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Last month, we added a new automobile repair database to replace AllData. The new database is called Auto Repair Source (formerly known as AutoMate) and, unlike AllData, it can be used remotely from home! Powered by MOTOR Information Systems, Auto Repair Source provides the most accurate, authoritative and up-to-date service and repair information for thousands of domestic and imported vehicles. All content comes from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and includes step-by-step repair information, diagrams, maintenance schedules, parts and labor estimates, service bulletins and recalls. Auto Repair Source is completely free to use with a valid FRVPLD card. The steps below will show you how to access Auto Repair Source and provide an overview of the content and features available.
How to Access
- From the library’s homepage, click on “Research.”
- You’ll get a list of resources in alphabetical order. Scroll down a little bit to the end of the “As” and click on “Auto Repair Source.”
- You’ll be taken to another screen with a list of a few different resources listed. Scroll down and click on “Auto Repair Source.”
- You’ll be taken to the Auto Repair Source home page.
Using Auto Repair Source
Towards the top of the screen, there are some drop down boxes where you can choose the year, make and model of your vehicle. Once you choose your vehicle, a list of options will come up on the far left side of the screen. This list is in alphabetical order by the type of part or by the vehicle system. Simply click on a category to get more specific information. Within these categories, you’ll see step-by-step instructions, printable diagrams, and more. There is also a search bar above the list of categories that you can use to search for a specific part, error code, and more.
Auto Repair Source is a powerful, authoritative automobile repair database. It can be used remotely at home, as well as in the library. The Auto Repair Source website is mobile friendly, so it works well on a variety of devices. Have questions, want more information, or want help using Auto Repair Resource? Please stop by the Information Desk, call 847-428-3661 and ask for the Information Desk, or send an email at LibraryHelp@frvpld.info and we’d be happy to help you!
If you read Part 1 of this blog duology, you now know the basic ins and outs of two of the most popular fantasy subgenres of today; Epic Fantasy and Urban Fantasy. These genres fit the tropes of fantasy that everyone, even non-fantasy readers picture fantasy to look like. Here we dig deeper into the world of Fantasy Literature by looking at two more subgenres: Contemporary Fantasy and Magical Realism.
The base definition of Contemporary Fantasy is similar to Urban fantasy but in a broader sense. Contemporary fantasy is about magical elements in a specific, not always current, time period. Today, contemporary fantasy books have more lyrical language and are heavy on symbolism and subtleties. Themes covered by a Contemporary Fantasy story usually have to do with themes of the time period they take place in, like major historical events, wars, or trends and beliefs of the time.
If you think Contemporary Fantasy is your speed, try these titles out!
(Left to right: The Magicians by Lev Grossman, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, & The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld.)
“Harboring secret preoccupations with a magical land he read about in a childhood fantasy series, Quentin Coldwater is unexpectedly admitted into an exclusive college of magic and rigorously educated in modern sorcery.”-NoveList
(Magician Novels, 1)
“Days before his release from prison, Shadow learns that his wife has been killed in an accident. On the plane ride back home for the funeral, he meets Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job. Shadow accepts but soon discovers that Mr. Wednesday is far more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.” -NoveList
The Rules of Magic
“The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Hoffman's Practical Magic. Here we learn the background of sisters Franny, Jet, and their brother Vincent. The story begins with all three as teens, ostracized for being witches. Their mother sets up rules designed to suppress their natural ability. When the siblings are sent to visit their aunt they learn family secrets and find out who they truly are. I was enraptured by this fabulous book, which is filled with magic and charm.” -- Terri Smith, Cornelia Habersham County Library, Cornelia, GA. (LibraryReads, October 2017)
“A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.” -NoveList
Magical Realism is actually closer to fiction than fantasy, but a lot of libraries often mix the two. This genre uses magical elements to blend and create a realistic atmosphere that accesses a deeper understanding of our reality. Magical Realism stories are often very dreamlike and sometimes very peculiar.
If you’d like to give Magical Realism a try, take a look at these Magical Realism classics!
