Library Receives Grant for Future Southwest Branch Teaching Kitchen

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (CFBMC) awarded the Library a grant for equipment, appliances, and supplies to establish a 600-square foot teaching kitchen as part of the construction of the forthcoming Southwest Branch Library. Scheduled to open in 2022, the kitchen will provide free, hands-on cooking and nutrition programs for all ages, increasing food security and advancing literacy, math, and science. The Library has hired an architect for the new branch and is currently investigating site options.

CFBMC recognized 11 nonprofit organizations on Thursday, December 12, at its annual Community Impact Grant Awards reception. This competitive grant program, co-funded by Smithville Charitable Foundation, is designed to fuel innovative ideas and lasting impact in Monroe County through funding opportunities to meet our community’s most pressing needs and seize its most compelling opportunities.

“Both the response to our request for grant proposals and the projects proposed inspired and impressed our evaluation team," said CFBMC President and CEO Tina Peterson. "We’re proud that each of the grants awarded this year has the potential to enhance our community for the benefit of all and make Monroe County and even better place to live, work, and play."

In the summer of 2018, community members of all ages participated in scheduled community conversations throughout southwest Monroe County and took an online survey. Less traditional to a library, a teaching kitchen and cooking classes were regularly requested. This was a desire not only from adults, but from teens, as the 371 teens surveyed at Batchelor Middle School selected cooking classes as their second most desired new library feature, just behind gaming options.

The Library plans to partner with Purdue Extension Health and Human Sciences on programming. The Extension considers the community their classroom, where they bring information to the local level and help people strengthen families, spend smart, eat right, and live well. 

"Having provided various educational programs in the past for the Library and residents of the county in general, there is a real need for cooking classes not only to demonstrate how to cook and prepare healthy foods but also for people who need basic cooking skills," said Annie Eakin, Community Wellness Coordinator. "Purdue Extension offers evidence-based educational programs focused on both heart health and diabetes in addition to creating programs based on unique needs."

Additionally, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard has offered to provide consultation on the design and needs of the teaching kitchen, and envisions partnering on projects, targeting populations that don’t regularly visit their own location, such as teens.

"For several years we have had the opportunity to partner with the Library on a variety of nutrition and gardening-related projects, from teaching simple pickle canning to A Readable Feast, which combines cooking with a book club (shown above)," said Amanda Nickey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. "Community building is at the heart of the Hub’s work and we’re grateful to have partners who share our values, work alongside us, and increase our impact."

Other ideas for classes include essential skills in cooking, nutrition, food budgeting, recipe building, meal planning, preserving, pickling, gardening, and more. The Library plans to continue its cooking-based book club, to explore different food cultures, and to potentially invite cookbook and food-related authors in for author events. Additionally, programs specific to learners in the Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners (VITAL) English as a second language conversation groups could expand on their English-language skills in the teaching kitchen.

Mental Health Zines

Mental Health Zines

Due to the prevalence and need for mental health services, and a general lack of them in many communities, zines on mental health serve a special need. Zines can help frame mental health in both a frank and gentle way, while also providing tips and encouragement for self-care. Many mental health zines are based around an individual's personal experience, so they provide a first-hand account of the associated trauma and healing processes. These zines can also acknowledge intersectional issues—issues that speak to the fact that queer individuals, people of color, and folks who are differently-abled deal with additional institutional forms of oppression, and thus stress. For anyone interested in learning more, here is a selection of zines in the Library’s collection that cover this topic.

Impulse Control Disorder

Cover of Impulse Control Disorder

In Impulse Control Disorder, Juliet Eldred shares about their experiences with trichotillomania, the compulsion to pull out one’s own body hair. Through a series of drawings and lists, they share what this behavior is, what triggers them into this behavior, and strategies that they employ to help tamp down on their urges. It's a fascinating insight into a condition that can be otherwise invisible or hard to see.


Wax & Feathers: The Icarus Project Zine v April 2011

Cover of Wax & Feathers

From the inside cover: “The Icarus Project is a network of people living with/or affected by experiences that are commonly diagnosed and labeled as psychiatric conditions. This zine is a collaborative effort by Icarus Project members. In expressing our feelings, insights, and ideas about madness and the world around us, we hope to inform and inspire others.”


Where Are You Going?

