Calling Young Adults

can-chat-chatting-362This is a call to our Young Adults. Yep, I’m talking to you, you crazy 7th grader, wising-up 8th grader, high-school-freshman 9th grader, budding-leader 10th grader, oldie 11th grader, and freaking-out-about-the-future 12th grader.

Did you know you are absolutely vital to keeping the Library relevant??

It’s true.

Without you, the Library starts to lose some of its power to help people. Why? Because you’re the ones who connect the Library to the world of 7th-12th graders. Now, I don’t want to be too dramatic but…if the Library can’t reach young adults, the Library can’t reach a new generation and then…the Library begins to die.

Kinda bad news, huh?

But it’s not all about what you can do for the Library, it’s also about what the Library can do for you! Studies show that people are better off when theyadult-blank-book-698928 read and when they form relationships with other people─two activities the Library is built on.

We know you’re busy: performing in plays, competing in sports, playing in bands and working a job. Not to mention friends, family and other responsibilities. It’s okay. We don’t want to replace those good things. We hope the Library will make all those things better, and that in turn, you’ll share your ideas, opinions, and skills with us.

Here are some ideas of what I mean:

Make Requests

We need you to tell us what you want to read and watch by requesting new books and movies. Did you know you can ask for any book or movie by filling out a form at the front desk? Our manager looks through every request carefully when it comes time to order new items. She wants your input!

art-blueprint-brainstorming-8704Join YALL

Do you have ideas about Library programs for young adults? Do you want to be a part of keeping the Library in peak condition? Are you hoping to build your resume with volunteer hours? Consider joining YALL: the Young Adult Library League. The group begins August 2018, but you can get a jump-start over the summer by volunteering or meeting the staff! Drop by and ask to talk with Leah Humphrey or Delilah Williamson.

Enjoy a program

Want to learn more about a 5-foot instrument you’ve probably never heard of? Try out the upcoming “Didgeridoo” program. Would you like to make someone’s day? Help create a rock garden for people to take and leave personalized rocks. And if these don’t pique your interest, Leah Humphrey─the mastermind behind the YA programs─wants to hear about it. She says, “If my programs are not what you look forward too, let me know!” Leah is committed to tailoring her programs to what you want─so be creative and tell her your ideas.brand-trademark-cobblestones-community-609771


There’s a lot that goes into keeping a Library running smoothly: from putting together summer reading prizes, to dusting shelves and shelving books, to face-painting on Summer Reading Kick-Off Day. We want you on our team. And, as Leah points out, “it looks great on a resume that you volunteered at a library. Besides that, our library is a great place to volunteer; we have great books, great staff, and a beautiful building that people love to visit.”


Yeah, I know. Obvious….But seriously, we have so many good books!!!!! Pick one up. If you don’t like it, pick another. Read outside. Read in the car. Read when your Aunt Gertrude is making caramelized brussel sprouts againnnn and she will ask you to help if you’re not doing something else!!!!

You get the idea.

Come to the Library. Your presence makes a difference.

Till next time,




Library-52-EditShe is kind, hard working, unassuming, and enjoys a good laugh. Her unexpected sarcasm entertains us all, while her commitment to excellence inspires trust. Meet Bonnie: deft with details, talented with technology, and gracious with people. Bonnie’s dedication to the Library is clear from her diligent work, but it goes much deeper than record-keeping and processing materials.

Even when she was a little kid, Bonnie tried to categorize her family’s collection of books. When she reached high school, Bonnie had to give a presentation on improving the local Library. She recalls, “that was the one time I ever felt comfortable, let alone had fun, speaking in front of the class.” Now, Bonnie works full time to improve the Library in our community.

Bonnie’s vision for the Library in ten years is “…to see the library become one of the first (or at least top five) places people think of when they want to find something to do. Whether you want to relax or have fun, the library has so many neat programs and services.  Just thinking about how much our library has changed in the last three years makes me that much more excited to see how it will evolve in ten years.”

Bonnie poses with fellow Library staff during Halloween.

She wishes more people knew about all the services the Library already has to offer, saying, “You don’t have to be a book nerd to appreciate the free services we offer.  There are fun programs for all ages, computer classes and tech assistance, online courses through Universal Class, access to thousands of online encyclopedias, magazines, and other research articles through Arkansas Traveler Database, digital magazines, eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and music.  Our library possesses a wealth of free knowledge and entertainment, and I wish more people knew that.”

When I asked Bonnie to point to something that keeps her wanting to work at the Library, she said, “I’m inspired by the kindness of our patrons and the support of the staff.  That kindness shows in those special moments when I get to connect with people, whether that be a friendly debate about which is the best movie, or sharing excitement about a new book, or in more serious moments, sharing someone’s pain over a loss, or joy for a new beginning.”