(Left to right: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka, & Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
“The evolution and eventual decadence of a small South American town is mirrored in the family history of the Buendias.” -NoveList
“Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl.” -NoveList
Metamorphosis and Other Stories
“Virtually unknown during his lifetime, Franz Kafka is now one of the world’s most widely read and discussed authors. His nightmarish novels and short stories have come to symbolize modern man’s anxiety and alienation in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world. This vision is most fully realized in Kafka’s masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” a story that is both harrowing and amusing, and a landmark of modern literature.” -Goodreads
“Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the exact moment of India's independence, Saleem Sinai becomes inextricably linked to that of his nation and is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror modern India's course.” -NoveList
The world of fantasy literature is big, heavily detailed, and sometimes a little intimidating. There are so many genres and subgenres to choose from! Here’s a glance some of fantasy’s most popular subgenres, from kingdoms and magic, to playing with reality as we know it.
High Fantasy/Epic Fantasy
If you like magical quests in vast medieval kingdoms, high fantasy is for you! This subgenre of fantasy is the most well known, from famous works of J.R.R. Tolkien, to the table tops of Dungeons & Dragons players, and even on screen in videogames like Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age. Stories and books of this genre are normally told from the eyes of a main character or hero with a special past, lineage, or talent. Some popular themes in high fantasy or epic fantasy are Good Versus Evil, Sword and Sorcery, and Zero to Hero.
If you think you’d like to try reading High Fantasy, check out these epic reads and see for yourself if the path to adventure and glory is the path for you!
(Left to right: Black Leopard Red Wolf by James Marlon, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, & Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames.)
Black Leopard Red Wolf
“Hired to find a mysterious boy who disappeared three years before, Tracker joins a search party that is quickly targeted deadly creatures, in the first novel of a new trilogy from the author of A Brief History of Seven Killings.” –NoveList
(Dark Star Trilogy, 1)
A Game of Thrones
“The aristocratic Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes.” –NoveList
(Song of Ice and Fire, 1)
The Way of Kings
“Introduces the world of Roshar through the experiences of a war-weary royal compelled by visions, a highborn youth condemned to military slavery and a woman who would save her impoverished house.” –NoveList
(Stormlight Archive, 1)
Kings of the Wyld
“Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best -- the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk - or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help. It's time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.” -NoveList
(Band Novels, 1)
In this subgenre, the plot has magical elements or laws that operate in a modern day or urban setting. Characters in these stories are usually tasked with maintaining the status quo of reality and everyday life by protecting it from the paranormal entities that threaten its integrity. Common themes found in urban fantasy are Laws of Magic, and Hidden Among Us.
If you’re interested in stories that bring magic and the paranormal to your back door, try out these urban reads!
(Left to right: Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Magic for Liars by Sarah Gaily, Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, & The Rook by Danliel O'Malley.)
“Meet Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a Chicago-based private investigator who also happens to be the only person listed under "Wizards" in the phone book. A frequent consultant for the police on paranormal crimes, Harry is called in to investigate when two mutilated corpses are discovered in a hotel room. Someone is using magic to commit murder -- and it's up to Harry to find the killer.” - Description by Gillian Speace.
(The Dresden Files, 1)
Magic for Liars
“In a first novel by a Hugo Award-winning writer, a private investigator and talented liar embarks on a search for a killer at a California private academy for mages where her estranged, magically gifted twin hides in plain sight.” -NoveList.
“While trying to live a so-called normal existence, mechanic Mercy Thompson, a shapeshifter raised by werewolves, gets into trouble with the gremlins, witches, and vampires with whom she deals on a daily basis.” –NoveList.
(Mercy Thompson Series, 1)
“The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she wakes in a park surrounded by bodies wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down those who want to destroy her.” –NoveList.
(Checquey Files, 1)
Are you a Monopoly expert? Love guessing games? Or do you want to show off your drawing or linguistic skills? We’ve got games for all of these and more! From classic games like Yahtzee and Uno to contemporary games like Exploding Kittens and Sushi Go!, we’ve got something for everyone.
If you haven’t seen them or been one of the lucky patrons playing them yet, dozens of table-top games have recently been added to the collections at Dundee and Randall Oaks and we’re excited to offer this in-house entertainment to our patrons. Bring a group of friends to either library to play for a single night, or go ahead and start a weekly/monthly/whatever game night meeting. Drop in Dundee’s Corner 68 anytime there isn’t a class and grab a game, or take a look at the collection anytime near Randall Oaks’ information desk.
We have Game Nights for teens and adults coming up on April 11 and May 9 in Corner 68 that will feature the table-top games, video games, and snacks. And International Table-Top Game Day is coming up in the not-so-distant future on April 27, so what better time to check these out?
