Staff Picks: Ghost Boys

Ghost Boys

This item available on Libby.

Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, follows 12 year old Jerome who lives in a poor neighborhood in Chicago, is the oldest child in a hardworking black family, gets bullied at school constantly, and is shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun. As both his own family and the family of the police officer who shot him fall apart, Jerome watches on and grapples with his own feelings. With the same carefulness and heart of other fantastic authors such as Jaqueline Woodson and Sharon Draper, the author expertly weaves an emotional tale with gentle nods to the past and present issues that Black Americans face. Though the novel is timely and powerful, the ending is a hopeful look into what can be the future. This book would be a fabulous introduction and conversation starter for the topics of racism, implicit bias, and bullying for children ages 10 and up. Children who liked Sharon Draper's Blended or Kwame Alexander's The Crossover will enjoy this powerful book.

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.

Practicing Speaking and Listening Skills

"We had classes over the phone this week. My student has a bit of a hard time understanding others over the phone, so this will be good for her in that regard. We spoke for 35 minutes about general things happening in our lives, and all that's going on in society."––Patsy

"This Friday we will do something a little different––a role play in which my student is in a restaurant and I am her waitress. Her speaking skills are quite good, but she needs more practice and confidence. This will help us not fall into a rut."––Merle

"We met outdoors on a warm day last week. I sat on a stone bench and my student sat on a nearby stone wall, which worked well for conversation."––Sara

Practicing Reading and Writing Skills

"We have begun to have our sessions virtually every day for an hour via WhatsApp video chat. We have continued to work on reading skills, pronunciation, and new vocabulary. I send him news articles or stories online to read and I follow along while he's reading them. This system works well so far and he seems to enjoy it."––Parker

Learning New Technology

"Zoom allows you to divide meeting participants into separate smaller rooms and bring them back to the large group. This gives more opportunities for everyone to practice speaking and the smaller group setting also provides more opportunities for human connection, which has also been very important for a lot of people stuck at home during this time."––Craig

World Book Online: Student Encyclopedia

Available through the eLibrary, World Book Online includes a number of different educational resources for learners of all ages. 

Online encyclopedias provide a convenient way to obtain accurate information on a variety of topics, written by experts and trusted authors. The different encyclopedias available through the World Book Online suite gear the information to different reading abilities. There are no advertisements to confuse or distract from the research topic at hand. Learners can choose to have the articles read aloud to them, just by clicking on the "ear" icon at the top of the article. Learners can also choose to enlarge the text, share, and save articles in a variety of formats––and even translate the article into many different languages.

The embedded video demonstrates how to use some of these and other features in the student module. For help using eLibrary resources from the Library, call (812) 349-3050, or contact the Library online.

World Book Online: Student Encyclopedia Tutorial

Spanish eLibrary for Kids: Stories and More

"The Mouse and the Motorcycle" In Spanish

Biblioteca electrónica (eLibrary) para niños en español: Cuentos y Más

La colección gratuita de eLibrary de la Biblioteca incluye una variedad de opciones de lectura, audición y visualización para sus hijos, incluidos cuentos y recursos informativos en español.

Hoopla presenta cientos de libros electrónicos y audiolibros en español, incluidos los favoritos clásicos, como El Ratoncito de la Moto por Beverly Cleary. Puede pedir prestados hasta 12 títulos por mes usando una cuenta gratuita que cree con su tarjeta de la biblioteca (este es un límite mayor durante el cierre del coronavirus). Una vez que haya iniciado sesión en el sitio web, haga clic en "KIDS" en la esquina superior derecha para limitar su búsqueda a materiales para niños. Luego haga clic en el menú "Browse" a la izquierda de la ventana de búsqueda para elegir el formato que busca: libros electrónicos o audiolibros. Para encontrar títulos en español, haga clic en "Popular", luego desplácese hacia abajo hasta la categoría Language (Idioma) y haga clic para ver el menú de opciones de idioma y elija su preferencia. También hay otras opciones de idioma.

Para ver si un determinado título o materia está disponible en español, realice una "Advanced Search” (Búsqueda avanzada) que incluya opciones para limitar la búsqueda por idioma, formato y materia / género. Todos los títulos están disponibles instantáneamente para transmisión o descarga.

