Showing posts from October, 2020

Ready for Our Close-Ups

Back in March when the Mercer County Library System had to close their buildings in accordance with statewide efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey's health care system, the nine branches of the Mercer County Library System were spurred to think of new ways to bring programs to our patrons. Prior to closing our facilities to the public, MCLS branches -- our physical spaces -- had allowed us to bring our respective communities together in one place. Every month, each branch offered a wide variety of programs to patrons of all ages, such as storytimes, book group discussions, STEAM activities, gentle exercise classes, and so much more. When MCLS temporarily closed its doors, YouTube was one of the first platforms staff used to virtually bring traditional (and new) programs to our patrons. With the technical help of our Information Technology (IT) Department, MCLS took the plunge and created a YouTube Channel as a vehicle for programming. Th

Halloween Prank: Horror Comedy Movie Suggestions

I was seven years old. My mom came in for our nightly chat before bedtime. We talked about my day at school and how my third-grade teacher wanted us to write poetry - a whole book full of more glitter, crayon, and the woes of elementary school than actual poetry. My mom had instructed me to close my eyes as we recited our prayers, said thanks for a good day, and asked for another one. I remember that it was an especially dark night and late into October, with Halloween right around the corner. My mom’s shadow then moved along the wall as she kissed me goodnight, turned off the light, and left the room. I closed my eyes feeling the deep pull of unconsciousness tugging at my body. But something was wrong. I heard a sound in the room, a light breeze or... an exhale. I pulled the covers over my head and held my breath to make sure it was just me breathing, but it wasn’t. I lifted up the sheets and got up from the bed. A slightly open window could make a similar sound if there was wind, so

Create an Outdoor Book-themed Library Path with Bricks and Paint

At our Library, we’ve been trying to creatively engage with our patrons in new ways due to the changes and challenges for service that have occurred in 2020. Youth librarians, educators, parents, camps, and other institutions that are involved in lifelong learning are likely familiar with indoor and outdoor paths that can be created with stickers, chalk, paint, artwork, signs, and physical structures. You may have seen some of these spring up with a flourish around your neighborhood during the quarantine. Activity and sensory paths, formal story walks and even window displays can be fun means to be creative, interactive, and inspiring while also maintaining a physical distance. Projects can be created by adults for children or you can get the kids involved in their creation. I recently created a temporary story-path made out of upcycled bricks for our library users. I chose bricks because I had them on hand, and I felt that they could easily be worked into the physical structure at the

The Art of Becoming Your Child’s Best Friend

Now is a great time to visit the Mercer County Library’s website to learn about all the different ways you can become your child’s best friend. Our youth librarians have assembled quite a selection of ideas, crafts, and activities you can explore with your child, be it through learning new crafts together, watching virtual storytimes on our YouTube channel, reading digital books, or simply engaging in active play sessions together. I often babysit for my six-year-old cousin and it seems that simply playing with her throughout the day is what she loves the most. She looks forward to it again and again. She, of course, has a whole play routine. The second she walks through the door the routine kicks off, even before the coat or the shoes, and she’ll say to me, “Krista, come play.” I enjoy entering her world in this way--getting down on the carpet, surrounding myself with her toys, and immersing myself in her enthusiasm. If I happen to step away to get a drink of water, instantly I hear t

Getting into Autumn

Autumn is a busy time for nature, and a lot occurs in the human world as well – the end of vacations and the return to school. It is the favorite time of year for many, a season of reflection and renewal . It is a time of turning, of transition in the natural world. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, nature is humming with activity. Animals get busy preparing for the long winter ahead, storing up food, or migrating to warmer climates . If you want to read more about how animals, birds, and plants prepare in the autumn for the long winter ahead, you might want to check out Autumn: A Season of Change by Peter J. Marchand. It is also a time of harvesting the products of nature. In the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” as John Keats called it in his ode “To Autumn,” people reap the bounties, whether harvesting grapes for wine , apples, squash, pumpkins or other fruits and vegetables. You can find recipes to celebrate the autumn with dishes made just for the sea

It's Easy for Two People to Lose Each Other

When Bruce Springsteen first started recording in the early 1970s, he became renowned for lyrics that capture the feelings of restlessness, anxiety, uncertainty, and bravado that teens and young adults who are making their first (possibly foolhardy) attempts to forge an independent life experience as they struggle to free themselves from the shackles that they view as holding them back. In his early songs, Springsteen tends to fetishize cars and motorcycles, both as expressions of powerful individuality and as means of escape from a dead end existence; automobiles are central to his characters’ getaway plans: Well now I'm no hero that's understood All the redemption I can offer girl is beneath this dirty hood With a chance to make it good somehow Hey what else can we do now Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair? Well the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere We got one last chance to make it real To trade in these wings