We’ve recently added some new features in our library catalog: new releases and coming soon! These new features can be found right on the main page of the catalog. In the center of the page just below the search bar are four carousels that show newly released books at both Dundee and Randall Oaks. The four carousels are: New Adult Fiction Books, New Adult Nonfiction Books, New Children’s Fiction, Picture Books, and Easy Readers, and New Teen Books. Each carousel has the 50 newest books we’ve added from late 2018 or 2019 thus far. Clicking on a title will take to you to the record for that specific item and from there you can read more about the book, check its availability, and place the book on hold.
On the left side of the catalog’s main page, just below “Catalog Home,” are two “Coming Soon” tabs: one for Dundee and one for Randall Oaks. In each tab, there are several categories: Adult Books, Teen Books, Children’s Books, Adult audio/video materials, and Children’s audio/video materials. Clicking on a category will bring you to a list of items that the library has ordered that have not yet been released but are coming soon. You can place a hold on any item on the list by clicking on “Place Hold” to the right of the title.
These streamlined collections/lists of items will make it easier for patrons and staff to view and place holds on the newest and soon-to-be-released items. Our hope is that this will help make the catalog more browsable and user friendly. If you have any questions or comments about these features or the library catalog in general, please don’t hesitate to call us at 847-428-3661, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by either the Dundee Library or the Randall Oaks library.
FRVPLD has partnered with local senior advocate Jeanette Palmer to develop an educational series for family caregivers. Jeannette will share her expertise on providing in-home care for seniors and disabled adults who need some assistance to maintain their independence. Whether you are anticipating the future need of a loved one or are currently providing care now, this series will provide step-by-step guidance. Throughout the caregiving journey, the role of family caregiver evolves and so should the services and support they receive. These sessions will provide a map for family caregivers to navigate successfully through the caregiving journey. You are invited to attend one, all, or any combination of sessions. All will be held at the Dundee Library.
Part 1: The Expectant Caregiver
Thurs., March 28, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
You have a family member or friend who you feel may need your help in the near future. Now is the time to ask questions and make plans. This workshop will help you ask the right questions and give you resources to help find the answers.
Part 2: The Freshman Caregiver
Thurs., April 25, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
You are just starting on your caregiving journey. This workshop will help you to find the services, system and supports that you will need to carry you through.
Part 3: The Entrenched Caregiver
Thurs., May 30, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
You are now living out the plans and systems you set up in Parts 1 and 2. This is your new normal and you are living it well. This workshop will help you receive the strength and support to keep going.
Part 4: The Pragmatic Caregiver
Thurs., June 27, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
You are still caring for your loved one. Maybe it has been a long time. This workshop will give you the tools to keep pressing on and avoid burnout. You will learn to welcome these precious moments.
Part 5: The Transitioning Caregiver
Thurs., July 25, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Your role as a caregiver is about to change. You will now be walking through the final months and weeks with your caree. This workshop will help you through the season of grief and loss.
Part 6: The Godspeed Caregiver
Thurs., Aug. 29, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
It has been two years or more since your time of active caregiving has ended. This workshop will help you treasure your life and chart a course for what’s next.
Family Caregiver program will be presented by Jeanette Palmer of Right At Home
Veteran Benefit Specialist and Senior Advocate Jeanette Palmer brings her personal passion and commitment to providing dependable, professional in-home care and assistance to her neighbors in Cook, Kane and McHenry Counties through Right at Home.
Through her personal experience caring for her own mother, Jeanette Palmer understands the need for in-home care and the preference of the majority of people to remain living independently at home.
After her mother’s passing, she felt a strong desire to share her expertise to help others in her community. After months of investigating the possibility of providing in home care and assistance on a full time basis, she became a veteran benefit specialist and senior advocate with Right At Home. The mission of Right at Home Northwest is to provide the care and support that will help seniors and disabled adults live in their own home for as long as possible.
Please register for each program. Click on the program title to register online. You can also register by phone at (847) 428-3661, or in person at the library. Programs are free. For questions about the series, contact Cari Poweziak at email@example.com or (224) 699- 9204.
I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Broadway legend Carol Channing. As a lover of live theater, she was one of the major stars that informed my education.
