Not Your Mother’s Book Club: All-Things-Book-Discussion at the Library

Book clubs: What images do those two words conjure up for you? Ladies sipping tea and trading favorite lines from Jane Austen, right? Or a group of suburban moms huddled around adult beverages with the latest chick lit offering? Or maybe a conversation that’s a little too academic, with participants bandying around literary terms like “foreshadowing” andmalapropism” and overanalyzing every paragraph. Certainly these images are true for some groups, but don’t think that book discussion is an activity limited to any certain demographic or that you had to have majored in English to take part.

 

Odd Book Club

 

Reading and discussing a book with others is something that everyone can enjoy, and the benefits are enormous:

  • Book groups broaden your reading horizons. You will read quite a number of books you normally wouldn’t give a second glance. Yes, you’ll probably dislike some of them (I’m looking at you, Never Let Me Go and The Night Circus), but you will also enjoy a lot of them. Some of the books that you never imagined yourself reading will become your absolute favorites (Now I’m looking at you, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and O Pioneers!).
  • They’ll also broaden your worldview. You will learn about other cultures and perhaps gain different perspectives from your group members’ points-of-view.
  • You get to meet new people – and sometimes establish long term friendships with your group members. (And if nothing else, sometimes you’ll find someone to snark along with you about a particularly terrible protagonist or plot.)
  • Your communication skills will improve because you’ll be listening to other people talk about the books you read together. And with all those books, your reading comprehension skills will be sharpened as well.

At the Kenton County Public Library, we offer “traditional” book clubs that meet at the library, an online club that meets virtually on GoodReads, and we have often hosted meetings at coffee shops, art centers, and other locations throughout the community. Check our website under Events to see what’s happening. And don’t be put off by the use of the word “club”. There’s absolutely no obligation to attend all of the meetings. You aren’t even required to register for these discussions. All you’ll need to do as a book discussion participant is to read the book and then show up for the meeting. It’s as simple as that.

Now maybe you prefer to form your own discussion group, outside of the Library, and host it on your own. We’ve got you covered there, too, with an extensive book discussion kit collection available to check out for free!

If you have visited the Covington Branch recently, you may have noticed that our book kit collection is now on the main floor, next to the Reference Desk. Want to see what titles we currently have available? Just take a stroll around the display units and leaf through the discussion guides that are on display.

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We select new titles every year for our library groups and those kits become available the following year for check out by library card holders. Our kits contain 12-15 copies of a book plus a discussion guide, which includes an author biography, editorial reviews, and sample discussion questions to help you get your conversation going. If you aren’t sure which book you’d like, I’m always happy to recommend one. Just drop me an email at lesley.daley@kentonlibrary.org or call 859-962-4060, ext. 4240.

bookkit

The bottom line is that book clubs can be for everyone, so give one of our discussions a try. Or go ahead and start your own club. You provide the space and the snacks – we’ll provide the books.

 

–written by Lesley Daley, Reference Librarian, Covington Branch Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Test Taking Skills

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Whether you are an experienced test taker or a newbie, the Kenton County Public Library  has how-to guides and test preparation resources available in a variety of formats:  print, electronic, audio, and video.  There are several publishers of great test guides:  Barron’s, Schaum’s, Peterson’s, Language Express, McGraw Hill’s, Princeton Review, Kaplan and Dummies.  Check out this resource list.

Test Taking3

The library subscribes to the Learning Express database which is accessible for a library card holder.  All you have to do is register and you will be on your way to improving your test taking skills.  This is an amazing resource with practice tests on everything from the GED to the ACT to the GRE and many others.  You can take timed tests and start and stop when you need; it really helps get you in the right frame of mind for standardized tests.  The database also includes software tutorials, occupation practice tests and U.S. Citzenship.

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If you need any help along the way, your local library reference desk is here to support you, please give us a call or stop by, we want to see you succeed!

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-post written by Erin DeSantis, Young Adult Librarian

 

 

 

 

 

Library Providing Services at Home

About to celebrate her 90th birthday, Mrs. Jackie Linneman can honestly say she has had a lifelong relationship with the public library system.  An avid reader from a very young age, Jackie fondly recalls her trips to the former location of the public library in Covington.  In fact, the Carnegie Library at 10th and Scott was her first library.