Relationships are a big motivator for Bonnie. While she is definitely motivated by “the feelings of purpose and accomplishment from getting things in order,” she also loves “the camaraderie among staff…The opportunity to share the love of books, music, and movies with the community. That warm feeling you get after being able to make a patron’s day brighter, or seeing a bunch of two-year-old’s run to a giant balloon sculpture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, laughing in amazement.”

Bonnie and her husband, Josh, enjoy some Christmas humor in their family photo.

When she’s not at the Library, you might find Bonnie reading with a chihuahua named Daisy, exploring Crystal Bridges with a husband named Josh, or enjoying a homemade gourmet meal. Here are some fun facts about Bonnie:

Currently Reading: Currently, I’m in one of those moods when there’s “so many books, so little time”.  I’m working on The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.  It’s hit a slower patch the last few books, but I’ve been told it picks up again towards the end of the series.  I’m also reading Remarkable Books: A Celebration of the World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works, which has been incredibly exciting, looking over the gorgeous calligraphy and intricate illumination.  I’m also reading The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carré since he is the next Author of the Month.

Favorite quote: With people like “…Bob Hope, um, Abraham Lincoln, definitely.  Bono, uh and probably God…” [The Office], there’s too many great quotes out there to choose.

Bonnie’s adorable dog, Daisy.

Favorite Meal: Manicotti with lots of cheese and my dad’s marinara sauce with a side of my mom’s spinach dip and Granny’s Cherry Salad.  Dessert would be Sweetheart Trifle and dark chocolate ice-cream with chocolate brownie bits and homemade Oops-I-accidentally-added-too-much-cocoa Chocolate Sauce.  Ooo! Also, coffee gelato. Drinks would be cherry lemonade or Cherry/Vanilla Coke (depending on how much water I may or may not have drank that day).

Favorite color: Blue

Ideal Saturday: If I’m in an introvert mood, my ideal day would be spent in my P.J.’s with my chihuahua, Daisy, drinking way too much coffee and reading, watching T.V., cross-stitching, or whatever creative impulse happens to strike my fancy. If I’m in a more adventurous mood, my ideal day would be to visit Crystal Bridges with my husband, Josh, and then stop by Barnes and Noble to look at the leather notebooks and Harry Potter fan merchandise, and of course, the books!  We would definitely get ice cream somewhere and watch a movie later.

With her love for people, her quick wit and her technical savvy, Bonnie’s genuine heart and talent make our Library a richer, warmer and more efficient place.

Till next time,


Summer Reading Rocks!

adorable-blur-bookcase-261895During my first weeks working at the library, a mother in our community shared that her kids’ reading levels had gone up, and she believed that our summer reading program had encouraged that. Summer reading matters. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that reading over the summer makes kids better readers. But just in case you aren’t convinced, about Library Summer Reading Programs, I did a little research for ya. The full info for my research is at the end of this blog, but here’s some fast facts from Joe Matthews, a writer for the Public Library Association:

  • Socioeconomic level plays little to no role in reading advancement when school is in session, but during the summer a gap can occur.
  • The reading level was more advanced among kids who participated in SRPs (Summer Reading Programs) than among kids who didn’t.

I found even more convincing evidence in an article from The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. It explains a study of rising fourth graders in 2008 in which students were tested in reading before and after the summer. Guess whose scores were higher at the end of the summer? You guessed it! The kids who did SRP. Parents of summer reading participants also felt that their kids were more ready to start school in the fall. And listen to what their teachers had to say: students who participated in SRP

Summer reading at the library can give kids a boost to succeed.
  • “started the school year ready to learn;
  • had improved reading achievement
  • appeared to have increased reading enjoyment
  • were more motivated to read
  • were more confident in the classroom
  • read beyond what was required; and
  • perceived reading as important” (pg. 30)

Okay, okay, but what do real moms say about SRP at our Library?

Amanda, a JBU professor and mother of three says this about summer reading:

“It provides great incentives for steady reading throughout the summer. It also gives us multiple things to do. I’ve really appreciated how much the Library provides for kids in the summer. There’d be a big gap if the library wasn’t there.”

adult-black-and-white-books-77167Amanda also loves being able to count the time her kids spend listening to audiobooks in the car.

Leah, a home school mom of 5 kids, ages 5-12, loves that summer reading is something all her kids can enjoy and also appreciates that reading aloud “counts” in the reward system. She says:

“I like that it incentivizes kids to want to read. They look forward to the little prizes. It’s just fun!”