In a long and illustrious career spanning the stage, film, and television, Channing was probably best known for her award winning roles in Hello, Dolly! and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Along with awards for her performances, Channing was also recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards honoring her career on Broadway and in musical theater. However, she claimed the highlight of her career was learning she was on President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list”, which came to light during the Watergate investigation. Her trademark humor added to the reasons fans adored her.
“My mother said to me, ‘You're revolting. And on top of that, you're not very feminine.’ Well, that led me to the stage, which is an accepting and comfortable place. So in a way I have my mother to thank.”- Carol Channing
Just Lucky, I Guess: a memoir of sorts by Carol Channing
You’ve seen enough “Best Of” lists for 2018 by now, so the Randall Oaks staff thought we’d just share some of our favorites, whether they're critically lauded or not. Here’s a sampling of books and movies that came out last year that we enjoyed for various reasons- they made us think, they made us cry, they were just plain fun, etc.
Calypso by David Sedaris- I don’t think it’s possible for Sedaris to write a book that doesn’t have me laughing out loud (which is why I can't read him in public anymore), though this one is heavier than a lot of his previous work.
Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt- Beautiful, scary, and relevant. Greenblatt once again brings Shakespeare’s work to life for our world today, proving that not much really changes from century to century.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones- Unfortunately, the events of this novel felt all too real. Switching between multiple first person narrators and an epistolary format, the reader gets multiple sides of one tragic event and the consequences it reaps.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White- An interesting re-telling of the Frankenstein tale (in honor of the 200 year anniversary of the original publication) narrated by Victor’s childhood companion/fiancé/eventual wife Elizabeth.
The Escape- A very slow-paced film in which not a lot happens, this definitely isn’t for everyone. But I loved the non-judgmental portrayal of a woman’s struggles of the type that are usually shied away from in our culture.
BlacKkKlansman- Alternatively funny and miserable, the end is particularly powerful.
The Favourite- As a lover of British history, it was nice to see Queen Anne finally get some love.
Mandy- Nic Cage in a chainsaw duel. Enough said.
Laid-Back Camp by Afro- A slice-of-life manga about five girls who really enjoy winter camping. That's it. It's amazing.
We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix- The former guitarist of a heavy metal band finds out that the price of fame is really high.
The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner- Vera's twin sister Ava disappeared twelve years ago on Halloween night. Now, when Vera is 18 and ready to start her life over somewhere new - ready to become someone other than the sister of the missing girl - a woman who claims to be Ava appears.
A Simple Favor was bonkers. Also shout out to Henry Golding for being in two of my favorite movies this year.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Girl, Wash Your Face... wasn't actually a favorite, but one of the only couple released last year that I read. I read it mostly to see why it was so popular but I didn't see the appeal.
A Star is Born: Judy Garland and the film that got away by Lorna Luft
In Pieces by Sally Field
My Girls: a lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher
Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez- This is a collection of poems that looked into the life of being a first generation Mexican American. I felt that it spoke to many aspects of my own life and Jose is a very good acquaintance of mine.
Ghosts in the Schoolyard: racism and school closings on Chicago’s South Side by Eve Ewing- I'm studying to one day be an high school English teacher so I try to read up on a lot of educational topics. This book blew my mind about schools on Chicago's Southside. Definitely a good read!
On My Way to Liberation by H. Melt- This is a collection of poems that depict life as a trans non binary person navigating Chicago. H. Melt is honest and very vocal about issues regarding trans identity and I feel like this is a very important read.
If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar- I love reading about people who are different than me. The only Muslim representation I was given was reading the Kite Runner so it was nice to see another interpretation of what life as a Muslim is like. Fati is one of my favorite people and this book is so well written.
This was a superaltive year for music, particularly by female artists such as Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves and Cardi B, who made many music critics' top of albums of the year lists. While my list is still mostly female-centric (well done, ladies!), I tend towards the indie and depressive in taste. Below are my five favorite albums of the year, definitely worth checking out whether you share my lugubriousness or not:
Yay! Swedish pop star Robyn is back from an eight year-hiatus with an album about loss, grief and recovery that somehow manages to be both life affirming and danceable.
Mitski- Be the Cowboy
Exploring the darker, toxic side of love through a series of vignettes, this album has a dark edge that’s not softened by Mitski’s icy vocals. But with fuzzy 90s shoegaze guitars, a black sense of humor, and a propulsive beat, there is a lot to enjoy!