Over the course of her life, Jackie has moved out of the Tri-state area and back again a handful of times, and she says that each time she moved to a new city, the first thing she looked for was the nearest public library.  “Mrs. Linneman always finds her library people!” she stated proudly during our interview.  “Librarians…I just love them!  I don’t know what I’d do without them.  I am very, very lucky.”

Jackie homebound

Mrs. Lucille Poetter, Mrs. Evelyn McVey, Mrs. Jackie Linneman entering Coppin’s in 1977.

Eight years ago, Jackie retired from her job selling perfume in downtown Cincinnati, and moved into an apartment at Atria Highland Crossing, a senior living facility in Fort Wright, KY. Prior to that move, she had been living in Fort Thomas and was a devoted patron of the Campbell County Public Library system.  “I lived just down the hill from the library, and I would walk down our drive.  But then when it got a little difficult for me to walk, that’s when I got the walker – just to be able to go to the library! And they told me one day when I went in, ‘Jackie, you can actually get these sent to your home!’  Then, when I got ready to move into here, that was the first thing I asked: could I still have that service?”  A Campbell County librarian was quick to get Jackie in touch with the Homebound department at Kenton County.

homebound van

Homebound (a part of the now combined Outreach Department) delivers items to the residents of Highland Crossing every other Monday.  Each and every time we bring a bag full of the newest biographies and memoirs for Jackie.  We have it written in her record that we are never to bring fewer than four books for her.  Living her life as she does now – mostly indoors and with limited mobility – the books we bring to her are her windows to the world.  Her friends and family members know how much she loves to read and constantly keep her up to date on the newest books – that’s how she always seems to be ahead of the crowd in making her requests for new materials.  Even though she doesn’t use a computer, she still has almost constant access to information about the latest books being published.  “My daughter-in-law sends me articles from The Philadelphia Enquirer.  She sends me ripped out pages from magazines with book reviews, and people are always telling me about new names and reviews of things I should read.  I get that New York one, too.  My son sends me The New York Observer…”

Even as we talked during our interview, she began shuffling through the papers on her side table and then stopped to hand me the most recent compilation of reviews and notes she had set aside for her librarians’ next visit.

When I asked her to describe what the Homebound services meant for her and how it improved her daily life, she didn’t even have to stop to think about it: “It’s a life saver to me – to be in a place like this and have your services.  Activities….well, I’m just not into.  But your service! It’s wonderful, in all sincerity.  There’s no bull about it.  Like I say, it’s my life saver.”

The activities Jackie mentioned during our chat are another facet of the KCPL Outreach Department.  Although she is less social and doesn’t take advantage of library outreach programming, many of our other patrons look forward to the mornings when we come by to help trigger memories and share life experiences.  At some senior centers we do trivia challenges, a proven technique for improving and maintaining brain function in older adults.  “Trivia games provide mental stimulation, an important component to mental and cognitive health in aging minds. Regular mental stimulation can actually delay the onset of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, which impair cognitive functioning. Trivia games require memory and stimulate the pathways through the cerebral cortex required to link the question to the image or to the answer.”  (Taken from an article by Cheryl Cirelli – http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Trivia_Games_for_the_Elderly ).

We often try to incorporate local interest into our programming, and we are constantly working on new ideas for future programs.  Recently we began developing visual-storytelling programs by adapting illustrated books into slideshows.  As slideshows, we are able to project the illustrations in a large format as we read the corresponding story aloud.  The first story we used for this idea was “A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas”, a children’s book written by Nadine Woodard Huffman and illustrated by Marilyn M. Lebhar.  The story is about Matty, a young boy staying with his grandparents in Cincinnati at Christmas, and the readers are exposed to all of the wonderful traditions of Cincinnati during the holidays.  After hearing the story and seeing the illustrations, the residents at Covington Ladies’ Home spent nearly 30 minutes talking and reminiscing about their own family traditions during Christmas in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Renee Moore, Director of Recreational Therapy at Providence Pavilion in Covington speaks very highly of the programming her residents have been enjoying twice a month for just over two years.  The audience may vary from 8 to 20 participants each time, but as Renee says, “they always leave knowing something new, and they talk about it all day!”  Renee’s favorite program in the past year happened over the summer.  Outreach Coordinator Kari Jones presented a slideshow all about ice cream for National Ice Cream Month.  Reflecting on the program, Renee told me how Kari talked with the residents, and “they all went back to their childhoods.”

