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    by Craig B | Aug 01, 2018

    cover for Bebe Rexha's album, ExpectationsThis debut album, Expectations, from Rexha has some delightful self-discountenancing / awareness (such as these lines from "I’m a Mess," “Everything's gonna be alright / Everything's gonna be OK / It's gonna be a good, good life / That's what my therapist say”) and Rexha did kind of break my heart with "Grace" (pun intended; listen to the song, it will all come clear) near the end of the album, but I wish I could have squared some of the lyrics from that song with the song following it, "Pillow."  I mean, if you’re lonely and hugging your ‘pillow’ maybe you should have stuck with that near perfect guy from "Grac …" ahh, I don’t know.  We’re all a bit of a mess aren’t we?

    Suggested Use: Need some music to help you get back up to speed on “adult-ing” in your day-to-day life?  The pop lightheartedness of Rexha’s album combined with its semi-world-weary outlook typical of many in their late 20’s should help get you out of bed, schedule that dentist appointment, and/or budget the increase in your monthly commitment to your 401(k) you’ve been putting off.  I know, it’s tough to make good on the promised freedoms of adulthood when you realize most of what your parents spent their time doing involved checking boxes on organizational forms, but it will all seem a little better after a track or two from Expectations and that first cup of coffee, I promise.  If not, if I’m wrong, I do apologize for promoting a misshapen set of “expectations.”

    craig Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by sm | Aug 01, 2018


    How many of these books have you read?  There is still time before voting!  The Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" nominee list, where teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year. Readers ages twelve to eighteen will vote online between August 15 and Teen Read Week™ (October 7-13, 2018) on the Teens' Top Ten site. The winners will be announced the week after Teen Read Week. Click on the YouTube video to see the nominees or a list is available below.


    • All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. Harlequin Teen. 9780373212446.
    • The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. Harlequin Teen. 9780373212316.
    • Book of Lies by Teri Terry. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544900486. 
    • Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Flatiron. 9781250095251.
    • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. Little, Brown and Company. 9780316394109.
    • The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544879362. 
    • How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544815193. 
    • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez. Knopf/Random House. 9781524700485.
    • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Clarion/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544586505.
    • Invictus by Ryan Graudin. Little, Brown and Company. 9780316503075.
    • The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster. 9781481432078. 
    • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster. 9781481438254. 
    • Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. Sourcebooks Fire. 9781492647492.
    • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. Roaring Brook/Macmillan. 9781626726352.
    • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen. Viking/Penguin. 9780425290330.
    • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Delacorte/Random House. 9781524714680. 
    • Paper Hearts by Ali Novak. Sourcebooks Fire. 9781492653363.
    • Remember Me Always by Renee Collins. Sourcebooks Fire. 9781492647607. 
    • Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne. Disney-Hyperion. 9781484788554.
    • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Little, Brown and Company. 9780316341684.
    • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Dutton/Penguin. 9780525555360.
    • Warcross by Marie Lu. G. P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin. 9780399547966.
    • Waste of Space by Gina Damico. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544633162. 
    • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Random House. 9780399549731. 
    • Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. Knopf/Random House. 9781101937648.




    by Cindy H | Aug 01, 2018
    Homeschool University is a program at the Aboite Branch where homeschoolers can come together to learn something new and exciting from local experts in a variety of subjects. Homeschool University is designed for homeschoolers ages 7-17 and is held the third Thursday of every month from 2:00-4:00 pm.

    In August, we will have an expert from the Allen County Parks Department teach us all about birds and their habitats. We will also get to learn how to make a simple bird feeder out of a pine cone to take home to feed the birds in our neighborhoods!

    In September, we have Meghan Houser from Wholesome Roots Cooking coming to teach us how to cook some awesome basic recipes. Those with food allergies and sensitivities will be accommodated!

    In October, we have local dancer Zion Tinsley returning to teach us the foundations of hip-hop dancing, including breakdancing and freestyle techniques. This was one of our most popular sessions, so don't miss it!