There you have it, real research and real moms say, “Libraries Rock!” And that’s our summer reading theme this year! Plus, SRP is more than just reading. Grab your air guitar and get ready to rock at our schedule of summer events. Our playlist includes a ventriloquist, musical performances, awesome DIY crafts, stories, and more! Make the library your jam this summer to have fun AND nurture that gray matter.

srp 2
Hundreds of kids enjoyed celebrating their reading achievements at the SRP’s end-of-the-summer pool party! Come join us for Summer Reading 2018: “Libraries Rock!”

We think YOU rock and we can’t wait to grow together this summer.

The fun begins at the Library on Saturday, June 2 at 10am.

See you this summer!




Wanna read the research for yourself? Check out Joe Matthews’ article “Evaluating Summer Reading Programs: Suggested Improvements”, published on Public Libraries Online. And “Do Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Achievement Gap?” on page 27-31 of this issue of The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children found here: file:///C:/Users/staff/Downloads/45-64-1-PB%20(3).pdf

Writing Contest Winners!

We are excited to feature our Writing Contest winners on this post! It was a privilege to read each essay responding to the prompt, “How has the weather affected you?” Thanks to all our writers who invested their creativity and to the Siloam Springs Writers Guild for their partnership and advice throughout the whole process.

Congratulations to our adult winner: Rachel C. Kulp!

Enjoy our adult winner’s piece by Rachel C. Kulp. Rachel was awarded a year-long membership in the Siloam Springs Writers Guild and a gift bag from DaySpring.

Feeling Weather’s Wrath by Rachel C. Kulp

            “Come on, Mom, I want you to see the blue Caribbean.” We had just arrived at Tela-by-the-Sea in Honduras. My daughter was a school teacher in Honduras and was taking me on a holiday. It was almost dusk by the time we arrived at Tela and were able to walk barefooted along the peaceful beach. We noticed a trolling fishing boat on the horizon.

The next day a winter storm was forecast for the area. Since I wanted to experience everything this Central American city had to offer, I decided to go outside when the storm arrived. I persuaded my daughter to venture out with me. I had never experienced a tropical storm and thought it would be fun. I was soon to realize that Caribbean weather was nothing to trifle with.

A furious burst of wind, a deluge of rain, and we were suddenly clinging to the nearest solid object. Baby coconuts growing along the beach fell out of their nests and plummeted onto the sand, digging holes with the force of their descent. Stinging pellets of rain pommeled every uncovered piece of our flesh. The storm was an evil monster, determined to devour and destroy us. We were clutched in its mighty maw.

We tried to stay upright while dodging flying debris as we headed back toward our motel. The deafening howl of the wind made communication impossible as we attempted to stay connected through almost zero visibility. We dodged between trees bent nearly double by the gale, grabbing hold of large rocks for support, and fighting our way toward the motel. It was impossible to walk upright. The monster coiled and attacked us. Then it re-coiled and attacked again, shrieking and snarling. Our lives were in danger.

Eventually we found the corner of our building and, clinging to the siding with our finger nails, worked our way to the door. Once inside, we scraped off our wet clothing and bathed in reddish-brown, but very soft, water. We were soaked with an oily residue that required much scrubbing to remove.

The next morning we ate breakfast and headed for the beach. The water lapping at our feet was no longer cornflower blue. It was murky mocha. There was no blue Caribbean that day. The fishing boat that had trolled far out at sea had been washed ashore, beached. Locals hitched a tractor to it via a long rope and dragged it farther up on the beach so the sailors could disembark. Debris, driftwood and broken coconuts littered the beach. Little rivulets of water streamed down toward the sea. The water still looked like coffee laced with cream, but the tropical sun was shining once again.

My lesson, well learned, was to never take the elements or the weather for granted, whether sunny or stormy. Every kind of weather the Creator sends is beautiful and awesome. I am thankful to still be living to enjoy the weather, whether in a tropical paradise or in my own backyard.

Another big congrats to our Young Adult winner, Hannah Green!

And now for our Young Adult winner! Hannah Green was awarded a full scholarship to Writer’s Camp at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith.

The Storm of My Heart by Hannah Green

          Weather hadn’t impacted my life until my mom started everyday with excruciating pain. You are probably thinking this has nothing to do with myself or my own feelings, but you would be mistaken. I have felt immense varieties of emotions because of my mom; this is how weather has affected my life.

My mom has had four major spinal surgeries. Now you’re probably thinking how is that about weather affecting your life? Weather can describes storms, lightning, and terrible memory’s. In 2017, my mom flew to Maryland to have her first surgery. She has E.D.S, which causes her to be more fragile. The surgery went exactly as planned, but they found another part of her body that needs to be fused. So my parents stayed to have her second surgery. I can never write down my feelings in tough situations. How does a thirteen year old deal with that let alone a eleven and eight year old? I was happy that my mom was going to be fixed and have a new neck, but the surgeries could kill her. The feeling of losing a mother is indescribable. I love her greater than the distance between us. The only options in my head where knowing she would be okay at home but suffer, be away from me with a possible chance of death. or possibly be fixed. I was a storm of feelings ready to burst.