Cover of Falling Apart

Moving is so stressful and moving to a place where you don’t know anyone is so much worse. “Where are you going?” is a part diary, part workbook, part reflection on the author’s experience moving across the country from California to Memphis, leaving behind their support structure and community. Their reflections and insights are great, anyone who’s moving to a new town would do well to read this.


Sorry For Being A Bummer: Denial-Based Mental Healthcare

cover of Sorry For Being A Bummer

Written by local author Kristin Ousley, this comic zine highlights depression and some of the feelings associated with it.


Falling Apart: A Zine On Death, Grief, Mourning & Loss

Cover of Falling Apart

A compilation of personal poems, stories, and postcards on death, grief, mourning, and loss. Includes international and intergenerational perspectives.


If You’d Like To Hear It I Can Sing It For You: A Zine On Aging: Vol. 001

Cover of Sing it For You

This zine hosts various authors giving their stories, poems, or collages on aging. Some of the individuals work in retirement homes, some remember fond memories with their grandparents and some talk about their personal aging journey.


Get It Together. v. 1

Cover of Get it Together

Sometimes you need a pick me up. Find one with this perzine filled with art and inspirational quotes.

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 Main 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.

The seed library is a collection of non-invasive, non-GMO food and flower seeds that you can take to plant at home. Some seeds are organic, some are heirloom, and some are pollinator-friendly. Seeds can be found in The Commons on the second floor of the Main Library.

“The Seed Library offers families the opportunity to work together cohesively,” said Ginny Hosler, Children’s Community Engagement Librarian. “Among other benefits, gardening is a great way for kids to grow social and emotional skills. Gardening with their caregivers also helps develop a family support system, which can empower youth throughout their entire life.”

While gardening can increase access to nutritious foods and help save on groceries, purchasing seeds can be expensive and restrictive.

"It's exciting to remove another barrier to families and individuals growing their own food,” said Morning Wilder, Adult Community Engagement Librarian. “In addition to offering free seeds, we’ll provide educational experiences to support food autonomy, interest in the natural world, and hands-on learning.”

The Ellettsville Branch Library also received a grant from the Smithville Charitable Foundation to install raised garden beds and a bench and to provide resources to begin gardening programming. The Smithville Charitable Foundation has supported the needs of central and southern Indiana since 2007.

“The garden will be a space where patrons of all ages can help library staff cultivate vegetables or native plants. Any produce grown will be donated back to the Ellettsville community,” said Jane Cronkhite, Associate Director. “The garden will be open for everyone in the Ellettsville community to view, sit and read in, and enjoy.”

The seed library is available now. Related programming at both branches will begin in the spring.

Want to learn more about nature and environmental topics? Check out Talking Leaves Book Club, a new nonfiction reading group. 

Gardening Books for Kids

It's Your Lucky Day with the Libby App!

It could be your lucky day!

Skip the waitlist for new, in-demand titles through the Libby app from OverDrive! Libby now offers select eBook and audiobook titles on a first-come, first-served basis. Browse the app’s “Lucky Day” section for available books. The selection will change as titles are returned and new books are added, so check back often!

In addition to “Lucky Day” titles, readers can browse the “Always Available” list in Libby to find all immediately available eBooks and audiobooks. Libby also offers current issues of popular magazines like Newsweek and TV Guide.

If you’re new to Libby, you can download it from the app store, create an account using your Library card number and password, then start browsing! The Libby app is available for Apple and Android devices. eBooks can also be read on Kindle devices.

eBooks are returned automatically with no overdue fines. Titles check out for 7 or 14 days, you choose. Read more about Libby and OverDrive.

Need help getting your device set up to read eBooks? Contact the Library via chat or email, or call (812) 349-3050. For in-person assistance, stop by any information desk or schedule a one-on-one technology help session.


Library Wins State, Local Awards

Shannon Bowman-Sarkisian was selected as the winner of the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) 2019 Outstanding Library Staff Award for her work on increasing Library access for domestic violence survivors. 

After years of working in west coast bookstores and developing a specialty in rare books, Shannon is now studying to be a librarian at Indiana University and working as an Information Assistant at the Library. Shannon was awarded the Friends of the Library Pioneer Grant in February, which she used to start Creating Access for Violence Survivors (CAVS).

The CAVS project created Library protocol for Monroe County residents in hiding or transitional housing due to escaping domestic violence. It also provided training for Library staff on domestic violence and related issues, and gave Middle Way House residents access to eLibrary and digital learning tools on Library-curated iPads and Playaway tablets.