Si está utilizando la aplicación Hoopla, también puede utilizar la función "search” (buscar) y escribir la palabra "Spanish” (español).

Overdrive for Kids incluye alrededor de tres docenas de títulos en español, principalmente libros de capítulos para lectores en los grados 2–6 y algunos títulos de lectores principiantes. Para iniciar sesión, seleccione "Biblioteca pública del condado de Monroe", luego ingrese su número de tarjeta y contraseña. Luego, haga clic en "Search” (Buscar) en la esquina superior derecha y luego elija "Advanced” (Avanzado) en la parte superior derecha de la página. Esto abre la página de búsqueda avanzada donde puede seleccionar el idioma que busca. Deje en blanco todos los demás campos para obtener una lista completa de títulos disponibles en ese idioma.

La Biblioteca TumbleBook también ofrece una pequeña selección de cuentos en español. Una vez que haya iniciado sesión, busque el menú "Language” (Idioma) en la esquina superior derecha. Haga clic en la flecha hacia abajo para seleccionar Español (o Français) para cambiar a Tumble Biblioteca. La pequeña colección de libros ilustrados y otros títulos de ficción que se encuentran en la pestaña "Libros de Cuentos" está dirigida a niños desde preescolar hasta el grado 2. Estos títulos están disponibles al instante y no hay límite en el número que puede leer en cualquier momento. Las historias para niños mayores están disponibles como audiolibros, con títulos clásicos como Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer y Alicia En El País de Las Maravillas. También se han traducido algunos videos informativos al español.

World Book Online ofrece múltiples enciclopedias en español. Después de iniciar sesión con su tarjeta de la biblioteca, elija "Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos" para encontrar contenido para niños en edad escolar. Los maestros que ayudan a los estudiantes del idioma inglés pueden buscar términos en inglés y los resultados se devuelven en español. La base de datos de Early Learning en World Book Online incluye una pequeña colección de "Libros en español". Elija el botón "Stories” (cuentos) en la parte superior de la página y luego desplácese por la barra de menú para encontrar la imagen azul ñ - para ver los libros electrónicos disponibles en español al instante, con una opción de lectura en voz alta. Las otras enciclopedias de World Book Online ofrecen la capacidad de traducir artículos a varios idiomas. Es una excelente manera de encontrar información precisa, escrita para estudiantes de todas las edades.

Si tiene preguntas sobre estos recursos durante el cierre del coronavirus, comuníquese con la Biblioteca en línea o llame al (812) 349-3050 y deje un mensaje. Alguien le devolverá la llamada lo antes posible.  

Spanish eLibrary for Kids: Stories and More

The Library’s free eLibrary collection includes a variety of reading, listening, and viewing choices for your children––including stories and informational resources in Spanish. 

Hoopla features hundreds of eBooks and audiobooks in Spanish, including classic favorites, such as El Ratoncito de la Moto by Beverly Cleary. You can borrow up to 12 titles per month using a free account you create with your library card (this is an increased limit during the coronavirus closing). Once you’re logged in to the website, click on "KIDS" in the top right corner to limit your search to materials for children. Then click on the "Browse" menu to the left of the search window to choose the format you seek: eBooks or audiobooks. To find titles in Spanish, click on “Popular” then scroll down to the Language category and click to see the menu of language choices and choose your preference. There are other language options as well. 

To see if a certain title or subject is available in Spanish, conduct an "Advanced Search" which includes options for limiting the search by language, format and subject/genre. All titles are instantly available for streaming or download.

If you're using the Hoopla app, you can also use the "search" feature and type in the word "Spanish."

Overdrive for Kids includes about three dozen titles in Spanish, mostly chapter books for readers in grades 2–6 and a few early reader titles. To log in, select "Monroe County Public Library," then enter your card number and password. Then, click on "Search" in the top right corner and then choose "Advanced" on the top right side of the page. This opens the advanced search page where you can select the language you seek. Leave all of the other fields blank to get a complete list of titles available in that language.

