by Christoper Cole, courtesy of The News & AdvanceAn early role teaching poor kids changed the career path of Nan Carmack.As a student teacher at the College of William and Mary, hoping to make a difference in an impoverished area of Williamsburg (VA), she was just launching an education career when she was struck by a desire to pursue social change. READ MORE
Grizzly bear, mule deer and bulk elk, on my!While all three may be terrifying they’re chillin’ in the Idaho City High School library.  “The specimens haven’t stopped coming,” said John McFarlane, Basin School District superintendent.Two years ago, an Idaho City resident wanted to give back to the Basin School District. The resident is doing so by donating taxidermy animals — 23 thus far, worth more than $30,000.  “My wife and I are simply looking for a way to give back from a life of work and some success,” said the donor, who wants to remain anonymous.The donor’s four children graduated from Idaho City High. The purpose of the animal donations is to give educators resources to teach wildlife, biology, taxonomy, environment and stewardship. READ MORE
As Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, families are getting ready to gather around the table, share turkey and stuffing and enjoy the company of relatives, not to mention sneaking a look at a minute here and there of football.Libraries, however, have jumped ahead of the Thanksgiving curve, getting into the holiday spirit by offering programs brimming with holiday cheer and library materials containing Thanksgiving recipes, as well as conducting food drives to help the needy enjoy their holiday.The Salt Lake County (Utah) Library System this week is offering live entertainment in the form of a magician who is hosting a family-friendly celebration.  At the Carrollton (Texas) Public Library, two days before Thanksgiving, the doors are open to children of all ages to create a Thanksgiving Day craft.  The Forsyth County Libraries (Georgia) are contributing to the Thanksgiving festivities with “Turkey Day Tales,” stories, songs, and a puppet show. READ MORE
Scott Morris, first floor manager at the St. Louis Public Library, is a librarian who possesses a special insight into the world of veterans.  He is a Marine Corps veteran who grew up in a military family – his mom was a veteran, his dad flew helicopters in Vietnam and he can trace his family’s military background to the Civil War. Morris draws on his expertise as a librarian and his experience as a veteran in conducting a writers workshop for veterans in the area. It is an example of how our nation’s libraries serve our nation’s veterans every day. READ MORE
Gaming and libraries are a natural fit. Libraries provide space for community engagement and collective discovery. Gaming in the library brings together not only peers, but also encourages interaction across generations and provides a way for underserved groups to collaborate with the community at large.On Nov. 19, more than 2,000 libraries around the world will celebrate the 9th annual International Games Day at your library.IGD is an outgrowth of National Games Day, which was started by Jenny Levine and Scott Nicholson in 2007 as part of an attempt to set a world’s record for the number of people playing the same game at the same time at libraries around the world.  National Games Day became IGD in 2012, expanding to all seven continents. IGD  has been celebrated in 53 countries and territories. READ MORE
by Robert Villanueva, courtesy of The News-EnterpriseA few times a month, Eliza­bethtown (KY) resident Kristy Hope Turner can be found at Hardin County Public Library attending crafting classes, making birthday cards or repurposing old books.The activities help her cope with her illnesses, which include a terminal immune system disease.  “When I was diagnosed summer of 2010, I was at death’s door,” Turner said. READ MORE
James Belvedere-Cricket, 74, a Temecula-area homeless man, enjoys his visits to the Grace Mellman Community Library to read the morning paper.  He says he goes at least a couple of times a week and enjoys reading stories about the weather in the cool, air-conditioned facility. He also likes that the library has restrooms he can use.Belvedere-Cricket is one of many homeless people who spend time in libraries in the Inland Empire and across the nation. The facilities, known as places for literacy and study, also have become refuges for the homeless.Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association, said a growing base of homeless visitors has required libraries across the country to analyze how to better serve those people.It’s also required that libraries address some issues that homeless patrons have at times posed. Though many libraries say a majority of their homeless patrons are like Belevedere-Cricket – law-abiding people looking for resources – some homeless may bring in unwanted problems such as vandalism, drug use and urban camping, which libraries have to meet head-on. READ MORE
What do you think of when you think of a small-town library? Maybe a small brick building full of musty books? Perhaps there is not a computer in sight, with no internet, no automation and an unfriendly old librarian who is unwilling to change with the times? Three area libraries defy that stereotype and bring a variety of modern services to their patrons. Maquon District Public Library, Village of Avon Public Library and Greig Memorial Library in Oneida (IL) have much in common, while having their own unique characteristics.The Maquon library is a district library, and serves a tax base of five townships. Mardell May has been librarian there for about a year, and brought automation to the library in March. She also hopes to expand the library to include a historical museum. READ MORE
With a dash of the board game Clue, an element of theater, and a guaranteed adrenaline rush, escape rooms have taken off in a big way. According to a July 2015 MarketWatch article, at least 2,800 have sprung up across the globe since 2010. As a team-building exercise that encourages participants to flex their logic muscles, escape rooms are a hit with corporate organizers. It’s also why youth librarians are getting into the spirit of escapism.“Anytime I experience something cool in my real life, I think, ‘How could I bring this to the library?’” says Karissa Alcox, escape room aficionado and youth librarian at Fort Erie (Ont.) Public Library. “It takes place indoors, and you don’t need much aside from some locks and props—a library can afford to do it.” Alcox adds, “Plus, it encourages critical-thinking skills and participatory storytelling.”Last November, Alcox planned such an event at the Kitchener (Ont.) Public Library to coincide with the American Library Association’s International Games Day. She used a large room with a fire exit, cordoned off “problem areas” such as the surge closet, and brought in pros from a popular local escape room facility. To appeal to all ages, the library team designed three versions of the clues—easy, moderate, and difficult—and had players select their level ahead of time. READ MORE
Inability to physically get to a Manatee County (FL) library branch will no longer stop residents from accessing the library system’s materials.This summer, Manatee libraries launched its new Books by Mail program, which allows Manatee County residents to be mailed materials if they are physically unable to travel to one of the county’s libraries.“It is important because this is an underserved population that often gets forgotten about in libraries,” said Rachel Suntop, a county librarian who is running the program. “As librarians, we believe in everyone getting equal access to our materials.” READ MORE