“Shannon’s commitment to improving access to the Library for survivors of domestic and sexual violence within Monroe County will make significant and lasting improvements in our community now, and in years to come,” wrote Stephanie Waller and Sarah Hunt of Middle Way House in Shannon’s nomination letter. 

I know I have said it before, but I am still so humbled by all of this, and honored to have had the opportunity to serve my community in this way,” Shannon said. “When I decided to pursue librarianship it was because I had a desire be of service. I'm grateful for all the help and support I received to bring this project to life."

The Library system itself was also chosen by its peers in the ILF community for an award. The 2019 Programming Award honors and recognizes a library system or branch of a library system that has successfully provided ongoing, innovative, and diverse programming designed to meet its community’s needs.

55,733 participants attended one of the Library’s 1,955 programs for children, teens, and adults in 2018. Areas of programming included digital creativity, book clubs, crafting, adulting, literacy, virtual reality, storytime, 3D printing, nonprofit support, inclusivity, caregiving, local & family history, theater performances, accessibility, cultural celebrations, and much more. All programs were free and open to the public.

Both awards will be given at November’s ILF annual meeting awards and honors banquet.

Finally, the Library has also been awarded the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Community Anchor Award, which recognizes a business or organization that has contributed positively to the local community over a sustained period.

The Library was nominated by the Friends of the Library, who wrote, “The Library plays a central role in facilitating the community’s aspirations for Monroe County to be an informed, accessible, and inclusive place.” The award was given at the Thursday, September 26 annual meeting of the Chamber.

The Friends of the Library supports the Library's vital role in the community and helps make programming and summer reading games possible.

Halloween Fun at the Library

Happy Halloween

It’s October––time to get ready for Halloween and all things fall with book recommendations and events for all ages!

Do you like to be scared, but just a little bit? These semi-scary stories for younger children are mostly in picture book format. A bit older? Here are some favorites for school-age children. Have a teen who likes to be spooked? Try these YA tales guaranteed to keep you up at night! Finally, these scary stories for adults contain all kinds of horror––ghosts, monsters, murderers, and even psychological horror. Turn down the lights, pull up the covers, and get your scare on! You can also find something a little more personalized with this tailored BuzzFeed quiz

Children’s and Tween Events

Gross and Creepy Slime
Create creepy glow-in-the-dark ecto slime or wonderfully disgusting pumpkin slime (made with real pumpkin guts)! Please register. Ages 7–12. Saturday, October 5, 2–3 PM, Children’s Program Room, Main Library

Paper Circuit Spookies
Create a spooky light-up jack-o-lantern or spider paper circuit decoration in this introductory circuitry program. No experience necessary. Please register. Ages 7–12. Monday, October 7, 7–8 PM, Children’s Program Room, Main Library

Storytime Extravaganza: Halloween Fun
A lively themed storytime filled with music, stories, films, and more for young children and their families. Preschool classes and other groups welcome. Please register. Ages 2–6 (younger siblings welcome). Wednesday, October 23, 10–10:45 AM, Auditorium, Main Library

Green Screen Screams
Take your Halloween costume on a test drive as you explore the fun of green screen backgrounds! Costumes strongly encouraged, but not required. Ages 7–12. Thursday, October 24, 6–7 PM, Children’s Program Room, Main Library

Teen Events

Drop-In DIY: Spooky Fake Stained Glass
Try your hand at this fun DIY project. Impress your friends and family with your amazing craft skills! Ages 12–19. Wednesday, October 9, 3:30–5 PM, The Ground Floor, Main Library, or Tuesday, October 15, 3:30–5 PM, Ellettsville Teen Space

Spooky String Art
Just in time for Halloween, create one-of-a-kind, spooky, glow-in-the-dark string art. Ages 12–19. Wednesday, October 23, 3:30–5 PM, Ellettsville Teen Space      

Trash to Treasure: Frankentoys
Drop in to make unique crafts from old junk in this upcycling series! Ages 12–19. Monday, October 28, 4–5 PM, Ellettsville Teen Space

Comics and Cookies: BYO Scary Graphic Novel
Come for the cookies, stay to share your feels. This month, it’s bring your own scary graphic novel! Ages 12–19. Tuesday, October 29, 4–5 PM, The Ground Floor, Main Library

Tuesday Crafternoon: Pumpkins
Decorate pumpkins and make cool things! Ages 12–19. Tuesday, October 29, 5:30–7:30 PM, The Ground Floor, Main Library

