Tidbits, Tips, & Tidings

About the Blog

Tidbits, Tips & Tidings is a blog from Library Director, Beth Carpenter. Tidbits will share info about library services, helpful tools & websites, answers to patron suggestions, tips & tricks on how to use different library resources, and more.

Big Library Read

It's that time again! Time for a Big Library Read on Wisconsin's Digital Library. A Big Library Read means that unlimited copies of a specific e-book are made available for a period of time, so unlimited numbers of people can read the same book, discuss it, learn and grow.

The title available this time around is Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates. Here's the synopsis:

"Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer Laura Bates thought she had seen it all. That is, until she decided to teach Shakespeare in a place the bard had never been before - supermax solitary confinement. In this unwelcoming place, surrounded by inmates known as the worst of the worst, is Larry Newton. A convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and a brilliantly agile mind on his shoulders, Larry was trying to break out of prison at the same time Laura was fighting to get her program started behind bars. Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships, one bonded by Shakespeare and lasting years - a friendship that, in the end, would save more than one life."

The e-book will be available for check-out March 17-31, 2015. Download a copy, tell your friends, and get together to discuss this remarkable book.

Help for the Homeless/Fines Amnesty

The library is happy to support the Help for the Homeless Hygiene Drive February 23-March 14, 2015. This is our 6th year supporting this fabulous cause. What's it all about?

Help for the Homeless collects NEW hygiene and cleaning items for local homeless and crisis programs through 91.9/91/5 The Family's annual drive. All donations go to local shelters and will help them direct their limited funds to providing qualified staff, counseling, food and shelter to those they serve. Most urgently needed items are laundry soap, garbage bags, dental and hair care, diapers, tissue, and feminine care. You can bring your donations to many local agencies and businesses, including the drop box at the library.

Financial donations are also accepted. Make checks out to "The Family" and include "Help for the Homeless" on the memo line. Gift cards will be purchased for the agencies and the people they serve, and funds stay in the community where the check comes from.

Here are some notes about how Help for the Homeless has affected lives in the Fox Cities:

“Growing up in extreme poverty, I was picked on for the way I smelled, and for my ratty hair. When my 5th grade teacher gave me a bag containing shampoo, conditioner and a stick of deodorant, I had to ask what the deodorant was for - I'd never seen any before. The pride and joy I felt after that, at being able to raise my arms without smelling anything, was a tremendous boost to my confidence! (I still love keeping a variety of deodorants to choose from!)”
Elizabeth S., Social Work Grad. Student, Green Bay

“People come to us when they have nowhere else to turn for help. They’re often at the lowest point in their lives, and report feeling scared, depressed, embarrassed and inadequate. They have been reduced to tears when presented with shampoo, diapers, deodorant or other items that we so often take for granted. The generous response to the Help for the Homeless campaign shows our community’s capacity to care and share.”
Mary Parsons, Exec. Director LEAVEN

Here is a thank you from COTS, one of the Fox Cities agencies that will be helped by the drive.

To encourage you further, the library is offering a Fines Amnesty period during the hygiene drive. For each item donated, you will receive $1 off your library fines. This will only apply to fines, not bills for damaged or lost materials.

Please consider donating generously and help those in need in your community!

Suggestion Box: Book Sale Items

The library has a suggestion box at each location, which we check often and implement or respond to ideas when appropriate. I'll be posting suggestions here this year with my own comments. If you'd like to add your thoughts, please add a comment below.

Today's entry to the suggestion box was this:

"It would be nice to see more educational books in the book sale section. Science books, etc..."

Unfortunately, we can't always guarantee what will appear in the ongoing book sale at either location. The book sale is stocked through donations to the library, as well as  materials that have been withdrawn from the library collections due to low circulation, date of publication, and a variety of other factors. When we withdraw educational books from the library collections, it is often due to the content of the materials being sorely out of date. Keeping a timely collection, especially in educational areas such as science, is very important. Likewise, we wouldn't want those items to go in the book sale if the information is outdated and obsolete. And if someone donated educational books in good condition that were current, we would likely add them to the library collection before the book sale shelves. 

So, while we may not be able to supply the book sale with materials you are seeking, we hope you'll utilize the library's circulating collection for your information needs. We have been weeding out old materials pretty heavily in the last year or two, so if there's an area of interest you feel needs developing please don't hesitate to let us know. We'll look for current materials to flesh out the collection as a whole.

Every Book Its Reader

One of the 5 laws of library science is "Every book its reader," which suggests  that each item in a library has an individual or individuals who would find that item useful. That's why we do our best to build a varied collection that represents a wide variety of interests and questions, so there will be something of use and interest to anyone who walks through our door.

Here's a great example! Have you ever had a problem with squirrels robbing your birdfeeder? This couple did, and here's how they solved the problem:

Or maybe you'd like some other options for your squirrel challenges. The library can help! Check out this book:

Outwitting squirrels : 101 cunning stratagems to reduce dramatically the egregious misappropriation of seed from your birdfeeder by squirrels by Bill Adler Jr. If "101 cunning stratagems" can't help you, I think you might have to admit to losing the battle!

This is just one example of the wide variety of topics represented in the library collection. Check the New Materials page and stop by the library to explore what we have for you!

What Should I Read Next?

At the library, we like to think that our staff is the best resource for finding that next great book. We all read a lot and have varying interests, so we do a pretty fabulous job of connecting patrons with wonderful reads. But sometimes, even the best librarian needs a little help. That's when online tools can really come in handy. There are many out there that you can use for free, but I'd like to tell you about just one to get you started.

What Should I Read Next is a very simple site that will provide book recommendations and suggestions for what to read next. Just enter a book or author of a book you like, and it will analyse their database of real readers' favorite books to provide you a list of possibilities. 

I entered one of my favorite titles, Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner and received an extensive list of books to try, many of which I haven't read already.

 

Give this tool a try and see how it does for you. And remember, library staff LOVE to talk about books - give us a try sometime, too!