Writing 101 Challenge: Loss

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‘Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more’.

I had difficulty with today’s writing prompt, because I couldn’t think of one particular item or individual. I thought of what makes me sad that is no longer there. I suddenly got the idea of local libraries and bookstores closing.

I drive by a podiatry clinic in my neighborhood and sigh each time I pass it. Many may wonder what’s wrong with me, since nothing is wrong with my feet. The problem is that the clinic was a small library. It breaks my heart to see the small building now taking care of feet. There were shelves of books, movies, music, and more. Now people sit in waiting chairs than a comfy couch reading. It saddens me knowing someone may not have access to these materials.

A similar loss is when small bookstores close. They often can’t stand against the changing times. This is very unfortunate. I always smile when I enter a bookstore and feel at home. When I hear about bookstores closing it almost feels like a part of me closed. It doesn’t matter if I visited the bookstore often, occasionally, or never. Instead it’s just one more place where my soul had a chance to open to the wonder of books and reading.

The definition of a book has even changed and a slight loss is felt. I own a kindle, but it took me forever to finally purchase one. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read a book on my kindle. To me, it’s almost a loss in society as books have changed so much.

True, people are still reading and some may say there’s an increase in reading. However, there’s nothing like holding a book in your hands, turning actual pages, and smelling the paper.

The loss of libraries, bookstores, and the definition of books saddens me. Books and their ‘homes’ have been in use for thousands of years. Hopefully, the ‘changing times’ won’t increase more losses.

Weekly Quotation: Rita Mae Brown

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When I got my library card, that was when my life began.

– Rita May Brown

IMG_20111007_160136September is library sign-up month! Get Yours today!

Celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month!

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September is National Library Sign-up Month. Oh I’ve had a city library card for years, which I frequently use. Yesterday, I received my library card for my entire county. Hopefully, I’ll get books faster on two waiting lists. There were two women in front of me also getting library cards that sparked the excitement even more. I simply presented my driver’s license as proof of residency and I was given my new magical library card. Of course it’s magical since it has so many uses. I probably picked the card geared for children, yet it made me smile and states ‘I’m a born reader!’. My fingers glided over the simple plastic card and I smiled as I thought of the possibilities.


How do I get a library card?

You need to present a current photo ID and proof residency. Some libraries grant temporary cards for students and visitors. Children 14 and younger can also receive a library card with a parent/guardian signature.

What can I do at the library?

  1. Get to know your librarian, the ultimate search engine @ your library.
  2. Update your Facebook page.
  3. Research new job opportunities.
  4. Find a list of childcare centers in your area.
  5. Learn about local candidates for office.
  6. Pick up voter registration information.
  7. Check out your favorite graphic novel.
  8. Pick up a DVD.
  9. Get wireless access.
  10. Participate in a community forum.
  11. Find out how to navigate the Internet.
  12. Prepare your resume.
  13. Get new ideas for redecorating your house.
  14. Get a list of community organizations.
  15. Attend a lecture or workshop.
  16. Hear a local author reading his/her latest novel.
  17. Join a book discussion group.
  18. Attend preschool story hour with your child.
  19. Get homework help.
  20. Look up all kinds of health information.
  21. Research the purchase of a new car.
  22. Trek to another planet in a Sci-Fi novel.
  23. Call the reference desk if you have a question.
  24. Research your term paper.
  25. Learn about the history or your city or town.
  26. Decide which computer to buy using a consumer guide.
  27. Check your stock portfolio.
  28. Read a newspaper from another country.
  29. Borrow or download an audiobook for your next road trip or commute.
  30. Use the library’s resources to start a small business.
  31. See a new art exhibit.
  32. Volunteer as a literacy tutor.
  33. Find a new recipe.
  34. Ask for a recommended reading list for your kids.
  35. Make photocopies.
  36. Get a book from interlibrary loan.
  37. Enroll your child in a summer reading program.
  38. Take a computer class.
  39. Hear a poetry reading.
  40. Take out the latest fashion magazine.
  41. Enjoy a concert.
  42. Trace your family tree.
  43. Check out a special collection of rare books.
  44. Check out a legal question or issue.
  45. Find out how to file a consumer complaint.
  46. Learn about home improvement.
  47. Borrow some sheet music.
  48. Learn how to use a database or computerized catalog.
  49. Find the latest romance paperback.
  50. Pick up tax forms.
  51. Connect with other people in the community.
  52. Find a quiet spot, curl up with a book and enjoy.

