Going on an Origami Bear Hunt!

The Summer Reading Games are here! Between now and August 1, you can register on Beanstack and play online. There's an app too! Read for fun and complete activities to earn badges and tickets for prize drawings. Activities like this origami bear!

Check out these instructions and follow along with the video to create your own origami bear. After you've made your bear, hang it in your window for others to see. When you go for a walk, look for bears in other people's windows too. How many bears can you find on your bear hunt?

Need some book suggestions to jumpstart your summer reading journey? Children’s Services staff have put together two lists of recommended reads! Revisit classic fairy tales, nursery rhymes, legends, myths, and folktales or imaginative retellings of them with titles from the Imagine Your Story list. You can also try the colorful and imaginative picture books from the Imagine Your Story with Picture Books list! But you don’t have to stick to physical books––magazines, eBooks, audiobooks, and comic books all count too

Don’t forget to log your minutes as you read! This year there is a community-wide reading goal of 200,000 minutes in honor of the Library’s 200th birthday. If the milestone is reached, the Friends of the Monroe County Public Library will donate $2,000 to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank!

Origami Bear Instructions

Quaranzine, Vol. 1

Quaran-Zine, Vol. 1

The first issue of the Library's new community Quaranzine has arrived! There are two different versions––one is for reading on a screen, and the other has been imposed so that it can be printed at home, folded, stapled, and read in that fashion.

Download for on-screen reading -- Download for at-home printing

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this zine. Please consider contributing to the next issue, coming July 1!

Zines have historically been ways for communities to grow even when they can’t be around each other. They allow someone to find a community even when that community isn’t nearby. Individuals would write and send off for zines from other people elsewhere to try and find these communities. Now, you can virtually connect in a much quicker digital space. Although the format may be different, the need to share and understand each other is still the same, and zines are still alive and providing that necessary community connection.

This zine was created by many different individuals using a variety of methods (digital, physical collaging, photography, and more). Hopefully, this Quaranzine represents a slice of Bloomington’s community culture or ‘folklife’––the living expression of culture in everyday life. By capturing something of your lives and your separate quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic, this Quaranzine is helping to document and fill Bloomington's history with your memories, feelings, and moments.


Want to contribute to the next volume?

Send your art and thoughts in the form of an 8.5” x 5.5” page of words or images, a photograph or an image, or about 250 words about something. Recipes, pictures, fun projects, and more––all ideas that highlight the community and uplift voices are encouraged and welcome!

Please reach out to quaranzine [at] mcpl.info with any questions or entries. Submissions for the second volume will be accepted through June 26. Submissions will be compiled and posted to this site by July 1.

Top Five Virtual Events

Top Five Virtual Events

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped Library staff from doing what they love––creating engaging and educational programs for the community! In April, the Library’s programs and services moved online. Programs are shared regularly through YouTube, Zoom, and the Library website. Here are five of the Library’s most popular virtual programs from April and May! Which ones have you enjoyed?

  1. Harry Potter Escape Room: Over 1,800 people have attempted the Library’s first-ever digital escape room! Are you up for a challenge? Set during book seven of the Harry Potter series, this interactive game is full of puzzles and codes you’ll need to solve to escape. 
  2. Breathe Like a Bear: Created in collaboration with the Monroe County YMCA, Breathe Like a Bear was the most watched virtual program of the past two months! Practice mindfulness with librarian Amy, guided by the book Breathe Like a Bear (available instantly as a read-a-long and a short movie on Hoopla). Then learn simple exercises to relieve anxiety and aid in relaxation with Taylor from the YMCA.
  3. Removing an Image Background Using GIMP: In this tutorial, Library digital media expert Josh demonstrates how to use GIMP to remove a green screen background from an image, as well as some basic editing techniques. GIMP is a free and open-source graphics editor. 
  4. Bilingual Rhymes and Songs for Preschoolers: Lizzie shares four short rhymes and songs in Spanish and English. Want more Spanish songs and rhymes? Check out this recent bilingual edition of Preschool Storytime presented by Lizzie or one of these Spanish rhymes found in our YouTube playlist.
  5. It’s Spring: Virtual Storytime: Ginny provides a full storytime experience in this program with two books, three songs, and a felt story all about spring. 

There are more programs coming your way soon, including the Library’s biggest virtual event to-date, the summer reading games! Between June 1 and August 1, you can register and play online. Participate in reading challenges and activities for all ages, including a community-wide reading goal of 200,000 minutes in celebration of the Library’s 200th birthday! For regular program updates, follow the Library on Facebook, and subscribe to the Library on YouTube.