Spooky Movies and Crazy Costumes: Halloween in The Ground Floor
Scary movies and a costume makeup station lead up to a costume contest at 8 PM! Ages 12–19. Thursday, October 31, 5–8:30 PM, The Ground Floor, Main Library

Adult Events

Audiobook Book Club: Where the Crawdads Sing
This book club is open to anyone who prefers the listening form of reading, and especially to those who are blind or have limited vision. This month’s title, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. If you need help obtaining the audiobook, please contact Chris Jackson at cjackson [at], or (812) 349-3103. Please register. Age 18 and up. Friday, October 25, 2–3:30 PM, Program Room 2A, Main Library. Learn more about audiobooks at the Library.

Festival of Ghost Stories
Jack-o-lanterns and fresh cider set the stage for an evening of live storytelling beneath the stars. A Halloween-time tradition for over 30 years, the Festival of Ghost Stories features haunting tales of ghosts and horror that tingle the spine. Bring a lawn chair or blanket as seasoned storytellers spin their tales in the dark hollow of Bryan Park. Presented by members of the Bloomington Storytellers Guild. Recommended for adults and those age 10 & up. Friday, October 25, 7–8:30 PM, Bryan Park, 1001 S. Henderson Street (Rain Location: Auditorium, Main Library)

Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead is a tradition that celebrates life and death. Stop by to make Mexican decorative crafts, or to draw or print photos of loved ones who have passed. Crafts include colorful papel picado banners, marigold flowers, matchbox shrines, and painted skulls. All ages. Thursday, October 31, Noon–3 PM, Program Room 2B, Main Library

New National eBook Club

The Libraries Transform Book Pick is a new digital reading program that connects readers nationwide by offering free access to the same eBook through public libraries. The program, a collaboration between the American Library Association (ALA) and Rakuten OverDrive, gives public libraries the opportunity to bring readers together to discover a new eBook and celebrate the very best in reading.

After the Flood, an inventive and riveting climate fiction saga by Kassandra Montag, will be available October 7–21. Use your library card and the Libby app to download a free copy of the eBook to your personal device. There will be no waitlists or holds for this title.  

A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. 

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

In a starred reviewBooklist states, “Montag’s thrilling debut takes place in a future climate-change-altered world overrun by water…Anchored by a complicated, compelling heroine, this gripping, speculative, high-seas adventure is impossible to put down.” Additionally, Karin Slaughter, international bestselling author of The Last Widow, calls Montag “a visionary new talent!”   

The selection of After the Flood for the Libraries Transform Book Pick was made in consultation with experts at Booklist, the book review magazine of the ALA. A special thanks to After the Flood’s publisher William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for their support of the Libraries Transform Book Pick.

All public libraries in the U.S. currently participating in OverDrive/Libby will be ready to lend unlimited copies of the eBook to borrowers during the reading period, which makes it a great pick for your book club. Not a member of a book club? Discuss After the Flood on social media using the hashtag #LTBookPick. You can also start a book club with friends using this discussion guide.

Programs for New and Expecting Parents

Yoga at the Library

In early 2017, after the Baby Space at the Main Library opened, the Library partnered with IU Health Women and Children’s Services on a series of programs for new parents. IU Health had offered similar programs in other locations but was eager to move into the Library’s welcoming, accessible space. The Library was, and continues to be, excited to offer programs led by knowledgeable registered nurses that address the mental and physical health of parent and baby. The series kicked off with Moms’ Mondays, followed closely by Yoga with Baby.

This fall, Moms’ Mondays will morph into The Mamas and the Papas! The new program will offer parents time to chat, connect, and share experiences. According to Ginny Hosler, a Community Engagement Librarian in Children’s Services, the name change was prompted by the desire to ensure that all parents felt welcome to join regardless of gender. Parents of children not yet walking, as well as expecting parents, are invited to drop in for an informal discussion on infant and parenting-related topics such as nutrition, health, and safety.

Yoga with Baby continues and is led by IU Health certified yoga instructors and geared towards adults, while incorporating babies into the exercise. Babies may be included in poses, lie at their parents’ side, or even just play with toys, safe while adults get in a good workout without worrying about their baby. It’s also a great way to ease into physical activity and learn movements to lessen the pain that may follow pregnancy and childbirth. Parents are invited to stick around after yoga to chat.