    This program does require registration, so be sure to click the links above to reserve your spot. You can also call the Aboite Branch at 260-421-1310 to register. Don't miss this awesome opportunity for homeschoolers, we hope to see you soon!
    by Becky C | Jul 30, 2018
    Readers Advisory

    One of my favorite types of questions at the reference desk involves investigating what book a person is looking for when they only remember a few details -- the type of book, a general outline, maybe a character's name.  Cover details can also be helpful.  Between the wealth of online resources available, the fact that I personally read a lot, and the fact that I'm acquainted with a lot of people who read a lot, it's rare to not be able to match the remembered details to the book.  It's not always a fast discovery -- the fewer the details, the longer it tends to take.  There are instances, however, when even a wealth of remembered details do not lead to an immediate answer.  

    Recently, I decided to put my readers' advisory skills to the test.  There are a few books that I read as a teenager back in the 1980s that I remember better than books I read just last year.  I'm not referring to the required reading in English class, either, although I can still feel my heart's reaction to the The Pigman by Paul Zindel.  I'm referring to the mass market paperbacks that I could typically finish in an afternoon. 

    One book I remember particularly well was about a girl named Marnie and a boy named Lucas.  While their parents were friends, they were not.  When the story began, they lived in a city.  Then, both sets of parents decided that it would be best to move to the country, together.  They buy a farm and share a house.  Marnie is devastated -- at first.  But somewhere along the way, she discovers that she has feelings for Lucas.  Given their prior antagonistic relationship, this is awkward.  She pretends to knit a sweater for herself, but deliberately sizes it to him, so that the obvious thing to do is to give it to him.

    That's a fair amount of detail, right?  I even vaguely remembered the cover of the book -- I remembered that the girl was a brunette and the guy was blond.  But I could not remember the title or the author.  So, I approached it the way I would any other question like this one.  I first tried keyword searches -- many library and bookstore records include basic summaries.  No luck. No luck with NoveList either.

    Next, I turned to my good friend, Google.  I began with a Google image search for 1980s "teen romance" "book covers"; I saw many covers I remembered, but not the one I was looking for.  I created a keyword search for "1980s teen romance fiction" and received several results.  Goodreads has a Teen Romance of the 1980s list and I scanned it first.  I clicked a few titles that seemed promising but didn't find a match.  If I had scanned the Goodreads list for Out of Print '80s Teen Series, I would have found my book, but I passed that list by -- and I'm glad I did.  Why?  Because my longer search led me to discover an amazing blog called Cliquey Pizza.  It hasn't been updated since 2014, but its posts live on, and if you are interested in teen fiction from the 1980s, it's a treasure trove of information.  The blogger evidently loved teen fiction and wrote a series of detailed posts focusing on the popular series from that decade. 

    While scrolling down a  post published on February 5, 2010, titled 80's Wildfire Teen Romances, I saw it.  The cover featured a blond guy in a flannel shirt with his arms around a brunette in a country-western shirt.  I remember wishing that guy would enroll in my high school -- and since I'm a brunette, it was easy to picture myself as the girl on the cover. And, if there was any doubt that this was The One, it was erased the minute I read the description the blogger had included:  

    An April Love StoryToday,” My father announced, “I bought a farm in North Carolina. We’re leaving the city, Marnie.  We’re going back to the land.” Back to the land?  Leaving the city? Marnie Macdonald can’t believe her ears, her parents must be kidding. Worse, they’re going with the Petersons…sharing a house with them. And Marnie can’t stand their son Lucas. At first. But by April, when the MacDonalds and Peterson’s have lived and worked together for almost a year, Marnie finds herself head-over-heels in love with Lucas! Now if Lucas would only notice.

    The book in question is An April Love Story by Caroline B. Cooney.  We don't have a print copy in the system but it's available online via Hoopla.  Like my teenage self, I read it in an afternoon, and I'm pleased to say that it has stood the test of time.  I loved it then and I love it now. 

    What about you?  Are there books you have fond memories of but you just can't recall the title or the author?

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Cindy H | Jul 30, 2018
    It is hard to believe that summer is winding down and we are getting ready to get back into our school-year routines. Many of the Aboite Branch's regular programs took a hiatus for the summer, so we are excited to tell you about the wonderful programs we have coming back starting in August!

    We have three weekly storytimes designed for a variety of ages. Baby Storytime, designed for those under 18 months, is available every Monday at 10:30am. Toddler Storytime, for those ages 18 months-3 years, is every Wednesday at 10:30am. Family Storytime, designed for children of all ages, is every Thursday at 10:30am. We are also very happy to offer Family Storytime the second Saturday of every month at 10:30am.