Lucy Dacus- Historian
This album is currently in heavy rotation at my house. Sound-wise, Dacus’s warm vocals, literary lyrics and bigger rock sound remind me of later albums by Sharon Van Etten. Opening track “Night Shift” is one of the most perfectly rendered break-up songs ever.
Blood Orange- Negro Swan
Anxiety pulses through the tracks on this sublime R&B album, which explores feelings of being a marginalized person in today’s environment, including spoken word narration between songs by trans activist Janet Mock.
Ariana Grande- Sweetener
Grande has had a tumultuous couple of years, including having a terrorist attack at one of her concerts and losing a former boyfriend to drug addiction. However, Sweetener transcends the sorrow and is a joyful listening experience. Grande’s vocals and rhythms do a good job of capturing the fun of early 90s R&B tracks, with a positive feminist message.
Have you signed up for the inaugural Winter Reading Challenge yet? If it doesn't sound familiar, take a look at Elizabeth's blog here for more details. Registration opened up on Sunday, December 9, and there are different challenges for youth, teens, and adults. A couple of the challenges on the adult list are to "check out a cookbook and try out a new recipe" and "read a winter themed book". If you're looking for inspiration in those categories, I've compiled some suggestions that fit the bill below. Since adults only have to complete 5 challenges, if you do one of each of these, you're almost halfway to claiming your prize!
If you'd like more suggestions in these categories, or need help with any of the other challenges like downloading music or checking out ebooks, don't hesitate to ask staff in Adult and Teen Services at Dundee or at Randall Oaks for assistance.
- Holiday Cookies: showstopping recipes to sweeten the season by Elisabet der Nederlanden
- Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook by Debbie Macomber
- Fix It and Forget It Christmas Cookbook: 600 slow cooker holiday recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good
- Home Made Winter by Yvette van Borden
- Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies: 75 irresistible holiday treats by Good Housekeeping Institute
- The Chew, a Year of Celebrations: festive and delicious recipes for every occasion ed. by Ashley Archer and Jessica Dorman Jones
- A Year of Pies: a seasonal tour of home baked pies by Ashley English
- Jerusalem: a cookbook by Yotom Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi
- The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
- Cooking from Scratch: 120 recipes for colorful, seasonal food from PCC Community Markets by Jill Lightner
- Crimson Snow ed. by Martin Edwards
- Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
- An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
- The Shining by Stephen King
- Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
- Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira
- Hiddensee: a tale of the once and future nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
- 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
- By Winter's Light by Stephanie Laurens
The Dundee Library has a collection of local history files that contain over 400 items, including: newspaper articles, photographs, documents/reports, correspondence, booklets/pamphlets, blueprints, maps, and more. We have gone through and digitized the entire collection to further preserve these items and make them more accessible to our patrons. The collection covers a variety of different topics pertaining to all/each of the communities in our district. This collection can be found on the Special Collections page of our website. It joins several other interesting collections already on that page. Be sure to check out my previous two-part blog post about these other collections: part one and part two.
On the Special Collections page, there is a link to a separate Local History Files page. All of the items in the collection have been organized into subcollections based on topic. Simply click on a subcollection and you will get a list of items within that subcollection in chronological order. Each item listed is a clickable link that, when clicked, will take you to the digital version of that item. There are a lot of interesting items so we’re glad they are all readily available for patrons to look at or use for research. If you want more information about these collections or have any questions, please feel free to stop by the Information Services desk at the Dundee Library, call 847-428-3661 and ask for the Information Desk, or email us at LibraryHelp@frvpld.info.
Winter Reading Challenge
Winter brings ice, snow, freezing weather, and…the Winter Reading Challenge!
Fox River Valley Public Library District is excited to launch our first annual, all-ages Winter Reading Challenge! The program runs from Dec 9-February 16.
How does it work?
It’s easy! Sign up at any of the service desks starting on December 9 to receive your log. The log is a combination of reading challenges and wintery activities including attending different library events. Each age group has a different set of challenges listed on the log and criteria for how to complete the program. You can sign up any time between December 9 through February 16, but the last day to get your prize will be on February 23.
Youth: Finish 15 out of the 20 activities listed on your card
Teen: Finish 10 out of the 20 activities listed on your card
Adult: Finish 5 out of the 20 activities listed on your card
Can I Sign Up Early?
We are excited about this program too and can’t wait to start it! However, you’ll have to wait until December 9 to sign up. Don’t worry, though! You’ve got 9 weeks to sign up and complete the program.