The TumbleBook Library also offers a small selection of stories in Spanish. Once you’ve logged in, look for the "Language" menu in the top right corner. Click on the down arrow to select Español (or Français) to switch over to Tumble Biblioteca. The small collection of picture books and other fiction titles found under the “Libros de Cuentos” tab is geared to children in preschool through grade 2. These titles are instantly available and there’s no limit on the number you can read at any time. Stories for older children are available as audiobooks, featuring classic titles such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Alicia En El Pais De Las Maravillas. A few informational videos also have been translated into Spanish as well.

World Book Online provides multiple encyclopedias in Spanish. After logging in with your library card, choose "Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos" to find content for school-age children. Teachers assisting English-language learners can search for terms in English and results are returned in Spanish. The Early Learning database in World Book Online includes a small collection of "Libros in Español." Choose the "Stories" button at the top of the page and then scroll through the menu bar to find the image of the blue ñ to view instantly available eBooks in Spanish, featuring a read-aloud option. World Book Online's other encyclopedias provide the ability to translate articles into multiple languages. It's a great way to find accurate information, written for learners of all ages.

If you have questions about these resources during the coronavirus closure, please contact the Library online or call (812) 349-3050 and leave a message. Someone will call you back as soon as possible.

2020 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award Videos and Voting

Just before the Library closed to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, librarian Amy Caswell prepared a display of this year's nominees for the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. This state award encourages parents, caregivers, and young children to interact together with exceptional picture books––which serve an important role in the first years of a child's life.

Due to the crisis, the Indiana Center for the Book is opening up remote voting for this award. Children ages 0–5 who live in Indiana can experience the five nominated titles through the videos below, then parents can assist them in voting for their favorite!

Reading aloud and talking with children about stories helps children learn new words, understand the sequence of a story, and provide opportunities for social and emotional learning. Establishing a regular time for reading together can provide a familiar and comforting routine when you step back from the concerns of the world and just focus on being together. 

Make sure to vote before July 31! And try out some of the fun activities included in the Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award Program Guide.

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 programs will allow Ellettsville-area children and teens the opportunity to develop and expand on essential STEAM skills through programs such as stop-motion animation, and coding through robots, which are currently offered at the Main Library.

How to Love Your Library

Friends of the Library

Do you love your Library? There are many ways to show it!

  1. Shop at the Friends of the Library Bookstore. Funds are used to support award-winning Library programming, among other things! Want to donate? Just bring your donations to any customer assistance desk or to the drive-up window at the Main Library. You can also bring them directly to the bookstore while it's open. If you have just a few bags or boxes, the Ellettsville Branch will accept those too.
  2. Celebrate what makes the Library unique. Is it the zine collection? The Library of Things, including a collection of seeds you can take to plant at home? How about El Centro, a grassroots, community-based organization that provides an accessible and safe space for all Latinos? The forthcoming new branch, complete with a teaching kitchen?
  3. Get involved! The Library is fortunate to have volunteers who contribute their time, talent, and energy to a variety of long-term and short-term commitments. Opportunities range from volunteering in the children’s and teen spaces, digital creativity center, and the Friends of the Library Bookstore, to tutoring adult learners, to the maintenance of the collection, and much more. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete an application.
  4. Tell a friend what's happening. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. You (or they) can also sign up for newsletters to learn more about Library happenings, like becoming fine-free!
  5. If you're a writer or are connected with the media, suggest a story about the many ways the Library serves this community. You can also write a letter to the editor of your newspaper in support of the Library.
  6. Follow the Library on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BuzzFeed, and YouTube. Did you know that liking and sharing posts helps increase engagement? That means that more people will be able to share in your Library love!
  7. Donate! The Friends of the Library make all Library programming possible! Your generosity will help build the collection, prepare children and teens for success with early literacy initiatives, summer reading games, homework help, and access to technology, and support award-winning programming for all ages.

Prisoner Support Zines

Prizon Support Zines

Prisoner support encompasses a variety of activities aimed a providing assistance to prisoners. There are a variety of ways to support prisoners: letter writing, visitations if possible, providing financial support, and, here in Monroe County, donating books for the jail library.

The Monroe County Public Library visits the county jail multiple times throughout the week, and circulates over 1,000 books a month to around 200 inmates. Each inmate has access to the library around once every three weeks.

Here are some related zines available at the Main Library.