    PAWS to Read is a fantastic program for children of all ages to have the opportunity to read to one of our trained therapy dogs, Maggie and Murphy. This program is every Monday from 6:30-7:30 pm.

    Young at Art is available every Wednesday right after Toddler Storytime from 11:00-11:30 am for children ages 2-5. This program is a child-led, process art experience with different projects each week, utilizing different media including paint, crayon, markers, glue, clay, and recycled materials.

    LEGO Club is one of our most popular programs. This all-ages program is every Wednesday from 4:00-5:30 pm. We have tons of LEGOs of all kinds available for you to build a special creation. When you are finished, we will exhibit your design in our display case for a week!

    Finally, if you are 12 or under, check out our Hooked on Books book club for kids! Every second Friday of the month from 4:00-5:00 pm we meet to discuss our favorite books we've been reading over tasty snacks, to be followed by fun games. Regular book club members will also get customized book recommendations each month!

    For questions about any of these programs, please call the Aboite Branch at 260-421-1310. We hope to see you soon!
    by Becky C | Jul 27, 2018
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to read a summary and check availability — it’s as easy as that!

    General Fiction
    How to Walk Away  Florida   How to Paint a Dead Man
     One Less Problem Without You  The Ninth Hour  House Rules
     The Chilbury Ladies Choir  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society  Frankenstein
     The Goldfinch  Tell the Machine Goodnight  

    The Outsider    


     End Game Ill Will   The Woman in the Window
     A Taste for Vengeance  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie  

    In His Hands  Love and Other Words  

    Science Fiction/Fantasy

    The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy  Ashes  Persepolis Rising
     Ka  Ivory and Bone  Mistborn
     All Systems Red  Artificial Condition  

    Young Adult
    The Poet X Children of Blood and Bone   My Plain Jane


    Adventure According to Humphrey  Paddington Bear in the Garden   

    Graphic Novels
    My Boyfriend Is A Bear  Nimona   

    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Becky C | Jul 27, 2018
    Ever wonder what library staff like to read?  Wonder no more!  Here's a quick look at some books we've enjoyed this month.  Click on a book cover to read a summary and check availability — it’s as easy as that!

     Best Cook in the World  The Boys in the Boat  Look Alive Out There
     Midnight in Peking  The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything  How to Change Your Mind
     Spook  The Order of Time  Calypso
       The Glass Castle  

    Want more recommendations?  Click here for previous What We're Reading posts. 

    Please let us know what books you've been reading that you've really enjoyed.  We're always looking for our next great read!

    Becky CBecky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman..
    by Cindy H | Jul 27, 2018
    The Aboite Branch has two fantastic programs for teens that you will not want to miss.

    Pages, Pixels, and Pizza is the first Thursday of every month from 7:00-8:00 pm. Bring favorite books, movies, music, and/or video games to discuss over delicious pizza. After the discussion, we play fun games on our new Nintendo Switch console. It is a great time to hang out with cool people and make new friends.

    On the third Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:30 pm check out our Dungeons, Dragons, and Donuts program. This program is a beginners introduction to tabletop gaming. Our Dungeon Master will guide us on adventures based purely in our own imaginations. Bonus, we have lots of yummy baked goods.

    At both programs we always make sure to have gluten-free options available for those with allergies or sensitivities. If you have any questions about these or other youth programs, please feel free to call Cindy, Youth Librarian at the Aboite Branch, at 260-421-1310. We hope to see you soon!
    by Dawn S | Jul 26, 2018
    I know it's July, but at some point your mind is going to wonder to the months ahead. Maybe a school supply commercial will make you think about next school year, or an arctic blast from the AC will make you think about winter.