What do I get?
If you are a true library champion and complete your activity card, the following prizes will be available to you:
Adults: Ice scraper, Lip Balm, and Hot Chocolate
Teens: Mug & Hot Chocolate
Youth: Snowman soup and Melting Snowman Slime
It’s cold and busy during the winter months. We get it! We hope to offer everyone in our library district a chance to shake off the cold, cozy up at the library, and have a fun experience with each other and us here at FRVPLD!
We all know what it's like to feel the pressures of the holidays slowly creeping up on us. Thanksgiving comes and goes, and we're immediately thrust into the holiday mentality before we're even done eating the turkey. Retail stores and tv advertisements promote holiday and Black Friday sales weeks before Thanksgiving can even get here. Christmas trees are in some retailers by October. I mean, when you have stores like JC Penney showing a woman leaving the dinner table on Thanksgiving to hit up those Black Friday deals, it's no wonder we all feel exhausted and forced into the consumerism cycle that promotes shopping under pressure over spending quality time with family, and, you know...
ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS.
Probably best not to go the Michael Scott route, yeah?
Here's a list of the best ways to relax and destress yourself this holiday season, courtesy of your local Youth Services Library Assistants Jessica and Sofia, and Youth Services Librarian, Brittany. :)
ONLINE SHOPPING In past years, I was not a fan of online holiday shopping. I felt like it took away the fun of going out to the stores, seeing the displays, being a part of the holiday shopping crowd. It was a process but an inevitable part of the holiday season, and I usually loved it and looked forward to it. However, as times change, every new holiday season seems busier and more hectic than the last. Age is probably contributing to that (I don't think any of us have the patience we had growing up). But when you are forced to drive with everyone else on the road and constantly feel at risk of a car accident because of how congested it is to buy that sweater for grandma, it kind of sucks the fun out of it. Now, online shopping is probably as streamlined as it has ever been with apps added into the mix. Many retailers have made it simple to do online shopping on-the-go, price compare online if you are in the store, and allow you to buy online and do a free pickup in-store to avoid some of the chaos (try Kohls). If you'd rather cozy up in your pj's and shop for the family, not to mention take advantage of those cyber Monday deals, online shopping is the way to go.
MEDITATION This was highly suggested by Brittany and one of her personal favorite methods to destress. Finding time in your day to just breathe and clear your mind is incredibly helpful to slow your body down and not become too overstimulated with all the holiday buzz. You can take time at home to sit and clear your thoughts, listen to some music that calms you down (try to avoid that Black Sabbath or Metallica for a bit...hard for a metalhead like me to suggest!), or simply do some deep breaths and think positively for a few minutes while sitting in your car between shopping at different stores. Brittany personally uses a couple meditation apps to aid in her experience: "Meditation and Relaxation: Guided Meditation" on the Google Play Store, and an app called "Calm." Both can be downloaded on your phone, computer, or tablet off an app store.
BAKING Okay, I know we're in the season of overindulgence and realizing we might not fit in those jeans anymore come January, but this one is still fun and definitely a good way to wind down. Another suggestion from Brittany, baking is a mind-consuming process that forces you to focus on what you're doing and not think about much else, let alone what's stressing you out. Instead, you get into the rhythm of kneading dough, mixing ingredients, paying attention to the oven so your cookies don't burn; ultimately, this leads to becoming more relaxed and promotes other relaxing activities, like reading or watching movies while your goodies bake. And who hasn't smelled chocolate chip cookies or an apple pie baking and been in a bad mood, right?
Yes, this may be the season of giving, but don't forget about yourself! Whenever Sofia begins to feel stressed out, she pampers herself by getting her nails done, something she enjoys. Whatever this may be for you, whether it's treating yourself to some ice cream, an experience, or that cute pair of boots you've been eyeing, don't hesitate to indulge every once in a while. There is definitely a responsible way to treat yourself and an irresponsible way. If you're constantly spending more money that you can afford and doing it in the name of "treating yo self," probably need to reconsider. But there are plenty of small, inexpensive ways to do it. Taking a bath, having a spa day at home (much more inexpensive than going to an actual spa), making your favorite food or drinks at home, or doing something else you enjoy that you never have time for. Speaking of baths and spa days, Sofia will be hosting a couple programs that are sure to complete your own "Treat Yo Self Day." Check out Do It Yourself: Vegan Soap Making on December 17 from 5 to 5:45 p.m. and Do It Yourself: Love Potion Bath Bombs on February 4 from 5 to 5:45 p.m.