           When my mom got back from Maryland, it was a real struggle. She didn’t want help even though she needed it. I did understand though because I never liked receiving help myself when I needed it most. We had to wake her from her painless slumber in order to take her needed medication. Just when it seemed like the storm was fading, my mom suspected a possible tethered cord syndrome. She informed her doctor about her recent discovery of post-surgery complications, and he confirmed that she did indeed have tethered cord syndrome. Once my mom recovered she would fly to Maryland for another surgery. When she came home. I was aware that her healing process would be longer and more painful than the previous surgeries. She would wake up with more pain each day, and I knew the storm wasn’t over yet. I knew that she was going to be okay because of her heart of a warrior, filled with God’s love. My mom needed at least one more surgery. Before she had to leave for her fourth surgery, she snuggled and watch movies. The sunshine had finally raised over the storm. I wish the sun could have stayed out longer, but I knew we had to step back into the rain.

Hannah receives her award from the judges.

           This is where the hurricane starts. The surgeries went as well as they expected, but she got out of the bed to go to bathroom and felt unnatural. My dad could hear her gasping for air, so he called the nurses. Her second response team helped save her, shoving a breathing tube down her throat. They gave her a beta blocker, she has had it before and it was supposed to help. This time the beta blocker caused her to stop breathing. It was a conflict based or her other medications. This very well could have killed her. Thinking that she may never come home was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced. In ICU they took her off the beta blocker and she started having hallucinations. If you’ve never had any hallucinations, they are more frightening than you can ever imagine. She thought there was a bomb coming for her, and she didn’t know where she was. You couldn’t snap her out of it. This was the aftershock of the hurricane, everything was gone. They  took out the oxygen tube, and she had finally stopped having hallucinations. She was ready to come home. I was excited and happy.  Though she had to be careful about everything she did, she was going to be okay.

Home at last, all that was left was for her to regain strength and recover from this tragedy. This is the part of the storm where you know you’re going to be okay, but not sure how yet. She has been getting healthier though she can drive and watch our (school) activities. We are a family of six, and we are happy that all members of our family are (finally) home.


Hope you enjoyed reading these pieces as much as we did, and we hope you will be inspired to submit a piece of your own in our next writing contest.

Thanks again to our panel of judges: (left to right) Kendra Cooke (yours truly), Ted Weathers (SSWG Vice President), Gene Linzey (SSWG President) and Dolores Deuel (Library Manager)


Till next time!


National Library Week

blur-book-stack-books-590493Get ready for National Library Week: April 8th-14th! Since the theme this year is “Libraries Lead,” it seems only appropriate to honor a few of the original library leaders and their legacy that leads to our very own Siloam Springs Public Library. If these leaders were still wandering their piles of texts, I’m certain we would all write them thank-you notes. We might say something like…


Dear Sumerians, (around 3500 B.C.)

Thank you for inventing writing (at least, we’re pretty sure it was y’all), so that books could exist in the first place.

Dear Unnamed Citizen(s) of Nippur in 2000 B.C. (ish),BM-140852

Thank you for creating the first library catalogue on a clay tablet. It was a brilliant idea. We are thankful for you (and for modern index cards).


Dear Zenodotus (C. 280 B.C.),

Thank you for doing the tedious work of organizing so many delicate Papyrus scrolls by author, title, and subject. You had pretty good ideas about organizing written works. Bet you would not have guessed we’d use a similar system over 2000 years later─nice work, Z!

Dear Liu Xian (C. 206 B.C.),

Thank you for helping put a Chinese Library back together after near destruction by Emperor Qin. Even though you were hired by the government and there were definitely some agendas behind your catalog, you salvaged valuable cultural and historical work.

adult-background-beach-296282Dear Ibn al-Nadim (A.D. 987),

Your catalogue (Fihrist) is significant because of its broad scope. Thank you for not trying to control people through access (or lack of access) to information, but encompassing, as broadly as you could, the literature of your era.

Dear Romans Inventors of Codex and People Who Normalized Them, (approx. 500-1000 A.D.)

Maybe the Dark Ages weren’t so dark since that’s when people started using real books (Codex). We’re really grateful not to unravel a whole scroll while we’re tanning on the beach or sandwiched between two strangers on an airplane. Y’all are game-changers in our book!