Aside from the entertainment factor that many of our programs provide, Renee believes that outreach programming is an invaluable part of our service.  “It is important, because our residents learn about different things, or even go back in time.  We as activity directors may miss something, but the outreach programmers don’t.  For example, the ice cream presentation.  Yes, I knew it was National Ice Cream Month, so I was serving ice cream every Friday.  But I never thought about the history of it, or of asking the residents about it.”

HomeboundFlyer150Between our work delivering library materials to individuals and offering chances to reminisce or learn new things, the KCPL Outreach Department does everything possible to make sure the needs of our patrons are being met across the county.  Find out more about the Homebound services and Outreach Programming by calling 859.962.4062 or visiting http://www.kentonlibrary.org/outreach/homebound.

Ashlee Brown, Homebound Services Associate, wrote this post.

You and Your Pets

Pets are an integral parts of our families, our lives, and our hearts. Whether you have cats, dogs, fish, a snake, a family of tarantulas or ferrets, you understand the importance of those amazing creatures and the impact they have on you and your life. 

If you do have a dog, or several, Kenton County has a lovely dog-centered park.

Pioneer Park in Covington has a great pet-friendly area called the Kenton Paw Park! The Park features 3 enclosed areas for large dogs and 2 specifically for small dogs. The park also offers events like a Pool Party, photos with Santa, and the annual Beast Bash.

Visit the park’s website and the Kenton County Parks & Rec website for more information. 

 

KCAS logo smallLooking for a place to meet your new best friend?

The Kenton County Animal Shelter is the place to go! Use their Petfinder service to search for the pet that best suits you and your family. You can also get your pet’s annual license and get them micro-chipped at the KC Animal Shelter. Check out this video of their featured pets!

 

If the weather isn’t coopering with you or your pet stop by the library or check out my pet-friendly Pinterest board, to get some books and videos to keep you both entertained! Here are some of my favorites:

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This post was written by Eden Rassette, Young Adult Programmer at the Kenton County Public Library’s Erlanger Branch. You can find her online at The Otaku Librarian.

Rereading Favorite Books

A mom sharing her favorite books with her children.

A mom sharing her favorite books with her children.

What is your favorite book? Why do you love it? Who do you talk with about your favorite stories?

When December comes and it’s snowy and tiny colored lights are blinking (or menorah candles are twinkling), it gets dark so early I don’t always want a new and exciting book. This is the time of year I grab an old favorite to reread.
The thing about favorite books is how personal they are. I’ve had friendships that never looked the same after I admitted to hating A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’ve become insta-besties with fans of Douglas Adams and L.M. Montgomery.

As librarians, it’s important for us to not get bogged down in what we love when we are helping you to find your favorites, old and new. Do you want to reread Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events but don’t remember their order? Maybe you want to listen to The Lightning Thief or see if The Fault In Our Stars is any different on your new ereader  instead of the physical, paper book.

Eden at Erlanger separates her favorites into favorite this year , all-time favorite, favorite to recommend, favorite when she was a kid…which is a book I read in college and am now excited to talk about with Eden!

That’s the beauty of beloved books. Is it more important that we have the same favorite stories as people around us, or that we are willing to share our favorites? This holiday, why not ask the people around you what their favorite books are, or ask them to read yours?

Visit the website to browse the catalog and put items on hold.

Keeping Kids Busy Over the Holiday Break

Keeping kids entertained over an extended holiday can be a challenge, but we’ve got some great ideas for you. If sled riding isn’t possible and the cold is keeping you inside, there are plenty of activities for the whole family that are sure to keep them entertained. We’re sure a good book is the perfect remedy, but in case you need other ideas, here are ours!