    So, when you're thinking about the months ahead, just know that your librarians are busy planning and organizing too! In fact, our September library programs are already on our online calendar.
    Here's a sneak peek!

    image of paint and brushes 
    Homeschool Art Lab
    Hessen Cassel Branch

    Friday, September 7
    10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
    Participants in this bi-monthly class will explore emerging and established artists and their techniques, both local and international. Students will have an opportunity to research the artists, to study their techniques, and to create their own art.

    family fun night logo

    Families with children of all ages, join us every Monday evening for family fun!

    image of art supplies
    3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
    What do you think you might be able to create from the things nature is finished with like sticks, fallen leaves, flower petals and seeds? We’ll provide all the materials you’ll need to make a beautiful nature collage.
    image of star gazers in a forest clearing
    Grabill Star Party
    Grabill Branch

    8:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    We're staying late to party under the Grabill sky! Bring your lawn chairs and your sense of wonder as the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society leads us in some star gazing, complete with telescopes and other nifty stuff. All ages are invited!

    by Emily M | Jul 25, 2018

    Looking for a book recommendation?  Look no further!  Here are a few good books I've enjoyed lately...

    lifeafterlifeLife After Life by Kate Atkinson

    In February of 1910 a woman goes into labor.  The doctor is unable to get through the raging snowstorm and she is attended only by a 14-year-old kitchen maid with no experience assisting in childbirth.  The umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck and the baby dies. 

    No, wait.  Let’s try again. 

    In February of 1910 a woman goes into labor.  Despite a raging snowstorm the doctor arrives just in time to cut the umbilical cord from around the baby’s neck.  Little Ursula Todd will live.  So begins the story of what could have been and what could be. 

    Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is a fascinating and unusual story.  Have you ever wondered how different your life would have been if just one variable had been different?  Have you ever wondered how all of human history may have been different due to just one small change? Life After Life explores these questions through the life of Ursula Todd, born in 1910 to an upper-middle class family in Great Britain.  Over and over again, Atkinson starts Ursula’s story from the beginning.  First, she dies at birth.  Then, she survives her birth, only to drown in the sea.  Then, she survives a near drowning to fall off a roof.  Initially, it seems the author is exploring all the way Ursula could die, but the more one reads the more evident it becomes that the author is exploring all of the different lives Ursula could live. 

    The unusual format of this book is not for everyone.  You won’t find clear-cut answers and a definitive ending, but Life After Life has much to offer.  In addition to exploring all the different directions a life can go, it delves into the bonds of familial love and exposes the realities of life in Great Britain during World War I and World War II.


    sonsandsoldiersSons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the US Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson

    When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, it quickly became apparent to Jewish Germans that it would be best if they left the country.  Sons and Soldiers is the story of six young Jewish men who were lucky enough to escape Germany and make it to the United States.  When the United States entered World War II, they were understandably eager to join up and fight Hitler and the Nazis.  Initially rejected by the US army for their “enemy alien” status, these young men would eventually be drafted for non-combat duty, before being selected for a top-secret army intelligence program.  With their fluent German and intimate knowledge of German culture, they were the perfect candidates to be trained in the interrogation of German prisoners of war.  Following the stories of these six young men from childhood to the end of the war, Henderson’s narrative nonfiction is a gripping tale of six Jewish men who, against all odds, not only survived Hitler’s mass genocide, but played a key role in defeating him.


    callmeamericanCall Me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin

    Call Me American is the story of an immigrant.  It is the story of a boy whose child- and young adult-hood were spent in a war zone.  It is the story of a teenager who fell in love with American movies and music, who idolized Michael Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and who taught himself English.  It is a story of a young man who refused the only two options available to young men in his city: become a Muslim sheikh or join the army.  It is the story of a brave man who made contact with a Western journalist and risked his life to share his story with NPR.  It is the story of a desperate refugee trying to gain entrance to the United States.  It is the story of a man who is supported by Americans who care about him, but is still struggling to adjust to a new country and culture.  Abdi’s story is fascinating and heart-breaking, and if you want to understand the political situation in Somalia, how it developed and why the violence persists, read this book.

    What about you?  What good books have you read lately?

    EmilyLong before becoming a librarian, Emily was an avid library patron. She enjoys reading fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies, and classic children’s literature. Her favorite book is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


    by Aisha H. | Jul 24, 2018

    Human Library - Fort Wayne
    Saturday, August 4 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


    Assem grew up in Lebanon, came to the United States, and experienced culture shock while living in the US as an Arab immigrant. Jay grew up in Appalachia, in an environment of steep poverty and racism, living with her single mom and an illiterate coal miner grandpa. Ketu was on death row for five years, two months, and a few odd days, sentenced for a crime he did not commit. They and other human “books” will be available to “check out” on Saturday, August 4 at Human Library- Fort Wayne from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in Meeting Rooms ABC.