At-Home Digital Creativity

At-Home Digital Creativity

Specialized digital creativity software available in Level Up is an invaluable part of your workflow, but when the Library is closed, what do you do when you can't access to it? Here is a list of some of our favorite alternatives to popular Level Up software that you can download and use at home, for free!


Photoshop Alternatives:

Photopea Logo

Photopea is an online photo editor with many of the features you use for most of your Photoshop projects. Photopea will have the tools you need from making quick selections, adjusting layers, to text tools and filters.

Online Tutorials

Krita Logo

Krita is a great alternative for the brush tools you would use for digital painting and drawing in Photoshop. Features include a full suite of brush effects and adjustments to give you precise control and total creative freedom.

Online Tutorials


Illustrator Alternatives:

Inkscape Logo

Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor. This software can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts, logos, icons, and complex paintings.

Online Tutorials


Premiere/iMovie Alternatives:

Lightworks Logo

Lightworks is a non-linear editing system with an interface similar to iMovie for editing and mastering digital video. It offers the widest native format support available, quick export to video hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, and tons of powerful, real-time effects with inbuilt presets.

Quickstart Guide

Shotcut Logo

Shotcut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editing application that supports hundreds of audio and video formats and codecs. You can edit audio, video, and apply effects just like in Premiere.



After Effects Alternatives:

Natron Logo

Natron is a node-based compositing software application. This software allows for a wide array of effects applications to your video projects. It can track objects, rotoscope, remove your green screen background, and more.


Davinci Resolve Logo

Davinci Resolve is a video editing, color correction, visual effects, and audio post-production tool. Whether you are looking to edit, color, or work with VFX, this is a terrific tool to complete your project.



Logic/Pro Tools Alternatives:

Audacity Logo

Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. This app allows you to erase your mistakes, apply effects, and it has plugin integration for virtual instruments.



LMMS can arrange samples, synthesize audio effects, read MIDI instruments, and even track and sequence your music. It is a full-fledged digital audio workstation free of cost.



3D Modeling Tools:

Blender Logo

Blender is an endlessly robust solution for both 2D and 3D creations. If you are looking to model, animate, create, or apply visual effects, sculpt, or simulate virtual environments this is the tool for you.


TinkerCAD Logo

TinkerCAD is an incredibly easy-to-use web-based 3D modeling tool. Use this to build, place, cut, and mold your vision for a 3D object into reality.



Game Design Software:

Unity Logo

Unity is a cross-platform game design engine used by professionals to produce interactive experiences and videogames alike. Use this tool to produce the next Untitled Goose Game, Beatsaber, or Cuphead.


Twine Logo

Twine is an interactive storytelling application used to create self-contained adventures. Use it to tell a story with endless paths and uncounted endings. This is an excellent tool to create a choose-your-own-adventure or visual novel.



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.

Ex Libris is one of the latter, but since it’s about the largest public library system in the country, it more than justifies its length. From board meetings to author events to outreach programs and even a look behind the scenes at the main branch’s massive sorter system, Ex Libris is a great reminder of all the things libraries do for their communities and the hard work that goes into keeping them going. Also, right now it’s one of Kanopy’s “Credit-Free Viewing” selections, so if you choose to immerse yourself in it, it won’t count as one of your play credits.

After Midnight (Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella, 2019)

The last film I saw in theaters before stay-at-home orders were put in place, After Midnight is a monster movie that doubles as a relationship drama. Or is it a relationship drama disguised as a monster movie? The long, unbroken take in the back half wherein estranged couple Hank (writer/co-director Jeremy Gardner) and Abby (Brea Grant) air their grievances and then some while awaiting the arrival of the monster Hank has been fighting off single-handed every night for a month tilts After Midnight in the direction of the latter. There's more than enough monster action in the front half, though, even if local cop Shane (producer Justin Benson) remains steadfastly skeptical about its existence and Hank's drinking buddy Wade (Henry Zebrowski, the film's MVP) is unhelpfully susceptible to conspiracy theories.

Following the dictates of a low-budget monster movie, Gardner and co-director Christian Stella keep their creature off-screen for the most part, but its presence is palpable throughout, from the deep scratches in Hank's front door to the patch of blood it leaves behind when he manages to wound it. All the while, Gardner and Stella cut in flashbacks to Hank and Abby in happier times, which make plain why her absence is as distressing for him as the creature's nightly assaults.

After Midnight is now available on Hoopla.

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. 