Many of these activities don’t require a library card, so you can still participate. These are just a few ideas to fully use your library!

Check out these sites to learn more about how to get the most from your library. (American Library Association)

Weekly Quotation: Saul Bellow

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People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.

― Saul Bellow


Weekly Quotation: Albert Einstein

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The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.

– Albert Einstein

My Library Card is Valuable Because…

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September is a fabulous month for libraries. (Every month is a wonderful month for libraries.) September is library card sign-up month. American Library Association along with other organizations are promoting the library and obtaining a library card. Individuals submit a photo of themselves or with family and show why your library card is so important. Along with the photo the individual states why their library card is so valuable. There will then be a random drawing and a lucky individual will win a Target gift card (U.S. residents only). Adults, children, and even the family dog can be in the photo as long as the library is somehow promoted. Click HERE to submit a photo.

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I discovered that this post from last year received almost 300 views just today! I thought I’d reblog the post since it’s library card sign up month!

Children's Books & More

I absolutely, positively love my library. Yes, I have my library card number memorized and can state exactly when it’s open. This little card is your passport to endless knowledge.

The library opens up so many possibilities to individuals and the community. It’s a shame that so many libraries in the United States faced with economic troubles have closed. My own city closed two libraries. It is during challenging times that individuals most use their public library. The library provides résumé workshops, job search tutorials, technology support, guest speaker seminars, research on computers, and much more. It’s a safe place where individuals interact with the community and gain information. At the library you can learn a new language, listen to audio books, sample new music, complete homework, catch up on the latest DVDs, attend book readings, participate in summer reading programs, listen to story hour, socialize during teen activities, watch…

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Weekly Quote: John Berry

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If your library is not “unsafe,” it probably isn’t doing its job.

― John Berry

Book Review: The Librarian of Basra

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The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq 

Written & Illustrated by Jeanette Winter 
Published January 1, 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ages: 7+, 32 pages 
Genre/Topics: Nonfiction, Library, Multicultural, Save Books 

Alia Muhammad Baker is the librarian of Basra, a city in Iraq. Her library is a meeting place to discuss books, but also to discuss war. Alia worries that fire from the war will destroy the books, which are very precious to her. She asks the governor for permission to move the books to a safe place, but he refuses. Alia decides to protect the books herself and secretly brings books home every night. Finally, war reaches Basra. Alia asks her friend, Alia Muhammad, who owns a restaurant next to the library to help save the books. They quickly remove the books from the library and hide them in the restaurant. Only nine days later, a fire burns the library to the ground. They move the thousands of books to her house and friends’ houses to protect  the books from harm.

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq is a true story about a brave women in Iraq. War is a sensitive issue and I thought this book demonstrated that a community can work together to save precious books. The text is straightforward and doesn’t become too graphic  when discussing war. It’s a good book to start a discussion about war with children. The pictures are vibrant and beautiful.

Celebrate National Library Week!

April 8-14, 2012

Book Review: Tomás and the Library Lady

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Tomás and the Library Lady 

Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Raúl Colón
Published September 23, 1997  by Dragonfly Books
Ages: 6+, 40 pages 
Genre/Topics: Realistic Fiction, Migrant Workers, Library

Tomás’ family is moving to Iowa again, since his mother and father are migrant workers. They pick fruit and vegetables in the summer for Iowa farmers and in the winter for Texas farmers. Tomás loves to listen to his Papá Grande tell stories. Papá Grande tells Tomás that he is now old enough to visit the library to then share new stories. Tomás has never seen so many books in one place. The librarian asks what he would like to read about and he says tigers and dinosaurs. Soon Tomás forgets about the library lady, Texas, and Iowa. Instead, the story becomes alive as he rides a dinosaur. The time quickly goes by and the library lady lets him check out books. Tomás returns home and reads the new stories to his family. During his visits to the library, Tomás teaches the library lady Spanish words. Sadly, Tomás must say good-bye to the library lady and the place that made him feel welcome as the summer ends.

