Adults

Barb Fisher, VITAL Volunteer

Barb Fisher

Barbara “Barb” Fisher, a dear friend of the VITAL program, passed away on April 1, 2021. Barb’s love of reading led her to VITAL in 2008, when she participated in training to teach English as a New Language to Bloomington newcomers. Over the next 12 years, Barb was a regular fixture at VITAL. As a one-on-one tutor, she volunteered with nine different English language learners, helping them improve their language skills and confidence while adjusting to life in the US. As an office volunteer, she welcomed new faces at the VITAL front desk and assisted with clerical work. As a Quiz Bowl player, she matched wits with Bloomington’s finest trivia brains, competing under the titles “Infosyndics” and “VITAL Statistics” among other creative monikers. Finally, as a generous donor and supporter, she anonymously sponsored teams and encouraged many to take part in the annual fundraising and advocacy event. Barb was one of a kind, and she was certainly "vital" to us.

April 18–24 is National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize and thank the volunteers who lend their time, talent, and voices to make a difference in our community! We are fortunate to have so many volunteers who are passionate about the Library’s mission and generously share their skills in a variety of long-term and short-term commitments.

Help Prevent Child Abuse

When children experience trauma, we encourage them to seek out the helpers in their lives. The people who work at Susie’s Place are among the helpers in our community providing support for children who have been harmed. In addition to advocating for children who have been abused, guiding them and their families through judicial processes, and connecting them to essential social services, the people who work at Susie’s Place also strive to prevent child abuse by helping children learn ways to keep themselves safe.

Susie’s Place works in partnership with schools to help children and teens learn effective methods for preventing, recognizing and responding to threatening situations. While schools have been closed to visitors, and in effort to reach children learning at home, Susie’s Place has prepared educational videos that teach children practical safety rules.

Interning at the Library

Sylvia Beaver, Bloomington High School North student and Library intern

Sylvia Beaver, Bloomington High School North student and Library intern

“Despite the challenges presented to all of us in 2020 and beyond, we were excited to find a way to partner again with Bloomington High School North’s internship program. While our opportunities for internships during the pandemic were greatly limited, we created a safe pathway for an internship to take place during this extraordinary time. Our values and goals support experiential learning, with a focus on lifelong learning, inclusiveness, and developing essential life skills. Here at our Library, internships aim to provide valuable career experience, teach important workplace habits, introduce students to new contacts and social connections, and hope their time spent with us is fun and fulfilling. The mutually beneficial support each internship provides to the Library and our constituents is invaluable. Some internships at the Library have brought us talented staff that are now a part of our current team.

Learn Basic Computer Skills with Northstar Learning

The internet is everywhere, allowing you to work, play, and complete daily life tasks wherever there is WiFi. This is especially helpful in the age of physical distancing and mask-wearing.

For those with WiFi access, barriers may still exist. Some community members experience frustration with email and online forms, and concerns about internet safety, leaving them feeling increasingly isolated from social connections and workforce opportunities.

Do you have a friend or family member that could use a little help? VITAL's Northstar Online Learning teaches the basic computer skills needed to communicate using computers. Its free, self-paced courses offer step-by-step instruction, practice, and review for:

Staff Picks: The Stand

Reviewed by Bill Koester, Materials Handler.

The Stand by Stephen King is available as an eBook through CloudLibrary and Overdrive.

Civil Discourse

Arguably Stephen King’s opus, The Stand is a great read in any time. Recent events, however, have made it an especially fitting tome for these times, and not just because it’s a long one (over 1000 pages) that can help pass the hours most of us are spending stuck at home.

Staff Picks: We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy

Reviewed by Bill Koester, Materials Handler

We Were Eight Years In Power : an American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates is also available in eBook, audiobook, and large print formats.

IntegrityIn response to the ongoing protests against police brutality and the ensuing discussions about race in America, there has been a recent trend of book recommendations for White Americans to better understand the experience of Black America. As a White reader myself, some of the most eye-opening work has been that of Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Staff Picks: Flat: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer

Reviewed by Sarah K., Materials Handler

Flat: Reclaiming My Body From Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie is also available as an Overdrive eBook.

Integrity

Catherine Guthrie was in her thirties, living in Bloomington, Indiana when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had written extensively about cancer in her work as a health journalist, but quickly learned how different the landscape looks when you are the patient.

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