Dear Johannes Gutenberg (around 1445),gutenbergpress

Did you have any idea how significant your printing press would be? Well, it changed the world. Information and ideas spread faster and to more people than ever before. Of course, you intensified the complexity of Library work, but─let’s be honest─librarians thrive on that kind of thing, so thanks for that too.
Dear Reverend John Sharp (1700),

Thank you for leaving your personal collection of books to the City of New York in 1700. Your books became the New York Society Library, and a significant milestone in the U.S. Library journey.

Dear Benjamin Franklin (1731),

Thanks for getting your pals together to share and grow a book collection. This was no tiny book club! Your “Library Company of Philadelphia” paved the way for similar libraries.
Dear Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919),

Thanks for unloading some of your cash on America’s Public Libraries. Because of you, U.S. Libraries doubled.


Dear Mrs. P.E. Moss (1901),

Thank you for the hard work and dedication you invested in Siloam Springs to turn 20 donated books into the hundreds and hundreds that line our shelves today. Because of you, thousands of people in our community have access to their own library. Thank you.


Dear Patrons of the Siloam Springs Public Library (that’s YOU),

Thank you for sharing with us your ideas, your taste in books, and your enthusiasm for literature, media and education. You make the Library thrive in our community. Thank you.

Till next time!


P.S. Big thanks to The Card Catalog, put together by the Library of Congress and The Public Library, by Robert Dawson, for providing most of the information for this blog. Check them out anytime from the Library!

Meet Ivy

20180310_103113It’s time to play, “Name That Librarian”! Here are your clues:

  1. This is her seventh year at the Library
  2. She went to JBU and to Culinary School
  3. She loves World of Warcraft and feel-good historical romance novels
  4. She doesn’t always have a food craving…but when she does it’s usually for homemade apple pie and ice cream
  5. She is the devoted Cat Mama of the incredibly adorable, Mr. Nuts

Can you guess?

It’s Ivy!

If you frequent the Library, chances are you’ve had the pleasure of meeting this easy-going, talented, and caring librarian. She is a joy to work with─as a library patron or a fellow staff member.

Ivy with proof that “Bigfoot was here” at the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium.

Ivy moved to Siloam Springs as a teenager when her Dad opened a Hank’s Fine Furniture Store. She recounts that she was born in Wichita, Kansas, “home of the BEST zoo I have ever been to.”


Fast forward through the rest of her school  years and Ivy found herself working at the Library beginning in 2011. When I asked her what motivates her about her job, she said:

“The staff is what motivates me. We are team, and we value each others strengths and weakness. The library is my home away from home, so the staff is like my family. I can’t think of a better group of ladies than the ones that I work with!”

It’s clear that Ivy develops great relationships with the other staff members at the Library. On any given day you might see Ivy delivering a homemade treat to the break room, taking time to ask a coworker “how are you?” (and meaning it), or telling someone “congratulations” on a successful project. She is a problem-solving, note-writing, program-planning, book-cataloguing, drama-dispelling, pie-baking, well-loved coworker.

But Ivy’s caring attitude extends beyond just her coworkers. She works hard to make the Library a fun and helpful place for everyone who comes in. Ivy would like to see the Library “…at the heart of the community.” She wants people to “…see the library as a destination haven where you can have fun, learn, and just feel like they are a vital part of this community, because they are!”

When I asked her what she wished more people knew about our Library, she said,

“I’d just like people to know that a library is more than just books. We are so much more.”

Ivy is especially excited about our new technology help services and basic internet courses. Class times will be listed on the Library Website as they occur. You can also drop in for personal tech help every Wednesday from 3:00-4:00pm next to the reference desk. She also wants everyone to know about Universal Class. Ivy says, “let’s say you want to add something to your resume to give it some ‘oomf’? Guess what, you can take a [Universal] class and get a certificate at then end of the class that you can add to your resume.”

When I asked her what inspires her to keep working at the Library, Ivy said, “I love it when a kid asks for a new series that we don’t have, and we can help provide them with the book through our item request forms. Just to see the excitement they have to read those books is what keeps me doing what I love doing, which is putting those new books in our library database. Don’t be shy, and ask us for that book that you’ve been wanting to read!”

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake Ivy made for Easter years ago.

As much as Ivy loves the Library, if she had to choose an alternate career, she said, “Everyone has a ‘dream job,’ and mine is to have a Coffee shop/Cafe with my pies, cheesecakes, cookies, and savory lunch type foods!”


This blog author gets hungry just thinking about a place like that. Library-Cafe, anyone?

Here’s some more fun facts about Ivy!

Hidden talent:  “My hidden talent is to make anyone within 10 feet of myself hungry. I talk about food a lot. Haha!”

