Paula G.O.'s blog

Reviews: Ex Libris & After Midnight

After Midnight

by Craig J. Clark

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman, 2017)

Got a lot of time to fill? Then Frederick Wiseman is your man. Over a career stretching back more than half a century – from 1967’s Titicut Follies (filmed at the Massachusetts State Prison for the Criminally Insane) to 2018’s Monrovia, Indiana (filmed after Wiseman’s visit to Indiana University in 2017) – Wiseman has directed dozens of fly-on-the-wall documentaries on all manner of communities and institutions, both public and private. Of those, a whopping 42 are streaming on Kanopy and the majority have a running time of at least two hours, with a handful clocking in at more than three.

Resources for Survivors of Violence Still Available in Monroe County

Middle Way House

There was no way to anticipate COVID-19 when the Library implemented the Creating Access for Violence Survivors (CAVS) program in partnership with Middle Way House last summer. At the time, the Library was simply looking for a way to eliminate Library access barriers for survivors of family violence in our community. The CAVS program allows the Library to forgive fines and fees accrued by survivors who abandon Library materials while fleeing domestic abuse. Library staff members were also trained on how to recognize and understand domestic violence. 

Harry Potter Digital Escape Room

Harry Potter Escape Room

Do you love puzzles, magic, or testing your wits against a terrifying foe bent on your destruction? Join us for our first-ever digital escape room!

This short, self-guided interactive game of Harry Potter-themed puzzles, duels, and codes is set during book seven of the Harry Potter series. See if you can escape the Snatchers and get your intel to Potterwatch in time for the next broadcast.

You can complete this escape room as a group or as an individual. You can compete against friends (or enemies) and try it multiple times. This escape room is intended for adults and teens, but children are more than welcome to test their mettle. Just make sure you have fun!

Enter the escape room.

Keys to the Candidates

Vote

The Indiana primary election is just around the corner, June 2. If you are looking for information to help you make your voting decisions, take a look at the election information provided by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

Here, you'll find nonpartisan information about primary candidates, including judicial candidates. Candidate information includes answers to posed questions, links to candidate websites, and short video statements from the candidates. You can also request an absentee ballot or go to Monroe County Government Election Central. Later this year, the Chamber will be providing additional information for candidates who will appear on the November 3 general election ballot. Visit their guide to be an informed Monroe County voter.

Zoom Backgrounds for Library Lovers

Zoom

Take your next Zoom call from the Library––virtually, of course! For so many people, flattening the curve means finding new ways to connect with friends, family, and coworkers, often through web conferencing.

As you may have seen, software like Zoom allows you to switch up your background to provide some privacy, mask a messy background, or just for fun! Whether you're working from home or chatting with friends and family, here are a handful of photos that make great backgrounds for Library lovers.

Not sure how to change your Zoom background? Right click on the image of your choice to download, then check out this tutorial from Good Morning America for instructions.

Main LibraryMeet your friends at the Downtown Library!

National Volunteer Week: Remote Learning

Patsy working with learner Jianhong

During National Volunteer Week, the Library celebrates its VITAL volunteers for their incredible efforts in support of adult literacy!

Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners (VITAL) provides learning opportunities for adults who want to improve their reading, writing, and English language skills. These learning relationships thrive on connectivity––whether in the Library, a coffee shop, or an adult education classroom, tutors and learners rely on weekly meetings to learn and practice new skills. When the COVID-19 pandemic changed traditional options, VITAL volunteer tutors kicked their creative teaching skills into high gear. Here's what they've been doing with their learners.

Library Receives Wahl Grant to Support STEAM Objectives

woman and child using an ipad

A grant from the Wahl Family Charitable Trust will fund the purchase of iPad minis for dedicated use at the Ellettsville Branch, expanding access to STEAM tools for school-age children and increasing the opportunity for related programs at the Library.

“In recent years, local schools have made it a priority to provide learning opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM),” said Lisa Champelli, Children’s Strategist. “The Library’s strategic plan aligns with these school-based learning opportunities and will further expand upon them. We are thankful for this grant.”

The new iPads will support gaming and storytelling at Ellettsville, allowing young people to express their imagination using digital technology and design, and to build in a collaborative environment using digital equipment.

Library Eliminates Overdue Fines

At their meeting on Wednesday, January 15, the Library Board of Directors approved a policy to eliminate overdue fines, effective March 1. The policy waives all unpaid overdue fines and collection agency fees charged prior to implementation, and eliminates fines for all late returns moving forward.

Libraries have long charged overdue fines to promote responsible borrowing and as a modest source of revenue. Recent national trends have shifted to focus on the negative impacts of fines as a deterrent to library use, especially among disadvantaged individuals. Consequently, a growing number of public libraries have eliminated overdue fines in an effort to support all members of their communities, and the American Library Association earlier this year passed a resolution stating that fines constitute a barrier to service and urging their elimination nationwide.

Library Receives Grants for Seed Library and Gardening Initiatives

Seed Library

According to the National Gardening Association, 35% of households in the US grow food either at home or in a community garden, up 200% in the last ten years. In keeping with the trend, the Library recently applied for and received two generous gardening grants.

The Downtown Library received a grant from the George E. Archer Foundation to support a series of gardening programs for preschool and school-aged children, the purchase of a bench in the Children’s Garden, and the start of a seed library. The George E. Archer Foundation strives to help boys and girls learn about gardening in South Central Indiana, providing grants that support gardening education initiatives for youth.

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