UNPLUG FROM THE WORLD AND SOCIAL MEDIA Another excellent suggestion from Sofia, she talked to me about how one of her main ways to cope with stress is to simply focus on what she's currently doing and be away from her phone and social media. If you're a regular or fairly regular user of social media and app platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., then you know that they're the ultimate form of overstimulation and self-comparison. For one, seeing what others are doing or thinking at all times can be distracting and keeps you from participating in your own life. You're so focused on everyone else that you sometimes can neglect your own needs and wants. Secondly, social media platforms inform you of what your friends and family are doing always. This might trigger you into feeling you're not doing enough for the holidays, not prepping enough, not truly getting into the holiday spirit like your one friend who just bought the greatest Christmas sweater ever and already found sweet gifts for her family and friends, while you haven't started yet. While this doesn't bother or affect everyone the same, I feel it's still worth discussing since many do feel this way. We're in the age of social media, so it's inevitable that it will affect some people's thinking during the holiday season. Sofia's personal pick? Cuddle up with her dog and read some Stephen King.
USE THE LIBRARY AS A RESOURCE If you need a place to chill out, come to the library! We have a generous collection of books and magazines to peruse, computers to use for your online shopping needs, and comfortable places to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. Not to mention, holiday programs for you or your family to attend to encourage positive holiday vibes, and opportunities to make thoughtful (and free!) gifts. Some offerings include: Holiday Card Making on December 1 from 1 to 3 p.m., Decorate Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweater on December 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Gingerbread House Workshop on December 12 from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.!
PUT THE HOLIDAY INTO PERSPECTIVE Finally, just remind yourself: It's Christmas, not the end of the world. Sometimes, we allow ourselves to be consumed by the season and forget that it's a time of year to appreciate who we love, spread joy and love, and be happy. The process of buying gifts has vastly overshadowed some of these ideas and has led many to view Christmas as the most commercialized holiday, which is not untrue. Break the mold and put into perspective what the holiday actually stands for, and you'll probably be less stressed in the process. Remind yourself of what and who you're thankful for. Make a habit of donating to organizations so people in need can also have a comfortable and positive holiday season (The Salvation Army will be ready and ringing their bells near their red buckets in many stores). Make time for family and friends and celebrate together. Don't feel obligated to spend more than you have on gifts and put yourself in debt over Christmas. Navigate the season the way that makes you the most happy and causes you the least amount of stress. And remember...
Do you absolutely love to read books? Are you always looking to talk to people about what you read? If you said yes to either of those questions, then you should consider joining or even starting your own book club! A book club is a group of people that meet regularly to discuss books they have all read. Generally book clubs meet monthly, and each month a new title is selected. Then everyone reads the same title and gets together to discuss it. Book clubs are great because you get to meet all kinds of fun, interesting people and you get to read a wide variety of books. Often times you end up reading titles that you otherwise never would have chosen to read yourself. It’s a great way to try new genres and expand your reading tastes.
Joining a Book Club
If you think you would be interested in joining a book club, we have a couple of different ones here at the Dundee Library!
First, led by yours truly, the Dundee Library Book Club meets on the last Wednesday of each month. There are 2 different sessions, 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm, and both sessions read the same title each month so you just have to pick which time works best for you. We meet upstairs on the main level in Corner 68, the classroom by the public computer area, and light refreshments are served. Copies of each month’s book are available at the information desk, in large print and in regular print. We don’t focus on any one genre; we read all different kinds of books. We always welcome new people and there is no need to register, just drop on by to either session! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 224-699-5837 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, we will be starting a new book club at the Adult Activities Center at the Dundee Township Park District’s Rakow Center building (665 Barrington Avenue in Carpentersville). The Adult Activities Center Book Club will meet the first Wednesday of each month from 10:00-11:30am at the Adult Activities Center. The first meeting will be on January 2, 2019 and we will be reading The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cari at 224-699-9204 or email@example.com.
We also have a Spanish book club, Grupo de Lectores del Valle de Fox, that meets on the last Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:30pm here at the Dundee Library. They also meet in Corner 68 on the main level. Registration is not required; you can just drop in any time. If you have any questions about Grupo, feel free to contact Jasmin at 224-699-5836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting a Book Club
Some people start their own book club, and that’s fantastic! Anyone can start their own book club if they really wanted to. Below are some tips and tricks for starting a book club, as well as information about how the library can help you too!