Favorite color? “I love purple, but mostly a jeweled eggplant type color. (Hey look, I tied in food. Did I make you hungry?)”

Favorite foods to make: Apple pie, french toast, alfredo…she’s currently trying to perfect German pancakes. Bonus fact: Ivy’s Great Grandmother was a fantastic cook. Ivy grew up wanting to be like her.

Ideal Saturday: “My ideal Saturday would be to sleep in without an alarm clock waking up mid-morning. Play World of Warcraft (yes, I’m a nerd, and I love it.) until I wake up with a cup of coffee. Get cuddles with Mr. Nuts and watch Netflix (right now I’m watching Criminal Minds), or watch some ghost shows. Oh, and of course bake a homemade apple pie for dessert that evening – ice cream included!”

Current read: “I am reading The Girl at the Gatehouse, by Julie Klassen. I love historical romance. I like to read something warm and positive in my free time that just makes me smile and  sigh a contented sigh when I’m finished with the book.”


mr. nuts
Mr. Nuts playing in the presents on Christmas

Pets: “I have a fat, white, ginger cat named, Mr. Nuts! I got him at our Siloam Springs Animal Shelter. I remember the day before I was going to pick out a pet, my sister and I were looking at all of the pets at the shelter online. Specifically, we came across a really goofy looking cat named Picasso. We joked around about what a silly name “Picasso” was, and how that cat had just the goofiest looking face. It wasn’t until a few weeks afterwards, that I realized I had actually adopted that cat named Picasso, who actually turned out to be the best cat I have ever had! We still joke about “Picasso.” When he is really happy, he gives us that “Picasso” face, and it just melts my heart.”


Like apple pie with ice cream, the Library is a richer place because of Ivy. Staff and patrons alike are grateful for her calming nature, her organizational (and culinary!) talent, and her generous care for others.

Till next time,


Celebrating Eric Carle

Library Staff are dressing up like Eric Carle books this week. Tuesday’s outfit hightlights The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

If you grew up reading, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you know why we’re spending a week celebrating its author, Eric Carle. Did you know his “hungry caterpillar” was originally going to be a green worm? With the help of editor, Ann Beneduce, the worm became the voracious caterpillar and lovely butterfly we love today.

Eric Carle’s life, in many ways, reflects a similar transformation. His metamorphosis took him from immigrant, to WWII victim, to stifled artist, to career man, to soldier, to illustrator, and finally to beloved children’s author and illustrator.

Like his caterpillar, life began on a nurturing, green leaf for Eric: his German immigrant parents encouraged his love of nature and art. While these early years in New York were sweet, Eric would be forced to “eat” many unpleasant circumstances in his hungry journey toward maturity.

When Eric was still a young child, his parents moved back to Germany. Unlike his American school, his new school in Germany valued rules above creativity. While his boyhood hands swelled from the disciplinary blows of a teacher, his heart shrunk deep inside as he quickly learned to comply with the strict regulations.

Eric Carle’s art adorns our Children’s Library.

Although his creativity was stifled, it was not snuffed out. Eric talks about going to visit a favorite Great Aunt, Tante Mina, who always offered him plenty of yummy snacks. He jokes that these memories formed a basis for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. At Tante Mina’s home he would also spend precious time with his Uncle August who was an avid painter and storyteller.

The start of WWII looked bright for Germany, but soon, his hometown of Stuttgart became a major target of Allied attacks. It wasn’t long before Eric’s new normal included rushing to a bomb shelter dug into a hill in the middle of the night. He was eventually sent outside the city to live with one of many families who took in children during this tumultuous time. Fortunately, Eric was placed in a nurturing home.

One pivotal bright spot during the war, was getting to meet with his art teacher, Herr Krauss. Krauss exposed Eric to expressionist art, which was forbidden in Germany at that time. Seeing Eric’s tendency toward this lovely but outlawed art form, his teacher advised Eric, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen today. Just remember their free and loose style.”  Eric remembered.

Eric Carle is the author or illustrator of over 70 books. Hop over to our Children’s Library and read some!

After WWII the library played a special role in Carle’s life. He continued to hate school, having gotten behind in his studies in the chaos of the war. A librarian helped him discover authors who had been banned before the war like Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka. He says, “I am not sure that I understood the deeper meanings of all their writings, but, with the librarian gently urging me on, I absorbed the heartbeat of every page.”

He entered a competitive commercial arts school after his secondary education was complete. After school and working two years, Carle finally returned to America. Armed with $40, an art portfolio and two years of work experience, he found a job with the New York Times. His budding career was interrupted by the Korean War, during which he served in the U.S. army stationed in Germany. The Army allowed him to live back at home with his own mother during this time.