“As a community hub, libraries are well-positioned to offer resources and referrals for members of the community experiencing violence,” says Miranda Dube, a Victim Witness Advocate, and creator of Librarians for Survivors. “By being a supportive voice in the fight against violence, the local public library helps not only on an individual level––by connecting victims of domestic and sexual violence with the resources needed on their path to recovery and empowerment––but also help create change in the larger culture of their town.”

The Library is committed to being a supportive voice in Monroe County. As a trusted information institution, the Library wants to ensure survivors know that Middle Way House remains open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, continuing to provide support and advocacy for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking.

The information and support service needs of survivors have changed as well. The crisis line has received 1,300 phone calls since January, putting the crisis line on track to be operating at a 60% increase in calls compared to the same time last year. Many are predicting an influx of family violence during the pandemic, and survivors may not realize that emergency shelters, legal advocates, and other services for survivors of violence are open and available to help those in need.

Another concern is that survivors who are forced to shelter-in-place with their abusers will not be able to use a phone to call a crisis line. Middle Way House’s solution is their new web chat feature, which allows survivors to contact the crisis line without having to speak on the phone. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has also added a chat feature to their website’s homepage. 

Middle Way House will remain open regardless of the COVID-19 situation. Almost all services are available, but some things are a little different. Middle Way House is sanitizing kitchens, bathrooms, doorknobs, and light switches every two hours. Survivor groups are meeting via Zoom instead of in-person and some staff members are working from home. Middle Way House also cannot accept donations of clothes or other items at this time.

Anyone in need of their services can contact Middle Way House via their crisis line at (812) 336-0846 or web chat.

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 the Library for its 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.

Check This Out: eLibrary Love

eLibrary Resources

Have you been dabbling in ebooks recently? Streaming lots of music and movies? Understandably, our eLibrary resources have been more popular than ever! Just for fun, below you’ll find the most read eBooks and most watched videos since the physical libraries have been closed. Is this you and your fam? If not, give them a try––they must be good!

Kanopy Videos

  1. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
  2. What We Do in the Shadows
  3. Lady Bird
  4. Eighth Grade
  5. Creepy Carrots


  1. I Need a New Butt! (ebook)
  2. Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure (ebook)
  3. Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party (ebook)
  4. The Alice Network (ebook)
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball (ebook)

Overdrive and Libby

  1. The Quarryman’s Bride: Land of Shining Water Series, Book 2 (ebook)
  2. The Lake House: A Novel (ebook)
  3. The Prophecies of Nostradamus (ebook)
  4. Letters to a Young Poet (ebook)
  5. A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel (ebook)


  1. Hostage at Crystal Manor (ebook)
  2. Big Nate: Welcome to My World (ebook)
  3. Becoming (ebook)
  4. Hindsight (e-audiobook)
  5. Something in the Water (ebook)

Are you new to our digital collection? Here’s a guide to get started reading, listening, and watching eLibrary resources––free with your regular library card!

Due to increased demand, we have increased Kanopy credits to 20 films a month (and Kanopy Kids titles are always unlimited!) through July 1! You can stream critically-acclaimed movies, inspiring documentaries, award-winning foreign films, classics, educational videos, and more with Kanopy. Kanopy Kids also offers over 1,000 children’s videos from PBS, Weston Woods, Paramount, and others, including Sesame Street. 

Hoopla also has increased limits, allowing you to borrow and stream thousands of movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, and graphic novels on your computer or mobile device with no waiting! We have increased Hoopla credits to 12 items a month through July 1. Additionally, Hoopla digital bonus borrows collection offers a selection of eBooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels that don’t count towards your monthly credits! 

Happy reading, listening, and watching!


Keys to the Candidates


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.

Quaranzine: Call for Submissions

 a call for submissions

During this period of social distancing, the Library invites you to contribute to making an online Quaranzine! The Library's Quaranzine is a community-response zine compiling our community's thoughts, feelings, and reactions surrounding the current situation of quarantine, social distancing, and living in these uncertain times.

You may contribute art in the form of an 8.5” x 5.5” page of words or images, a single photograph or image, and/or less than 500 words about this topic. Recipes, pictures, fun projects, and more––all ideas that highlight the community and uplift voices are encouraged and welcome! 

Zines have always amplified community voices, and especially while we cannot physically be around each other, there is a strong need for community solidarity. Please reach out to quaranzine [at] mcpl.info with any questions or entries. Submissions for the first volume will be accepted through May 25. Submissions will be compiled and posted to here at the end of the month.