    Human Library is “designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.”

    Throughout the day, there will be panel presentations as well as time to check out more than 30 human “books” and have a conversation with them one-on-one.

    This program is aimed at ages 14 and up.

    by Dawn S | Jul 23, 2018
    Here it is! The best new book to share with young students at back to school time. If you want to start the school year off right, then take some time to read this colorful book.
    cover image for all are welcome

    I'd say it's best for the Preschool-2nd grade crowd. There's a variation of the title that repeats on most every page and the kids could all chime in together "All are welcome here" as you read. I imagine the books text, by Alexandra Penfold, would lead perfectly into a discussion of school expectations and the like. The pictures are a pleasure too so don't skip the natural conversations sparked by all those smiling faces. Every student should see themselves in some character so expertly crafted by Suzanne Kaufman.

    This book is great and I'm glad it came just at the right time! If you need more back to school books be sure to ask your friendly librarian.
    by Kayla W | Jul 20, 2018

    Manga Recommendation: Princess Jellyfish

    Terrifyingly enough… there’s a male princess in Tokyo.  A strong, beautiful male princess. – Tsukimi Kurashita


    Princess Jellyfish


    Although it hurts my heart, because I will miss the adventures of the Amars, I am at the last (ninth) volume of this series. For anyone who’s read and has fallen in love with this manga, it’s an easy thing to understand. After all, it’s a great series that has a lighthearted tone and an actual ending that is within believable reaching distance (unlike so many that NEVER seem to end and outstay their welcome!).  

    Although I am sad to be getting ready to say good-bye, I was happy to spend my time with such an upbeat, adorable story. Especially one that features grown women who love who they are and aren’t ashamed of their hobbies and passions.

    This manga is a cute and strangely sober look at the minds of both shut-in fangirl culture as well as haute couture fashion.  It’s a dramedy about a house full of women united in their absolute devotion to their individual fandoms, hobbies, and bizarre behavior.

    It has a cast mostly made up of female characters who have chosen a self-exile to focus on their eccentricities and dreams. Calling themselves Amars (nuns), instead of living in squalor, or at the mercy of family members like spinsters of old, they have come together to live in an aging estate, which has become a communal gilded cage.  Together, they ignore an outside world that has shunned them (in real or imagined ways), with the occasional interaction that they have outside of the house literally turning them to stone when approached by people they’re unfamiliar with!  But, above all, they’re trying to do everything in their powers to avoid a potential run-in with the most dreaded class of people of all.

    The Stylish

    The youngest and most approachable of the Amars, Tsukimi, is much like her Amars’ sisters in most ways, with her own fixation resting almost entirely on jellyfish. Yes, jellyfish.  She draws them, daydreams of them, and retains fond memories of a mother she lost, the fondest of all memories being ones spent visiting an aquarium where she first became enamored with the unlikeliest of creatures. 

    Her life changes with a split decision Tsukimi makes in order to rescue a jellyfish that would otherwise die.  It leads to her teaming up with a Stylish.  It’s not long before she discovers that not only is this beautiful woman dead set on situating herself firmly into Tsukimi’s life (and that of the rest of the Amars’), but that she’s more than make-up and perfect clothing.  To be exact, “she” is a young man who loves to dress as a woman.

    The clash of values, culture, wealth, and identities leads to a fascinating story, with make-overs and rabid attempts to save the Amars’ home from being demolished, working in tandem with a journey through the invention of a new focus in Japanese fashion.  It’s… *Deep breath*   Jellyfish.  No, really.

    Although I usually enjoy a good romance plot (especially the stranger and less logical it seems), I must admit that, to me, the love triangle that this manga insists on centering on is actually by far the weakest aspect of the series’ story.  However, among a sea of truly eye-rolling romance plots in mangas, Princess Jellyfish comes off surprisingly clean and light, in comparison to its cliché-riddled competition. Where the manga truly shows how special it is, however, is with its gentle depiction of its characters, not only poking fun at their more absurd behavior and fixations, but offering reasons why they do what they do and showing how they’re more than capable of overcoming odds stacked against them in wonderful and inventive ways.