Behavior Modification by Jason Robb


Written and beautifully illustrated by an inmate on death row in the Ohio SuperMax system, Behavior Modification is a zine that provides an inside look at the conditions and reality that he faces every day he spends in prison. He reflects on how systems of control are used to modify prisoner behavior.


What is Prisoner Support? A Collection of Original Writings from Political Prisoners on Prisoner Support and Solidarity

What This is a Picture Of

The zine is a compilation of political prisoner statements and letters. Many of these correspondences include accounts of why the prisoner is incarcerated and some of the daily struggles they are facing. Prisoners speak on their ideals and how to enact change within the world even as they remain behind bars. They also detail various ways others can support incarcerated individuals - including possible visitation and letter writing tips.


An Interview Of A Caged Rose by Leon Benson

What This is a Picture Of

Artistic rewritings and retellings of Othello, Macbeth, and Hamlet and the violence surrounding them, as told through an interview by Indiana inmate Leon Benson.


Celling Black Bodies: Black Women in the Global Prison Industrial Complex by Julia Sudbury

What This is a Picture Of

This zine details how black women are being criminalized and caught up in the expanding network of penal repression. It gives direct statistics of women imprisoned, the history and emergence of the prison industrial complex, and personal examples of the negative impact this is having on many lives.


Prison Abolition by Yves Bourque

What This is a Picture Of

Bourque details how prisons are inhumane at their very root. He states that society will continue to destroy itself if the present general ideology about our criminal “justice” and prison system is allowed to remain. Using this logic, and the gross injustice done to prisoners, Bourque calls for the total abolition of the prison system.


Black People’s Prison Survival Guide by Abdullah Ibraheem

What This is a Picture Of

Ibraheem details, in various parts, America’s penal history, past and present victims, spiritual and mental health, and how time is utilized in prison. As a prisoner for over 15 years in the Ohio prisons, Ibraheem is familiar with the penal system firsthand. This book was meant to safeguard individuals in their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being while in prison.

Library Eliminates Overdue Fines

The Library is closing the book on your 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.

“Discussions about eliminating fines have been taking place in libraries across the country for many years,” said Marilyn Wood, Library Director. “Some of our peer libraries, such as Tippecanoe County Public Library, as well as many larger libraries like Chicago Public Library have eliminated late fines. Their experiences have been very positive––people came back, circulation rates increased, and books once thought lost, were returned. It’s a great way to celebrate the Library’s bicentennial.”

Here in Monroe County, there are significant socio-economic disparities among Library customers. The Library has tried to address access barriers for specific user groups by not charging overdue fines for children’s materials or at outreach service points. In 2016, the Library took another important step by implementing automatic renewals, thereby forestalling overdue fines in many circumstances.

“A lot of things can get in the way of people returning library materials when they intend to, including health issues, vehicle breakdowns, and unanticipated demands of work, school, or family,” said Chris Jackson, Special Audiences Strategist. “Our goal is to provide free, equitable, and convenient access for all residents of Monroe County. Penalizing late returns of Library materials has a disproportionate effect on community members with limited financial means who have fewer alternatives for books, films, and educational media to begin with.”

While overdue fines and collection agency fees will be waived, patrons owing the replacement cost of a lost or damaged item will continue to be billed accordingly. Moving forward, items that are 21 days overdue will be assumed to be lost and patrons will be billed for them, however, if the items are returned in good condition, the charges will be removed and the account will resume good standing.

As of December 2019, the Library has 2,201 customers who cannot check out materials due to outstanding fees. The Library currently charges $.25 per day for items kept past their due date with a maximum of $10 per item in overdue fines. These charges can add up quickly.

“We know there are people in our community who aren’t using the Library simply because they have long-standing overdue items and associated overdue fines,” said Grier Carson, Access and Content Manager. “By removing the financial barrier to Library use, we hope to see an increase in registered patrons and, ultimately, an increase in circulation.”

Libraries across the country that eliminated overdue fines report that patrons still return items on time, that more items are checked out, and that interactions between staff and patrons are positive. Additionally, studies have shown that because of costs associated with tracking and collecting the money, overdue fines are close to cost-neutral. Overdue fine revenue constitutes less than 1% of the Library’s annual operating budget. For more information, read these frequently asked questions.