In Germany, he decided to marry Dorothea Wohlenberg, the sister of a former co-worker. He and Dorothea moved back to America and had two kids. Another bitter circumstance arrived years later in the form of a painful divorce.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

As with any story of transformation, hopeful times came with the bitter ones. Carle started doing freelance work and met Dr. Bill Martin Jr. author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Carle was thrilled to illustrate a book for children. Later on, he wrote the first version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the version that featured a worm instead of a caterpillar).That worm-turned-caterpillar proved a turning point in his career, and Eric Carle began pouring himself exclusively into children’s books.

Carle includes the following thought in The Art of Eric Carle: “I am fascinated by the period in a child’s life when he or she, for the first time, leaves home to go to school. What a gulf a child must cross then: from home and security, a world of play and the senses, to a world of reason and abstraction, order and discipline. I should like my books to bridge that great divide” (38).

And indeed, many children have crossed that bridge from home to school with the colorful creativity of Eric Carle adding joy to the journey. Carle’s own journey was not an easy one: fraught with loss, pain, and even trauma─yet even the worms turned into caterpillars turned into butterflies.

This week we celebrate Eric Carle’s story, and all the stories that his books and pictures bring to life.

Till next time,



P.S. Big thanks to my main source of info for this blog: Eric Carle’s “Autobiography: a Life in Words and Pictures” found in The Art of Eric Carle (Philomel Books). You can find this book on our display shelf at the Library.

Do-it-Yourself Librarian

“It’s tiring to have to keep asking the librarians to look stuff up for me and renew my items…”   -Willie the Wistful Dog

Are you tired of driving all the way to the library just to renew books you already have? Do you wish you could remember which books you’ve already checked out from the library? What about when you see a book and think, “this would be perfect to read on vacation,” but then by the time you go on vacation, you can’t remember what the book was! Would you like to be the first to know when a new DVD comes to the library? Or the next book by your favorite author?I’d like to officially welcome you to the world of PAC, where dreams like these—and more—come true! Now, don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking:

Oh great! An acronym I don’t understand. And I bet it has something to do with computers! I’m having a nervous breakdown already!

Take a deep breath.

Being your own librarian doesn’t have to be a headache. Come to our PAC class!

This post is called “Be Your Own Librarian,” but we’re not gonna throw you into Librarian World all at once. We want to offer two classes at the library to walk with you step-by-step through the features of this program called PAC.

PAC stands for “Patron Access Catalogue,” which is a boring name for a really cool program. Many of you already use PAC to search for books at the library, or at home through the Library website.

If you’re new to PAC, then PAC 101 is for you! Grab your laptop or other device, and head to the Library This Saturday, February 24th at 10:00am! This class will begin at the basics teaching you to:

  • Access PAC and set up a personal account
  • Maintain a reading history
  • See items you have currently checked out
  • Renew items online
  • View requested items and your place in the queue
  • View your fines
  • Conduct basic searches
  • Receive emails about materials that interest you as they come into the library
  • And more!

Once you know the basics, come on over to our second PAC class (Thursday, April 12) and learn to…

  • Create custom lists
  • View, sort and send saved lists
  • Narrow searching by filters
  • Browse by material type and by collection
  • Advanced searching (find award winning books, books in a series, etc)
  • And more!

16333The Library can be a gold mine, but if you don’t know where to dig or what tools to use, it’s just a pile of dirt. Go for gold with our PAC class this Saturday, February 24th from 10:00-11:00am at the Library. The Second PAC class will be on Thursday, April 12th at 3:00pm. Don’t forget to bring your favorite electronic device!! That way you can learn about PAC on the same device you will use at home.

You can be your own librarian! Go for gold!



Till next time,



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Holding a baby Kangaroo: just another day in the life of Delilah. No wonder her programs are so fun!

“Oh it’s phenomenal!” an enthusiastic parent told me about the Library’s Home School Program. “They do such a good job!” I knew this parent was praising the work of our Library’s Program Coordinator, Delilah Williamson.                                                                                                                                            Almost every day of the week, kids gather in the library because of Delilah’s planning, outreach and creative implementation. The smell of popcorn wafts into the main lobby every Monday for a family movie. The kids shelves are lined with crafts from an after school program. Little minds are encouraged to read and explore during story times.

Delilah says she came to the Library because “the position of Program Coordinator sounded fun and interesting.” She has certainly fostered fun and interesting programs. And the kids programs are just the beginning. Delilah has created space for library staff and volunteers to pioneer their own programs as well. Now there are programs for adults and teens, from movie nights, to book clubs, to pumpkin crafts, to writing contests.