Staying In Town?

If you live near the William E. Durr branch, check out our listings for School’s Out Movies! We have lots of showings for the whole family. We supply the popcorn, so just bring yourself and a drink and let us take care of the rest! Register by following the link above or calling 859-962-4031.

All movies will begin at 1:00 PM.

12/23 Elf!

12/26 Despicable Me 2

12/27 Grown Ups 2

12/30 Planes

12/31 Monsters Inc. & Monsters University

1/2 Smurfs 2

1/3 The Croods

Crafting

I’m really into crafting, and Christmas is the perfect time to try out new ideas and give them as one-of-a-kind gifts. There are so many fun craft ideas on Pinterest; you could stay busy for days.

Pinterest has some great ideas! Check out our Christmas board here.

Paper crafts for Christmas by Randel McGee

Christmas Crafts by Jean Eick

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving by Jessica Strand

Step-by-Step crafts for Winter by Kathy Ross

Baking cookies

Going to a cookie swap or have a lot of baking to do for a Christmas party? Involve the kids! You’ll not only invoke their creative abilities, but also keep them entertained.

The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share by Good Housekeeping

The Big Book of Cookies by Betty Crocker

Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season (EBook) by Lisa Zwirn

Usborne Christmas Baking for Children by Fiona Patchett

Cool Cookies & Bars: Easy Recipes for Kids to Bake by Pam Price

Going Out of Town?

Two words: Audio books! Check out a Playaway View—a pre-loaded video player with audio that’s great for keeping children entertained. We have dozens of them on all kinds of subjects; from animated storybooks that appeal to young children and non-fiction titles for older children. Audio books are a great way to keep your whole family occupied during a long car ride. Here’s a list of my top five family-friendly audio books for long car trips:

City of Ember by Jean DuPrau

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Holes by Loius Sachar

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Don’t forget that you can download eBooks and audio books to your device through Overdrive and One Click Digital before your trip, or check out a magazine from Zinio!

Just because the kids are out of school for an extended holiday doesn’t mean they have be bored. Be sure to stock up on library books before break begins so they’ll have plenty of reading (or viewing) material to keep them happy!

How will you be keeping your children busy over the holiday break? Comment below and let us know!

New Parents

So, you’re ready for your new arrival!  The nursery is freshly painted, crib assembled, pictures hung, stuffed animals in place, baby clothes folded and put away…everything is ready for the wee one to make their place in your home.  You’ve attended childbirth classes, got your breathing down and are all set for the big day.  Your hospital bag is packed with all the essentials and by the door to make the dash to the hospital when it’s time.

expectAs a new parent the Kenton County Public Library has been an invaluable resource for my family.  I prepared for my son’s birth by reading as many Childbirth/Pregnancy books as possible. My favorites were the ever-popular What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Pea In A Pod.

StartWe make his baby food and have found many great recipes in baby food cookbooks especially Start Fresh:  Your Child’s Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating.

It’s never too early to start reading up on parenting techniques.

SD1400_20121024_07_smWhen we can find the time we enjoy taking him to baby storytime.  It’s a great way for babies and their parents to be social, build comaraderie and instill a love of reading.  Finding the time is the difficult piece but it is so worth it.  Building baby’s first library is easy using this booklist; these books are great selections to read to your little one.

The Kenton County Public Library has a selection of links for developing early literacy on our Pinterest page.   Baby book recommendations are there too!

Great Parenting Websites and Blogs to check out:

A Round of baby blogs featuring all sorts of parents and philosophies.  Family Friendly Cincinnati has great ideas about activities to share with children in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. The family oriented restaurant reviews and park reviews are especially helpful.  This is the blog from 4C for children. Staff who are also parents share their adventures in parenting and their own early childhood expertise.  The Bump has pregnancy information, baby advice and parenting tips with forums.  Everyday Family is a community of parents with updates on baby’s development.  Mom 365 is a community of mothers with forums on a variety of baby topics.

Stroll into your local branch of the Kenton County Public Library and discover all the library has to offer you and your new baby.

-blog written by Erin DeSantis and Amy Schardein