?” Those parents and grandparents that bring their children and grandchildren into our well stocked movie section to get the latest feature and make the rule of checking out a book or two, also. Rah, Rah, Rah for them!
College days fun? You bet. Go back to those days? No way. I’ll stick with the memories, those stories get better every year.
Speaking of going back, there are a few patrons that come in and say, “I read this book a long time ago, but I want to read it again.” I’m not knocking that practice, after all, I go back to the Young Adult and Junior Fiction books that I grew to love teaching to those middle school students. No matter the genre, no matter the author, no matter length of book or article, no matter the age category of text……”What do we want? READERS! When do we want’em? NOW!
So, “Hey, Hey,
What do you say?
Send ALL those readers my way!”
Get Fired Up and Read! Go, Team, Go!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

Friday the 13th…bah!  Bring on the superstitions!  The fear of Friday the 13th has a scary scientific name in itself being called “paraskevidekatriaphobia”
     No one really seems to know the origin of this fear according to Google, but more than likely, an unusually bad thing happened on that particular day and from then on the day got a bad rap.
     Nine of my birthdays have landed on a Friday and I can’t recall the need for a diagnosis of paraskevedekatriaphobia.  The first Friday the 13th of my life began as a 1 year old.  Bad luck?  I think not.
     It was very good luck as a 7 year old to start 2nd Grade in Sister Cornelius’s class at Flush Grade School.
     Starting Junior High on my 12th birthday is bad luck on whatever day your birthday falls.  It’s Junior High after all.
     My 18th birthday saw me just graduating from Westmoreland High School and beginning a college career at Cloud County Community College. A very good luck birthday that year.  No details will be given.
     My first baby was born 5 months prior to my 29th birthday.  A sweet bundle of luck there.
     My 35th birthday was spent with my 6th month old baby girl.  Such precious good luck.
     The 40th birthday was met with surprises as my end of the hallway classroom was decorated with (old) bats and every screen in the computer lab had my face on it.  This Friday the 13th began the giving of myself the present of a day off, which brings us to the recent Friday the 13th with the library being closed.  Selfish….yes.  Unnecessary….yes.  Silly….yes.  Worth it…..you betcha’, celebrating with a small barbeque with my family and a few friends, and then spending a carefree lunch with 3 very important women in my life.  One of them thinking that she be the one honored on each of her children’s birthdays being “the one giving birth, not the one birthed.”
     There were a few patrons looking for scary movies to watch over this Friday the 13th weekend, which luckily brought them into the library, which luckily will bring them back to the library for returns, which keeps this wonderful library a lucky place to have available in this small town.
     Cure your paraskevidekatriaphobia with a great scary book for October.
Happy Reading!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

Age changes things.  Mom called one Saturday morning and said that she has noticed in her book choices from the Manhattan Public Library, her gravitation towards books in which the theme and characters are familiar.
     Gone for now, are the stories of adventure and intrigue.  She is now comfortable with farm, war, church related novels.  Biographies are still a favorite, but these include the people from her era.  Age changes things.
     Being a Reading Specialist/Reading Recovery teacher for early readers, books should be given to children to which they have “prior knowledge” or familiarity with the topic to be read.  They will bring their own experience to the text and spend less effort trying to figure out ones they have no idea.  For example, youngsters from this area cannot relate to the beach, oceans, mountains, or deserts.  Young children do not know the thrills of some carnival  or theme park rides due to height, weight, or age restrictions.  Age changes things.
     This is not to say that the patron that comes in and checks out murder or conspiracy thrillers have prior knowledge of killers or traitors.  One’s taste in books to read changes over time.  Younger readers soon develop a taste for more adventure, love, and romance as they grow.
     It is interesting to watch authors slow down their writing with more calm storylines, even writing children’s books with memories of their past sneaking into their stories.
     Purchasing books for the library is difficult due to these age variances and tastes, although best seller lists comprised of all of these differences helps tremendously.
     A new list of best sellers have been purchased being the first of the month.  Come on in and check ’em out!
     Age changes things.  Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground.  And, an older teacher gave a child a book and said, “It’s how people used to install new software into their brains.”
Happy Reading… whatever the age!

Here’s what’s happening at the library!

The adults that patronize this library have been the highlight of my nearly 16 months here.
     For many years, connecting students to seniors in the Frankfort community was not only the best time of those two age groups, but it was a selfish high point of mine.
     Every year after nine months of weekly postcard writing, the pen-pals would meet for a Community Pen-Pal Reception on May Day.  I would tell the pen-friends the story of how the idea for this connection began.
     My Kansas City cousin was a student at KSU in the predominately male, at that time, study of electrical engineering.  My grandmother, who lived in Manhattan, grew very accustomed to Sharon dropping by and telling of college life and all that that involved for four years.  After graduating, Sharon got a job in Dallas, Texas with Texas Instruments as one of their handful of women engineers.
     Nanny truly missed Sharon’s visits and stories.
     Sharon decided to place a stack of stamped postcards in her desk to send to Nanny before she left every Friday and in turn, Nanny grew very attached to the idea of receiving these postcards every Monday as she proudly showed them to family and neighbors.  When a postcard would not show up in her mailbox, Sharon would get a phone call wondering if she was alright.
     The postcards were ALL in a pretty basket when Nanny passed away, and Sharon got to relive those Dallas years by rereading them almost like a journal.
     One of the best parts of my month is sending out cards to 25 of our Waterville seniors.  An “All About Me” questionnaire was sent out and I was thrilled to see a number of them returned, but like Nanny, wonder where the rest are.  One of the questions was “a favorite book”.  The answers included cookbooks, Little Women, The Bible, and one answer was she had “many”.
     New titles have been shelved for your enjoyment along with a few new audiobooks.  If you know of someone with vision difficulties that could use this service, please ask me about it.
     As in the paraphrased words of Dr. Seuss, “You’re never too old, to wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read “like” a child.”
     Happy Continued Reading!