You can imagine it takes one talented, creative, energetic and fun individual to coordinate all our diverse programs at the Library. Delilah is just such an individual. She juggles her many responsibilities with grace, and seems to have fun doing it!

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Delilah coordinates our amazing volunteers who put on children’s story time.

Although born in Tahlequah, Delilah moved to Siloam Springs when she was about four. She got her degree in Early Childhood Education from John Brown University and became a Preschool teacher. After a few years, she started looking for a change and took the Program Coordinator job at the Library. One of her favorite aspects of the job is applying her education skills to her programs, helping kids have fun and learn at the same time.

When I asked her where she would like to see the library in ten years, she said she would like to see, “A place where families and individuals know what we offer, can come hang out and everyone can have something to attend or enjoy.” Delilah is playing a significant role in making this vision a reality.

Family Event feb 10
Don’t miss the magic, fire and mayhem at our upcoming Family Saturday Program!

Currently, Delilah hopes that more and more people will realize all that the Library already has to offer. I asked her what one thing she wished more people understood about the Library. She said,

“Probably that the library in itself is a resource.  So many people still just think the library is for books only and if you don’t need a book then why bother going to the library. Even with all the advertising I feel that we do, I don’t think people understand what all we have and offer on a weekly & monthly basis – most generally for FREE!”

Side note: wouldn’t it be great if you could get a text or an e-mail about these fabulous programs?? You can!! Simply click HERE, to set up Notify Me on the Library website. Our Facebook Page is also updated often!

If you’ve attended any of Delilah’s programs, you already know she is fabulous. What you may not know, are these fun facts!

The most recent Saturday Program: a Cupcake Contest! Congratulations to our winner and thanks to our savvy judges (pictured). Check out the Facebook Page for more pics!

Delilah’s ideal Saturday: “Really depends on the weather of course, but if it was nice out I’d enjoy a leisurely, scenic motorcycle ride. If it was cold out (like today, burr…) perhaps a day in curled up by the fireplace watching movies and sipping hot cocoa.”


What Delilah is currently reading: I’m currently reading the Bible. I’m skipping around and not really reading in any particular order but I’ve finished the book of Acts and Psalms and now I’m in Proverbs. I’m also reading Live Original by Sadie Robertson to my youngest daughter before bed.”

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Delilah enjoys spending time with her two daughters.

Favorite meal: “I don’t really have favorites (as my children will attest) but I like pretty much anything Mexican and I also really like good southern home cooking; fried potatoes, ham, squash, rolls… yum!”

Favorite quote: “I don’t really have one, because there are so many that I like, but one I was reminded of not too long ago is ‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything’ (Irish Proverb).”

Favorite color: Purple

Delilah’s investment in Library programs has created a plethora of options for our whole community to enjoy. She works with energy, authenticity, humor, experience and skill. Come enjoy all the programs the Library has to offer, and tell Delilah how much you appreciate her!


Till next time,


Cupcake Contest

cupcake-collageThe nervous baker gingerly places exactly 6 cupcakes before the judges panel. Straight-faced, smug, and smiling respectively, the three judges prepare to taste. With a gliding motion, the first judge dives through the buttercream and airy-soft cake with his fork. He holds the bite in his mouth while the baker holds his breath.

Suddenly a rush of doubt overtakes the baker for three paralyzing seconds.

“Did I overbake?” He wonders. “Is the buttercream too butter-creamy? Did I overbeat the batter or under mix my mix?”

The tension! The anguish! The glory of victory! The letdown of defeat! When the gavel comes down on his cupcake confection…what will the verdict be??!

We’ve all sat on the edge of our seats watching Cake Boss or The Great British Baking Show. Now you can be a part of the action with….[insert inspirational trumpet sound]:

The Library’s Valentine’s Day Cupcake Decorating Contest!!!!!pexels-photo-23078

That’s right. It’s time to dust off your muffin tins, roll up your sleeves and get ready to get sticky in some friendly competition. Our own Trisha Lynn from Cafe on Broadway, Sheila Wilmeth from Heavenly Creations, and long-time Friends of the Library volunteer, Donna Schwartz will judge the competition.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out a registration form at the Library (to be turned in no later than January 27th at 4:00pm)
  2. While you’re at the library, get a copy of the rules. Read this carefully. Ignorance to the cupcake rules is no excuse.
  3. Craft six uncommonly creative, cream of the crop cupcakes and bring them to the Library on February 3rd at 1:00pm (contest will be in Meeting Room B, just down the hall to the left of the front desk).

Can’t decide between coconut cream and raspberry-filled espresso? No problem! You can enter as many times as you want. Just fill out a separate registration for each entry. This year our contest is for adults only.pexels-photo-718754

May the best baker win!