Alongside the physical engagement that both yoga programs provide, New Parent Circle offers emotional support for new parents. Formerly called Postpartum Support Group, the name of the program was changed to emphasize that no official diagnosis is needed to join and that all parents are welcome. Where The Mamas and the Papas focuses on the needs of the baby, New Parent Circle is geared toward the mental and emotional health of the adults, especially parents who may feel isolated as they adjust to their new life with a baby. The program is an opportunity to get out of the house, meet other parents who share experiences, and discuss the stressors and anxieties that come with a new baby.

With Yoga with Baby already established, Prenatal Yoga was a natural addition to the programming schedule. Many doctors encourage women to stay active while pregnant, but accommodations for changing bodies often need to be made. Prenatal Yoga provides a non-judgmental environment to learn safe movements that help with the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. Participants learn postures, relaxation tips, and breath-work to ease discomfort and prepare the body for birth. This fall, the program will be held at the Main Library from September to November, then move to the the Ellettsville Branch for the month of December.

To find program dates, visit the online calendar or pick up a program guide next time you visit the Library!

Fix-It Fair

fix-it-fair_square_08-18.jpgThe Library, in partnership with the City of Bloomington Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, invites community members age 18 and up to bring in an item for repair free of charge at the second annual Fix-It Fair, Saturday, September 21 from 11 AM–4 PM at the Main Library!

Local professionals and volunteers will provide repairs and be available to coach attendees interested in learning how to make their own fixes. Limit one item per person, please.

"The Fix-It Fair is such an awesome chance to repair something that's been lying around your house ready to go in the trash," said Jeannette Lehr, event organizer. "Not only do you get an item repaired free, but you can learn to perform the same type of repair yourself from your fixer. It's a win-win––it keeps items out of the landfill and teaches community members new and valuable skills."

Bring in your broken:

  • Small appliances & electronics (lamps, toasters, walkie-talkies, radios, remotes, power drills, circuit boards, printers, guitar pedals, amps, etc.)
  • Bicycles
  • Stringed instruments (bring new strings if needed)
  • Clothing, textiles, and shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Toys
  • Eyeglasses (after 11:30 AM)

Please do not bring phones, tablets, computers, items with heating/cooling elements, TVs, video players, cameras, or large sewing projects.

Additionally, the Fix-It Fair will accept donations of old cell phones for Middle Way House.

Questions? Want to volunteer? Email jlehr [at] or check out the Facebook event!

Fix-It Fair Video

Zines for Teens!

Zines for Teens

Zines are for everyone! And that means everyone: adults, teens, and even kids! Included in that are zines written for teens, as well as zines written by teens.

Young people making zines isn’t by any means a new pastime, it's a passion many have enjoyed for years. When you were in elementary or middle school you probably knew some budding young comic artist, if you were not one yourself, who produced and sold mini comic books. Those were zines, even if you didn’t call them that at the time.

Local teens are also zinesters! Here are a few of zines designed by local teens that we carry:

Teen Café zine. Issue #1, June 26, 2019

Teen Café

Compilation of art, stories, and collages made by teens in Bartholomew County. Assembled by teen librarian Dakota during the teen cafe on June 26, 2019.

Teen feels : A TP zine about self-esteem

Teen Feels

Created by teens at the Project School, this zine includes advice from teens to teens. With pages such as, “How to draw a bald eagle when you’re mad” to “Feral: A Cat Story”, this multifaceted zine is sure to please.

The antagonist. May 2011

The Antagonist

A riot of images and words makes up this zine created by the teens who hung out at Rhino’s. The Antagonist was a long running publication from the local youth center that had lots of different types of content over the years.

My life as a teen com

My Life As a Teen Com

Perzine of author Kiah finding magic in rom coms, and how that defined their life as a teen. This colorful zine includes playlists, collages, thoughts on straight vs gay relationships, and a list of the top 20 best teen romantic comedies.

Legends of the woods : two short stories

Legends of the woods : two short stories<br />

Written by local teen, JF Tryon, this story encompasses a child being told to get lost, the adventure that awaits, and the expectations one can place within other humans.


If you’re interested in more zine resources for or by kids, go to:
Zines for Kids from
Tweens, Teens, & Zines at the Library from School Library Journal

Our zine collection covers a wide and diverse range of voices and topics from cooking and crafts, to psychology and politics. You can find it in The Commons on the second floor of the Main Library. Interested in having your zine added to the collection? Submit a copy for consideration at any information desk or email Annise Blanchard at ablancha [at] (