"Eating dirt : deep forests, big timber, and life with the tree-planting tribe" reviewed by Paula G. O. on March 4, 2013

Eating dirt : deep forests, big timber, and life with the tree-planting tribe
Charlotte Gill
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I had no idea that there are people that make their living planting trees. It was fascinating to find out about this back-breaking, dirty labor. Surrounding the work is a glimpse of the clear cuts and logging that make tree planting jobs necessary. It is an interesting first hand account of tree planting in the Pacific Northwest.
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

"Husband List" reviewed by Link on March 2, 2013

Husband List
Evanovich, Janet
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I was disappointed in this historical romance even though I am a fan of both Evanovich and historical romance. Caroline does not meet the standard of Evanovich’s typical playful, quirky heroines. The one dimensional treatment of her mother’s motivation for an aristocratic marriage is not convincing as the basis for the major plot conflict. The previously published “Love in a Nutshell” is a much more satisfying story with contemporary descendants of “Husband List” characters.
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Average: 1 (1 vote)

"The giant of the French Revolution : Danton, a life" reviewed by Bill W on January 15, 2013

The giant of the French Revolution : Danton, a life
David Lawday
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This energetic and sympathetic biography of one of the key personalities of the French Revolution goes further than many general histories to explain the way events led to their tragic conclusion. Danton was a larger than life figure who loved life and defined his own role in the revolution by using the rowdies in his Parisian neighborhood as a power base, and who never held an office in government until he was made (briefly) leader of the nation. He was a man who embraced violence as a revolutionary tool in time of war and reaction yet lost his life in his attempt to curb that violence. He was a man who could have been a tyrant yet turned down that role as unworthy. Ultimately, he proved a man out of his depth with an extraordinary power to improvise up to the final moment of his life. Lawday sets the scene for Danton's life in a readable, entertaining, and informative book set against one of the most profound epochs in modern history.
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"Line of Sight" reviewed by Paula G.O. on January 14, 2013

Line of Sight
Lucas Brunelle
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Amazing to watch these bicycle messengers weave through traffic as they race in New York City and other places around the world. It is filmed from a helmet cam and really lets you feel like you are part of the action without coming close to being smashed by a car.
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Average: 5 (1 vote)

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] mcpl.info, 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