Make a plan:
This helps keeps yourself organized and creates a structure for your book club. Making a plan includes deciding:
- When: how often do you want to meet, what time of day, how many sessions, and what length of time will your session(s) be
- Where: do you want to meet at a set location (if yes, then what location) or rotate and have people take turns hosting
- Structure: are you going to always lead or have people take turns leading, does the leader pick the book or does the group decide together, are you going to focus on a specific genre or have it more open and do a variety of genres, are you going to serve refreshments or not, and are you going to provide all of the copies of the books or is each member responsible for getting their own copy
Get the word out:
Once you have your plan, start telling people. See what kind of interest you get to start seeing how big your group could be, and make adjustments to your plan if needed. Start off by telling your friends and family, if you want them to participate. Post on your local community’s Facebook page or go to places in your community that have bulletin boards for posting flyers (like the library!). If you’re going to post flyers on bulletin boards, please make sure you get permission first! Talk to staff at your local library because the library will probably help you out in more ways than just putting your flyer up. They can help promote your book club through word of mouth and can make recommendations for titles and help you get multiple copies of the books you choose.
Speaking of book recommendations and getting copies of books, let’s talk about how you can pick which books you want to discuss. Getting recommendations from the librarians at your library is always an option, as mentioned previously. Book reviews are very helpful as well, whether they’re from newspapers (i.e. New York Times) or websites (i.e. Goodreads). Some of the professional journals librarians use for book reviews have some reviews freely available on their websites as well (i.e. Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publisher’s Weekly). See what libraries are doing for their book clubs, whether it’s your local library or looking at other libraries’ websites. Listen to radio shows that do book reviews (i.e. NPR) or podcasts about books (i.e. World Book Club, Literary Disco, So Many Damn Books, and Fully Booked). Book publishers will sometimes have information and book recommendations as well (i.e. Penguin Random House).
Once you’ve picked a book, you’ll need to put together some discussion questions about that book. I recommend having at least 10 discussion questions. You don’t necessarily have to use all (or even any) of those questions, but it helps to provide some talking points for the participants to think about as they’re reading the book. You can create your own discussion questions, or you can find questions online by looking at authors’ websites and publishers’ websites. There are also two websites made for book lovers and book clubs that have discussion questions, recommendations, and more that I recommend: ReadingGroupGuides and LitLovers. Also, if the discussion starts to get a little off topic, you can ask one of the discussion questions to reel everyone back in and get things back on track. Once your book club starts to meet regularly you’ll get a feel for the group and how to effectively lead the group.
Leading the discussion:
Leading the book discussion can be tough, but as I said once you start meeting regularly you’ll get a feel of how the group is and how to lead them effectively. If the discussion starts to get off topic, reel everyone in quickly before the conversation strays too far away from the book. Ask one of the discussion questions or mention a specific part of the book or a quote from the book that you really liked. Don’t be afraid to speak up and talk over everyone to get things back on track. If someone is doing all of the talking and “hogging” the time, don’t be afraid to cut them off to try and give other people a chance to talk. Say something like “Those are some really good points and I appreciate your enthusiasm, I’d like to hear other people’s perspectives too” to be forward but polite. Speaking to that person one-on-one after the discussion is another option as well. Sometimes you will have people who don’t speak much, if at all. Personally, I’m not a fan of straight up asking that person what they thought about the book because I don’t want them to feel like I’m calling them out. I usually will say something like “We’ve heard some great points and perspectives, does anybody else have anything they would like to add? We love hearing everyone’s thoughts and perspectives.” This way I am encouraging everyone to share with the group without making any one person feel like I’m calling them out. If someone starts to steer the conversation to something sensitive or inappropriate and people are getting uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell them “I’m sorry but this is not something we’re going to discuss here” or “let’s not get in to this particular topic, let’s get back to the book please.”
Book clubs are a lot of fun and are great way to meet new people and read all different kinds of books. Whether you are interested in joining one of our book clubs or starting your own, we are always happy to have you here and help you out. If you have any questions about book clubs or even if you’re looking for ideas for books to read, feel free to call us at 847-428-3661, stop by the Information Desk, or email us at email@example.com.