I really enjoyed Tomás and the Library Lady, because the stories really come alive when Tomás reads and shares the books. The book is based on a real person named Tomás Rivera who was a migrant worker and became a writer, professor, and national education leader. He died in 1984. Tomás and the Library Lady  won the  Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award, and was nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award.

Tomás Rivera, B.A. '58
Tomás Rivera, B.A. '58 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Celebrate National Library Week!

April 8-14, 2012

Book Review: My Librarian is a Camel

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My Librarian is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World 

Written by Margriet Ruurs
Published August 1, 2005 by Boyds Mills Press
Genre/Topics: Nonfiction, World Issues, Library 
Ages: 8+, 32 pages 

Margriet Ruurs wondered how books were brought to children around the world, so she researched different mobile libraries throughout the world. She contacted librarians who shared their information, stories, and pictures about various mobile libraries. Ruurs explores how books reach readers in Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, England, Finland, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Thailand, and Zimbabwe. The methods varied greatly from a bookmobile in Australia to a wheelbarrow at the beach in England to book boat in Finland to a library camel in Kenya to even an elephant library in Thailand! My Librarian is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World  presents each country in alphabetical order on two pages. Each country includes detailed information about the book program, photographs, map, and the country’s flag.

Celebrate National Library Week!

April 8-14, 2012

Book Review: Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

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Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile

Written by Gloria Houston 
Illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb 
Published January 25, 2011 by Harper 
Genre/Topics: Realistic Fiction, Library, Bookmobile
 Ages: 6+, 32 pages

Miss Dorothy always knew she wanted to be a librarian when she grew up. She wanted to be a librarian in charge at a red brick library in the center of town just like her hometown in Massachusetts. Well, Miss Dorothy went to Radcliffe College and was ready to be in charge of a brick library but her plans changed slightly. Miss Dorothy married and moved to a farm in North Carolina. There was a slight problem, because there was no library. There was a community meeting and they agreed that they needed a place to store books and check them out. They decided that the town would raise money for a bookmobile and Miss Dorothy would be the librarian. Miss Dorothy was a little disappointed at first, since she believed a library was a building with shelves and books. She drove the bookmobile all over town to make sure everyone had a book to read. Miss Dorothy drove the green bookmobile to every school, farm, grocery store, post office, church, and even the courthouse. A generous reader donated a white house to be used as a library. Miss Dorothy never got her red brick building for a library, but she still shared her love for books and reading. Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile is loosely based on the author’s experience with a woman named Dorothy Thomas who greeted people with books in her van.

April 11, 2012, is National Bookmobile Day!

Brief History of the Bookmobile:

The bookmobile service in the United States began in the late 19th Century. The first bookmobile service started by Mary Lemist Titcomb in Washington County, Maryland in 1905. Titcomb wanted to extend library services into rural areas. She referred to it as a “library wagon” and consulted with wagon makers to design the best horse-drawn wagon. In 1912, the county received a motorized bookmobile.

Related Information:

American Library Association Information About Bookmobiles in the United States

The First Bookmobile in the United States(

Houston Public Library bookmobile
Houston Public Library bookmobile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Bookmobile horse and cart Washington D.C.
Bookmobile horse and cart Washington D.C. (Photo credit: Crossett Library Bennington College) 

Book Review: Lola at the Library

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Lola at the Library 

Written by Anna McQuinn
Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw 
Published April 4, 2006 by Charlesbridge Publishing
Topics: Reading, Library, Books
Ages: 2+, 32 pages 

Every Tuesday, Lola and her mommy visit the library. She carefully puts all her books in her backpack to return. Lola enjoys spending time in the children’s area  where she listens to stories and songs. After storytime, Lola takes her time and picks new books to check out. When Lola and her mommy are finished checking out books they get a snack after visiting the library. Before bed, Lola’s mommy reads a library book to her.

Lola at the Library is a simple and sweet story about a young girl visiting the library. The book is a great introduction about the library. It takes many trips to the library for children to become comfortable, feel safe, and most importantly desire to come back. Now that I’m an adult it sometimes feels weird if I didn’t make my weekly library visit! Thanks Mom! 🙂

Celebrate National Library Week!

April 8-14, 2012