    Indeed, what ultimately elevates this story is how it playfully pokes at these damaged characters, taking genuine joy in revealing the – Princess or Prince – beneath the surface of every worthy character, the humor never turning into excuses to punch down on these people for their strangeness or supposed defects.  The “makeovers” seem to be more indicative of a physical manifestation of a deeper possible change, a potential that’s there, if only it can be grasped. And I think that’s beautiful.

    A true disappointment is that the short-lived anime series based off of the manga was ultimately cancelled really early in the series’ story arc.  I believe it is still worth watching – the comedic timing and all of the heart of the manga is there, even though it was cancelled after a pretty big cliff hanger.  One thing I am hopeful for is that the next brand-spankin-new series that Higashimura has made, Tokyo Tarareba Girls, will offer a lot of the same heart and humor that this one has in spades.

    Kayla loves all things weird, wonderful, and macabre.  Her soul’s in writing, and her hobbies include gaming, watching movies and television shows, reading anything and everything. Her black cat’s TOTALLY, 100%, not evil.

    by Community Engagement | Jul 19, 2018
    Photo Jul 19, 2 06 56 PM

    Our 2018 SPARK Summer Learning Program is in its final days, and we're already thinking about next summer! A great deal of planning goes into each year's program, and we rely on feedback from participants to help us make every summer truly spectacular.

    If you participated in our SPARK Summer Learning Program, please take a few minutes to share your feedback with us. The links below correspond with the age level that you participated at. Parents of little ones, you'll fill out the "Children's Program" survey to provide feedback for your child. If you also participated in our adult program, complete the "Adult Program" survey to share your thoughts.

    The last day to claim prizes is July 31! If you've reached your reading goals, check out the different learning tracks online and on the Beanstack mobile app for fun activities and challenging trivia. See you next summer!



    Children's Program

    Teen Program
    Adult Program


    Children's Program
    Teen Program
    Adult Program
    by Dawn S | Jul 19, 2018
    Here's another mixed-up collection of new books for kids. Gotta cram in more fun summer reading!

    cover image for drawing fantastic dragons cover image for junior maker cover image for the dam keeper world without darkness
    cover image for where the watermelons grow cover image for posey the class pest
    cover image for here come the bit police
     cover image for i wish i was an elephant  cover image for i just ate my friend
    cover image for the 91-story treehouse
    cover image for see zip zap cover image for the everything book of dogs and puppies cover image for pretty kitty
    cover image for thunder road cover image for the curse of the warewolf boy
    cover image for you can't bring a sandwich to the moon
    cover image for christopher robin  cover image for best frints at skrool
    cover image for rapunzel and the vanishing village
    by SM | Jul 18, 2018

    Here are new teen fantasy novels to read for hot Summer days and nights...



    Scott M
    Scott M, Editor - Scott is known around Shawnee Branch and about town as the “Library Dude” and is kind of squirrelly!  His favorite short story is Leaf by Niggle written by JRR Tolkien and he also works for chocolate brownies and Rice-Crispy treats!


    by Craig B | Jul 18, 2018

    cover for William Kennedy's novel, IronweedBook Review: William Kennedy's winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Ironweed

    Suicide is a recurring theme in William Kennedy’s novel, Ironweed, though Kennedy makes it clear from the very beginning, that his central metaphor of a flowering plant named for the “toughness of its stem” pretty much takes suicide off the table for his main character, Francis Phelan.  We begin following Phelan from just getting out of jail for accepting money to register to vote multiple times (21 in all) to a midnight raid on The Jungle; Albany, New York’s 1930’s hobo settlement.  In Francis Phelan, we are introduced to a complicated character that, despite his misdeeds, we mostly end up cheering on, though if I were in his daughter, Peg’s shoes, or even those of his son, Billy’s, I’m not sure I could.  But then, what has one to gain from unforgiveness when forgiveness could make a broken family whole again?  If only hindsight was more current!

    Speaking of which, the title of this post is not mine.  That first part is a cliché and the second part comes from Kennedy himself.  Kennedy’s phrase for me is a good example of the pith and vigor of his prose and the environment it brings to life (pun intended … keep reading you’ll see) with its inclusion of dreams, destitution, and actual ghosts (ha!).  Simultaneously hard-edged and fantastic, the story is often energized by the juxtaposition of terse language and composed, dreamy forays into the spiritual world, all to say, yeah, the man, Kennedy, can write.

    Kennedy’s life as writer began with a glowingly serendipitous event for all the bleakness of this novel.  Born in Albany, New York, he met his mentor-to-be, Saul Bellow, in, no, not New York, in Puerto Rico, and received encouragement to become a writer of novels.  I mean, speaking of fantasies, I’ve had one of sitting in Le Creuset in Nashville, making a profound impression on Nicole Kidman when she came in to buy some cast iron kitchen ware and receiving encouragement from that muse of many herself, but, as my friend pointed out, that would never happen.  Nicole would never visit Le Creuset; she has someone who does that kind of stuff for her.

    Anyway, this is a small novel (for which I was grateful) about a smallish place that looms large in my experience because of Kennedy’s artistry.  The novel, of course, reflects the world around it; a world small enough for Bellow to be met by a burgeoning writer in Puerto Rico, but a world also enlarged by the incorrigible serendipity of such an event.  Not to mention the ghosts.  I haven’t seen any lately but Kennedy’s novel is full of them which makes the 227 pager vast despite itself.  A world full of the dead begets infinity, I mean, because, well, they got all the eyes.


    Craig B author Craig B is a thirty-something lover of books, movies, and rock and roll whose grandmother still worries that he might not be eating enough. (Love you, Grandma!) He lives with his charming wife in the small town of Berne, IN (in sight of the clock tower) where he busies himself keeping the Roses of Sharon in check and training his chinchilla in the ancient arts of the Ninja. Craig’s current favorite book is Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
    by Dawn S | Jul 17, 2018
    Block play is fun and so much more! This summer our big blue blocks have toured the county and today they were at Grabill.
    image for kids playing with big blue blocks     image of girl playing with blocks

    If you haven't had a chance to experience the fun, there are a couple of locations that have upcoming programs. If you miss the summer events, check with your branch to see if they have any fall block programs scheduled.

    For a more in-depth look at the research behind all the amazing learning happening during block play, check out these books from our parent/teacher collections.

    cover image for blocks and beyond cover image for creative block play cover image for block play


    by Dawn S | Jul 12, 2018
    Have you tried the library's free digital music service? FREEGAL lets you download and stream music for free with your library card. Once you get logged in with your card number, you can search the children's genre for some fun family music. Freegal lets you make your own playlists and allows three hours of streaming a day. It features the entire Sony catalog of music. Here are just a few of the hundreds of songs you can choose from:

    cover image for fantastic voyagesWe Have Fun - The Roots - Fantastic Voyages
    cover image for spongebob's greatest hits cdThe Best Day Ever Spongebob, Sandy, Mr. ... SpongeBob's Greatest H...
    cover image for my little pony the movie soundtrackOff To See The World -  Lukas Graham - My Little Pony: The Mo...
    cover image for the emoji movieGood Vibrations - Ricky Reed - The Emoji Movie
    cover image for the peanuts movie soundtrackBetter When I'm Dancin... Meghan Trainor The Peanuts Movie - Or...

    If you'd like more information on this or other electronic resources the library has to offer just stop by and ask, or call 421-1200 to talk to a friendly librarian.
    by Evan | Jul 11, 2018

    We have a big collection of books and other items at our library, but we don't buy everything published. Inevitably, people want to borrow items that we don't own. Oftentimes, we can borrow books from other library systems, but sometimes that's not the best option. And we don't borrow electronic items, such as ebooks or even CDs and DVDs. 

    To deal with such situations, there is a Purchase Request tab on the My Account button at the top of our home page. If you click on My Account, input your library card number and your PIN, you will see the tab as one of your options. Click on that and fill out the brief form shown here. 

    Format (ex BOOK, DVD):
    Pub. Info:


    If you have all the information requested, that's great, but we mainly need the title, author and format. You are encouraged to include your email address in case we need to get in touch with you, but there is not a notification system to tell what decision was made. We ask that after you make a request that you wait a couple of weeks to check the catalog to see whether the item has been ordered. 

    Requests are limited to three per month, and not every request will be filled.  As a rule, for instance, we do not purchase highly specialized or academic material. But if you do know of something you think we should have, fill in that form and we'll look into it. And thanks for your interest in our library collection.

    EvanEvan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.